Sunday, April 2, 2023

How businessman Mike Macharia became a billionaire in 15 years

The founder of Seven Seas Technologies, Mike Macharia is the newest billionaire in Kenya. This is after Macharia, 41, got a valuation of Sh. 3.2 billion for his tech firm. In this company, Macharia holds a 35 percent stake worth Sh. 1.12 billion.

This means that Macharia has been able to make it to the billionaire’s club within fifteen years.

Interestingly, Macharia first started as an accounting intern at Comtech Systems (a former IT company owned by the Aga Khan Development Network). He ended up holding the role of Finance Manager, sitting on the Board and later as Sales Manager where he was responsible for the company’s 80 percent growth in sales revenue.


However, from an early stage, Macharia had begun exploring business and partnership opportunities. When setting up Seven Seas, he took in a partner, Rob Van Hoek, who has since left the tech firm but who still holds a minority stake.

Other shareholders include Abraaj Group and the estate of the late James Gachui. Strikingly, Gachui was among the original 29 investors who founded listed investment firm TransCentury. The Abraaj Grop holds a 21 percent stake in Seven Seas. Recently, the venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho injected Sh. 300 million into Macharia’s firm in return for a 9.5 percent stake.

Mike Macharia of Seven Seas Technology, at iHub Nairobi
Mike Macharia of Seven Seas Technology, at iHub Nairobi

Read: Mike Macharia – Kenya’s Bill Gates

According to Macharia, this capital injection will be used over the next five years as the firm invests heavily in the health sector. Currently, Seven Seas is working with 30 hospitals. For half of these, Seven Seas is working with a financial model traditional to the medical sector where equipment is provided for free but customers pay for the chemicals and other materials on a monthly or yearly basis. The company has a contract with American-based Abbot Laboratories to supply equipment locally. In the same vein, over the past year, Seven Seas has been working with American multinational General Electric on a project to lease medical equipment to 98 hospitals across the country.

Seven Seas headquarters at Riverside.
Seven Seas headquarters at Riverside.

Within the past fifteen years that Macharia has been running the firm, Seven Seas has expanded its presence to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Burundi in addition to Kenya and Rwanda, with significant business coming in from West Africa. Currently, 80 percent of the company’s revenue comes from Kenya and 15 percent from the Ethiopian business. Similarly, at least 60 percent of the company’s revenues come from the health sector in Kenya. Seven Seas wants to spread this out more evenly so that Kenya only contributes about 50 percent of the business before listing.

Mike Macharia,CEO Seven Seas Technologies With Bob Collymore CEO Safaricom.
Mike Macharia, CEO Seven Seas Technologies With Bob Collymore CEO Safaricom.

Seven Seas Technology Group now consists of five firms: Bring, a business applications and consulting firm; Hakken, which does IT and service management; Intelligent Infrastructure which focuses on ICT infrastructure; the Knowledge Transfer Center focused on executive ICT and business corporate training; and Twenty Third Century Systems which does SAP implementations and consulting and was acquired in Zimbabwe for a majority stake. Seven Seas expects to list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) by the year 2020.

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