How I got an investor to buy 50pc of my company for Sh100,000

It was exactly ten minutes to midnight on July 10 when Kevin Odhiambo hit the send button on his email.
It was then that the comic strip artist submitted his application to venture into the KCB Lions’ Den rather half-heartedly and see if his fledging attempt to turn his small start-up, Ronin Creations, into a business could find a partner and flourish.
The competition had been brought to his attention by a friend but he just wasn’t sure that he’d make it there and it was the nudging by his wife to try that gave him the courage to put in his application.
To his delight, he got a call the very following day telling him that after all, he could come and put his idea to the test. His hopes rose and he knew that his days of struggling to sell his comic strips could well be coming to an end.
Kevin had been creating comic strips since he was in primary school.
“I started when I was in Class 4. I’ve always been intrigued by cartoons since I was a kid,” Kevin said. “Initially, I used to copy characters from other cartoons but over time I developed my own style and started doing illustrations without reference.”
He kept at it and by the time he joined Uhuru High School he had so ingrained his art that he would return for a new term with a comic strip from his artistic observation the previous term. His characters are called The Culprits and are developed from some of the friends he had in high school.
“When I was in Form Three, some of my friends told me that they thought I should commercialise my talent. I actually sent work to a local daily but they said they could not enter into a contract with me since I was under 18,”said Kevin. But he says that artist Gamz who writes for The Standard helped him get published a couple of times.
Kevin says his father does not like cartoons and his mother doesn’t understand them. But even though she doesn’t understand them, it was his mother who put together some money so he could buy a computer.
In Form Four, Kevin scored a ‘B’ but his interest remained in art and he joined Shang Tao Media Arts College to study for a diploma.
It was here that he migrated from colouring and pencils to digital composition. He studied as hard as he could but had to drop out since he could not raise the requisite fees.
But he kept drawing and would produce comic streets and sell them in schools or other children’s festivals.
When Kevin signed up for Lions’ Den, he knew who his target was: Myke Rabar.
“I was presenting to all the Lions but my prime target was Myke Rabar. I knew that if he came on board and I got access to the Homeboyz infrastructure I would make it,” said Kevin.
When the show got underway, it was actually Myke who ended up investing in his company, buying a 50 per cent stake for Sh100,000. Does he think it was worth his midnight gamble?
“You need to be realistic with your pitch and work your figures right,” said Kevin. “It’s good to have some Lions in mind and remember that it’s about opportunity and connections.”

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