Stranded Technologies
Stranded Technologies Podcast
Ep. 76: Iyinoluwa Aboyeji - Africa's Tech Mogul is a Policy Entrepreneur and City Builder

Ep. 76: Iyinoluwa Aboyeji - Africa's Tech Mogul is a Policy Entrepreneur and City Builder

  • Iyinoluwa (“E”) Aboyeji had an outsized influence on the startup landscape in Africa with Andela and Flutterwave (both top-10 unicorns in Africa)

  • Surprisingly, to become a successful startup entrepreneur he had to become a policy entrepreneur and remove regulatory bottlenecks

  • With Itana, a charter city in a free zone in Lagos, Nigeria, E is doubling down on creating an enabling policy environment for African’s tech talent

E’s entrepreneurial journey began with a spark of inspiration - watching the movie “The Social Network” and a fortuitous introduction to the world of startups by a friend and finding an early mentor in Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale.

E went on to build one of the first successful tech startups in Africa and cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019.

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Andela: One Of The First Successful Tech Startups In Africa

In its early days, Andela had to establish a new culture in Nigeria. This cultural shift, emphasizing principles such as punctuality and performance, profoundly impacted Nigeria's entrepreneurship and tech landscape. Andela pioneered remote work and empowered technical talent, inspiring other companies to follow suit.

Regulation often presents significant hurdles to innovation, a challenge particularly pronounced during Andela's early days in Africa's startup landscape.

A key lesson from Iyinoluwa's experiences is the paramount importance of aligning with others' objectives and the value of proactive engagement with regulators, e.g. to shape favorable regulations before the business launch proved invaluable.

Itana: Africa’s First Digital Free Zone – Crafting Digital Economy And Financial Services

Itana aims to become a hub for the digital economy and financial services sectors. Unlike traditional free zones primarily designed for manufacturing and trade, Itana focuses on the unique needs of service-oriented and digital businesses.

Itana's innovation operates on two fronts. It creates an inviting policy environment through business incorporation and access to financial services. It also addresses infrastructure gaps, offering workspaces and well-run electricity and internet.

Initiatives like Itana's free zone status are needed to transform Africa. Its entrepreneurs lack stable legal, financial and even physical infrastructure to thrive.

E’s work perfectly aligns with Infinita’s mission to support founders in overcoming regulatory bottlenecks to unleash a new wave of technological progress.

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More about Iyinoluwa’s work:

Stranded Technologies
Stranded Technologies Podcast
Niklas Anzinger talks and writes about his experience as a VC based in Prospera Honduras, competitive governance and how it can unblock "stranded technologies" that are held back by bureaucracy and overregulation.