Kariuki is the founder of Zege Technologies, an IT company whose main objective is to deliver solutions in the new emerging market of mobile money and related services in the banking and finance sector. A graduate of Computer engineering from the Kenyatta University, Nairobi; Karuiki has amassed an enviable wealth of experience in the IT industry with online media and also in the banking sector especially when it comes to information systems that drive financial institutions.
His creativity and brilliance has seen him shaking hands with the high and mighty. Last year he was named as one of the nominees for the Future Awards Africa Young Person of the Year, with the likes of Grace Ihejiamaizu, a social entrepreneur from Nigeria and Foglabenchi Lily Haritu a nurse and community health worker. It was a sobering experience for the young man; “It came as a surprise to me because I am from Kenya and had never heard of The Future Awards before. What it means to me is that people are watching, listening and expecting great things from me”.
After his university education, Karuiki joined the banking industry, where he worked for two years after which he launched a revolutionary feat before striking out to set up his own company; Zege Technologies. He developed a mobile payment management system for use by Bank’s and Micro-Finance, and other organizations that manage Collection and Disbursements Money via mobile money providers (MPESA, ZAP, Orange, Yu).
His business revamped the banking system, providing unique financial solutions to banks and micro finance institutions. That served as a launch pad unto higher heights for the Techpreneur and actually a chance to appear on CNN, to his utter amazement. But actually there was more, few years down the line, he was invited to take a position at google, in their Zurich office in Switzerland. For most young men his age that would be a mind blowing opportunity which they would be willing to give up anything for. But Karuiki saw rather differently, he turned down the offer and gaily went after his calling, and since then it’s been no holds barred for the young man.
He recounts; “About 2years ago I got a mail from a recruiter at Google and they offered a chance to work at their Zurich office in Switzerland. Right there I could see my life flash before me. I saw a Range Rover sports, 3 children, lovely wife but I had started this baby that was my company, I had partners, and I thought about it a lot. If it were just about me, I would go no doubt but I am not doing this just for me but also for people who need me to do it. I want a situation where by the time I die, every innovation I can possibly remove from my head is out. I still think it has been worth it but time will tell if it was a stupid or genius move.”
He has since gathered numerous awards for his outstanding contribution to the continent. In his interview with the Future Awards he says plainly; “Awards are kind of becoming a bit normal to me. After so many wins and recognition, you begin to ask yourself ‘’what is your measure of success?’’ and that is really what makes me to do more because as a business, the measure of success isn’t award plaques. They are good but it still boils down to this, are you creating the impact, are you creating jobs, is your product or service doing what you need it to do? For me, awards have become like a vanity matrix. In tech, someone starts a blog and they get 10,000 clicks and 5,000 users and all those things that sort of add hype to the blog. But attaching that to money coming in is a different thing entirely. Recognition is good but the bottom line remains, am I making a difference?”
Talking about his business and hope in Africa, he says;
“It is the vision of where I see Africa. As a young person after campus, I started a business and suffered very many challenges. I also know that many young people will suffer the same so the vision behind our company is to innovate for life and we are targeting SMEs for growth. We are trying to provide solutions that would allow you as a business man to monitor and grow your company, to know if you are making money or not because many times in entrepreneurship, the problem is you cannot move past a step. Failure is as a result of lack of knowledge. We are trying to give to small businesses the stuff that makes big businesses thrive so they can become big too. And also to leverage on the power of mobile devices. We are starting with Kenya and our solutions can work anywhere in the world. The company is called Zege technologies which is a Swahili word for concrete.”
In life, it is those who think they can change the world that actually do. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it.If you doubt this statement please ask Karuiki.