Driving Dreams through Faith

Wow! Where do I start?
It has been six years since the founding of Solutech but it feels like a mere two years. It’s interesting how you don’t notice time flying when you are engrossed in and passionate about what you do.

One of the things that I have picked through this journey is that I have immense respect for founders of genuine and successful businesses out here and not just in my field(technology) but all sectors. Founders are not just people with great ideas but people with unmatched faith. When I think about the trials I went through that clouded my vision with doubts, I can say it is faith that kept me going.

This faith which according to Nelson Mandela, former South African president and apartheid revolutionary leader, terms it as the ability to see the invisible, believe the impossible and trust in the unknown.

I come from a family where few dare to venture into business due, most of us prefer working in public service where stability and job security is guaranteed. Because of that, it wasn’t until the other day that my father came to share the vision that I had in mind when my young ambitious unemployed graduate self decided to go the entrepreneurial direction. Recalling the countless job opportunities he forwarded me and the numerous questions on whether our business would bear fruit, I am glad I stuck to my dream.

From my high school days at Ambira Boys, I used to type and print love letters with fancy fonts for my classmates on Windows 98 computers at the computer lab at a fee. When the holidays came, I’d use Microsoft publisher on my father’s windows vista to create logos and posters. Indeed, this young man has been a hustler since back then.
However, my founding story formally began while pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the University of Nairobi. While there, participating in group work led to the coming together of innovative minds and forming of a briefcase company called SunSmart Solutions. I, Rayyidh who is CTO at Solutech, Tom Kimani – Co-founder of Presta Capital and Awil Osman – CEO of Irise hub, did a couple of website projects and managed to earn a few shillings. But by the time we graduated, circumstances forced us to go separate ways to try and stabilize financially. It was at this moment right before I graduated, I was afforded a backend Lead Developer role at Infonet Africa. I instinctively pulled in Rayyidh who was a guru at mobile applications and Mutie, a JavaScript and frontend warrior to join me as I knew they would make a great team. Unfortunately, despite the good time we had at Infonet, it was short lived and when financial challenges came creeping in, we were back to square one, jobless.

Left with the only job known to a huge percentage of fresh Kenyan Graduates, tarmacking, I consistently was on the road dropping hard copy CVs. Safaricom, Co-op Bank and Kenya Pipeline were those I can recall I applied at among many email applications I sent. Unfortunately, I never got a response from any. Life was tough but I am grateful for the freelance website projects that kept me afloat. At some point in a bid to create an alternative source of income, I started a fast-food business that failed miserably. Attempt two was at watermelon farming with Rayyidh but that as well failed but as Nelson Mandela once said, you never lose, you either win or learn. The take homes I got from these attempts were life changing and I am grateful.

Come 2014, this was a turning point for I, Rayyidh and Mutie. Minds full of ideas but no way to penetrate the market, we knew Jinal was our missing link based on his more than twenty years business experience and his huge network. After clicking just on a two-minute possible working partnership with him, we knew we had the tech genius and he knew the right people to talk to. That my friends, is how Solutech was born.Six years later, we are an innovation powerhouse not just in Kenya but slowly growing taking over the region. As founders, we perfectly complement one another on the roles we so graciously play at Solutech in realizing the company’s mission and vision.

The second thing I learnt, not just in our journey but in the other ventures I got involved in, apart from the common vision, you have to deliberately cultivate friendship bonds that will help you stand the turbulences that businesses go through. You will not always see eye to eye but the respect and understanding that comes with these friendships will help you approach such times amicably.

From my former employer, I grasped that it is hard for a technology company to scale with one-time projects. With this in mind as we started Solutech, we were keen on coming up with a software that not only scales but transforms core processes in the organizations we deploy in and that is how Solutech SAT, Kenya’s Leading Sales Force Automation tool was created. Solutech SAT is a great product that constantly evolves with our customer’s changing needs, supported by our RnD and also our excellent customer support.

Solutech’s foundation consists of teamwork, friendship, patience, service and respect. This has managed to trickle down to the whole team. I am happy and humbled that as we serve our customers, we have been able to create jobs for more than 20 Kenyans as well.

Inhouse, Rayyidh is the guy who solves the toughest technical problems and is excellent at numbers. Mutie is the thorough one that makes sure processes are followed in all our operations and is the most patient when it comes to documentation. Jinal is the go-getter that will knock on any door for opportunities, manages relations and is the calm guy during the toughest of storms.

Behind the excellent work we do are the most important people, our young and amazing team. My role is to piece everything together, ensure we have a happy team, ensure we stay ahead of our customers’ next need, ensure innovation is at the forefront and that we stay united.

Where we are, we have a great team, innovative products and supportive customers. Greater things are yet to come so you better watch this space.

 

Alexander Odhiambo

Co-founder and CEO Solutech Limited

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