The story of Mubarak Muyika best illustrates the virtues of resilience, determination and persistence.
Despite becoming a total orphan when he was only 10 years old, that did not stop him from chasing his dreams. At the age of 16, he established a tech company that went on to earn him millions three years later.
Muyeka declined a full scholarship at the prestigious Harvard University in order to focus on his tech company.
Mubarak Muyika was born in Western Kenya on May 31st, 1994. His father, who served as the District Commissioner in Siaya, died when he was in class 2. When he was ten years old, he lost his mother who was a secondary school teacher. He was adopted by his relatives who raised him in Nairobi.
It’s at Friends School Kamusinga where his passion for technology was discovered. While in high school, he won two prestigious awards in Kenya’s national science fair, the annual Kenya Students Congress on Science and Technology.
The awards include; in the 48th edition in 2010, he won for a technical whitepaper titled ‘Kahunic KInfra-photo surveyor’ which was presented as a computer talk and was ranked first in that category. The Whitepaper was based on Java, C++ dependencies, MySQL, infra-red, laser rays and customized ray emitters to identify objects concealed behind concrete and wood by use of reflection and refraction.
In 2011 during the fair’s 49th edition, Mubarak developed software to manage the flow of petrol and the movement of oil tankers. The project name was ‘Techno Fibre System’ also known as ‘Enhanced Petrol tracker,’ emerging as the best in their category.
Orphaned at the age of 11, Mubarak Muyika settled with his mother’s sister and her husband. His adoptive parents operated a small book publishing and distribution company, Acrodile Publishers.
He observed the business’s conflicting dependency on a good website to reach more customers and the current webmaster who provided poor service at a high cost. Mubarak decided to address this need by taking the initiative to teach himself how to build a website using online resources.
A couple of months and numerous coding tutorials later, Mubarak delivered a working e-commerce site for Acrodile Publishers and added PHP, Java, and Html to his coding tool belt. In 2011, with an amount of US$60, Mubarack registered HypeCentury Technologies & Investments rented a small office in Nairobi CBD, and began developing more custom websites at affordable prices for small business owners.
In 2012 through the company, he won the Anzisha Prize for young entrepreneurs, issued by the African Leadership Academy. Muyika then built HypeCentury into a functioning company with 14 employees and handling over 700 companies with 1400 registered domains.
The company attracted international tech investors like Jignesh Patel who bought a 25% stake in the company. This investment helped the company to grow.
In May 2013, he sold 60% ownership rights in a six-figure dollar deal to Wemps Telecoms, effectively becoming a millionaire at 19.
Establishing a company in Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is considered the home of innovations and technology. Blue chip companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook all started off in Silicon Valley which is situated in the Southern San Francisco Bay Area of Los Angeles, California.
In late 2013, Mubarak moved to Silicon Valley and established Zagace limited, a company that runs an app store for businesses to access software for accounting, human resource management and marketing among many other services.
Rejecting Harvard Scholarship
Speaking to finance.yahoo.com, Mubarak shared how the late billionaire Chris Kirubi tried to secure a scholarship for him at Harvard University. He however turned the offer down because he thought the years in school would cause his company to fall behind his competitors. Instead, he focused on raising capital and growing his business.
“It was nothing that I felt was the best thing for me at the time. I was supported during the whole application process, and it was really an amazing experience. I felt like some of my peers already had raised funds, already had employees, and were already competing. And that it would take me five years to actually catch up with them. I decided, No, scrap this, I have to remain ahead. What I decided at the time is that I’m not going to think about this Harvard thing anymore. I just want to win fast,” he explained.