Mitchell Elegbe heads Nigeria’s biggest and, perhaps, most important payment company, Interswitch, founded in 2002 long before the age of tech startups and the craze surrounding them. Interswitch was founded and grew during a time when there was almost no infrastructure or technology to support electronic payment in Nigeria. However, in 16 years, Interswitch under Mitchell has embedded itself deeply into Nigeria’s financial services industry handling payment switching and processing transactions for banks, telcos, and many of the biggest companies around the country, and the daily lives of Nigerians allowing them pay bills, transfer money, and buy airtime online when there was no one else doing it. More than Mitchell’s role is Interswitch is his influence and reputation as one of Nigeria’s most astute businessmen. Calm, charming, courtly, and connected, he has mentored many other company founders and helped build several other thriving businesses.