Patricia CEO, Hanu Fajiro, recounts business experience in Nigeria as the firm celebrates 5 years anniversary 

Nigerian alternative payment solutions company, Patricia celebrated five years anniversary since its establishment, hinging on the successes achieved over the years. The company, which was founded in August 2017, and started its first transaction on Whatsapp has now grown its customer base to over 850,000 in just five years. 

Notably, Patricia is an alternative payment solutions company, that facilitates the easy use of cryptocurrency transactions across over ten countries in the world. According to the company, it boasts of over 10,000 daily active users and processes over 30,000 daily transactions. 

Nairametrics joined the founder and CEO of the company, Hanu Fajiro Agbodje in an interview session, where he highlighted the journey so far and future plans of the crypto exchange firm. 

The Nigerian business environment can be quite interesting with headwinds and turbulence, what are the challenges that you have experienced in your five years of operating in the country? 

There are a lot of challenges that we have experienced in the five of years of operation in Nigeria, ranging from government policies, inadequate infrastructure, talent loss (everybody wants to japa), and sometimes life just happens to you. Sometimes you face issues around insecurity, extortion, amongst others. However, it is has been an interesting journey. 

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How have you been able to ride the tide? 

Our slogan here at Patricia is to do the most. That is all we do. We do our best to make sure that we stay clean at all times, so even if anyone comes knocking, there are no skeletons in our cupboard. Patricia is a very strong community of people, Patricians, employees, stakeholders. Hence, each one of us in the company help the other one to be stronger and better towards a common goal. 

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What was the motivation around switching to a full-blown crypto exchange firm from a gift card exchange company? 

At Patricia, we let our customers do the innovation for us sometimes, and what we realized is that more people were coming to us because they wanted to buy crypto than gift cards. For example, you have five persons come in a day requesting for gift cards, while over hundred requests to buy bitcoin in that same day. We just thought, instead of telling them away to other vendors, why not buy from us then? And that is how the transition came along.  


Patricia relocated its operations to Estonia in 2021, what influenced the decision to move abroad? 

Infrastructure was the main factor that drove the need to relocate, and in this case was crypto licensing. We have a very interesting crypto licensing regime going on, and immediately that happened, we needed to legitimize the business, because the apex bank sort of unofficially banned crypto in Nigeria. 

As a result, we went to Estonia, Lithuania, and Canada to get crypto licenses. So, we are operating from these three countries and can serve anyone around the world. The beauty of crypto is that, with your smartphone and internet, anybody can tap in. 

There is a lot of Japa trend going on in Nigeria. How has Patricia been able to manage this massive talent flight, especially since the company operates in a tech-based sector? 

It is a situation of dollars and greener pasture. However, what we have been able to do is to let our people understand our vision and where we are going to. We understand that Patricia is not a Google, and probably cannot match a Google when it comes to salaries, but we can offer our staff what a Google might not be able to offer in the next ten years, which is ownership in Patricia today that could be ten times worth what you get in Google. 

As a matter of fact, we see higher executives in top tech firms globally leave their firms to join startups, where they can have larger ownership and they can put their name on something, and that is the promise of Patricia. We are a Bootstrap company, we haven’t raised funds before and so it is a blessing and a curse in itself, but as an organization, we are moving to the next level and doing big things. 

Following up on the firm being a bootstrap company, how have you been able to fund the business? 

We started in 2017 when there was literally nobody operating in the space, so we had a first-movers advantage, and we were somewhat making money from day one. What I did for the first few years, was whatever profit we made we put back into crypto. So, we started when bitcoin was $10k, $11k, up to when it got as high as $40k. Crypto did a lot of the work for us, where we would have needed investor money to grow. That is how we have been able to afford to fund our operations, and sponsorships, and still remain bootstrap. 

What is the plan going forward, any plan to raise funds? 

Of course, we plan to raise money, big money. We want to be bigger and be a full-out exchange, where you can do everything, buy, sell, swap, margin, leverage, trading, name it. We are launching Patricia Business, where you can accept payments in crypto from anywhere in the world. Where you can have crypto invoicing, accept payments from your customers in crypto. We are also working on some novel ideas, which you would have to wait and see. 

About Patricia 

Patricia is an alternative payment solutions company that facilitates the easy use of cryptocurrencies for everyday transactions. The company was founded on 16th August 2017, with its first transaction done on Whatsapp. Patricia launched her first website in 2018 and launched its first mobile application in 2020. 

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