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Phares Kariuki, East Africa’s cloud champion

Phares Kariuki, East Africa’s cloud champion

Phares Kariuki is the founder and CEO of Nairobi based Node Africa.

Phares Kariuki is the founder and CEO of Nairobi based Node Africa, an IT infrastructure and cloud consulting company. The business objective of Node Africa is to help large and medium companies move their workloads to a cloud hosting environment. As the CEO he is responsible for driving sales, marketing, business development, talent management and public relations. “We are making significant progress in helping large enterprise companies cut down their operating costs and improve their agility.”

On a day to day basis Kariuki wrestles with creating innovative and stand out products for Node Africa’s customers. Motivating the team, driving sales revenue and raising debt and capital for the company are also his to do’s.

Prior to Node Africa, Kariuki also set up a cloud computing company Angani in Kenya, with which he was associated till October 2015. He describes it as, “the first fully automated cloud computing company in Sub-Saharan Africa.” He was responsible for strategy, finance, budgeting, fundraising, talent management, business development and sales.

Kariuki grew the Angani business from inception to the point where they had over tens of thousands of dollars in mostly recurring revenue. He also led evangelisation to get the technology and business community aware of the possibility of using cloud infrastructure instead of making heavy capital investments. He also changed how media companies worked in Kenya, allowing them to roll out stations without making any capital investments.

“Any weaknesses? Coffee – he collects coffee beans from different geographies and currently has seven different coffee machines at home”

So what is Kariuki’s forte and how is he able to successfully create sustainable born in the cloud startups. Kariuki puts it down to his ten years of exposure to VMware and virtualisation. Across 2009 to 2011, Kariuki went through courseware and certifications for VMware, technical and sales, which gave him visibility on both the technical and commercial applications of virtualization technology.

Back to the present, Kariuki describes himself as a curious person who spends a lot of time learning. He is fascinated by finance and economics and the work of Hernando de Soto Polar, as it details challenges entrepreneurs go through while starting companies in emerging markets. Kariuki completes the loop to socially contribute by working on various community evangelisation and empowerment projects including stints with the World Bank.

How does he de-stress? At work Kariuki switches off by listening to music and having chats with his team. Off-work he goes for long drives, walks a lot and reads.

Any weaknesses? Coffee – he collects coffee beans from different geographies, and currently has seven different coffee machines at home.