Banking and financial activities in the 80s were characterised by paperwork and file cabinets. But by the end of the twentieth century, the story changed with the introduction of technology to speed and ease the financial process. This was the birth of financial technologies, now commonly known as Fin-Techs.
Whether by intent or by accident, the industry turned out to be dominated by the male folk– founders, co-founders, chief operating officers, managing directors, etc. However, considering that the American Bureau of Statistics estimates that females only make up 22% of Engineering and Technology graduates, and we could as well infer it could even be worse here in Nigeria.
Nevertheless, there are still women holding their own in the industry, and this article will be looking at seven female executives who are way ahead of the game in the Nigerian fintech sector; more interestingly, most of these women are under 40.
The list includes founders, co-founders, business leads, heads of operations, and other management staff.
Abiola Showemimo, HR and Admin Lead, Paystack
Abiola is an experienced human resources practitioner, with her work history mostly in the tech industry. She currently works as the Human Resource/Admin Lead at Paystack Payments limited.
Her skills range from negotiation, business planning, analytical skills, operations management, and people operations, giving her just the right combination as a HR lead.
Before Paystack, she worked as a business analyst and political commentator with Klein Devort Ltd, and as a marketing and sales coordinator at Playzone Nigeria, both tech companies.
She describes herself as committed to building “a non-conventional yet highly productive workspace and workforce.”
Abiola studied Economics at Lagos State University and is certified with the Professional Human Resources Institute.
Opeyemi Fowler, Head of Growth, Flutterwave
Opeyemi joined Flutterwave in 2018 as Senior Executive Growth – Leading Tier-1 Bank Partnerships, before she became the Head of Growth; helping the company to expand further in its goal of building Africa’s payment infrastructure.
She had, before then, spent over a decade in Zenith Bank as an E-business consultant, working in the customer service and marketing departments.
She has proven expertise in electronic sales, e-products, business solutions, business advisory, product conceptualization and development, and market exploration.
She bagged a first degree in computer science from the University of Ibadan, did the Venture in Management Programme, and got a Masters in Business Administration degree from Lagos Business School, years later.
Jacqueline Jumah, Head DFS, EFInA
Jacqueline is currently Head, Digital Financial Services at Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), where she is focused on deepening the digital financial services in Nigeria through capacity building and stakeholder engagement.
She doubled as the Digital Financial Services Market Specialist and Managing Director at Intermarc Consulting until February 2020.
She has over a decade’s experience in digital financial services, having worked in both the banking and telecommunications industries, across several African and Asian countries. She is experienced in Development for Sustainability (DFS) product development, deploying technology and financial instruments which will promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in emerging markets.
She is also knowledgeable in Strategic Operations in Agent Network Deployment and Scale-up, DFS Business Strategy Development, Market Research, DFS Policy Advisory, Risk Management, and Marketing and Communications.
Her previous work experience includes her time at MicroSave Consulting Africa as a Senior Analyst within the Digital Financial Services (DFS) department, and as a lead faculty member at The Helix Institute of Digital Finance based in Kenya.
Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-founder and COO, Piggyvest
Odunayo is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Piggybank, now known as Piggyvest. This is an automated savings platform that helps customers invest spare money, with promises of higher interest rates than a regular savings account.
Fresh from school, Odunayo decided to pursue her tech career by starting with PushCv to help job applicants write their CVs and link them to employers.
Piggybank focused on millennials, encouraging them to save with specific financial goals, and it was later renamed Piggyvest when they branched out to investments to help users grow their funds.
This little fintech disrupted the finance space in Nigeria, encouraging and enabling users to use the tools to manage and grow their funds.
Odunayo is one of the key females in fintech in Nigeria. She was listed in the World Women in FinTech Power list 2017, and the Naija Most Influential People in Technology list in 2017 and 2018.
Adebunmi Wellington Ogunlewe, eTranzact
Adebunmi is the Head of Product at eTranzact international Plc, Nigeria’s first multi-application, multi-channel electronic transaction switching and payment processing platform.
eTranzact handles billions of dollars yearly, supporting millions of forward-thinking businesses and individuals who trust that their financial transactions will be taken care of by it daily.
Her almost 16 years of experience spans across several industries, multinationals and government entities, including the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
She holds an advanced degree in Information Systems from the University of Maryland, with years of experience in Information Technology and Payments.
Ndifreke Nkose, Head, Strategy and Business Transformation, Interswitch Group
Though a chartered accountant, Ndifreke has earned her stripes in the tech space. As the head of Strategy and Business Transformation, Ndifreke ensures that Interswitch remains ahead of the game in the fintech space.
She initiates, implements, and tracks strategies targeted at earning a place for the company, in the minds of the consumers.
She got her first degree in pure and applied chemistry from the University of Ibadan in 2004, then switched when she started working with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) till 2018. This was where she started and mastered Strategy Formulation & Implementation, Performance Tracking, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E system implementation), Business Transformation, Project Management, Process Reviews, and Redesign.
Oluwaseun Runsewe, Founder/ CEO Switch
At age 28, Oluwaseun Runsewe founded and became CEO of an entrepreneurial fintech, Switch. The purpose of Switch was to offer middle-class Nigerians varied financial solutions, where they could hold a number of savings accounts on the app, with different currencies. Ultimately, the target was to reignite the trust which some people had lost in the banking system and processes. Lending, borrowing, and investments were made possible on the app, with a promise of zero-transaction fees.
She started her career at KPMG as a Business Analyst in the management consulting division, and later Project Coordinator. After KPMG, she spent 2 years at Paystack as Business Lead before starting Switch.
Runsewe had her first degree in Business Administration and Management from Covenant University; this was where she picked interest in Technology. She is SAP, COMPTIA and DMI certified.
Oluwaseun is also Director of Product at Opay.