June 22, 2016

Episode 56 – Philip Kasumu

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Co-Founder & CEO of ScanBite

What made you decide to work in tech/get involved in tech?

I’ve also wanted to run a business, and I’ve always loved health & fitness. As I learned more about business and successful entrepreneurs, I learned that staying ahead of the times is key. I also want to create something substantial or something much bigger than myself that can impact millions of lives. I knew it had to be tech and so that was that, I decided I wanted to become tech founder. 

What was an obstacle you faced and how did you overcome that obstacle?

Well, once I decided I wanted to be a tech founder I kind of thought “ok great!… Wait I can’t code! Or design!” it’s like saying you want to build a house, but you have no bricks, or scaffolding or any raw materials. So what do you do? Well, if I couldn’t figure that out then maybe I should just go back to work and pretend like nothing happened. Or I could find what I needed and where I could find it or them… I chose the latter of course. That means I needed to find a technical co-founder to help me build my MVP. After a few months of searching and meeting people, I found my guy, and we had the first version out within eight weeks. Super ugly but we had something to test which was the most important thing.

What is your experience being a POC in Tech?

Over here in London the tech scene is growing but still has a bit of an Old boys club mentality. That being said I can’t say it’s held me back in any way. Startups are inherently hard for anyone and while it’s easier for some I still know my success is down to me, my team and our product and that’s pretty much the bottom line. The amount of POC in tech is still relatively small in London, but I think that’s more of a cultural problem, meaning POC need to take more risks and leave the traditional jobs our parents forced us to do. i.e banking, law, accountancy, medicine, etc. 

What was your perception of the tech industry before entering it? What is your perception now?

My perception was that you needed to have gone to Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Standford first and then you needed to work at Google, Apple or Facebook before you could get into the game. While that may still be the case, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter to your users what you did or where you came from. All that matters is whether your product is helping them or saving them money.  My perception hasn’t changed that much; it’s still quite a bit of an Old boys club, but rather than complaining I just network my socks off.  

What are three tips you can give to high school/college students who want to enter tech?

I hate giving advice as I don’t feel I’m in a position to do so, but if I had to give three they would be: 1) Start now no matter how crappy the idea is because you’re going to learn and it is going to evolve. 2) Network 3) Do what you love. 

Shameless Plug?

Please check out our nutritional app Scanbite that lets you scan labels to find out what’s really in your food. Please give us feedback! Also, check out my Startup podcast handmedowns where we interview founders, investors and thought leaders in London.

Michael Berhane

Co-founder and CEO of peopleofcolorintech.com & pocitjobs.com. Also the co-host of the #Techish podcast! Full Stack JavaScript developer by trade.

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