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HomeProfileOla Oyetayo, Co-Founder & CEO, Verto

Ola Oyetayo, Co-Founder & CEO, Verto

Today we’re meeting Ola Oyetayo, Co-Founder & CEO, Verto, the cross-border payments, foreign exchange and banking solutions specialist.

Over to you Ola:


Who are you and what’s your background?

I’m Ola Oyetayo, CEO and co-founder of global fintech company, Verto. I began my career by qualifying as a chartered accountant. From there, I spent a few years working in the banking industry, before becoming an entrepreneur. I then co-founded Verto in 2018 and currently serve as the CEO. I attended Kings College Lagos, and then continued my higher education at Oxford Brookes University in the UK.

What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?

I am the Co-founder and CEO. My Nigerian heritage has shaped the way I approach this role — it’s given me a commercial lens of the world. I look for a way our company can create a product that solves everyday problems.

In respect to leadership, I realise I’m an immigrant in a country that has given me a lot of opportunities. And that’s my motto — give folks an opportunity. Using this, I’ve been responsible to help build Verto up over 100 people, covering 30 nationalities.

My role is to make Verto as strong as possible and by diversifying the company, we’re opening ourselves up to different experiences and viewpoints. Being open-minded creates the winning ideas.

Can you give us an overview of your business?

Verto is a global fintech firm that enables businesses of all sizes to access enterprise-grade cross-border payments, foreign exchange, and banking solutions via an advanced platform or API. Businesses can accept payments and send payouts globally in one single platform. Verto seamlessly connects any business, anywhere.

What distinguishes Verto is its acute focus on emerging markets—a sector of the payments and fintech industry that is both vastly underserved and exceedingly fragmented. With the company’s global operations headquartered in the UK, Verto is ideally positioned to guide business leaders, regulators, and global banks toward more accurate risk assessments for these markets.

Screenshot from Verto’s homepage

Tell us how you are funded?

We have been primarily funded through venture capital, starting with seed funding from angel investors and subsequently raising over $12.1 million across three funding rounds.

The support and confidence from these investors, along with our success in achieving key milestones, have enabled us to grow our operations, expand our team, and achieve approximately $12 billion in annual transactions across 190+ payout countries.

We are grateful for their belief in our vision and continue to actively seek funding opportunities to further fuel our growth.

What’s the origin story? Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?

The idea for Verto was sparked back in 2017 when I saw a major opportunity to solve cross-border payment problems, especially for transactions involving emerging markets like Nigeria.

At the time, I was working a corporate job but was very familiar with the difficulties of making international payments to suppliers or sending money to family abroad. The process was ridden with inefficiencies, a lack of transparency, and high costs.

During a casual poker game with my eventual co-founder Anthony, I vented my frustrations about these payment issues. Anthony was just starting his MBA and launching a prop-tech startup, and so as a founder he related to the problems I had described.

We both realised there was a huge unmet need for a solution that could enable faster, cheaper, and more transparent cross-border payments utilising digital technology. We decided to take the entrepreneurial leap and quit our jobs to build a disruptive fintech company.

So Verto was born out of our first-hand experiences dealing with the problems of international money transfers and payments. Our mission from day one has been to empower individuals, businesses, and organisations by making cross-border financial transactions seamless, secure, and cost-effective, especially in emerging markets that have been overlooked by traditional players.

Screenshot from Verto’s homepage

Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?

We enable businesses of all sizes to access enterprise-grade cross-border payments, foreign exchange, and banking solutions via our advanced platform or API integration.

At Verto, our target customers are businesses of all sizes that are facing a number of hurdles whether they are buying or selling internationally, expanding into new markets or investing in emerging markets.

Our solutions enable these businesses to access enterprise-grade cross-border payments, foreign exchange, and banking solutions via our advanced platform or API integration. We cater to finance leaders like CFOs, finance directors, group treasurers, CEOs/MDs and founders who need to manage their company’s global financial operations efficiently.

Our revenue model involves generating income through transaction fees on the cross-border payment and foreign exchange services we facilitate for customers operating across the geographies we serve, including the US, Europe, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and the UAE. With over 50 employees, we aim to empower businesses globally with the financial tools they need.

Our mission is empowering businesses to thrive globally by providing the financial infrastructure to operate seamlessly across borders. Take the example of AIfluence, Africa’s first AI-powered influencer marketing platform. To facilitate global operations, and make payments to influencers worldwide, they partnered with Verto. By leveraging Verto’s FX and Payout API, AIfluence can now make payments to influencers in over 190 countries, in turn expanding its global reach and simplifying the payment experience for its partners. This has allowed the company to focus on growth and deliver top-notch influencer marketing services.

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?

Blanket risk categorisation for certain countries without taking into consideration underlying mitigating factors such as low-risk entities/industries in these countries.

Currently, there’s a tendency to use blanket risk categorisation for countries without fully considering the mitigating factors that might exist. This approach can overlook the presence of low-risk entities or industries within these countries, leading to potentially inaccurate risk assessments.

I would like to implement a more nuanced approach that takes into account these factors. This would involve a more detailed evaluation of the landscape in each country, enabling banks and FinTech companies to make more informed decisions and allocate resources effectively.

What is your message for the larger players in the Financial Services marketplace?

There is a huge potential for efficiency gains driven by artificial intelligence that will be quite beneficial to smaller and more nimble companies that pose a threat to larger players in the space.

As leaders in the industry, it’s crucial to recognize the potential that AI holds in transforming traditional processes and workflows, creating opportunities for advancements. Smaller and more agile companies are using AI to streamline operations. This poses a challenge to larger players in the space, but by integrating AI, these larger institutions can unlock a wealth of benefits.

Where do you get your Financial Services/FinTech industry news from?

To stay informed on financial services and fintech, I regularly read The Financial Times and Bloomberg. The Financial Times offers insightful analysis on global finance, markets, and fintech’s disruption of banking.

Bloomberg’s real-time platforms are invaluable for tracking market news, company updates, and the latest fintech innovations and investment deals shaping our industry. By consistently turning to these reputable publications, I aim to anticipate key trends driving change in our dynamic sector.

Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech and/or Financial Services sector that we should be following on LinkedIn, and why?

  • Jamie Dimon – occupies the most important position in Global financial services
  • Ray Dalio – has some interesting perspectives on life and success
  • David M. Brear – has a good pulse on the UK FinTech scene

What FinTech services (and/or apps) do you personally use?

The Bloomberg app keeps me up to date with real-time financial news and Mint (which is now part of Credit Karma is a great personal finance app that helps keep track of budgets and expenditure.

What’s the best new FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?

Bilt Rewards is pretty cool, it’s a card you can make rent payments with, a huge market opportunity! (Their website is here).

Finally, let’s talk about predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?

A major ongoing trend is businesses needing localised global payment experiences. Payment orchestration platforms providing seamless integration across multiple markets will proliferate. The ability to plug into one orchestration partner for emerging regions like Africa and the Middle East will take off, allowing fintechs to expand reach through consolidation rather than integrating many providers.

I also see strategic channel partnerships embedding fintech services into existing business software will drive adoption by meeting customers where they already operate. Trusted distribution through partners makes new financial solutions seamless.

On top of this, digital currencies and blockchain will increasingly influence cross-border systems, enhancing speed, cost and transparency internationally. Fintechs focused on emerging markets play a crucial role in fostering financial inclusion with innovative solutions tailored to underserved regions.

Overall, payment orchestration, embedded finance via partnerships, and exploring digital currency rails are expected to define fintech’s next evolution, especially in enabling the global payment localisation that businesses demand.


Ola, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in FinTech Profile.

You can find out more about Ola on his LinkedIn profile here: Ola Oyetayo and his company Verto is available at www.vertofx.com.

Ewan
Ewan
Ewan is Founder and Editor of FinTech Profile and Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of mobile and FinTech industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.
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