Fortune magazine has published its prestigious 40 Under 40 List of influential people in each of five categories who are recognised for their contributions in finance, technology, health, government and politics, and media and entertainment.
And at least four Nigerians made the list!
For the Finance category, here’s what the outlet said about Olugbenga Agboola, the Cofounder and CEO of Flutterwave
Headquartered in Lagos and San Francisco, Flutterwave is a fintech company that provides payment services for businesses operating in Africa. Earlier this year, CEO and cofounder Agboola led the firm through a Series B funding round, which injected $35 million into the company. That will help Flutterwave, founded in 2016, provide more payment products. Prior to Flutterwave, Agboola, a graduate of the MBA program at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, worked as an application engineer at PayPal and in product management at Google Wallet.
For the Technology category, here’s what the outlet said about Obi Ozor, the Cofounder and CEO of Kobo360:
Obi Ozor is the cofounder of Nigerian logistics firm Kobo360. The Goldman Sachs–backed outfit matches truck drivers with consignments, and if that seems like a haulage twist on the Uber concept, then you’ll be unsurprised to learn that Ozor was once Uber Nigeria’s operations chief (and, before that, an investment banker for JPMorgan). Kobo360, which serves the likes of Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and DHL, was launched in 2017 to overcome inefficiencies in Nigerian logistics infrastructure. “We had to educate an entire sector and bring them along on the journey, proving at each and every stage how our products and services were going to enhance their lives, their bottom lines,” Ozor wrote earlier this year. Now, Kobo360 has expanded into Kenya, Ghana, Togo, and Uganda and has over 23,000 drivers on its platform. Ozor and his cofounder, Ife Oyedele, were this year selected to join the Endeavor network of high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
For the Healthcare category, here’s what the outlet said about Abasi Ene-Obong, the Founder and CEO of 54gene:
For too long, Africa has been left off the map of medical progress. Despite the continent’s vast population and its rich genetic diversity, medical research and drug development there have largely been limited to “helicopter science,” in which data and medical samples are ferried off for study in Western countries. Individuals of African ancestry account for less than 3% of those included in critical genome-wide association studies, which help determine links between given genes and disease. Ene-Obong, a Nigerian with a masters’ in business and management as well as human molecular genetics, a Ph.D. in cancer biology, and experience working with health care organizations at home and in the U.S. and U.K., is working to change that with his pan-African biobank.
54gene, which raised $15 million through a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–backed venture fund, is hoping to “spur a biotech revolution” on the continent, collecting and analyzing the data that can advance discovery and relevant drug development as well as building the talent and infrastructure needed to power a homegrown industry. Ene-Obong has built relationships with researchers across Africa; the company has biobanked tens of thousands of Africans’ genomes. As with many companies, COVID-19 has brought some change: When the crisis started, 54gene provided equipment to public labs in Nigeria, as well as testing, setting up molecular diagnostic labs across states within the country.
For the Education category, here’s what the outlet said about Helen Adeosun, the Founder and CEO of CareAcademy:
An aging population needs more caregivers—and better ways to train them. Enter Helen Adeosun, age 35, CEO of digital training platform CareAcademy. Adeosun, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and a former Teach for America volunteer, got a master’s in education policy at Harvard before founding her Boston-based business in 2013. Seven years later, health care organizations (including fellow 40 Under 40 member Lily Sarafan’s Home Care Assistance) use its online video coursework to help their employees stay up-to-date on their certifications and other training requirements. More than 110,000 caregivers have completed 400,000 CareAcademy classes, and the company is aiming to reskill more than 1 million new home-care workers by 2023. It will have some support from venture fund Kairos, which is placing job candidates who go through CareAcademy training, and from investors led by Impact America Fund, which in June committed $9.5 million in Series A funding to Adeosun and her company.
You can see the others who made the list here.