How I walked away with Sh1 million from Lions' Den

Eliud Ngugi Ng’ang’a, 29.
Following a downsizing exercise, Eliud Ngugi Ng’ang’a, 29, was retrenched in 2017 from a multinational company after working for four years.

This gave him the opportunity to concentrate fully on his once side-hustle, Codefront Consultancy Ltd.

Codefront is an information technoogy company that he formed while working at the company before he was retrenched.

The idea behind it works by putting the event ID in the portal and you can be able to see the high resolution photos real-time after paying some amount agreed upon with the photographer through M-Pesa.

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The idea seeks to capture photo moments from events - weddings, office parties, product launches and make memories worth sharing.

Two years later, he has won Sh1 million after presenting his photoportal idea in the third season of Lions’ Den.

He shared his story on why he believes the Lions' Den investors; Kris Senanu and Joanne Mwangi bought his idea and invested Sh500,000 each for 40 per cent shareholding in his business.

Your idea should create employment

The general idea was to help professional photographers share high quality photos as the events goes on.

“We are going to create hundreds of photography jobs. For instance, according to a research done by Samantha Bridal, there were 30,000 weddings in 2009. This means there are opportunities for photographers to do business. So, while pitching your idea, ensure it has ability to create jobs because that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.

Ensure it’s not expensive to actualise your idea

“For me I wanted Sh500,000 but I was able to get Sh1million. Some ideas, though practical may need a huge capital investment to actualise and sustain.

In total, it cost me Sh10,000 to come up with the whole system and to launch it. It took me eight months to work on the system.

It should be self-sustaining

It’s a project that does not need to be funded over and over again. That is where many projects go wrong even if it’s a charity project for instance. This is because investors may not be willing to finance you time and again.

Be passionate about your idea

The way you pitch can win or lose the investors’ confidence in your business.

Your passion for what you do must show during your pitch. First impression matters a lot. Some investors not only buy into the idea but also the person selling the idea. The character behind the person is equally important. How well you present yourself can convince the investors to invest in your business. I have watched some investors in past shows, some who had more brilliant ideas than mine, but because they were nervous and could not present themselves well, they lost the investment. And this sometimes makes investors start doubting you, if you are the originator of the idea or not.

Know your numbers

Know the numbers of clients, market information, the market dynamics among others. For instance, how many people are you roughly targeting and what are your plans for the amount you are pitching. You should be able to break down the figures on your projected earnings visa vis your projected investment capital you are looking for.

The investors’ orientation is more on finances and the finances are justified by numbers. Don’t be self-seeking too much. I was initially asking for Sh2 million but when I talked with my sister, she told me reduce it because it didn’t sound realistic. This is no wonder the Lions’ Den have finance people to advise you on how much you should pitch for before going to the pitch because some amounts pitched for do not make sense.

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