How Kenyan Tycoon Built Ksh100 Million Empire From Nothing

  • Little known Kenyan tycoon Rajiv Mehta is the founder and the Managing Director of Tangerine Investments, a Kenyan-based outdoor advertising firm that uses public transportation, litter bins, and street poles to market goods.

    The young and energetic entrepreneur clawed his way up from the very bottom, having been written off by members of his family.

    "My uncle had given me the challenge to go and earn my own money and had told me that I would never be able to do so and would come back for his help that itself had given me the motivation," he narrated to Forbes Africa back in 2017.

    His life took a turn for the worse the moment he dropped out of his business management and marketing program at a local college after his father died.

    Tangerine Investments CEO Rajiv Mehta.

    "After my dad passed away while I was in university -and after dropping out too, as usual, the family politics started and I was kicked out of the business,'' he recalled.

    Forced to fend for his own at a young age and with a point to prove to some members of his family, the young Mehta set out seeking funds to start a small business that would help him raise enough capital to venture into his passion of advertising.

    "I initially started importing liquid tyre sealants and accessories like car winches that I sold to clients locally for that I initially raised around Ksh100,000 for my first shipment from China in 2008 which I raised from a few shares I had that I sold and some borrowing from my mum," he revealed.

    Armed with his increasing income, the budding businessman moved out of the family home together with his mother, sister and brother - whose personal expenses he had to cater for.

    He went on to explain that this was the toughest period of his life as he was living hand to mouth.

    He soon got married to the love of his life and decided to get a regular job to boost his income levels.

    "I was working in the day and planned the orders I had in the evenings. I tried getting to save money again but it still was quite a challenge and I decided to finally quit my job and take a risk as it was getting frustrating with the slow growth," he explained.

    With some financial help from his wife, Mehta then fully immersed himself in the outdoor advertising business, going on to establish himself not only in Nairobi but Nigeria as well.

    Tangerine, which was founded in 2008, has clients such as Kenya Airways, Pizza Inn, Subway, Coca Cola, HP among others. 

    The company has annual revenues exceeding Ksh100 million.

    Billboards mounted on street light poles in Nairobi. Tangerine Investments use such media to market products for their clients.