Founder Diaries with VertoFX

VERTO is a B2B currency exchange marketplace for international businesses. Whether you are looking to pay suppliers abroad, collect payments from customers, or simply make FX transactions, do it with a global platform that supports your growth.

Founders: Anthony Oduwole and Ola Oyetayo

  • Funds delivered to 200+ countries
  • 12 full-time employees 
  • Over 300 companies registered
  • Earliest backers -Ventures Platform, Ycombinator

Let’s Dig in!

What important truth do you believe, that very few people agree with you on?

Ola: Most times, we create our own luck!
Anthony: Formal education is overrated. This is evident in a small startup where common sense (street smart), resourcefulness and perseverance can be the difference between failure and success.

What do you wish you had known when you started out?

Ola: It is very important to know the right type of person to seek specific advice from on business-related issues.
Anthony: Your network and narratives (vision & mission) are as important as the product itself. The bigger and more relevant one’s networks, the quicker one can get feedback on the initial MVP and products.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?

Ola: Assuming if you build a great product people will use it, I have learned you still need to sell and there is an art to selling!
Anthony: Underestimating the importance of trust and human psychology (consumer behaviors). I have learned to be patient and attentive, especially when you are disrupting a vertical and bringing in new changes.

As your company grows, how do you maintain organization, keep track and stay accountable for targets and deadlines throughout the company?

Ola: Constant communication, daily huddles, and weekly all-hands sessions.
Anthony: Every team member should have a sense of belongingness and accountability. We promote an attitude of “run with it”. This means, it is not good enough to find problems and report it; it is essential to find potential solutions and be comfortable at acquiring the necessary resources to build robust solutions.

What’s an experience that’s been particularly important to you?

Ola: Raising venture capital has been quite an experience, it takes a lot to convince professional investors to back your idea!
Anthony: Building a tech platform from scratch. Especially, when the focus is not only on the tech stack but also on the available infrastructures, regulatory and compliance restrictions, banking and payment processors partnerships, etc. Raising funds is also exciting, but that is a given.

What do you hate the most about building a company?

Ola: The number of mundane tasks you do on a daily basis.
Anthony: The never-ending processes one has to build to ensure operational efficiencies.

What’s one thing you’ve failed at and one thing you’ve succeeded at that has had a lasting impact on you?

Ola: Too many failures to count but I always learn from them. 
Anthony: I’ve succeeded in mastering my sense of purpose and beliefs. This has helped me to deliver time and time again on set objectives. On the other hand, I am continually working on mastering my sense of doubts; failure to do this usually brings some shortcomings. Unlike before, I now embrace my failures and learn from them.

Being an entrepreneur is stressful and uncertain, what keeps you going back to the office every day?

Ola: The potential of what we can achieve if we get it right.
Anthony: The big problem we are solving. And the potential benefits if addressed adequately to the underlying economy.

Who were your first investors and how’d you convince them to invest in you?

Ola: Ycombinator, essentially being honest about where we were as a company and highlighting the massive opportunity if we find product-market fit.
Anthony: YC – I believe we were able to show them the extent of the problem and the massive impact if addressed well also, that we are the pair of dudes to solve it.

If you had all the money in the world, and you didn’t have to work. What would you be doing?

Ola: Playing my way through the top 100 ranked golf courses in the world.
Anthony: Travelling the world and building communities where being homeless is a thing of the past.

What’s one thing you and your co-founder disagree on?

Ola: Mostly timing (when to launch, etc.) 
Anthony: Yeah, timing.

iOS or Android and why?

Ola: Android, it just so happened that my first phone was an Android and I have stuck with them ever since.
Anthony: iOS every day – better security, fluidity between devices, and amazing products.

When coding, tabs or spaces?

Ola: I don’t code but I prefer spaces when I type on the keyboard so I’ll assume the same as well for coding!
Anthony: Tabs – the line of codes is easier to read and flows better.

What’s the most expensive item, you’ve ever bought?

Ola: My watch
Anthony: Property

About VertoFX

VERTO is a complete FX and payment marketplace built for business. VERTO provides liquidity and price discovery tools for international businesses. The marketplace provides easy access to exotic and foreign currencies with seamless international online payment services.

Follow VertoFX on Twitter, Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn and Instagram and visit their website to keep up with their activities.

That’s all folks! If there’s any particular founder from our portfolio companies (please see a list here – [sidebar, we have 3 new entries]) you would like us to talk to next, please, drop a comment on our Twitter page or shoot us an email [email protected].

Company Culture

‘Company culture’ seems to be the human resources equivalent of the crypto/AI buzzword mania. But the thing I find about buzzwords is that once they’re easy to include because of some intrinsic value they may imply, it becomes very easy to undermine their underlying importance. So, what is ‘company culture’ and why is it so important?

Company culture is the overarching ecosystem of the workplace. It defines the explicit and implicit rules of the organization and how it functions. It encompasses a variety of elements, from ethics and values to goals and expectations. It represents the ‘What, why and how?’ of a company.

From this definition, one can already recognize why company culture matters so much. A good company culture cultivates a conducive environment where everyone understands the targets and goals of the organization, what their individual responsibilities are and how they are meant to carry out these responsibilities. Overall helping keep everyone in the organization motivated and satisfied.

One of the funny things I notice is that many companies claim to have a unique culture or set of ethics. This makes sense, but when they expand on the features that make up their culture, they more or less seem to be identical to other companies which may seem rather strange because every company is unique in its own right. 

Why is that? 

I believe it’s mostly due to company culture being an inherent aspect of the company, not something it inherits. To visualize, company culture is yin and yang rather than an intersection.

The culture is what the company inherently is, the people who have worked there from the very beginning. Which is why it’s extremely crucial to get the foundation correct. 

Your early hires will shape your company culture. This is why it’s extremely difficult for late-stage startups and mature companies to change their culture when they attempt to inherit a new one. Because they often treat company culture like a top-down problem rather than a bottom-up one. 

Often times, when a company tries to inherit things into their culture, there’s a disconnect. We can even see it visualized in the Venn diagram, only a small section is intersected with culture being inherited – these probably would represent people hired after a cultural change had been introduced. 

So, how do you build a winning company culture? It goes beyond material values like snacks and ping pong tables, but by focusing on several key factors.

  • Values – you need to find employees that share the same set of values as you do and feel aligned with your mission statement. This is especially essential for your early employees.
  • Transparency – creating a transparent ecosystem helps communication and builds trust, which creates better working relationships. 
  • Balance – as we know startups are like a rocket ship of productivity, but offering balance in work prevents burnout and will likely keep employees motivated and performing at a high level.
  • Pathway to development – offering a pathway for individuals to develop careers professionally will also keep employees motivated and also brings transparency to the type of work that is valued and promoted in the company.

At Ventures Platform, we are big on company culture and we have worked over the years to ensure that new hires, partners, communities, and stakeholders understand our company’s culture which is “work in progress”.

In fact, last week, we held a Culture Party to unveil our culture wall at our campus, Ventures Park. It wasn’t enough to have it in a document on our laptops; we had to pull out the big guns and build a whole wall for them so that we can clearly see and live them.

Naturally, there are various other factors, but I think these are just a few of the things you could adopt in your startup to cultivate a good working culture as soon as possible.

That’s all folks! Now, let’s dive into the other parts of Series V.

Portfolio Chatter

We’re excited to announce we have 3 new companies join our portfolio! @sendDelivery @FunnelJoy and @seamless_hr. Visit to learn more.

Trove Finance has bagged major investment from ARM. They received an undisclosed amount of equity funding from the firm ARM to help it deliver access to global investment opportunities. Click here to read the exciting news.

Do you have what it takes? Kudi is currently recruiting senior backend engineer. For more information, visit Please, share it with your community. Read the job announcement here.

How would you like to invest in Thrive Agric’s rice farmers with as low as NGN 56,500 and earn 20% in 9 months? Learn how here and take advantage of this opportunity.

PiggyVest – touching lives since inception! Watch how a man surprised his wife with a new Toyota car for their anniversary through his PiggyVest savings! See post here. Great stuff.

Inside VP

We had the pleasure of hosting the President of the African Union 6th region, His Excellency, Dr. Macaulay Kalu. We had fun showing him our campus, chatting about the work we do as well as exchanging ideas on how we can transform Africa through innovation and technology. Read the post here.

The Ekiti State Government and Ventures Platform have launched a partnership to design and implement Digital Ekiti – a program that will strengthen youth innovation and entrepreneurship in Ekiti State. Read the tweet announcement here and the press release here –

We held the first town hall meeting of the year on Thursday 23rd of January 2020! It was fun interacting with our coworking community and learning about their plans for the new year and measures taken to crush their 2020 goals. Read here.

We hosted the official launch of Infodemics on the 23rd of January 2020. Infodemics is a risk communication Platform that uses existing social hierarchy in a community to efficiently and effectively communicate health risks. This is the first of its kind in Africa. Read more here.

The folks at Endeavor Nigeria came up with this brilliant idea to pull thought leaders in the Nigerian entrepreneurship ecosystem to pen their predictions for the tech ecosystem in 2020. Find the link to the complete article here. Share your thoughts about these predictions in the comments here.

Finally, we are happy to reveal the 16 new Vp Culture guiding our interactions with, not just our staff, but with partners, our communities, and stakeholders as well. This culture exemplifies who we are and what we stand for. Send an email to [email protected] or a dm to @theventurespark on Twitter and Instagram to book a tour of our facilities and see our Culture Wall live.

What are we reading?

What you do is who you are by Ben Horowitz

Are you building a market-creating innovation? We would like to know more.

We’re social! Follow us on Twitter for updates.

See you next month,