By Ayo Onikoyi
AT 25, not much is expected from anyone. It is a time of youth one should be concerned with exciting things in life.
But for Fejiro Hanu Agbodje, a Warri-born Deltan and graduate of mathematics and statistics from the University of Port Harcourt, it is a different ball game. At 25, he sits atop a multi-billion naira empire known as Patricia but registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, as Patricia Technologies Limited, an e-commerce company that has processed billions of naira in transaction volume.
Agbodje may be described as a go-getter, a big dreamer and a hard worker who wouldn’t allow any opportunity to go by. He has been an entrepreneur since he was eight, making money to him is almost an innate attribute. He is probably one of the most optimistic people you’d ever meet. He is a graduate of the University of Port Harcourt, where he studied Mathematics and Statistics, but quite interestingly he never really wanted to study mathematics.
Before Patricia berthed to disrupt the business space Fejiro Hanu Agbodje started a lot of other businesses. He once had a mini restaurant when he was in the university. He sold everything from airtime to popcorn. Coming back to Patricia, he started it sometime in 2017, it actually was supposed to be a side hustle, to earn an extra 30,000 a month but as fate would have it, it blew out of proportion. It was a crowning moment of many failures and trials.
According to him, Patricia started as a side hustle that became a reality far bigger than his dream. But the idea really wasn’t of his making. As he said, he’s an opportunist who saw a need and tried to fulfil it. He was actually a victim of a circumstance in which many would nurse their wounds and walk away but Fejiro Hanu Agbodje is made of different mettle entirely – he became a victor from being a victim.
He had an uncle who visited Nigeria, who used to give him an iTunes gift card. As of than he didn’t own an iPhone so he literally had no use for it and he would try to find where he could exchange it for real money. He couldn’t find any local company doing that and he ended up getting scammed of the card. At that point, he realised he had stumbled on something. He figured if he had this problem, a number of other persons would most likely have the same problem and that was the birthplace for Patricia.
Hanu Agbodje’s Patricia has become a leading e-commerce platform that trades unused iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play gift cards and it is arguably the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. The company also engages in the cryptocurrency business. The company, which recently launched an online luxury clothing store ‘Room 19’ has been described by industry watchers as one of the fastest-growing eCommerce firms in Nigeria and Africa.
On August 16, 2017, Patricia Technologies established its first branch in Lekki, Lagos. A small office was established to serve less than 80 clients, but today the firm is recognised internationally with branches in Dubai, China and Ghana, servicing well over 15,000 clients on daily transactions. Sometime in 2020, Patricia launched an exclusive and eagerly awaited Patricia Bitcoin ATM card, and as some users called it, Africa’s First Bitcoin Card; a global initiative that simplifies the way that its current and new users interact with bitcoin, giving them access to do everyday financial transactions at the swipe of a card.
It is interesting to note that in the last four years, the company has been able to build exceptionally innovative and mind-blowing products never seen in this part of the divide. Products like Africa’s premier bitcoin debit card, a system that converts excess airtime to cash, and introducing day to day use cases for Bitcoin-like buying Data, paying bills all using bitcoin.
On February 5, 2021, when the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a circular to Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, to desist from transacting in/and with entities trading cryptocurrencies Patricia responded by creating an affiliate independent company known as Glover as a platform for the non-crypto services that used to be on the Patricia platform – Giftcards, Refill and Airtime2Cash. This was due to the government ban on crypto-related platforms.
Glover was a child of providence that was birthed as a necessity in the face of adversity. In the same vein, a user-experience expert.