Leading global venture capital firm, QED Investors, has announced that it has hired Chidinma (Chid) Iwueke and Gbenga Ajayi to drive growth.
Chid will have a dual focus on U.S. and international investments while Gbenga, who joins QED as a partner, is the company’s first hire focused on fintech investments in Africa
“Chid is a wonderful addition to the QED team, and we are thrilled to leverage her expertise and knowledge across all of our geographies,” said QED Investors Managing Partner Nigel Morris.
“She has outstanding stamina, passion, and business acumen. Her eclectic background brings a wealth of viewpoints to our investment, team which, combined with her exceptional ability to think methodically and in frameworks, will help QED continue to invest in the most transformative fintech entrepreneurs both home and abroad.”
Chid’s background spans engineering, medicine, entrepreneurship, and finance. Before joining QED, she was a partner at Microtraction, a pre-seed investment firm with a depth in fintech headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.
She was integral in backing and supporting more than 30 startups, structuring support for portfolio companies, and expanding the company’s reach across Africa.
She was previously an equity research associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, covering healthcare services. Before joining Merrill Lynch, she was a founding member and head of a healthcare tech startup’s business development and strategy.
“I have a passion for building businesses and supporting innovative founders in scaling solutions that solve substantial everyday problems,” said Chid.
“I see diversity and adversity as the perfect springboard for growth, and I am thrilled to join QED to promote life-changing entrepreneurship to help break down the barriers to financial inclusion, not just across Africa, but on a global scale.”
Chid holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee. She is originally from Nigeria but is based in New York City.
“We could not be happier to welcome Gbenga to our rapidly growing international team,” said
On Gbenga, Morris declared: “He has a deep operator pedigree and he is incredibly connected to the early stage entrepreneurial ecosystem across the continent.
“Gbenga has worked at a number of innovative tech companies, and I am thoroughly impressed with his passion for building great companies and his deeply held desire to support talented founders tackling the biggest ideas. He also sees how fintech can drive financial inclusion pan, Africa.
“Following the success QED saw when we moved into India 18 months ago, supporting disruptive founders in Africa was a natural next step.
“There has been a real explosion in venture activity throughout the region as the promise of fintech to democratize access to financial services while removing friction has become inescapable.”
Gbenga has spent his career working across fintech and Africa in a variety of roles from product development and growth to marketing and partnerships.
Prior to joining QED, he was co-founder of Kanza Ventures, a boutique seed investment, and advisory firm focused on fintech in Africa. Before that, he was product director for SMB growth at Wise (formerly TransferWise), a global cross-border remittance fintech, and the head of Strategic Partnerships at Revolut, Europe’s biggest neobank.
In addition, he spent six years at Google in a variety of roles from managing telecom industry partnerships and strategy in Africa to leading Google’s mobile app business and strategy with clients spread across Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.
He was also a product partnership lead in Europe and Africa where he worked on localizing Google Search in Africa and launched Google Events Search in Germany, the U.K., Spain, and France.
“I’m incredibly excited to bring QED to Africa and to bring Africa to QED,” said Gbenga. “QED has the unparalleled combination of a world-class track record in venture and an unmatched reputation in global fintech.
“There is a massive opportunity for transformational fintech companies to be built in Africa over the coming years, and QED is the perfect partner to support, advise and mentor the next wave of talented founders.”
Gbenga is completing his Executive MBA at London Business School and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.
Founded in 2007, QED Investors has invested in more than 160 companies, including 21 unicorns, and has more than $4.6 billion under management.
In September, QED announced it had closed a substantially oversubscribed $1.05 billion fund, including $550 million in QED Fund VII for early-stage investments and $500 million in a new Growth Fund.