Payhippo was co-founded by Chioma Okotcha, who also doubles as the company’s chief operating officer. She has a background in microfinance policy and public sector consultancy with the Agence Française de Développement, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and Tony Blair Institute. She was a part of the team that launched a non-profit start-up, Teach For Nigeria, in Lagos.
Okotcha comes from a line of successful business owners, as her mother and grandmother are also business owners who inspired her to build the successful business she leads today. One thing she noticed particularly with her mother was the challenges with accessing credit for expansion. When she did get credit, the collateral requirements were heavily asset driven. She believes that her mother’s business would have been able to scale much faster if access to capital was easier. She quickly realized that this was not a problem that was unique to her family and began to work towards solving the problem.
Thanks to Okotcha’s background in policy, impact remained at the heart of everything that she did. She saw innovation through the same lens, hence the decision to create a business that would impact small businesses and in turn impact families in Nigeria. Payhippo has created a technology that can be used by other financial institutions to support SMEs across Africa. They are therefore defining credit for SMEs and educating businesses on the credit scoring model and why it’s important.