My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.

With over a decade of tech experience, Sam Adeniyi has grown to become a revered figure in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, especially in the edtech space. Adeniyi went from being a magazine vendor to a graphic designer and now, an autodidact software engineer. His entrepreneurial drive has been the north star of his career. In this week’s episode of My Pivot Journal, Adeniyi takes us on the journey of becoming.  

How it started

Growing up, I loved mathematics and wanted to become a teacher. So although my result could get me into the University of Ilorin, I opted to go to the Kwara state college of education to get a diploma. There, I studied Mathematics and Economics because I could not study Mathematics as a standalone course. 

On the other side of education is my entrepreneurial drive. Lagos is a city of dreams to many, including me, so when I got an opening to sell newspapers, I jumped on the offer. I sold outdated international newspapers and magazines under the bridge in Ojota and Palmgrove for about three years before proceeding to a degree in Statistics and going for the National Youth Service Corps.

My entrepreneurial spirit was burning, so while in the camp, I taught people basic computing and even wrote a proposal to the Bayelsa state government to teach some of its ministries. Post NYSC, I did not job hunt. I started selling shoes with the capital I got having spent my service year in Chevron, the multinational oil behemoth. I would travel to Lagos to buy shoes in bulk and take them for sale in Ilorin. But, after six months of doing this, I had to self-reflect and realised the money I was making did not align with my dream. So I quit.


I took a step to embrace my next passion, graphic design, and from it, my career path became clear. At one point, I did a design for a client who worked with Intercontinental bank, which she loved and further asked if I could convert it into a website. This was new to me, but the amount she offered was mouth-watering and surpassed what I made through graphic designing. I took the project as a challenge and worked on the design. Upon payment, I realised how much I could make from engineering. So my entrepreneurial drive led me into software engineering because I felt I could make more money.  

Sam Adeniyi


Because I was self-taught, learning was more of trial and error. When I started learning computer languages like HTML, I’d go to the computer village in Ikeja to buy tech tutorial CDs. The internet was uncommon in those days, so I often went to a cyber cafe to explore it.

I had no computer, so I wrote my codes with a notepad instead of Dream Weaver. It made my knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP very strong. Nowadays, IDEs suggest code and even a G-Code pilot can suggest a full code based on a prompt. Learning then was more hardcore books and videos than the internet-based search we have now. The first online platform I had access to was For readers, and Mozilla developer have lots of HTML, CSS and javascript documentation and resources to use. However in this age, because we are overwhelmed with available information, we get soaked in it than learning. 

Upon getting a good grasp of tech, I started to handle telco integration on MTN and Etisalat. I built the mobile and web app for MTN’s first tech plus event and its marketplace for SMEs. Afterwards, through one of my clients, I got a job with SystemSpecs, a software development company focused on providing qualitative delivery of a leading e-Payment application (Remita). I belong to the team that revamped Remita’s UI, to what it is now. 

From Remita, I moved to become a senior software engineer at inlaks. They own the majority of ATMs in Lagos, so we were building agency banking infrastructures for them. Afterwards, I moved to Venture Garden Group to build inbound payments into Nigeria, and also became the Co-founder and CTO of Tarvos Technology Limited, a startup building a larger agency banking infrastructure. My passion is to grow, and because of this, I realised I outgrow most of those companies very fast. I got tired of fintech and wanted to do more education because of my passion for teaching. 

How it’s going

I have done considerably well in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, especially in the edtech space. I have worked as the head of engineering in uLesson. I built the team and tried to help them scale to other countries.

I worked with uLesson for about nine months until I got a job offer in the UK with Perlego, a digital online library focusing on the delivery of academic, professional and non-fiction eBooks. Because it was an edtech, I did not object, and in two weeks, the documentation to travel was ready. 

I also do a lot of side gigs. I have been privileged to consult for almost all edtech startups in Nigeria from Teesas to Utiva, to Edukoya. I have been core to the development of their team.

Career hack

Doggedness has helped me in the course of my career. I sometimes stay up into the night to read and do not retire until my body is completely tired. The ability to want to do something and stick to it has helped me a lot. 

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