Ever met one of those kids that could source the scarcest collectibles in high school? They’d sell baseball cards, comic books and cards— whatever people were looking for. That was Jimmy! He was everyone’s ‘guy’ for rare merchandise while growing up.
Jimmy the Entrepreneur
It was always in him, to do the things undone, to grow something out of nothing, to build where there was none and go headlong at his deepest fears!
He’d always wanted to do something in business, unsurprisingly so, as he lists his early interest in business as one of the many things he learned from his grandfather— a successful Real Estate businessman in Taiwan.
After a successful 17-year career in consulting, startup and investing—founding or co-founding over 5 Startups during this time, he will be spending his time creating value for customers at Flutterwave.
A Match Made in Heaven!
“I think there is a tremendous amount of opportunity ahead for us to provide our services and infrastructure to companies throughout the US. So, what I am truly excited for is to continue to build upon the incredible relationships that we have already closed,” Jimmy said, highlighting his key role at Flutterwave.
Flutterwave, a payments technology company had earlier been announced as part of the inaugural 2021 Times 100 influential Companies and CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list of private, venture-backed companies transforming industries, alongside Clubhouse, Udacity, Airtable etc. With the most extensive payments network coverage in Africa, Flutterwave has tapped Jimmy Ku, the former COO of MixerBox—an App with over 340m downloads, to lead its ambitious US growth journey.
“We should be having conversations with every US organisation that wants a solid payment infrastructure to scale up in the US and expand into global markets.” Jimmy added.
Jimmy’s Not New to Getting People What they Need
He has supported fundraising for various charitable causes, including cancer research through HackCancer. He has also helped startup founders raise over $340m in additional VC funding in the last 3 years. That speaks to his deep knowledge of the VC world and the startup ecosystem, and his unmistakable ability to get things done.
“One of my guiding principles is to always provide some value to the people that I speak to, at no cost, and it’s important that I show people that I can help them in some way, shape or form,” Jimmy adds.
“I got to know about Flutterwave via Atrium and had many conversations about fundraising with GB (Flutterwave’s CEO). Flutterwave did not work with me as a client for the fundraising, but I still kept in touch and helped in any way that I could during the fundraising process. I did some intros that ended up being very positive for not only Flutterwave but for myself now that I am here,” he said.
Jimmy Leads with Trust
Jimmy believes that the most important element of a successful partnership starts with Trust. He knows about deals as much as Steph Curry knows about 3 pointers, so when he speaks we listen with rapt attention. And when Curry throws, we watch, often with our mouths wide open!
“The ability for us to build trust comes from our ability to deliver great products and experiences and making sure that people talk about the great service they have been receiving,” Jimmy replied to the question on his strategy for trust-building.
With a reliable infrastructure that easily weathered over 80m transactions in 2020, and existing integration with PayPal, VISA, Mastercard, Discover etc, Flutterwave is looking forward to creating endless possibilities for US businesses. Jimmy is committed to getting the best out of this ambitious piece of technology.
“All the partnerships that we have already built and the ones that are to come will be of great value to our customers in the US,” He continued. “When they see the value we have created for our existing customers, they will trust us.”
Jimmy in 2020
For the world, as much as for Flutterwave, 2020 was a traffic light of emotions.
“It’s important to recognise how much hardship and difficulty so many people have had during the pandemic and lockdown. Some people lost loved ones, lost their jobs and couldn’t find jobs etc.” he said.
“Going forward,” he continues.”It’s made me more appreciative of what I have and what I have been able to build up; my job, relationships and being able to see people face to face. I will not take that for granted going forward as things open up again.“
Jimmy has interesting plans as the pandemic comes under control. He’d have to wade through the choices of going wine tasting in South Africa, seeing the Safaris in Kenya, holding a Bachelor’s party in a beach, cave or both.
The most important part of creating experiences for Jimmy however, is the people, “It’s all about enjoying the experience with people you are with,” he added. He has learned how to integrate this part of his life into his work-life to create the right balance and value at every turn.
He recounts inviting a Startup Founder out to a Warriors Game with two investors who both ended up investing in the Founder’s Startup.
Jimmy’s Driving Force
He ascribes his achievements to his driving philosophy; “As long as you keep pushing things forward, the good will ultimately even out the bad.”
He continues, “I have had my ups and downs, but as long as I keep pushing forward and doing the things that ultimately are creating value, things will trend upwards.”
Jimmy’s new task is clearer than ever, “I will be focused on creating value for our customers in the US.”