Meet Ken Njoroge, the reason why every guy must learn how to code - MADE AFRICANS


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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Meet Ken Njoroge, the reason why every guy must learn how to code

Meet Ken Njoroge, the reason why every guy must learn how to code

Ken is a Co-Founder and the Group CEO of Cellulant in Kenya.
While doing his undergraduate studies at Strathmore University Mr. Njoroge worked at Internet firm, Interconnect and after a while moved to Formnet where he had a first shot at generating solutions for various statistical challenges for private companies.
 He is a career entrepreneur who quit his studies in pharmacy opting for a degree in information systems management. At 23 he teamed up with two friends and started 3mice, a web development firm. To grow their business, they lured investors into the business and gave out 50 per cent stake and a further 16 per cent which helped them fly around Africa seeking customers.
 3Mice Interactive Media which grew from a two-man team to a leading web development firm in East Africa. He headed 3Mice’s Technology, Strategy and Solution Development teams as its Solution Design Director. The team was responsible for conceptualizing and executing digital projects covering e-commerce platforms, content management platforms and e-business platforms for more than 50 blue chip customers in different sectors in the region.

 In 2000, 3Mice was acquired by Africa Online, the largest Pan-African Internet Service Provider at the time that was owned by London-Listed firm, African Lakes Corporation.

 Together with a Nigerian friend Bolaji Akinboro, Njoroge later co-founded Cellulant in 2004 on about $3,000, and a credit card, a mobile commerce company that manages, delivers and bills for digital content and commerce services actualized over telecom networks. “The vision of Cellulant’s founders was to create a Fortune 500 company in Africa, out of Africa and by Africans,” reads a statement on the Cellulant’s website. Ken has led Cellulant from a dream of two founders, one whose plan was sketched on a serviette in 2003, to a reputable mobile commerce firm in Africa.

It quickly expanded across Uganda and Tanzania as the banks sought it services in their subsidiaries. It now serves 50 banks via 40 mobile phone operators and has a clientele of 40million people in 10 countries.

In 2012, Nigeria’s federal government recently awarded Cellulant, which already has a presence in eight countries across the continent, a four-year $8.9 million contract to run an e-mobile registration and validation system for subsidized fertilizer.

Today, Cellulant is estimated to be worth over US$ 30 Million. One thing Ken points out about this valuation is that its inherently “locked” in the business and cannot be extracted until such time the shareholders consider shedding large portions of their equity. Ken also suggests that he has been “lucky” with Cellulant since the last 10 years have been like many leaps of faith with things coming together, “at just the right time”.
Ken laments at the fact that when he started Cellulant there was no kind of real venture funding in Kenya or the African Continent. It was really friends and family who helped give their business a starting chance. Ken hints that he is considering starting an Angel fund for start-ups in Africa to give them the “kick-off” that he never had to ease the passage to viability as businesses. However, Ken also notes that the failure rate for most start-ups is stupendous and as such mentorship of these.
I will conclude with two of Njoroge’s quotes: `
 “Companies must never look back when an opportunity strikes. Do not fear to expand or go beyond your traditional markets but go out there in uncharted markets”
 “My mother kept driving one message, excellence hardly looks at how much money you have, but a thoroughness in your work, disciplined and an ardent reader.”

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