Afridigest Insider: Inside Tech & Business in Africa
How Edmund Olotu thinks about getting M&A deals done in African tech

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How Edmund Olotu thinks about getting M&A deals done in African tech

Brought to you by Africreate — Africa’s leading innovation-focused advisory firm.

Edmund Olotu is the Founder of Nigerian fintech infrastructure and business banking platform Bloc.

Formerly TechAdvance, Bloc began its journey in 2009 as a payment solutions provider for Nigerian utility companies. After securing requisite licenses, certifications, and partnerships, it released a suite of fintech APIs and rebranded to Bloc in 2021 — a nod to the company’s vision to provide fintech infrastructure building blocks for African companies. And the company’s evolution continues; just last month it announced a suite of new business banking services.

Earlier in his career, Edmund was on the founding team of Molecmo NanoBiotechnologies (now Novira Therapeutics), a biotech company that was acquired for $600 million by Johnson & Johnson in 2015. (He’s rumored to have made over $20 million from the transaction.) And more recently, in July 2022, his company Bloc acquired Nigerian payments orchestration firm Orchestrate for an undisclosed amount in cash and stock.

This conversation was originally recorded on July 22nd 2022, a week after Bloc’s acquisition of Orchestrate became public. At the time, the company operated under two verticals: Banking-as-a-Service (APIs for bill payments and wallet management, float as a service, physical and virtual cards, and more) and FinTech-as-a-Service (agency banking solutions, money transfer APIs, and payments orchestration via Orchestrate).

Edmund and I discuss:

• The strategic rationale behind Bloc’s acquisition of Orchestrate

• How humility and alignment matter in getting deals done

• What founders should ask themselves before pivoting

• The ‘realness’ of valuations and how market downturns affect M&A

• And more

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[00:00:00] Emeka: Hello everyone, today's conversation features Edmund Olotu of Bloc. Bloc is a Nigerian fintech infrastructure company that recently acquired Orchestrate. Edmund is the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Bloc. And it's great to have you here, Edmund. Please introduce yourself to the audience.

[00:00:20] Edmund: Thank you very much, Emeka, for having us. I'm Edmund, Edmund Olotu, Chief Innovation Officer at Bloc. What that means really is that I work to guide the mission and vision of the company, work with all my C-level executives to ensure that we bring this vision of fintech infrastructure for global African companies to life.

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Afridigest Insider: Inside Tech & Business in Africa
Afridigest is your intelligent guide to Africa's tech ecosystem. The Afridigest Insider podcast features ideas, analysis, and insights from founders, investors, and other insiders to help you get smarter about tech in Africa.