In this episode of the ACE it! Podcast, we have the privilege of interviewing Ola Oyetayo, the CEO and co-founder of Verto. Verto is a global B2B payment platform that assists businesses in sending and receiving money across over 200 countries. Verto serves over 1,000 customers, ranging from startups to large corporations, enabling them to transact millions of dollars annually. The difficulties associated with cross-border payments, such as high foreign exchange rates and prolonged settlement periods, are widely acknowledged in the industry. In emerging markets, businesses often face liquidity problems and opt to hold their funds in US dollars to counteract currency instability. The recent rise in interest rates by the Federal Reserve has only intensified the use of reserve currencies, such as the US dollar, as a protective measure against currency volatility.
Ola, originally from Nigeria, relocated to the UK 17 years ago and founded Verto with his co-founder, Anthony, four and a half years ago. As an immigrant founder in the UK, Ola reflects on his journey and weighs the pros and cons of his background. Thanks to the Global Talent Visa, the UK has witnessed a substantial influx of African tech founders and professionals in recent years. The African tech community has undergone significant growth, with a rise in venture capital investment and stronger connections being formed among individuals. The UK offers an ideal location for launching a business to serve the African continent, boasting a large pool of capital and talent, proximity to Commonwealth countries, and a well-established educational system.
Verto has created a globally distributed and aligned workforce by clearly communicating its mission, vision, and culture, as well as utilizing collaboration tools and embodying its values. As the business grows, the role of the CEO and other leaders evolves. A first-time founder should not hesitate to ask critical questions when starting a business to better understand the industry. Ola reflects on how his role has changed over the years, from doing all the work in the early days to eventually letting go and allowing professionals to take over. A founder’s journey is ever-evolving, but success is within reach with the right team, decisions, and attitude.