Whether for fun or as a way of making extra money, betting has become important to many people in Nigeria. This is why the name, Akin Alabi, will never be strange to many Nigerians. He is well known as the founder of Nairabet, the first online betting platform in Nigeria.
Over the years, Alabi has proven himself to be an innovative businessman who keeps exploring new endeavours. Perhaps, this explains why he is regarded as one of the most successful internet entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Akin Alabi attended Command Children School, Ibadan for his primary education. He proceeded to Federal Government College, Enugu for his secondary education. He later returned home to pursue a Higher National Diploma in Business Administration at The Polytechnic, Ibadan.
Thereafter, he left for the United Kingdom to obtain a degree in Marketing at the University of Liverpool. He got another degree in Intellectual Property Strategy from Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts. All this while, many entrepreneurship ideas were already bustling in him.
Interest in Business
After graduating from the polytechnic in 2003, Akin started writing manuals and selling books. While many had a lot to say about his choice of business at the time, he saw himself as an information entrepreneur.
“I started as an information marketer; I was basically into writing and selling books which I could say was like selling my knowledge and experience, both on online and terrestrial platforms. It pleases me to tell you that I still do that till now”, He once said.
He later began holding seminars for startups. He published “Income”, an opportunity newspaper for small business starters. All these provided him the opportunity to work as an “information entrepreneur” by sharing his knowledge with other business owners.
Before Nairabet, Alabi had been into several other businesses: selling chickens, importing and exporting cash crops, and even a travel company. Not all of them fared well, but he continued to bring many other business ideas to life. At one point, he started publishing ” World Soccer News”, a weekly sports newspaper. The publication offered him deep insights into the goldmine in sports.
How Nairabet Came to be
After accompanying his brother to a betting shop in the United Kingdom when he visited, he came across sports betting. Knowing that Nigerians had a keen interest in European football, Alabi saw a potential business opportunity on visiting that shop. When he returned to the country, he created an information product that explained how to place bets online in Nigeria.
The product recorded massive patronage from several people. Having studied the sports betting business model, he was aware that it could be very rewarding. However, the striking interest of many people in the model reassured him how big the market would be in Nigeria.
Backed by this knowledge, Akin Alabi properly started Nairabet in 2009. It became the first company to provide a fully functional platform for people to deposit money, place bets and also make withdrawals. Since its inception, the company has grown to have over one thousand outlets across Nigeria, with its headquarters in Lagos.
Akin Alabi is also the founder of Nightlife.ng, an online platform that sheds light on the nightlife industry. The platform also dissects the economy around nightlife in Nigeria. He is the founder of Over The Top Entertainment, a record label that boasts some notable Nigerian musicians such as Skuki.
Acknowledgments and Accolades
In 2016, he was appointed the Mogaji of Ajiwogbo compound in Ibadan by the former Olubadan of Ibadan, Late King Saliu Adetunji. Akin Alabi is also recognized for several philanthropic gestures towards the youths and widows. He does this through his non-profit initiative, the Akin Alabi Foundation.
Olugbole of Igbole Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel O. Ajayi Adetiloye II, conferred him with the chieftaincy title of the Otunba Atunlushe of Igbole Ekiti. The title was an appreciation of his philanthropy to the people.
He resigned from the office of CEO of Nairabet in 2018, to pursue his political career. The following year, he contested a seat in the Federal House of Representatives on the All Progressives Congress (APC) mandate. He won and currently represents the people of Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency of Oyo State.