Nubi Kayode – or Nubi Kay – was only planning to come to Dublin for his studies. However, after arriving in 2013, jobs with leading companies in the city’s tech sector kept him here.
After gaining experience at both Accenture and Stripe, he is now the Startup Programmes Lead at Paystack – which was acquired by Stripe for $200 million back in 2020. Now, he’s working with African startups – as he always intended.
During his time in Dublin, Derek O’Connor at Dublin.ie sat down with Nubi to find out about his experience in the city.
In conversation with Nubi Kayode
I’m from Lagos in Nigeria. I originally got into tech blogging, covering the local ecosystem. Until, I realised that I’d rather be part of the story than write about it.
So I launched my first startup, which involved a lot of trial and error, lots of mistakes, lots of learning and then decided to come to school here. I had read a lot about Dublin on The Next Web and thought: “That looks really interesting… everybody’s here.” So I thought I’d check it out.
Coming to Dublin
I came here in 2013 to do my Masters at the Smurfit Business School in UCD. After that, I entered an entrepreneurial competition that Accenture ran called Leaders Of Tomorrow. That led to a six month internship. Then, they offered me a job.
Right now, I’m a consultant with Accenture, working as a business analyst, and still very much involved in startups back home.
How Dublin compares to Lagos
What do I think of Dublin? I come from Lagos, a city of 19 million people and Ireland is a country of four million, so by comparison it’s very small.
That was a big shock for me at first. There aren’t six degrees of separation in Dublin… you’re talking one or two degrees at most.
The diversity was a surprise as well, meeting people from so many different cultures. Though there aren’t so many Africans in the [startup] ecosystem here and that’s what made me launch my Umbala Project, which is trying to expose people from different minority groups and cultural backgrounds to tech.
We were in partnership with the last Startup Weekend. It’s great for people to have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs from other cultures. I like to keep engaged as a mentor and advisor.
Finding a balance
Being an entrepreneur is my first love, but sometimes society expects other things. As a first son of a first son, there’s a pressure to play it safe, to provide security for your family.
That said, if a guy gives me a million dollars today, I’m going to quit my job and run with my ideas! I think I love Dublin. I met my girlfriend [now wife] here…
Life here is simple – besides the weather.