August 19th,2015

Shipra Kayan is currently mentoring THINK's incubatees and has accepted to mentor at kLab. She is a typical technical mentor- and we have got a lot of requests for this kind of mentorship.
She will be at kLab this Thursday (20 August 2015) from 2PM- 5PM. Check out her profile below and If you are interested in meeting her, please contact us at info@klab.rw.

E D U C AT I O N

Masters in Human Computer Interaction | GPA 3.7, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA | September 2005.
Bachelors in Information Technology | 1st Class, University of Delhi, India | April 2004.

E M P L OY M E NT

Upwork, San Francisco, CA | May 2015 to present formerly oDesk, Elance-oDesk
User Experience Research Lead: I am gathering and distributing customer behavior insights across the product, design and marketing teams.
Elance-oDesk, Mountain View, CA | January 2010 to May 2015 formerly oDesk
Interaction Designer: I researched, designed, and even product managed various projects on oDesk.com, from working with economists and data scientists to improve the search experience, all the way to re-thinking the Information Architecture. I employed Personas and Experience maps to align the product team around our top customers and their problems.
Oracle Corp. Redwood Shores, CA | October 2005 to December 2009
Interaction Designer: I solved complex design problems with enterprise level financial and project management software.

July 22nd,2015

Name: Rob Rickard.
Location: USA.
Industry: IT and Business.
Area of Expertise: For kLab: Business Development & Process Building.

About Me: I​ a​m pretty well known at kLab. I try to not focus on code development. As a mentor, i have helped with the 'business side' of start ups. I also have mentored on design and graphics as well as branding.My plans are to start a new program with kLab for start-ups and their software projects. I want to take mentoring to the next level as a full time mentor at kLab with a structured program. The focus will be to build a business culture that produces a finished product.

Send us an email at gm@klab.rw. We will connect you to Rob!

July 13th,2015

One of the most common failures I see in startups is lack of FOCUS. Unfocused entrepreneurs mostly talk with pride that their new technology will generate multiple innovative products for consumers as well as enterprises around the world. Investors hear this as trying to do too many things with limited resources, meaning the startup will not shine at anything, and will not survive the competition.

For example, a while back I received a startup executive summary, requesting Angel investor funding, that touted technology for a line of almost ten distinctive different technological services. Even a company with unlimited money and people shouldn’t try to step into various domains for the first time at the same time.

Other elements of startup focus are a bit vague and difficult to perceive, so let me zoom-in on some key ones here:


  • Type of business model. Startups that try to mix a non-profit entity with a for-profit entity to share resources don’t work, and scare off investors. Providing shoes for the poor is a laudable goal, but quite a different business than Zappos, which sells clothes profitably, and provides free shoes for the needy due to social consciousness.

  • Solve one problem really well. Focus means starting with a problem that is painful, rather than a technology, and showing how you can solve that problem better than anyone else. Later in the pitch, you can show that you are not a one-trick pony by prioritizing related solutions in your long-term plan.

  • Limited goals and priorities. No organization can manage more than 3 to 5 goals and priorities without becoming unfocused and ineffective. Keep these balanced and aligned between people (customers, employees) and process (quality, service, revenue), and keep the scope realistic (eliminating world hunger is too broad).

  • Segment the opportunity. Targeting all the people in Rwanda,or the entire whole continent as your opportunity gives you big numbers from a small penetration percentage, but will be seen as lack of focus by investors. Narrow the scope more realistically to people with specific age, income, and education demographics, that you can realistically reach with your marketing plan.

  • Keep your value chain consistent. Your value chain is your preferred business model, like premium quality, high service. If you mix that model with some commodity items, with no service, that will be seen as a lack of focus. Your team, customers, and investors will all be confused, leading to a lose-lose situation.

  • Simplify product scope. Your product will never have enough features to satisfy everyone, and it will never be perfect. Focus means creating a minimum viable product (MVP) first, and validating it in the marketplace. Feature-rich products take too much time and money to build, are hard to pivot, and will likely be slow and difficult to use.

  • Realistically frame the competition. If you really believe that Apple,IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle or the biggest companies in your country are your competition, you probably don’t have a business. It’s better to focus on a niche that none of them do well, and build your plan around that opportunity. Claiming you have no competition also implies lack of focus, or you don’t have a business.

  • Prioritize marketing channels. For a startup, it’s impossible to run an effective Facebook, Twitter, content marketing, and Google AdWords online campaign all at the same time. Focus on one channel at a time, measure results, and then move to the next. Offline, it’s not credible to talk about direct marketing, distributors, and integrators all in the same breath.
  • I certainly understand the pressure add more of everything to your plan, as you listen to more and more people, all with their own priorities and biases. But in the long run, you need a narrow and memorable focus to build a strong company. Even in the short term, customers and investors alike will help you carry a simple and clear focus all the way to the bank.

    I am not trying to be against the idea of having a variety of services/products in your startup but you should know and have priorities for your startup.Otherwise if you can not be able to describe what you startup does in few words,then you have to know that there is no FOCUS in your business.

    Written by Pacifique Hallellua