Wemimo Abbey was born in 1992 in Lagos Nigeria.
Known as the Co-Founder of Esusu Financial, Inc., Abbey leads the inspiring financial platform that was created on the premise that your origins, the colour of your skin, and financial identity should never determine where you end up in life.
Early Life and Schooling
Abbey grew up living paycheck to paycheck in the slums of Lagos Nigeria. Having lost his father at the age of 2, Abbey’s family was excluded from the traditional financial system and had rotational savings to pay for school and food. He and his mother immigrated to Minneapolis from Nigeria in 2009 at the age of 17. Abbey graduated Magna Cum Laude and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Minnesota Crookston in 2013. He is also a graduate of the International Non-Profit Management Program at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a Queens Young Leader Leading Change Scholar at Cambridge University.
Abbey attributes the fact that his mother had no choice but to accept a loan with a 400 percent plus interest rate to get their family settled and to pay for his education as the motivation to be a financial technology entrepreneur.
“Without credit histories, immigrants are usually denied loans from traditional financial institutions. You have to go into debt to get some sort of credit history going, which makes no sense to me.”
Abbey gained his early experiences working with Accenture, Goldman Sachs, and the Mergers and Acquisition practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he worked on multiple buy-side and sell-side transactions valued at over $50 billion. Prior to Esusu, Abbey was the Founder and CEO of Clean Water for Everyone, a global social venture that provided access to clean water to over 25000+ people in six countries. He also founded a data analytics company designed to gather machine readers on NGOs operating in Africa which was acquired in 2014.
“I want to provide access to clean water and proper sanitation for every school that lacks access to this basic need around the world.”
Starting Esusu Financial
After obtaining his degrees, Wemimo decided to create a scheme for immigrants like him and low to medium-income earners in America to save money and establish credit, through the establishment of Esusu Financial. Using his lived experiences of community savings, Eusus helps people build credit and bridge a permanent gap to financial access and inclusion. The digital savings program also extends to Esusu Rent, an app used by renters in affordable housing units that boost credit scores when rents are paid on time.
Wemimo and his partner have raised a total of $145M in funding over 8 rounds, including investments from the likes of Serena William’s investment firms. However, the journey to this success was not easy as he and his partner spoke to over 300 investors to get into the first round of financing.
“Investors blatantly said they were not confident in the team on executing against the vision. Those things hurt you to your spine,”
Now, this company has over 155 employees and is making significant strides in financial inclusion and equity.
Wemimo consults for the European Commission Directorate General for Development and Cooperation (EuropeAid) developing tools and cases to support the European Union’s assistance for decentralization, local governance and local development. Amongst many speaking engagements, Abbey has presented the global water and sanitation crisis at the United Nations, and the Clinton Global Initiative and appeared on television to raise awareness for the cause.
Abbey and his work have been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise, and was named in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He is also a recipient of the 2014 Face2Face Africa Young African Committed to Excellence award and the New York University (NYU) Presidential Service award.
“I am determined to impact and drive change in Africa, especially in my country of Nigeria. In the near future, I will return to contribute to the revolution that is imminent in the landscape of Africa and my dear country, Nigeria.”
Wemimo Abbey is the definition of being an advocate for equity and inclusion through both lived experiences and professional pursuits.
Wemimo Abbey is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.