James Wachira, RebelsMarket
James Wachira, was born in the city of Meru near the slopes of Mount Kenya in Eastern Kenya. His mother was and still is involved in agriculture business. His father, who was formerly a tribal chief, currently sells petroleum products such as automotive fuels in Kenya.
James developed an interest early on in business. In his early teens, he started running his own operations. He credits his father as his inspiration to study business, supporting the theory spelled out by Edward B. Roberts and Herbert A. Wainer of “The Entrepreneur’s Father,” which stipulates that a boy’s “measure of personal success may be strongly related to the level
of achievement attained by his father.”
James admired his father’s accomplishments but also believed his father was limited by the lack of available resources and inadequate educational opportunities in Kenya. James decided that outside of Kenya, he would have greater access to resources, intelligent communities that shared his interests, and exceptional education.
He applied and was accepted to Kenya Methodist University in Kenya. Though his interest was in business, to make his studies more interesting, he studied the subject indirectly through different fields, mathematics and computer science. He recalled being teased by his friends for his interest in studying computer science because they did not see potential in the field– six years ago computer science education in Kenya was undoubtedly inadequate. While James was studying at Kenya Methodist University, James started Internet Cafes and a small technical firm that provided technical services to the locals.
James graduated from Kenya Methodist University with a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science. After graduation, James dedicated his time to software development for various companies. At the time, the market in Kenya was “immature,” the opportunities were limited, and the infrastructure was not ready for his ideas, so his career in Kenya reached a plateau. He sought opportunities in other countries but his dream was always to come to Silicon Valley, “the heart of computer technology.”
James applied and was accepted to University of California Berkeley; but due to high cost of tuition fees and living expenses, he opted to move to a cheaper college that would not break his parents savings. James joined International Technological University in 2007 and graduated with a Masters in Software Engineering.
“I was honored to have received the opportunity to study in the U.S. and to receive my master’s,” said James. “However, while good schools look good on paper, I believed being in Silicon Valley was more than enough to achieve my long awaited dream.”
His first job was as a Support Engineer for Barracuda Networks. Then for nearly two years, James worked as a Ruby on Rails Engineer at WestEd, a company that works to improve primary, secondary, and higher education.
After completing his work for WestED, James had saved some money and decided it was time explore his dreams. After leaving WestEd, James began working as a freelance consultant for various companies in the bay area.
While working as a freelance consultant, a family member came to visit. While helping her locate a daycare provider for her kids, he realized that most information on daycare sites was outdated, inaccurate, and inconveniently limited. He recognized the opportunity to create a resource that would serve a large community need.
James co-created a site that contains current, accurate, and reliable information about daycare centers that makes it easy to find a daycare center for kids. The site also makes it easy for daycare providers to advertise their services and easy for job seekers to find childcare jobs. The site provides resources for parents, job seekers, and daycare centers across the United States.
Everything looked great at the start, but later on due to lack of good connections, support from family communities and capital, siteforcare did not gain traction; and James slowly ran out of money. He decided to go back to work in various start up companies for exposure, experience and to build connections in the community.
After working for two years at various startup companies, James Co-Founded RebelsMarket, a social marketplace that allows buying and selling of alternative lifestyle products, designs and inspirations. While United States is consumer market, the alternative community is highly neglected due to the fact that everything is about trends and what’s current.
RebelsMarket launched a beta version in August 2012 and within three weeks , RebelsMarket has over 1k items listed, over 200 rebel sellers and 70k Pre-Launch Sign ups.