3 Lessons You Could Pick From The Paystack Exit

Picture this. 2 young boys.

Lagos, Nigeria.

A laptop and a dream- “Stripe for Africa”.

5 years later, what was just a dream is now a multinational start-up- Paystack.

After securing over $10M in funding and expanding beyond Nigeria, the co-founders, Shola Akinade and Ezra Olubi have exited the start-up for a whopping $200M. In plain English, they sold Paystack for $200M to Stripe; a US fintech company. As I said earlier, the dream started with 2 young boys. If they can, you can too! Before you start dreaming of what it would be like to roll in millions, here are 3 things the Paystack founders did. You should totally do them too!

1.Start where you are

I know you have a list of things you need to be sorted before you finally start doing what you really want to do. I have the best suggestion for what you could do with it. Walk straight to your bin. Ball up your list and throw it in the trash can!

You don’t need it. Yes, it’d be great if you had everything you wanted. But do you NEED it? No!

So start where you are. So long as you can do something with what you have in your hands, you’re good to go! Shola and Ezra didn’t wait and neither should you. Stop stalling already!

2.Copy relentlessly

I know you probably don’t want to hear this. You probably want to think of yourself as a super brilliant problem solver; with never-before-heard ideas. Yup! That was me before I heard the Paystack story.

It was born and marketed as “Stripe for Africa”. Everywhere they went, from fundraising events to cocktail dinners for investors, “Stripe for Africa” was the simplest way to explain what Paystack was. And did the ‘copying’ work? It sure did!

‘Stripe for Africa’

Why? Innovation and ideation are great, but execution is really where all the hard work is. The key to making a real impact is to create solutions that your society truly needs and can benefit from. If it so happens that your community needs a solution that has already been pioneered somewhere else, not to worry! Sit down with the already-running idea and tweak it to fit what your society needs. (that’s exactly what Paystack did).

If it is true that wisdom does not live in the head of one man, then good copying is nothing to be ashamed of. (just remember to tweak and give credit where you need to)

3.The world is your stage

The world? It’s yours!

You might live in Accra or Takoradi or Calabar or Monrovia but through the internet, you have access to the whole world. Don’t take it for granted. Strive to do your best and to understand how things work globally. Build up your competencies(you can do this by enrolling in our boot camp *wink*).

Once you do this, your next battle will be with imposter syndrome. You have to fight to win, though. Tell yourself; ‘I am just as worthy of good opportunities as anyone else.’ Don’t play it safe. Apply to FAANG jobs, launch your startup, do all you dream of!

Paystack was the first Nigerian start-up to make it into the Y Combinator accelerator. There are many more firsts to be taken. But the million-dollar question is, ‘Do you believe you are worthy?’

Shola thinks you are.

We here at Codetrain think you are too. Sign up for our boot camp and watch your dreams come true.

Codetrain trains world class software developers in Ghana and matches them to employment opportunities. www.codetraingh.com

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