Payhippo, a prominent AI-driven lender specializing in serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, has officially introduced Dami Olawoye as its new CEO. Olawoye, who previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer at Payhippo, will take over the reins from Zach Bijesse, who is transitioning to a role on the company’s board of directors.
Under Bijesse’s leadership, the AI-powered startup achieved significant milestones, including the disbursement of over 36,000 loans to SMEs, the development of a highly effective AI-driven credit assessment system, and the successful acquisition of $16 million in both equity and debt funding. Payhippo has also cemented its position as a leading provider of working capital to small businesses in Nigeria.
Olawoye, with his extensive experience in executive leadership and investment within high-growth SMEs across West Africa, including a leadership role at a well-regarded asset finance company in the UK, is well-equipped to steer Payhippo into the next phase of expansion. His deep understanding of the specific needs of Nigerian small businesses positions him to guide Payhippo effectively.
During his tenure at the company, Olawoye has not only diversified the product offerings but also played a pivotal role in fundraising initiatives and the launch of a partnership platform, all contributing to enhanced profitability.
“I am deeply honored to assume the role of CEO at Payhippo. Payhippo holds a prominent place in Nigeria’s fintech sector, and I am enthusiastic about leading the company’s growth and its ongoing commitment to supporting small businesses throughout the nation. I am particularly passionate about Payhippo’s new products, which are designed to empower small businesses in the renewable energy sector to expand and generate employment opportunities,” stated Olawoye.
In addition to this leadership change, Payhippo is expanding its range of financial products to include asset finance and inventory finance, with a particular focus on the burgeoning renewable energy sector in Nigeria. This sector is still in its early stages of development, and Payhippo has recognized a significant gap in the distribution chain for lower-end solar equipment.
Both end-users and installers face challenges in accessing seamless financing for equipment procurement and inventory management, respectively. Payhippo aims to leverage its expertise in SME lending to address these pressing issues. This expansion comes at an opportune time, given the 50% growth in solar equipment sales in Nigeria in 2022 and the increasing need for financing solutions among small businesses in this sector.
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Investor s Express Strong Confidence in Dami Olawoye as Payhippo’s CEO
Zach Bijesse, the outgoing CEO, expressed his confidence in Payhippo’s continued commitment to the welfare of small businesses in Nigeria, saying,
“I’ve always believed that Payhippo has the potential to be a force for good in Nigeria, helping small businesses grow and create jobs. Thanks to the hard work of our team, we’ve made great progress towards achieving this goal. I’m confident that Dami will continue to lead Payhippo forward on this mission, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the company. As I transition from CEO to board member, I’m especially grateful to Chioma, Uche, and Dami for their contributions to the company’s success. They are the ones who helped build this company from scratch, and I’m excited to continue watching it grow.”
Dami Olawoye’s appointment as CEO has garnered support and confidence from Payhippo’s investors. Zach George, Managing Partner at Launch Africa, commended Olawoye’s extensive experience in the Nigerian market and his profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities that SMEs face.
He believes that under Olawoye’s leadership, Payhippo will continue to innovate and provide small businesses with the necessary financial resources for their success.
“Payhippo is well-positioned to meet the increasing demand for asset financing in Nigeria, and I have no doubt that Dami, Chioma, and Uche will continue to build a successful business together.
I have known Dami for many years and have been impressed by his vision, leadership, and execution skills,” added Dave Uduanu, an angel investor in Payhippo and the CEO of Access Pensions.
Founded in 2019 by Chioma Okotcha, Uche Nnadi, and Zach Bijesse, Payhippo has established itself as a leading AI-powered lender catering to the needs of SMEs in Nigeria.
The company’s core mission is to provide quick and easily accessible working capital loans, asset finance, and inventory finance to small businesses, with a focus on making financial services seamless for African SMEs.
To date, the company has successfully disbursed over 36,000 loans to SMEs and secured $16 million in equity and debt funding from investors such as Launch Africa, Ventures Platform, and Y Combinator.
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