1. Meeting tech entrepreneurs in Seattle, Washington

    Yesterday, the great folks at World Affairs Council organised meetings for us with four tech startup founders here in Seattle. The companies are all at different stages. One of them was launched just 2 days ago, another hasn’t launched yet, the other a few months ago and the last one years ago. The 4 entrepreneurs all had different experiences and perspectives and were all quite keen to share them. It was also a great opportunity to share with them our experiences from back home, which led to conversation about the different environments, the different opportunities because of and methods of execution and as well as similarities shared.

    The day started off with a meeting with 2 guys, Bradley Buda (guy in the middle), a former Amazon and BlueKai engineer who has now started a company called BBA, and Chris Walters (him too a former Amazonian) who launched Livestar on Thursday. Livestar is a mobile app that’s basically a Yelp but with the reviews made by your friends and Bradley’s startup is developing an application to help small to medium size businesses manage their outsourced services. We talked about starting a business from scratch and the work that goes into publicly launching. They asked a lot of questions about the environment in Africa and I found myself learning a lot too from the experiences the guys from Mauritania, DRC and Senegal shared.

    Next meeting was with Chuks Onwuneme (guy with hat), a former Nokia engineer who started Personify.it about a month ago. Chuks is from Nigeria and he talked about his experience moving to the US for education and a career in engineering. Personify it has an interesting objective on social responsibility and I encourage you to check it out!

    The last meeting of the day was with Max Ciccotosto (black t-shirt guy) , the founder and CEO of Wishpot and Venpop (more about those here). He’s a former Microsoft Program Manager and founded Wishpot some 6 years back. We talked about the challenges he faced transitioning from employment to starting Wishpot with a friend, some mistakes they made and how they learnt from them.