Payhippo, a leading AI-powered lender for SMEs in Nigeria, today announced the appointment of Dami Olawoye as its new CEO. Olawoye, who previously served as Payhippo’s CFO, will succeed Zach Bijesse, who is transitioning to a role on the company’s board of directors.
Under Bijesse’s leadership, Payhippo achieved remarkable milestones, including disbursing over 36,000 SME loans, creating a superior AI-driven credit engine,and securing $16 million in equity and debt funding. Payhippo has also emerged as a top provider of working lending capital to small businesses in Nigeria.
Olawoye brings extensive executive and investment experience in high-growth SMEs across West Africa, including leadership at a prominent asset finance company in the UK. His deep knowledge of the needs of Nigerian small businesses makes him capable of guiding Payhippo into its next phase of expansion.
During his tenure at Payhippo, Olawoye has successfully expanded product offerings, spearheaded fundraising initiatives, and launched a partnership platform. His leadership has also driven profitability enhancements.
“I am deeply honored to become CEO of Payhippo,” said Olawoye. “Payhippo is a leading player in Nigeria’s fintech sector, and I am excited to lead the company’s growth and continued support for small businesses across the country. I am particularly passionate about Payhippo’s new products, which will help small businesses in the renewable energy sector to scale up and create jobs.
Payhippo is also expanding its product offerings to include asset finance and inventory finance, with a focus on the growing renewable energy sector in Nigeria. This sector is in its early stages of development, and Payhippo has identified a significant gap in the lower end of the solar equipment distribution chain. Both end-users and installers struggle to access seamless finance for equipment acquisition and inventory maintenance, respectively. Payhippo’s goal is to utilize its expertise in SME lending to address these pressing issues. This expansion is timely, given that solar equipment sales in Nigeria grew by 50% in 2022, and small businesses in this sector increasingly need financing solutions to boost trade.
“I’ve always believed that Payhippo has the potential to be a force for good in Nigeria, helping small businesses grow and create jobs,” said Zach Bijesse, outgoing CEO of Payhippo. “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 Payhippo’s success. They are the ones who helped build this company from scratch, and I’m excited to continue watching it grow up.”
“Dami’s extensive experience in the Nigerian market and his deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses make him the ideal person to lead Payhippo into its next phase of growth,” said Zach George, Managing Partner at Launch Africa. “I am confident that under his leadership, Payhippo will continue to innovate and provide small businesses with the financial and other resources they need to succeed.”
“Payhippo is poised to capitalize on the growing 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.” said Payhippo Angel Investor Dave Uduanu, CEO Access Pensions