“Every disappointment you encounter isn’t necessarily a barrier, it could be the channel to your desired breakthrough.” It is often difficult to identify gold in its natural deposit because it often does not seem like gold, due to the inherent dross, but when we look harder, we see clearly this treasure encumbered with impurities.
Here is the mind blowing story of Olaoluwa Awojoodu, founder and CEO of Electronic Settlement Limited (ESL), the company behind the multiple easy payment solutions we have in Nigeria including CashEnvoy, mobile POS solution and PayPad.
An ignored email
One day, a big idea struck him. It was about simplifying payment. Naturally, Paypal came to mind and He send a proposal via email. Long story short, PayPal ignored his e-mail. Prior to this, Olaoluwa Awojoodu had not worked with other company asides during his compulsory Industrial training. He began his entrepreneurship during his 100 level days at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where he studied computer science when he sold recharge cards with the help of a friend. This was in the early days when only few people had one. After his first endeavour, he got involved in several other entrepreneurial initiatives.
He moves fast
After he discovered a world of opportunities in the technology sphere, he set up Clickstore Africa, a company that sells IT hardware online, and also another project, Bottom Naira —a company which helped people shop abroad by proxy. At this point he had seen the need for Nigerians to make their payments online too; and this prompted him to write out a proposal to paypal, proposing a partnership with them, but fortunately or unfortunately, the email was ignored, it was at this junction that he felt a push towards the direction of implementing this great idea. So with the help of his colleagues they were able to make CashEnvoy a reality.
Investors are loving it!
They’ve received about six figures seed funding, from many sources, in the past; they had a very radical growth right from having no office space at all; it was laolu’s dad who gave the team a room and a table, but now, they have a whole room full of developers with robust network in Nigeria and Ghana.
Oil Company? Too small.
In an exclusive interview with the techpoint.ng crew, Olaoluwa revealed how that his mom wanted him to finish with a good grade in school and work for an oil company, but with Olaloluwa’s focus, tenacity and desire to be a successful entrepreneur, he was able to resist this mouth-watering vision to pursue his dream.
He said “mummy I don’t want to work with Shell, I want to own Shell”. Of course, that got her pissed. There she was trying to have a serious conversation with me and all I could do was make light of it; she actually thought I was joking. My parents just didn’t understand. You can’t really blame them; the mindset of their era — what was bringing home the money — was “get good grades, get a good job and your life is set.” In our era it’s “go to an Ivy League college and fund raising will come chasing you.” In our children’s era, things might be different. You never know. But it’s only what you know that you can advise with. I don’t think anything really made sense to my parents until after I
raised my very first seed. That got them a bit calmer. The fact that someone gave me money made them think “maybe he is actually on to something.”
Olaoluwa Awojoodi’s story is truly very inspiring, and it confirms the evergreen saying “The world makes way for those who truly know where they are going”. He is living proof that only those who believe in the beauty of their dreams will make an impact in life.
The driving force behind entrepreneurship still remains creating products of value, solving human problems with innovation. With consistency, focus and determination, you can achieve your craziest dreams.