We don’t need jobs, we’ll hire others instead
Their objective is simple — to help their clients make technology an asset and not a problem in their businesses.
The idea was hatched after Merrs Vian Khaoya, Thadeus Mwalo and Kevin Obade emerged tops in the Science Congress — a schools science innovations contest — while they were in Form Three at Friends School Kamusinga in Bungoma County.
They thought of setting up a conpany and started pooling ideas. Almost a year later, Techstation stopped being just an idea and acquired its own life.
Family and friends
“We barely had capital to start the company but our self-drive and personal contributions with a little help from relatives put us on the path to where we are now,” said Mr Mwalo, the Techstation managing director.
With Sh200,000, Mwalo, a fourth-year Actuarial Science student and his partners registered a car tracking company in July 2013.
However, it was not easy to get the GPS trackers and they had to import some from Germany. They remodelled them to suit their purpose.
As Mr Obade, also fourth-year Electrical Engineering student puts it, theirs is a partnership not only of interest, but intelligence.
“We got the trackers from Germany but we needed to have them uniquely repackaged to perform he job we had in mind. That is where all the knowledge gained in class had to be applied,” said Obade.
Like every other business venture, Techstation has had its fair share of challenges. One of them was penetrating the already flooded market.
They first had to sell the idea to their friends and families by testing the gadgets on their cars.
“We had to start from the known to the unknown. After convincing our relatives, we were confident enough to go wider,” added Mr Mwalo.
The devices send messages and show location of a car using the Global Positioning System (GPS). For Sh25,000 one can get a tracker. A client can, however, opt to pay Sh18,000 per tracker and a subsequent monthly fee of Sh1,000.
At only 23 years and still students, the three have employed eight people, four of whom install trackers for clients. The firm’s turnover is estimated at Sh10 million.
“Follow your dreams and believe in yourself. Challenges are there but one has to overcome them in order to achieve a goal,” said Mr Khaoya, the company’s head of research and development.
Asked if they would desire to be employed after graduating, he said they had chosen to employ others instead. They have so far fitted 42 cars with the trackers.
Other than fitting trackers, Techstation also creates websites for clients and runs a social network site, Hypecage, developed three years ago.
The site has close to 3,000 followers and the owners believe it will soon compete on the same platform with Facebook and other popular social media sites.
Mr Oliver Mwalo is one customer who has benefitted from Techstation, the firm that designs websites for him. “Their services are good and affordable,” he said.