Mitchell Elegbe: Biography, Interswitch, family, facts & more

NameMitchell Elegbe
Know forFounder, Managing Director, and CEO of Interswitch Group
Alma materUniversity of Benin (UNIBEN) in Edo State, Nigeria
Date of birthNovember 14, 1973
Place of birth Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
OccupationElectrical Engineer, Investor, and Entrepreneur

Who is Mitchell Elegbe?

Mitchell Elegbe is the Founder, Managing Director, and CEO of Interswitch Group. Interswitch is an integrated payment processing company that operates in Africa.

Interswitch is a popular tech company that provides payment processing services. After its establishment in 2002, it operates from its headquarters in Lagos. Interswitch connects all the banks in Nigeria using switching technology. It makes sure that all the ATM cards are connected to its service function well.

Family and early life

Mitchell Elegbe never met his biological father. His father died while he was still in his mother’s womb. As a result, his uncle took care of him and sponsored him since his early days. 

Today, Mitchell Elegbe is married to Mrs Mercy Elegbe and they’ve had three children.

Education, alma mater

Mitchell Elegbe attended and obtained his Bachelor of Engineering certificate from the University of Benin, Edo State (UNIBEN). He studied Electrical Engineering.

He has also attended the Global CEO Program. This CEO is jointly organized by IESE Business School, The Wharton School, and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).

Career and employment history

Computer Systems Associates, CSA

Mitchell Elegbe kicked off his engineering career with Computer Systems Associates (CSA).

CSA is a software implementation company that connects banks to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, SWIFT.

Telnet Telecommunications

Mitchell Elegbe has also worked as a Business Developer at Telnet. Telnet is an ICT engineering and consulting company.

Schlumber Wireline and Testing

After some time, Mitchell Elegbe traveled to Scotland, where he worked for Schlumberger Wireline and Testing. He worked for this company as a field engineer. 

During his residency in Scotland in Scotland, he had an embarrassing experience. While using an automated teller machine (ATM), the machine seized his debit card and this inconvenienced him.

As of then, there was not even a single ATM in Nigeria. People withdrew money then by visiting their local bank branches.

That was what made Mitchell Elegbe have the idea of making ATMs available in Nigeria. He thought of innovating a payment system that would make electronic payments possible.

Telnet Telecommunications

After returning to Nigeria, Mitchell Elegbe was reemployed by Telnet telecommunications. This was when he told his boss about his electronic payment idea as well as his experience in Scotland.

His boss permitted him to carry out the plan.

But as fate would have it, the business idea didn’t go as planned. As a result, Elegbe thought of selling the software for switching. This time around, most of his customers were not interested.

Being frustrated, he quit the idea of selling and decided to do it himself. The result of his actions then, is what people now know as the Interswitch Group or Interswitch Limited.

Interswitch

In 2002, Mitchell Elegbe founded Interswitch. He did that to make the money transfer, cash deposits, and withdrawals very easy in Africa.

Interswitch provides financial institutions with a central, comprehensive, and outsourced platform. This platform is like a database from where they can implement and manage their user transactions. 

The Switch enables a consumer from a particular bank to make transactions. It allows different devices to be connected to ATMs and POSs. The Switch also authorizes transactions by connecting to hosts, interchanges, and co-networks. 

It is also through Interswitch that banks can plug in their internet payment gateways and also make mobile payments possible.

The name “Interswitch” was coined from “international”, “interconnect”, “interactive” as well as “The Switch”. 

Interswitch was one of the things that changed the status of electronic payments in Nigeria.

Interswitch operations and subsidiaries

Do you know that there are more than 11,000 ATMs connected to Interswitch?

Also, Interswitch has many subsidiary services and vendors. Some of them are mentioned below.

1. Verve is a payment card industry under the Interswitch Group. Verve is also available in Kenya.

2. Quickteller is another sister company of Interswitch. Quickteller is formerly a telecom airtime vendor. However, it now offers payment services.

3. Interswitch systems also install, test, and implement sophisticated inter-networking security and firewalls.

4. Another subsidiary is the Qtrybe community. This is a team of 50 outstanding students from various Nigerian institutions.

The Qtrybe community was founded in October 2020. The selected students are recruited to work as Quickteller and Interswitch ambassadors in their various institutions.

5. RetailPay is also a subsidiary of Interswitch. It’s a mobile platform for business management.

6. Smartgov is an ePayment and identity management platform used by State Governments. It’s also under the management of the Interswitch Group.

7. Vanso is another daughter company of Interswitch Limited. Vanso technology services to banks on mobile devices.

The Interswitch Group as a unicorn company

A unicorn is any privately owned company that has a net value of at least 1 billion USD.

In 2019, Visa acquired a small part of the Interswitch Group in an equity stake. As a result of this investment, the Interswitch Group became a technology unicorn in Africa.

Career awards and achievements

With all his achievements and the change he caused in the African banking industry, Elegbe must have surely won some awards.

1. In 2014, Mitchell Elegbe has won the CNBC and Forbes All African Business Leader (AABLA) Award for West Africa

2. He also won the Deloitte fast growth 50 in 2014.

3. The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

4. He also won a Leadership Award in the General Management category. It was given by the Harvard Business School Association in Nigeria.

5. Mitchell Elegbe is also a Bishop Desmond Tutu fellow of the African Leadership Institute.

Mitchell Elegbe on social media

Mitchell Elegbe is available on various social media platforms. You can find him on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Crunchbase.

Twitter: @MitchellElegbe

Instagram: @mitchellelegbe

LinkedIn

Crunchbase

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Victor Iyiola

Victor Iyiola

Victor Iyiola is a Content Writer with MakeMoney.ng. He has a great passion for Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurial topics. Victor is a big fan of
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