Olumide Soyombo: The journey from startup founder to investment mogul

“What turns me off is when someone just tells me they have this idea and they haven’t done anything but want me to invest. I always say you have to take a risk on yourself before anybody can take a risk on you.”

Up until October 2020 when Nigerian fintech startup Paystack was acquired by Stripe for $200m Olumide Soyombo was still a relatively unknown investor outside of insider tech circles. He was mostly known by a few as the co-founder of Bluechip technologies, a company that provided data management solutions to companies.

What changed? Word got out that he was one of the earliest investors in Paystack. Beyond that, his investment portfolio showed that he had also invested in over 20 notable startups. As a result of these revelations, requests by others to co-invest along with him increased.

He tried to keep up with the requests but it soon became impossible to carry others along effectively without setting up a more formal structure. So last week he announced that he was launching Voltron Capital, a pan-African venture capital fund.

“There’s a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out). Everybody’s keen on having tech in their portfolio. The whole idea of Voltron was to bring people together to form the ‘Defender of the Universe’,” he told me.

Over a call, we talked about Soyombo’s early influences, building his company and what he’s most excited about right now.

The early days

At first, being a doctor was all Soyombo wanted to be until he was given a personal computer.

He grew up in the 90s with access to a personal computer and to the internet, at a time when most people didn’t have access to such.

“At first I wanted to be a medical doctor but in secondary school, I got exposed to using the computer and then I knew I was going to do something in technology.”

In 2000, he got into the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to study Systems Engineering. Notably, he was part of the first set for the newly launched degree program in UNILAG. The degree was less about computers and more about systems, which equipped him with the ability to oversee and understand the different aspects of a project or a system.

While pursuing this degree, he enrolled in professional exams such as MCSE, MCP, CCNA and CCNP and passed them before he was 19. He passed the CCNA exam – a networking exam – before even seeing a router.

“This helped build my profile and knowledge of tech. Back then, tech wasn’t as sexy as this but it was still a profession that many aspired to get into.”

Continue reading here: https://techcabal.com/2021/08/05/olumide-soyombo-startup-founder-investor/