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Flutterwave Founder Olugbenga Agboola Shares His Top Tips for Entrepreneurs

Olugbenga “GB” Agboola took a germ of an idea, formed a company, and grew it a unicorn (a business valued at $1 billion).

The company he foudned, Flutterwave, has become the backbone of the continent’s e-payments. Not only has the fintech startup proven the amazing untapped potential of African companies, but it’s given hope to a new breed of entrepreneurs who want to bring fortune and opportunity to places that have been left behind by modern economics.

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Olugbenga Agboola is a champion of the next generation of wunderkind, but he’s also realistic. Although he’s had great success, he also worked his way through well-established companies. By learning the ropes at Google, PayPal, and a host of international banks, he was able to refine his ideas, get a feel for the market, and make valuable contacts.

Of course, that’s not all the counsel he has for those who want to emulate his career. Beyond working hard and sticking to your principles, Olugbenga Agboola shared some very specific advice for budding entrepreneurs.

“The first thing I always tell people who ask me about how to be successful as an entrepreneur is to trust their gut more,” he said. “Don’t ever second-guess yourself. Sometimes when you’re the guy who has a vision, you might be able to see things that somebody cannot see.”

This lies at the foundation of Olugbenga Agboola’s success. “There’s an old saying, and it goes something like, ‘There are those people that you see dancing and you thought they were insane because you couldn’t hear the music.’ When I first heard that, I was blown away. I thought, ‘Wait. So sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we are that dancer. Only we can hear the music,’” he said. “People will tell you to stop. But you need to stick with what you’re doing. If you hear the music, it’s OK to dance. You need to know that you’re not crazy. You can hear that music. Go for that thing with all your might.”

The rapid pace of technological adoption and cultural change makes the future awfully hard to predict. Nearly every world-changing innovation seemed impossible to the masses, Olugbenga Agboola said. That’s why entrepreneurship is hard. The future doesn’t happen how most people think it will.

“I had the privilege of meeting Satya Nadella of   He said to me, ‘GB, I made 10 bets 10 years ago. Those bets made no sense.’” He told me how people questioned why he had bought LinkedIn. They were Microsoft, not Facebook. People didn’t think it fit to buy a social network, but he bought it anyway. And that proved to be a massive, massive, amazing decision, right? There was no data point that suggested it was OK for Microsoft to buy LinkedIn.”

Nadella purchased LinkedIn off a gut feeling. He knew the business was well run. He knew it had the potential to succeed. But he also knew that many smart people advised him against making the purchase.

The story is reminiscent of how Olugbenga Agboola built Flutterwave. At the time, banks in Africa were using U.S. systems. Building a digital payments service in Africa, where few people had credit cards, seemed to be a crazy idea. But Agboola knew it could succeed. He saw the need, and he knew how to build a solution.

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At its most recent fundraise, investors assessed the value of Flutterwave to be north of $3 billion. The massive rise in value came in part because of the solid service the company provides to businesses and individuals, and in part because of its continued success in launching new products — many of which also felt like long shots when they were conceived.

But Olugbenga Agboola has become good at listening to the music no one else can hear.

That can be scary for new entrepreneurs. “Many startup founders seek out advice from others, and it can be disheartening to hear people dismiss or criticize your ideas,” Agboola said. But if you have a firm faith in your solution and your ability to provide it, you should never let doubt stand in the way.

“You have to be able to make bets, right? Sometimes people will think that you’re crazy, and that is OK. The ideas you have are supposed to be crazy, and that is fine. Crazy ideas are what the world was built on,” Olugbenga Agboola explained. “But what if you’re wrong? Well, that’s fine. The world will go on, and you will have learned something. You’ll have another chance and you’ll be better prepared for it. Maybe you’ll fail again, and that’s also OK. But you have to seriously ask yourself: What if you don’t fail? What if you’re right?”

Can you confirm the source?

@noel@flutterwavego.com yes from the interview we did

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Ifiokobong Ibanga

Ifiokobong Ibanga is the founder of InfoGuideNIgeria.com. You can get in touch with him on Instagram @ifiokobong. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly send a message. Much Love!

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