Yanmo Omorogbe, a Chemical Engineering graduate, shifted her focus to finance and founded Africa’s first internet brokerage firm, Bamboo.
She’s one of the young Nigerians leveraging technology to solve the problems Nigerians didn’t know they had. Her solution has become a vehicle for wealth creation for many.
She bridged the gap between investment and the millennials with the Bamboo App. Bamboo is a digital investment app that allows customers real-time access to over 3,000 equities listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The app made it possible for an average African to become shareholders in technology companies abroad.
Yanmo Omorogbe earned her master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London. After completing her education, she decided to return to Nigeria despite being clueless about what she wanted to do.
According to her, “I was watching a talk, and it said if you can’t figure out what to do or are trying to figure out your path in life, think of a problem that bothers you and work towards fixing it.”
“I was trying to charge my phone, and the battery was really low, and there was no electricity to charge my phone. It was annoying, and I said I would work in power, so I worked for the ministry of power”.
After working in Nigeria’s Ministry of Power, she realised that the power industry was not her fit. She was more interested in infrastructure transactions.
She sought her mentor for counsel, and he exposed her to the world of private equity and venture capital. This then became her subsequent pursuit, which would eventually make lines fall for her in pleasant places.
Consequently, she left the power industry to work with African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM). She began her career in finance with no prior experience.
“I spent a couple of years working there with no finance experience, but I realised I enjoyed private equity’s operational and transactional side of private equity,” she said.
The Birth of Bamboo
The Bamboo app concept was conceived the same way any business would begin – a need to address a problem.
The difficulty of Yanmo Omorogbe and her co-founder Richmond Bassey to invest in overseas stock prompted Richmond to look for a solution.
She said, “I wanted to invest in US equities, but I couldn’t find an easy and accessible way. I have a Nigerian passport, and the US brokerage needs a social security number. Also, the UK brokerage asked for a TIN or some other form of ID number, so there was no easy way to do this.
I mentioned it to Richmond, and he said, yes, that also happened to him, and he is also trying to get on board because he also wants to buy US stocks. I saw him in a couple of weeks, and he said he still has not been able to buy, and the whole thing was crazy.
Richmond has a very problem-solving attack-the-problem approach and said if we both can’t do it, there must be a big problem, and he set out investigating how he could do this.”
The Bamboo app was founded not long after as an online brokerage service with access to worldwide financial services. The company began by providing Nigerians with access to the US stock market.
The Bamboo App
Yanmo Omorogbe currently serves as the operational backbone and co-founder of the company. According to her, the firm is focused on the African continent.
The app is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to investing opportunities.
According to Omorogbe, the idea is to make it simpler for Africans in the diaspora to invest back home.
In an interview, she stated that the biggest success since the app’s creation was when the platform had over 100,000 users, demonstrating how far the company has come.
The company partners with DriveWealth LLC, a pioneer in global digital trading technology based in the United States; Lambeth Capital, a Nigerian stockbroking firm officially registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and Flutterwave, one of Africa’s leading payment systems, to ensure the safety of the capital of investors using the platform.
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