QED Investors has hired Gbenga Ajayi as an African partner on its international team. QED Investors invest in fintech companies through funds designed for that reason. Its new hire, Gbenga Ajayi, will focus on investments in Africa while being a partner on QED’s international team.
QED’s Fund VII, announced in September last year and made up of an early-stage fund of $550 million and a growth-stage fund of $500 million, was originally focused on the US, the UK, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Following today’s announcement of Gbenga Ajayi’s addition to its international team, Africa has been added to the list.
It is quite important to know that QED didn’t wake up one morning and decided to add Africa to the list. In fact, it has been making preparations to venture into the African space almost two years ago. QED Investors developed an interest in Africa following quite an avalanche of investments in the continent from investors all over the world. In 2021, Africa produced five unicorns and this only proves that the continent has got something going on.
QED’s Co-founder and Managing Partner Nigel Morris speaking on venturing into the African space said “We do fintech. It’s all we do; it’s what we know. And we are subject-matter deep, and hopefully, potentially experts, in the space. Gbenga and I talked at length on how the traditional banks try to engage through an analogue distribution system of branches when its population is a mobile-native generation that desires to be able to engage via mobile. So, as we saw investable opportunities starting to come to us and as we started to be avalanched by inbound from Africa, it became really clear that there were enormous amounts of demand in those markets like what we had seen across other geographies, particularly in other developing countries.”
Many investors around the world have begun to recognize the opportunities the continent has to offer and are gearing to venture into the space. The few that have ventured into the space have done so without partners that have knowledge of the space and this is why QED has hired Gbenga Ajayi to lead its investments in Africa.
Gbenga Ajayi is the right man for the job based on his experience and his past involvements in the past. He was once product partnerships lead in Europe and Africa at Google, was a product director for SMB growth at fintech company Wise, was head of partnerships at Revolut and is a co-founder of Kanza Ventures.
“Being able to be part of the fintech and tech boom that we have today and helping large tech companies that have now become household names take off means that I’ve had the opportunity and the privilege to sit at the very forefront. And so combining that and my fintech experience, and the fact that I’ve worked with a bunch of companies, I think it’s like a collective coming together to join QED”, Gbenga Ajayi said.
He is the first of two African investor professionals that QED hired. Chidinma Iwueke was also hired as a principal. She was previously an equity research associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a partner at Nigeria-based early-stage venture capital firm Microtraction. Her new role at QED Investors will see her focus on domestic and international investments for the firm.
Speaking on the hire Nigel Morris said “We started off to find one wonderful person, and we found two. And I think that speaks louder than bombs about how much talent there is in Africa”.