How Xend Finance CEO, Ugochukwu Aronu, went from chasing oil money to discovering blockchain gold


Ugochukwu Aronu, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Xend Finance, was raised during an era in which working in an oil company or a bank was considered the most direct route to achieving financial success.

But after he realized that many of the wealthiest people in the world were involved in technology, he realized that he had no choice but to change course.

I had a strong desire to improve my financial situation. To tell you the truth, I wasn't concerned with anything else. Consequently, while I was still a student, I became aware that the oil industry was flourishing. Between the years 2000 and 2015, those working in the oil industry were the ones who amassed the most wealth.

" But I saw the news on TV about Shell selling their assets worth about $5 billion, and when I got to the office, I told one of my colleagues, a senior colleague at the time. " But I saw the news on TV about Shell selling their assets. When I asked him about his thoughts on the future of the oil industry, he stated that he believes that technology will be the future.

These days, technology companies account for a significant portion of the top ten most valuable companies in the world. Ugochukwu Aronu needed a plan because it was anticipated that the $5.4 trillion industry would continue growing at a compound annual growth rate of 5 percent. However, he was unaware that his inspiration to become a successful tech entrepreneur would come from the unlikeliest of places.

Advertisement

Aronu's parents were both professionals: his father worked as an accountant, and his mother was a physician. Aronu was born in Eastern Nigeria. It is not surprising that his family placed a strong emphasis on education; however, his parents also made it a point to instill in him an early appreciation for the value of hard work and to show him that this is the way to achieve success in life.

When I was a kid, my dad took me and my siblings to the farm, not because we needed to work there to stay alive, but because he enjoyed it. He instilled in us the value of hard work and instilled in us a sense of responsibility by making us work on his expansive farm. There, we would plant seeds, cut the grass, and do a great deal of other work.

Aronu didn't realize it at the time, but farming was where he first began to develop his ability to analyze and solve complex problems.

I mean, things like visiting a farm and other similar activities can teach you a lot. You will have to explore the wilderness, trim the grass, plant things, harvest them, and then process them. It takes a lot of mental and physical effort because when you start having issues with the crops, you need to figure out ways to fix them.

Oil money converted to technology money

Ugochukwu Aronu- CEO Xend FinanceUgochukwu Aronu- CEO Xend Finance

Aronu had his first experience with technology when he was in elementary school. Once a week, the students were given a few seconds to practice using the computer mouse. Aronu thought it was just another fun activity in school, despite the fact that it was very exciting.

However, in 2004, his mother bought him and each of his brothers a computer, which sparked his interest in using computers even further.

Even though he needed to have some experience with computers, the most interesting aspects of computing for him were still the games and other fascinating things that computers could accomplish. After that, he attended university to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.

Because he was the youngest of four boys, he looked up to his older brothers as role models and ultimately chose to emulate one of their behaviors.

"When I started secondary school, all I wanted to do was finish school because I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. When I was applying to universities, I was inspired to pursue a career in electronics engineering by the fact that my older brother at the time was majoring in the field.

Because of this, I always looked up to him, so it was only natural for me to respect what he had to say. Since he was equally as talented as I was, I told myself that I would also pursue a career in electrical engineering.

Aronu did not have the slightest interest in technology, but because he kept getting scholarships from various oil companies while he was in school, he became convinced that the oil industry was the only path to financial success.

To him, the fact that they were able to afford to give him scholarships indicated that they made a significant amount of money and had some left over.

He was right back then, and his line of thinking is still sound even to this day. Even though the tech industry is exploding with growth, the oil industry is still very profitable. Apple comes in at number two on the list of the most valuable companies in the world with a market capitalization of $2.24 trillion, behind Saudi Aramco, which has a market capitalization of $2.27 trillion.

Aronu intended to either become an oil merchant or to land a respectable position with a leading oil company. However, a summer internship at KPMG in 2014 threw a wrench into the works.

He was the only applicant from a federal university in Nigeria who was successful in getting an internship with KPMG. In addition to that, it gave him the opportunity to collaborate with people hailing from various parts of the globe, who opened his eyes to a wider world beyond the realm of oil and gas.

Aronu's exposure to people at institutions as diverse as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and private universities in Nigeria such as Babcock opened his mind to a completely new world. It was related to him that people in different parts of the world were participating in hackathons and building other exciting things on computers.

Aronu needed only a glimmer of hope that things were going to go wrong in the oil and gas industry for him to fully commit to the idea that the future belonged in technology.

The concept of a troubled oil and gas industry became more concrete in 2014 when it was reported that oil giant Royal Dutch Shell was going to sell its assets. This was enough to solidify the concept. Eight years later, in the year 2022, in response to the worldwide call for the reduction of carbon emissions, some oil companies have found ways to diversify their energy sources.

Aronu may have good reason to be concerned, despite the fact that the oil industry is thriving. Because so many nations are working to cut their carbon emissions, there may be less of a need for the world to rely on oil in the years to come.

" I decided against starting an oil company after pondering the question, "What will happen in five or ten years, when oil is no longer the future?" This led to my decision. After that, I researched the top ten wealthiest people in the world and found that seven of them were involved in the technology industry. "I responded that I didn't believe that the oil company was the right fit for me,"

Aronu devoted his entire attention to technical matters. It was a blessing that KPMG had employees who were able to instruct him in the ropes of the business. When he was given a specific task, that was the first time he had the chance to fully immerse himself in the technological world.

During our time at KPMG, we were tasked with completing this work. It was a vulnerability assessment, penetration testing (VAPT), also known as hacking into systems, and at that point I decided that I was going to take this kind of thing seriously.

Due to the fact that I was particularly skilled in this area, I was given the opportunity to work alongside more senior members of the VAPT team on a number of different projects. The thing is, although I had some knowledge of programming and everything else, and I was able to learn things quickly, I just wasn't particularly interested in writing code.

Aronu allowed himself ten years after graduating from college at the age of 21 to cultivate a broad interest in all aspects of technology. If his career in technology did not pan out, he reasoned that he would still have time to take a different path at the age of 31.

It's interesting to note that Aronu, now 28 years old, has been at it for seven years and is building reputable technology companies that serve Africans and people all over the world.

It takes more than money to make it happen.

 2 934Ugochukwu Aronu

Although money was what initially drew him to the tech industry, he has remained in the space for a variety of other reasons.

" Some kind of passion did not drive me; in fact, passion was not the driving force; I simply desired to be wealthy. But once I got into computing and started concentrating a lot on building things, my conception of computing shifted, and I realized that money was not enough motivation to get me to do what I wanted to do.

" When you get to the point where you're solving extremely difficult problems, money is the last thing on your mind. When I got to that point, I thought to myself, "There is so much value here that I can't base how successful I am on how much money I have."

Aronu's tech journey has seen him go from desiring the money that is offered in the space to realizing that while getting rich, he can use his talent and problem-solving skills to do a lot for Africa. His passion for oil has died, but it has been reborn in tech. Aronu's tech journey has seen him go from desiring the money that is offered in the space to realizing that while getting rich, he can use his talent and problem-solving

Innovation and entrepreneurship at full speed.

He was of the opinion that Africa was not making a significant enough contribution to the overall ecosystem of the global technology industry and that this needed to change.

Aronu isn't just knowledgeable about technology; he also has a strong business sense, which he honed while working in Lagos to sell software to the city's educational institutions. He was not successful in sales, but the experience bolstered his confidence, and he was prepared to take on the technology ecosystem in Africa.

A further boost to his self-assurance came when the budgeting app that he developed for a Google competition finished in third place. Even though the tech consulting firm he worked for only paid him 25,000 per month, he put in a lot of effort and learned a lot during that time. He graduated with a degree in computer science.

 3 934Wicrypt website

I would usually say goodbye to my family and head out the door between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning so that I could make it to work before 7:00. Even though we were done with our work by 5:00 p.m., I never left the office before 10:00 p.m.

" I did that on a daily basis, and my mother would always complain about it. "Are you the owner of this office?" she asked me incredulously. Why do you come back so much later than expected?'"

But that didn't bother Aronu; his interest in technology had finally peaked, and there was no turning back now. He invested his salary in the purchase of dumbbells so that he could exercise regularly, which improved his concentration.

Aronu and his two other co-founders launched their technology consulting business in his room in Enugu, Nigeria, in the year 2017. A bank in Nigeria just awarded the company, which is only five years old, the contract to overhaul the bank's entire technology infrastructure.

Aronu stated that he built an eCommerce company in Enugu because he and his employees desired food delivery services but there were none available in Enugu. The company in question was located in Enugu.

But the businesses for which he is most famous did not emerge until much later, following the invention of blockchain technology.

Blockchain was an unavoidable necessity.

 4 934L-R: (Anthony Azekwoh, Dahunsi Akinleye, Ruth Iselema, Fisayo Fosudo, Ugochukwu Aronu) at the Techpoint Africa Blockchain Summit

Aronu was intrigued by the concept of blockchain technology after a friend from Finland reached out to him and told him about it. After devoting some time to researching the technology, he developed his own wallet system, which is now employed by a significant number of the businesses he initially founded.

The invention of blockchain was the impetus behind the development of Xend Finance, which is a platform that assists individuals in protecting their savings from the effects of inflation by investing in crypto stablecoins. Before he established Xend Finance, he was already working on the concept for a company called Wicrypt. At the time, he wasn't doing much with the company, but a school in the United Kingdom became aware of it.

Aronu helped out a friend who was doing his master's degree in the United Kingdom and needed a project idea to present. He gave his friend Wicrypt.

I went back to the spot where I had originally jotted down that concept on paper, took a picture of it, and then emailed it to him. During the presentation, they inquired as to who had written it and where the idea had been derived from.

" The school contacted me and informed me that they had never heard of this concept before, and that I ought to make every effort to construct it as soon as possible.

It was Aronu's need for faster Internet that sparked the idea for Wicrypt, which enables anyone to share their Internet connection while also earning money for doing so. Even after receiving an offer of two hundred million yen for the business, he continued to believe that the business would be successful.

I conceived of the idea of developing a service that would enable me to connect to the internet of any location and make immediate payment to the user.

It is not necessary for the other person to tell me to disconnect because I always pay the other person in real time after I do so.

The Wicrypt network now functions as a decentralized mobile Internet sharing and monetisation network as a result of the incorporation of blockchain technology.

Aronu has had a thrilling experience with blockchain, and he believes that the technology is not nearly as complicated as other people make it seem to be. The ability to comprehend and construct anything is directly proportional to the builder's level of self-sacrifice and determination.

" Therefore, in order for people to understand the blockchain and determine how they can apply themselves, they need to read articles and books.