Our first company
Nearly 3 years ago I met Max Tyrrell for lunch and we decided to build a company together. We wanted to build something that would help position Africa as the best place in the world to build technology teams. The idea was simple: hire incredibly talented engineers from Africa (mainly SA and NG) and work with them to build great software. Soon after we started Dado we felt a pull from the UK, and began focusing exclusively on servicing UK companies. There were quite a few firsts for us as founders at Dado: first hire, first time letting someone go, first job (both of us had only interned before Dado), first office, first partnership. We learned a ridiculous amount and I'm so grateful to have met and worked with Max and the rest of the team.
Since starting Dado, we've built tech that has generated our clients hundreds of millions of rands in revenue and supported hundreds of thousands of their customers. Max and I had the opportunity to witness first hand, the drive and excellence of African engineers.
But there was a problem with our company. We were helping UK companies build scalable tech, in a moment when Africa's own tech needs to be scaling. We were helping UK companies find great engineers, in a moment when African companies need them more than ever. Most importantly, we knew we could solve more impactful problems.
Why we're moving on from Dado
Something really special is happening in Africa right now. Businesses are starting and growing, jobs are being created, and entrepreneurs are showing up, despite a world of challenges. In the face of unstable infrastructure, restrictive regulation, and hard to reach customers, African entrepreneurs stay building. Every single day, entrepreneurs are proving how unstoppable they are, and their commitment to this continent is incredibly inspiring.
Dado was an incredible vehicle to learn and grow as founders and engineers, but waking up every day and working on something that is fulfilling is irresistible. I am so excited that me and the whole Dado team team now have the opportunity to enable entrepreneurs to thrive at Yoco. From the 1st of December, all 11 of us are going to be living and breathing problems that we care deeply about, and building tech that will enable the next 1 million African entrepreneurs.
There are many reasons why Yoco is the best place for us and our team. I'll touch on three briefly:
1. It's mission driven
After having had lunch with most of the founding team and chatting to them over many calls about their vision and passion for Yoco, I have never been more convinced that they are building this company for the right reasons. Most companies are trash and put profit above everything, only to get professional spokespeople to make excuses for their carelessness for the planet and people. Yoco is genuinely one of the most ethical, net positive companies in Africa right now. If you want to help Africa succeed and you truly care about reducing unemployment, growing the economy, and reducing inequality, Yoco is up there on the list of companies you should work at.
2. Great founders and team
I've bumped into 10+ people that work at Yoco before we joined, each one of them was kind and super smart. They are smiley and warm, but all incredibly ambitious and hardworking. I think surrounding myself with good people has been one of the best patterns in my career so far. It's the only reason Dado was successful, and the only reason I'm still sane and excited to be in tech. Making decisions based on people is absolutely a winning strategy. Besides the team, the founders themselves have no ego, are really nice, and are some of the sharpest people I've met. Watching once in a generation founders execute from the sidelines has been inspiring, imagine the energy on the inside. Yoco is growing a global team of experts that are the best at what they do. People are turning down crazy exec positions at some of the worlds biggest banks and corporates to come help African entrepreneurs get paid. That's the power of a great mission and great people.
3. It's a rocket ship
Yoco has roughly 200k merchants. They are growing ridiculously fast and will likely successfully expand into other markets soon. They have product market fit, and have evolved into a multi-product company with some game changing products already in the market and others very far along. There are few companies with this much upside potential and this little risk of failure. Yoco is already one of Africa's biggest FinTech companies, but there is still so much more to do and so many more millions of merchants to enable across Africa and the world.
Personally, I'm excited to be hands on building products again, after spending most of my time at Dado on business development, sales and building out the services part of the business. I'll be joining Yoco as a product manager and working closely with the legends in the in person payments team! If you have any thoughts, ideas or feedback on any Yoco device, please hit me up.
Thank you to my co-founder, our team, our clients, my mentors and advisors (special s/o to Renier Kriel, Saul Kaplan and Adam Fine for all of your guidance and support over the years), my mom, and to the people following along on YT and LinkedIn. It's been super fun.
Time to build!
PS. expect a Dado Originals announcement video soon ;)