Some quick thoughts on Pivot25

The Nyaruka team has been at Pivot25 for the past few days, presenting
Bizito as one of the finalists. It has been a fun time, it is great
to see what the technology scene is like here in Kenya. There is no
doubt that that Nairobi is much farther along than Kigali, but I view
that as encouragement as to what is yet to come for us in Rwanda.

But one thing that is the same, is the constant ask for access to
capital by various companies. A few presentations over the past few
days have had asks for six figures in funding, which gives me serious
pause. It seems like there is a belief that funding is the goal as
opposed to a necessary evil. The truth is just the opposite, as
software engineers, we have the unique advantage that we can build
systems to earn us money without doing physical work. Add to that
that all we really need is an internet connection, some ramen noodles
and an ample supply of coffee and the funding asks really make me
scratch my head.

One interesting exercise is to look at YCombinator as a comparison.
YCombinator is arguably the leading seed funder in the Silicon Valley
today. Companies compete in a similar way as we have here at Pivot25
to be one of the companies to be taken under their wing. And you know
how much they give? $20,000. And this is only the most promising,
most experienced, most qualified companies in the world. Their
graduates include the likes of DropBox and Loopt among countless other

So my advice to some of the less experienced teams. Forget about the
funding and go build your idea, after work if you need to, using a
loan from your friends and family if necessary. If you don't believe
in your idea enough to suffer through eating ramen, or to sell your
family on it, then maybe you don't believe in your idea as much as you
say you do.

My point is the only expensive thing about starting a software startup
is paying engineers, and if you are one, then you should be able to do
it without raising money, and you'll be all the better for it.