Ken Njoroge’s $500,000 business lesson

October 4, 2018

You start a business, build it from the ground up and start making significant returns. You enter into your first partnership and because of a mistake your lawyer makes, you end up signing a deal that gives away 95% of your business. Daunting, Isn’t? Well, what has been described above is exactly what Ken Njoroge (Co-Founder and group CEO of Cellulant, an African digital payment platform) did in the beginning stages of his first business, 3Mice Interactive.
“What happened was my co-founders and I signed the deal where the legal and actual paper work changed on the day we were signing, from a sale to a loan. So the deal technically stated that the investor was going to loan us $500,000, for 95% of our business. We would then pay back the money and if we behaved ourselves the investor would give us back 25% of the business.” Ken Njoroge
“Those were very brutal lessons very early in my business life. What I learnt was, stay close to the paper work. The fact that you’re not a lawyer shouldn’t prevent you from understanding all the information contained in deals signed.” Ken said From that point, he says every time he’s making a deal, he has to have a meeting with his lawyer who explains exactly what every clause in the deal entails. Not in legal terms but ‘in English’, until he understands. From that experience he also learnt that before getting into negotiations to make a deal, he has to draw a line for himself and know what he is and is not willing to do and what he wants to get out of the deal. “When that red line is crossed, just walk away. You’re better off.” Ken says. Ken Njoroge, Founder of Cellulant, was a guest at Founders drink up held in January 2018. Get access to the full podcast for only Kshs 250, email

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