A Kenyan man cried out after he was allegedly forced out of a multi-million company he reportedly founded.
In a video posted by activist Boniface Mwangi, on Twitter on Monday, January 20, Kennedy Nganga claimed that he launched Safi Analytics, a smart metering start-up for the agro sector, alongside two foreign nationals, one Lauren Dunford and Weston McBride but was later shortchanged.
Documents seen by Kenyans.co.ke detail the steps the geospatial engineer had taken towards seeking retribution and how he had emerged strongly from the incident that broke his heart.
Nga'ng'a claimed that he met Dunford in Kenya through a mutual friend in Kenya in mid-2017 when she had toured Kenya. Dunford would later travel back to the US before returning to Kenya in June 2018.
In Kenya, he set up the pilot phase of Safi Analytics, a company involved with smart-metering of electricity as Dunford and another partner were still undertaking their masters' studies.
"I am here struggling to make ends meet while other people enjoy the fruits of my innovation, eating all the work I did while they were in school.
"When I met her, she had an idea of doing something in the solar-energy space. We went with her round in different factories consulting but I suggested a change in tact proposing that it would be better to focus on the energy monitoring space as the solar-energy space was a saturated market," Nga'ang'a narrates.
The two started Safigen with an idea to have a company that would generate electricity. It was later renamed to Safi Analytics which Nga'ng'a claimed he set up in Kenya. Dunford assumed the CEO position as Ng'ang'a was designated, co-founder.
"Through the months we had worked, we were able to build a prototype and set it up in factories. It was a success and all of our clients were pleased. Dunford suggested we bring up someone familiar with raising venture capital and we brought in another partner, Weston McBride."
In 2018, they managed to successfully raise over Ksh200 million in venture capital. Availability of capital and a product already in the market was enough to transform the company.
"Apparently, as much as I thought we were a team, they had come up with a plan to eject me. They pressurised me to resign and give up my shares in exchange for a separation offer. Dunford trumped-up charges against me in a bid to dismiss me from my position.
"After that, she gave me a compensation offer which was poor and could not reflect my work. She denied me my severance pay and illegally dismissed me from my position," Nga'ng' lamented.
This forced him to seek retribution in court as he lamented over how locals were treated by foreigners in their own brainchildren.
"A lot of the startups in Nairobi tend to be mostly led by foreigners from abroad while the locals are employed in the lower cadres. It looks like locals cannot build any companies or they are not innovative, yet the reality is that locals are working smart only to be shortchanged later," he argued.
Ng'ang'a founded another company, Pima Smart, with other Kenyan partners as he battles his case with Dunford in court.
On Wednesday, January 22, Dunford, however, responded arguing that Nga'nga did not create the software and did not birth the idea for the company.
"The company was registered in the US in March 2017 and in Kenya in July 2017 prior to Nga'nga's employment in September 2017. In calling him co-founder upon him joining the team as the first employee was out of appreciation to him joining the team at such an early stage, although he had not created the idea for the company. During his time with us, he did not create the Safi Analytics software, and I invite him to show evidence of his contribution.
"Because the matter is in court, we are unable to comment further on the details that led to his dismissal in August 2018. However, in line with local laws, Kennedy was paid his terminal dues in August 2018. I also remain open to holding constructive dialogue with him as I have been in the past. I assure you that we have been and will continue to be open, fair and kind in every engagement with him," a statement released by the company via LinkedIn read
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