— May 31, 2024

The Pade Story: Building a Better Future for Africa

Pade’s story is one of purpose and innovation. Founded by Seye Bandele, Pade emerged from a desire to address a critical need: improving communication and productivity within organizations, particularly for those who often go unheard. This vision extends beyond individual companies. Seye sees Pade as a catalyst for Africa’s growth. By empowering employees and streamlining […]

The Pade Story: Building a Better Future for Africa

Pade’s story is one of purpose and innovation. Founded by Seye Bandele, Pade emerged from a desire to address a critical need: improving communication and productivity within organizations, particularly for those who often go unheard.

This vision extends beyond individual companies. Seye sees Pade as a catalyst for Africa’s growth. By empowering employees and streamlining HR processes, Pade aims to unlock Africa’s full potential and establish it as a global leader in productivity.

What inspired you to start Pade?

    My name is Seye Bandele, co-founder and CEO at Pade. 

    The story of Pade began in 2011 when I met my co-founder. At that time, we were working on government projects, developing software and information systems in Abuja. In each of these companies, I was fortunate enough to quickly rise to a position of importance. However, I noticed that others who didn’t have similar opportunities often felt lost within the organisation. There was a lack of communication from employees to management, though management frequently communicated with employees.

    After some time, I left Abuja, relocated to Lagos, and started working in tech. I joined companies like DealDey, V-Connect, YesMobile, Yudala, and Konga.

    I worked across all of these organisations for about six years, I was like, okay, this is something that needs to be fixed. I also initially wanted to build employee engagement software. So, I tried to build a product that could help employees become more heard and seen within the organisation, regardless of what they were doing, even if they were working in cleaning, warehousing, or whatever.

     So that was what led me to build. We studied the market again and found out that the people doing HR software at the time were focusing on the larger end of the market, really straight-jacket software like SAP and Oracle. We wanted to build something simpler for smaller or medium-sized businesses that employ about 84% of the labour force. That was the motivation and the justification for building Pade.

    What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome as a founder?

    As a founder or an entrepreneur, your job is to sell. Now, think of selling more than just selling to customers. First, I had to sell the vision to my co-founder. Who says, “Oh, okay, this makes sense. Let’s do it”

    Then I had to sell to my first few customers, like, “Hey guys, we’re building something, We’re not the best in the world. Some people in the world have done it better than we have, but here is a tiny bit of advantage that we think if we solve it, we’ll solve your problems better”

    Now it gets to the point where you have to sell to an employee. Employees take their work seriously because their work is their life, right? So, you need to sell to an employee to say, “hey, if you join me on this journey to achieving X, you’ll be able to tick off certain things you wanted to accomplish in your life journey” So, you have to sell that vision again to that employee.

    Then you have to sell to more customers, and also to investors, which is the hardest part, like, “Okay, yeah, you have this great thing going on, but why should I back you?” You realise what you are doing most of your life is just selling something as an entrepreneur. You’re selling a product, a vision, an idea, and a future to all the people who are going to contribute in some way, shape or form to the future that you’re trying to create.

    That is the most difficult thing, right? If you try to crystallize it into, okay, what exactly is my problem? People say things like funding and market and all that stuff, I will say the real problem is find a way to sell your vision, no matter how small the market is. There are businesses in Liechtenstein or Luxembourg with a population of 600,000 people compared to our own 200 that are profitable and successful.

    So you need to find a way to sell your vision so that it becomes profitable to you, the guy who has chosen to embark on that mission. 

    How do you stay motivated and focused on your long-term vision?

    The moral cause behind the business we built was that Lekan, my co-founder, and I wanted to contribute our quota to helping Africa become more productive. Despite being the largest opportunity for growth on the continent, Africa suffers from the worst productivity. Everything that can be wrong with the continent is wrong with Africa.

    I realised this is actually a problem we can solve. We have the best people. We have strong and intelligent young people. Other civilisations are ageing. Japan, Canada, and Europe, which is why all these folks are doing immigration programs to get the best talent out of Africa to come and embed them into their societies. That has to stop. We have to be able to fix our society so I will become more productive and one of the world’s leading lights. To be honest, that’s the moral cause behind building Pade and any other company I will build.

    What’s the most valuable advice you’ve received as a startup founder?

    I barely listen to anybody’s advice because I’m just strong-headed and believe in myself only. But the best advice I’ve gotten is to “Don’t play the valuation game, You have to build a value-based business”

    What we should have used to calibrate a company’s success is how many lives you are touching, how much value you are contributing to the ecosystem or society, and things like that. I’m not really focusing on building a $100 million, $500 million, or $1 billion company today. What I’m focusing on, what I’m interested in, is how many lives your company was able to touch and positively impact.

    How many people? Is it 100,000 people? Is it a million people? Is it 500 million people? How many people were you able to impact? Towards that, the moral course is that I want to help Africa become a more productive continent.

    Where do you see Pade in the next few years?

    Where I see Pade, and unfortunately, that’s a harrowing question. It is painful because amid all these noble things, I’ve said, delivering Africa to productivity, taking our stand amongst the greats of this world as the most productive continent. Unfortunately for us, capitalism requires that you build a profitable company. I’m not Bill and Melinda Gates. I’m not the US government, so we have to build a company that is profitable while solving problems and creating value. So, in the next five years, Pade will be easily described as a corporate bank for employees – a product, software, or environment where you earn your salaries via our platform, and you can access financial solutions that improve your life. So on the HR side, we’re going to build software that makes work simple, removes the complexity or complicated parts of work, and then deliver to employees, both administrators and just regular employees, financial solutions that make their lives better so that they can focus on work and become better at what they do.

    We will attempt to positively impact the lives of Africans wherever they are, whether you’re in Asia, Europe, North America, Canada, Alaska, South America, Nigeria, or  Africa. That’s our dream. Via where they work, how they work, where they get paid, how they get paid, which is where the name came from. We will connect them to solutions that improve their lives inside our community, environment, or software.

    Why did you choose GetEquity as your platform for raising capital?

    Without GetEquity, I don’t think we would have been able to get to where we are today. At that time, about two and a half years ago, I needed guidance on who to go to and where to go. I knew I could build quality software or a quality business. Still, just like you can build a generator, Honda, Mantrac, JMG, or Electromag, they can build a fantastic generator that will power an entire building. But if you do not put fuel in it, your generator is useless, right? We had built a beautiful generator that would help solve a particular problem, but we needed some fuel. GetEquity gave us the perfect opportunity to access the fuel we needed.

    I mean, I’d spoken to individuals, I was very green in the game. I needed to learn how to go and talk to somebody to give me money to build my business, to help me achieve my goals, it was very innovative. There was nothing else like it at the time. So, it was just perfect. I need to show screenshots of chats with my co-founder and me using GetEquity. Yeah. He did not believe it. Why? Like, “ah! who’s going to give you money? I said “make we just try them now, make we see”

    And then we listed, and by the evening of the day that we listed, we had raised $200. I was like, what? The next day, we had reached $500, and within three weeks, we had raised $20,000. I’m grateful that opportunity came because that $20,000 alone propelled us to achieve our immediate milestones, allowing us to get to the point that we are today. 

    What advice would you give to other startup founders considering raising capital on GetEquity? 

    I recommend it to other entrepreneurs who can take advantage of the services available to build their dreams.

    To find out more about Pade and how their HR solutions can transform your organization, visit their website at www.padehcm.com



    Read these next