The emotions of a first time founder

I’ve always held startup entrepreneurs close to my heart.

And I always watched videos of them, explain their trade, the challenges, everything. I always Googled them, they were my mentors (the online way). They were my guys, I loved them, I dug their challenges, their joys, their ups, their downs. I was that silent co-founder, never contributing anything but always with them from the start to the end … watching their companies grow and watching their companies fail. Jason Nazar, CEO,Docstoc, you’ve been one of my heroes.

And now i’ve done it! Jason, your son is now a founder.

Trent Dyrsmid, of Online Income Lab told me: “the only way to succeed in business, is to be in business.”

So, I got into business. I started my company from my hostel room and I watched it grow. I felt the despairs entrepreneurs feel. I felt the joy of feeling you are solving a problem, for people you don’t know.

The joy of people calling you: “Hello, am i speaking to [insert_name] of [insert_startup_name]?” People I don’t know! People who “mean something” in society. People who get into a room and the room falls silent to hear what they have to say.

And now I’m headed to my first public demo of my startup!

I got into an incubator.

I remember our first pitch. We were shit. We didn’t have a pitch deck. We didn’t have anything. All we had was our prototype, our brains, and mouths. We approached the pitching area, put our really buggy prototype on the projector and explained what we intended to do. That took about a minute and the panel was like: that’s it? Yeah.

I will probably never know why they chose us, over hundreds of other applicants, though i keep asking and keep getting no answers.

But the one thing that stuck out about us was our hustler spirit: we were hustlers and we let it shine through. We also had done our research and didn’t leave a single stone unturned. We knew the questions they were going to ask, and we answered them all — we knew our shit.

It hasn’t all been a joy.

But, one thing I learned is this: “Do what you love, and you will never have to work a single day in your life.”

I have spent more time in the office than I have in my room. I have spent more time with my co-founders than I have with family and friends.

My first ‘external’ DEMO will be this Friday (2/28/2014). I’ve taken time off to do stuff I never do, because this week will be the most hectic and nerve-racking week of my young life. We are going to kick the shit out of that DEMO.

It has been a long ride so far. We’ve fought, we’ve hugged and we’ve made memories.

Welcome, future.


Disclaimer: I did this post way back in 2014, about 3 months into my startup. I couldn’t sum up the courage to do this on my blog or share it out, so I chose to do it on But having seen and mentored a couple of startups who are in exactly the same place we were then, I thought heck, why not?

So I’ll be doing a series of posts, centered around my experiences running a startup in Kenya.

Thank you Leila for pushing me to publish this!

I must admit, this feels like i’m coming out of the closet :-).

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