Bride Price Emergency That Birthed Ksh 400M Empire

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Nairobi Stock Exchange CEO Geoffrey Otieno Odundo and Tusker Mattresses Group CEO Daniel Githua at a past event.
Situated in Nairobi’s Central business district, Speed Capital is a Ksh. 400  million financial entity whose inception story is rather intriguing as featured on Business Daily on March 9, 2015.

It was founded in 2009 by Tuskys Supermarkets Chief Executive Officer Daniel Githua and one of his friends from their Starehe Boys Centre days, Ben Ireri.

In August 2009, Githua had accompanied a friend to pay the bride price. Negotiations were tough and unfortunately, the groom and his men fell short of the required amount by a staggering Ksh120,000. This short opened the doors for him to lend the friend money and make a profit while at it.

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Nairobi Stock Exchange CEO Geoffrey Otieno Odundo and Tusker Mattresses Group CEO Daniel Githua at a past event.

“I quickly raised money from a few friends who were there and loaned it to my friend on the condition that he pays back with some interest in a few weeks,” Githua recalled as quoted by the publication.

This incident made him contemplate the idea of emergency lending. After further and thorough analysis, he established that there was an ever-increasing demand for quick loans, and it is out of this that in September 2009, Speed Capital was registered as a company with Ksh 120,000 as seed money.

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Githua in collaboration with his friend Ireri commenced on issuing small loans and primarily to friends and associates. Then he worked as an auditor at Industrial Promotion Services.

At the end of the year, they had dished out Ksh. 5 million worth of loans.

In 2010, the company was on a meteoric rise. This forced the two budding entrepreneurs to strategize on the growth of what they had started off as a side hustle. Therefore, in 2010, they recruited their first branch manager, Miriam Mutinda- formerly a banker from the microfinance arm of World Vision.

“We put in place proper processes and hired eight employees, most loan officers,” Githua narrated.

That year, Speed Capital raised Ksh15 million from investors, among them Kenyans living in the diaspora.

Murang’a was home to the firm’s first branch, a move that was championed for by the Tuskys CEO primarily because he grew up there. However, the branch closed down a year later due to low business.

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Githua and Ireri did not stop at that, they set up shop at Kitengela and Naivasha. A decision was later reached to cut back on expansion and duo decided to major in the Nairobi metropolitan area for the ease of administration. As a result, the next branches were put up in Ongata Rongai, Embakasi, Thika and Gikomba market.

To fully concentrate on the business, Githua exited his job then as a senior auditor at Tuskys to fully steer Speed Capital. 

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<!–[if IE 9]><![endif]–>Tuskys Supermarkets CEO and founder of Speed Capital Daniel Githua at the lender's offices in Kimathi House, Nairobi on March 8, 2015.

Tuskys Supermarkets CEO and founder of Speed Capital Daniel Githua at the lender’s offices in Kimathi House, Nairobi on March 8, 2015.

By 2015, the firm’s workforce had risen to 90, with an extra branch in Nairobi’s Pipeline estate. Its board had grown to include the likes of Gilbert Kibicho, founder of Top100 SME Virgin Tours, and Jesse Mwangi, director of consumer, trade and marketing at Nigerian company Habanera Limited.

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“In addition to implementing strong corporate governance, Speed Capital’s growth has also been as a result of using a different approach to lending,” Githua stated.

He stated that the firm took a different approach to lending, away from other financial institutions, this was by focusing on the business model and the processes.

“Many small businesses do not keep proper books and it is easy to present a good cash flow statement by simply making deposits and withdrawals, which in reality may not be coming from the business but are intentionally done to show a good financial position,

“Looking at how the business runs, the industry it operates in and average margins, among other factors, gives a better profile of the borrower than books and bank statements. As a result, this reduces the risk of defaulting,” Githau was then quoted as saying.

Githua left Speed Capital in 2015 when he was appointed as the new and first non-family CEO of Tuskys Supermarkets.

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