Kelvin Mureithi Karanja
Founder of Makao
Graduate of Cultov8 hackathon and pre-accelerator 2018
Kelvin graduated from Cultov8 Pre-accelerator Program in 2018. Prior to attending Cultov8, Kelvin worked full-time as an engineer taking up this role in 2015 after completing his studies at RMIT University.
Before joining Cultov8, Kelvin started market research to discover available opportunities that could transform his idea, Makao, into a sustainable full time business.
One of the opportunities Kelvin sought was organisations that provided support to startups like Makao. This initially led him to LaunchVic (the funding body for Cultov8) and the information on LaunchVic’s website redirected him toward Cultov8. The focus of Cultov8 Program was a perfect fit for Kelvin as he was born in Kenya and the program targeted its support to meet the needs of people born overseas.
Kelvin’s journey through Cultov8 was both enjoyable and empowering. At the very start of the Cultov8 Business Builder weekend, he was immediately surprised by the cultural and faith diversity as well as plethora of ideas brought into the room by participants.
Meeting with other founders and witnessing how they transformed their ideas into businesses via Cultov8 was exciting and inspiring for Kelvin. It challenged him in many ways to step out of his comfort zone. Being in a room full of motivated and driven individuals also created a conducive environment to work together, share learnings, and bouncing ideas off each other. In fact, new great relationships were developed between Kelvin and others in Cultov8 - some of whom he still keeps in touch with.
Another area that was extremely helpful for Kelvin was the availability and committed nature of the team of facilitators who supported the program. The presence of such dedicated coaches was particularly helpful for him at times when he felt stuck or uncertain of the path to take.
With the help of Cultov8, Kelvin was equipped with new skills to enable him to connect the important components of successful venture creation and to think flexibly. It was also a great opportunity for Kelvin to deep dive into the important questions such as who his target market was; what needs he was solving; what capabilities he possessed; and where he could find support and resources. These were valuable learning strategies that helped Kelvin to approach his market.
Kelvin said, “I’ve taken all the knowledge I gained at Cultov8 and am still applying it to my business today. I’ve now started to apply these thought processes rather intuitively since the business is constantly evolving.”
Makao launched in May 2018 while Kelvin was still participating in the Cultov8 pre-accelerator program. As he and his team plans its next milestone, Kelvin said he will apply the same principles learned through Cultov8 to take Makao to the next level.
“When I joined Cultov8, I had a business idea with lots of potential. Now I have an actual business. The program helped me think more deeply into the business and helped me take the first step in turning it from an idea to an operating business delivering value to real people.”