“15 years ago, a group of friends who had a day job came together to start a side hustle.
Nonso Okpala, who is the CEO of the business today, was working with Tony Elumelu’s Heirs Holdings as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and it was the same with his friends who had their [own] day jobs.
The friends pulled together 2.5 million Naira from their life savings to start the side hustle while keeping their day job.
That 2.5 million Naira was the seed capital that started the dream.
Their first business was a microlending business that gave loans to the unserved population, ignored by mainstream banks.
That side hustle has grown and is now a conglomerate.
That side hustle today owns V Bank, a digital microfinance bank licensed by the [Central Bank of Nigeria] CBN
A real estate company called Dynasty Real Estate
A 4-star hotel business in Lekki and Abuja
An Oil & Gas business
A [Bureau De Change] BDC license
An asset management company called Anchoria Asset Management.
Abbey Mortgage Bank
And other profitable businesses in different sectors of the economy.
The business, which started as a side hustle, also owns 12% stake of popular Fintech saving app, Piggyvest and other fintech companies like Verify Me.
Today, the side hustle, which is known as the VFD group, was listed on the floor of the Nigerian stick exchange.
A proud crowning moment for the founders and promoters of the business who have done well.
You know the best part.
The 2.5 million Naira seed capital has grown into business, with a market worth of N55 billion and investments in over 40 companies across multiple sectors.
It also has N55 billion shareholder funds under its care and management.
The side hustle, which is now a conglomerate, has consistently paid dividends to its shareholders over the last five years. Profit before tax rose by 125% to N8.8 billion in 2022, from N3.9 billion in 2021, driven by an 87% increase in gross earnings to N33.8 billion in 2022 from N18.1 billion reported in 2022.
Just last year alone, this once side hustle business, now a conglomerate, made a revenue of N34 billion.
Proud of what Nonso Okpala (the guy in the picture who is also the CEO of VFD Group) and his partners like Zuby Emodi have done – the poster boys of Nigeria’s exceptionalism.
VFD Group is a Nigerian success story, born in Nigeria and blossoming in Nigeria, and it shows what is possible when young people dare to dream and then push beyond their capacity.
Authored by Chukwudi Iwuchukwu