An enterprising businessman, an engineer, a philanthropist, and a recipient of various awards across Africa. He is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, an African-focused integrated payment and transaction company in Nigeria.
Mitchell Elegbe Biography
Mitchell lost his father when he was still in his mother’s womb. His uncle took care of him and nurtured him from childhood.
He is a graduate of Electrical Engineering from the University of Benin. He is an alumnus of the Global CEO Program organized by IESE Business School, The Wharton School, and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) for senior executives of organizations.
After graduation, Mitchell Elegbe went to his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He was posted to serve at Computer Systems Associates (CSA), a software implementation company connecting banks to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT).
After his service year, he got a job at Telnet, an ICT engineering and consulting company as a business developer. He then moved to Schlumberger Wire line & Testing in Scotland as a Field Engineer.
It was at Scotland that he had his first experience with an automated teller machine (ATM). The machine seized his card and he felt really embarrassed about the situation.
At this time, there were no ATM machines in Nigeria. Mitchell thought that it will be nice to have an automated teller machine (ATM) available in Nigeria to solve the problem of the brick and mortar tiring financial transaction system. He conceived an idea to develop a payment system that would make the electronic payment a reality in Nigeria.
Mr Elegbe is married to Mrs Mercy Elegbe and they are blessed with three children.
The Birth of Interswitch Group.
Interswitch was given birth to after four years after his NYSC year. What triggered him to do this was because of the challenge he had
He did not give up and in 2002 Interswitch was birthed. With support from Accenture, he and his team were able to raise funds to set up Interswitch. Another challenge of finding the right CEO came up. He was encouraged by colleagues to lead Interswitch as the CEO and in 2010, Heliosalso invested in the company.
The name ‘Interswitch’ was coined from international, interconnect, interactive, and then “The switch”. The goal is to ease the burden of money transfers, cash deposits, and cash withdrawals in Africa.
Today, Interswitch has succeeded in changing the face of electronic payments in Nigeria. As at 2016, the company had over three million users on its Quickteller platform. Interswitch has also been strategic about its growth and expansion into other African countries by acquiring companies that fit into their future expansion goals
One of the goals of Interswitch is to exchange value between two or more trading partners promptly and consistently. Here are some products owned by Interswitch:
Verve – Nigeria’s most used payment card accounting for over 18 Million ATM cards over the 25 Million ATMs in circulation.
Quickteller – an online payment platform.
Retailpay – a mobile business handling platform.
Smartgov – an infrastructure that manage identity and e-payment infrastructure for state governments.
Benefits of Interswitch
Interswitch is a company changing the face of electronic payments In Nigeria. Some of its benefits are:
Interswitch acquired VANSO and Selcom in Tanzania. VANSO is a mobile-focused technology provider to banks and owns VANSO mobile banking, SMS and security business lines. These will be fully integrated into Interswitch’s technology operations and digital commerce in Nigeria and across Africa.
In Nigeria, interswitch has made revenue collection, tax payment, bill payments like PHCN, DSTV subscription, interbank and intra bank transfers easy.
Interswitch has largely invested in skills and technology as it embraced proven global techniques and combined them with the realities of the indigenous environment to create the best electronic payment solution.
Interswitch builds and manages payment infrastructure as well as deliver innovative payment products and transactional services throughout the African continent.
On Mitchell’s return to Nigeria, Telnet telecommunications reemployed him. He pitched his electronic payment idea to his boss who was receptive of the idea and commissioned him to execute it, but the processes did not go as planned.
Determined not to give up, Mitchell started selling the software for switching but most existing players he sold to were not interested. This challenge gave birth to Interswitch so he could meet his target.
Awards and recognitions
Mitchell has won several awards, which in turn:
He is also a Bishop Desmond Tutu fellow of the African Leadership Institute.[
Harvard Business School Association (Nigeria) Leadership Award in the General Management Category.
CNBC/Forbes All African Business Leader (AABLA) Awards for West Africa in 2014.
Deloitte fast growth 50 in 2014.
Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014
Financial Technology (Fintech) Africa Awards, Payments and Transfer category in 2016.
He has through the Interswitch group launched a $10 million growth fund to support growth in the financial technology (Fintech) space. Beneficiary companies thus far include: Ace Logistics, Slim Trader, MoBiashara.
Interswitch revealed its SPAK National Science Competition to encourage and reward excellent performance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Nigeria in February 2018
We could not place our hands on Mitchell Elegbe’s net worth but research has it that Interswitch is worth over $26 billion.
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