Ezra Olubi, the co-founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of PayStack, is known as one of the pioneers of the online payment system in Nigeria. He’s a major player in Nigeria’s tech space who recently received a national award.
The 35-year-old founder also has a unique fashion sense that has earned him diverse audiences on various social media platforms and caused controversy.
Indeed, the computer science graduate from Babcock University has come a long way. Here are some things to know about Ezra Olubi.
Co-founder of the first Nigerian company accepted into the tech accelerator
Working together with his co-founder Shola Akinlade, the brains behind PayStack, a payment company which was the first Nigerian company to be accepted into the tech accelerator Y Combinator programme, with a funding of $120,000.
In 2018, an investment group led by the American company, Stripe contributed $8 million to Paystack. Between 2016 to 2018, the company raised $11.7 million from five rounds. Later, in 2020, PayStack was acquired by Stripe, a technology-based Company, for $200 million.
He is androgynous
Olubi’s unique fashion sense has begged the question of his sexuality. Though controversial, the tech entrepreneur said he is straight and heterosexual. In an interview regarding his sexuality, he said, “I guess I’ve always been like this as far back as my secondary school time. I remember my dad made a comment, and he was the first person that made me know the word – effeminate. I checked it in the dictionary, and I embraced it.
And then, when I actively started looking into fashion choices, dressing, and all of that, I saw more women, but it was fine. But it meant I didn’t have a lot of guys I could draw inspiration from, but the women were there anyway, so why not.
And usually, when I like to walk into a store to get clothes and all of that, I typically find myself in the main section for things like jackets or sweaters. I’ll say androgynous instead because that’s more of a recurring thing in my head regarding how I just like to carry myself and blow the lines to gender boundaries.” Despite the weird reactions, he said people accepted him for being ‘Ezra’.
Born and raised in the southern part of Nigeria
The renowned techpreneur was born and bred in Ibadan, Oyo state. Despite being the co-founder of one of the payment platforms in Nigeria, Olubi grew up like every average child with dreams. One such experience that changed his life was when he discovered programming.
He said, “The first one was when a family friend moved into our house so that he could be closer to school, and then he came in with his computer, and that was like my first introduction to computers, and then that was how I got into programming in secondary school.
Recipient of the Order Of The Niger
On October 11, 2022, Ezra Olubi was one of the recipients of the Order Of The Niger (OON) award, which he received from the President of the federal republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari
Also, he was nominated for some awards over the years. He won two consecutive recognition as a Programmer of the year at Babcock University.
After bagging a Computer Science degree from Babcock University in 2006, Olubi developed himself as a programmer. Gradually, he built his career at North Ocean Logistics & Solutions Limited and went to work with Softcom Imagio Limited Nigeria and later Jobberman Nigeria.
The exposure led to the creation of products such as reloadng.com and softpurse.com at Softcom. There, he also created Eyowo.com, which eventually served as the background for PayStack.
He said, “We were looking for an easy way to integrate and accept payments on your website without going to other interfaces. The plan was to build it into something like Stripe, but this was not possible for them at the time.
Because I mean Softcom was a company that was doing much more than just that product, and I guess it was difficult to communicate the resources. I left for Jobberman afterwards, but the thought remained. So, when Shola came to me with the Paystack idea, I jumped on it.”
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