Shola Akinlade is a Nigerian software engineer and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Paystack. In 2020, Akinlade's company was acquired by Stripe for $200m.
Sola born in Lagos, Nigeria attended St. Gregory's College for his secondary education. In 2006, he graduated with a degree in Computer Science from Babcock University.
Shola's career started at Heineken where he worked as a Management Trainee and Database Manager with Heineken, but left after two years because he was unsatisfied with being just a management staff. He then moved on to being a software engineer with banks.
Shola Akinlade took his first shot at entrepreneurship when he founded Klein Devort, a software development and consulting company, with his friend, Mayowa Okegbenle in 2008. Their flagship product, Precurio was designed as a collaboration and content management platform for the mid-enterprise segment and businesses in arising markets. Akinlade said that the inspiration for the project was Dropbox. Within five years of running this company, the duo had grown their small idea and had over 200,000 companies using it. It had been downloaded over 150,000 times and was available in six different languages.
While developing the software, several banks reached out to Shola to help them build their own tools, putting him on the path to mobile payments and to building African businesses into the impactful powerhouses they can be.
In 2016, Shola and Ezra Olubi started Paystack.
Akinlade's company, Paystack was a part of startup, accelerator YCombinator's 2016 batch of startups. The company was created to helps businesses in Africa get paid online and offline.
Paystack launched in January 2016 and became the first Nigerian company to be accepted into the tech accelerator Y Combinator program, and received funding of $120,000.
Shola started Paystack because he believed that better payment tools are one of the most important things that African businesses need to unlock their explosive potential in the global economy. Alongside co-founder Ezra Olubi, Shola built this "Stripe of Africa" that became Nigeria's first startup to enter Y Combinator and is now backed by Stripe itself. Today it serves over 60,000 businesses, and processes over 15% of all online payments in Nigeria.
Shola relaxes with African music a lot, and said in an interview that, “if I ever stopped doing Paystack I’ll have to be a DeeJay.”