Surgeon-turned-entrepreneur Okeleji’s big dream for Africa employee welfare

Friday December 15 2023

SeamlessHR CEO Emmanuel Okeleji. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Seamless HR

SeamlessHR CEO and Co-founder Emmanuel Okeleji has truly found his life’s mission. His animated responses to our questions on human resources (HR) issues confirm the joy and immense satisfaction he derives from his work that seeks to help Africa optimise its human capital, for greater productivity.

Yet less than 10 years ago, Dr Okeleji was in a different field altogether. Contrary to what many people might think, he didn’t start off as a provider of HR software solutions.

He studied medicine and surgery at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He then joined the world of work as a medical doctor, working with his seniors to sharpen his surgical skills.

Had Dr Okeleji remained in his first career, he probably would have attained the dream of performing kidney transplants.

But as he explains, transplanting at most 12 kidneys each month, wouldn’t have had the same impact as his work at SeamlessHR. Africa’s leading cloud HR and payroll technology company has the potential to directly improve the welfare of millions of workers in Africa and their families, he points out.

Dr Okeleji says SeamlessHR targets 20 million payrolls.


Consider this: Just assuming each of these employees supports five dependents, this translates to 100 million people likely to be impacted by the firm’s payroll and HR or people management solutions.

Here, Dr Okeleji is referring to workers in Africa, whose welfare and productivity can be improved courtesy of SeamlessHR’s tech-driven payroll and HR solutions.

He practised as a medical doctor at St Nicholas Hospital Lagos, Nigeria.

Dr Okeleji then served on the founding team of Lifeplan Healthcare Limited as assistant project director on a large private equity-funded hospital project. That project later became Evercare Hospital, Lagos.

He had a brief stint at Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division, London – his dive into the world of finance.

And so, Dr Okeleji’s work and entrepreneurial experiences span diverse industries. These include technology, healthcare, education and agriculture.

This innovative earned wage access technology solution designed by SeamlessHR is implemented by PesaLink (IPSL) and DTB. This revolutionary embedded finance solution helps to further bridge the financial inclusion gap of blue-collar workers, as well as boost productivity for their employers. This innovation comes at a crucial juncture in Kenya’s economic landscape, where escalating lending rates necessitate timely interventions to provide financial relief to workers.

For his innovativeness and excellence in business leadership, Dr Okeleji has just won a major award. West African publishing and business intelligence firm BusinessDay has recognised him as one of Africa’s leading CEOs. This was at the 2023 Top 25 CEOs Award gala event.

SeamlessHR taps Bryan Kariuki as Eastern Africa vice president

SeamlessHR, Africa’s leading payroll and HR technology firm, has also appointed Bryan Kariuki as regional vice president for Eastern Africa.

An accomplished ex-McKinsey executive passionate about leveraging technology to solve real-world problems, Mr Kariuki brings more than 15 years of experience driving growth for technology companies throughout Africa.

Kariuki joins SeamlessHR’s regional C-suite to lead operations and expansion in East Africa, while based in the company’s offices in Nairobi, Kenya.


Bryan Kariuki, SeamlessHR regional vice president for Eastern Africa. PHOTO | COURTESY

“We are thrilled to welcome Bryan to the SeamlessHR team,” said Dr Emmanuel Okeleji, CEO and co-founder at SeamlessHR.

“His proven track record of successfully launching, scaling, and expanding ventures makes him the ideal leader to drive our next phase of growth in the region.”

Mr Kariuki joins SeamlessHR from Cellulant, where as vice president he helped expand the fintech company’s payments platform and solutions across 16 African countries. Before that, he held leadership roles at Copia Global, Jumia and Travelstart, among other leading tech firms in Africa.

Mr Kariuki has launched and grown successful startups and established new business verticals and units within larger corporations. He possesses deep knowledge of the African tech ecosystem and regulatory environment.

Highly regarded as a mobiliser and collaborator, Kariuki was honoured as one of Kenya’s Top 25 Men in Digital (2022) and Business Daily’s Top 40 Men under 40 (2016). He holds an MBA from INSEAD Business School.

SeamlessHR is Africa’s leading payroll and HR technology company, focused on helping businesses manage their entire HR and payroll lifecycle from hire to retirement, with cutting-edge technology solutions.

With nearly 1,000 medium to large enterprises across more than 20 countries, the company has offices in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria and recently commenced operations in Botswana.

The company recently raised $10 million in a Series A round of funding to double down on its impressive Pan-African expansion and build out new embedded finance products, some of which will be presented at this event.

SeamlessHR is the technology partner of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the blue-collar worker project in Africa.