What start ups can learn from Angani outage

A lot is being said, especially on social media pages about what led to the outage at Angani. The cloud computing company has been down for the past four days or so, negatively affecting many of its customers who depend on the web hosting services.

Many bloggers have been affected, with some assuring that as soon as they sort out the problem, they will be moving their hosting to some other company.


    Perhaps the most comprehensive and informative article yet was by Tom Makau; Angani outage. What really happened  

Some other notable articles are  Here’s what really happened at Angani Why Angani Limited Should Compensate their Suffering Clients  

But what Kenyans learn from this mess; 

1.Co-founders are not to be played with. They have some power and when they flex them one can get hurt, especially the product thereby killing it. As written by Tom, the co-founders Brian and Phares who also heavily know the infrastructure were booted out. But the new team that came in was clueless.

2. Always use a lawyer in transactions to safeguard yourself. It has been indicated that the new board declined to make this legal to remove any liability from Brian Muita and Phares Kariuki, the co-founders. They certainly know the implications of using a lawyer and why they are stalling to agree to this inevitable move.  

3. Be careful who you invite into your company at a Director’s position and board. While the new investors could have asked for a seat in the board, the existing board and management ought to have though thrice before accepting the officer.

This whole board issue reminds us of the Tatu City imbroglio in how some local directors want to illegally wrestle the urban development from the main investors.     

4. Vet the venture capitalists first before embracing them. This is especially crucial. The new board members have been blamed for the mess that is at Angani currently, indicating that due diligence ought to have been done before approving them.     

5. Build a team. While there were people hired to help maintain the platform, the core was intact. This means that not much delegation of authority had been done. This could also have been tactical in the event of such a thing happening. However, trust in the core team should inspire better team work.     

Tom made a comment on Twitter that his wife, an ICT lawyer will be suing the company.  

Whether this has been taken up, there is something that will change with time. This has offered lessons to local start-ups. But also local services, since Angani was local, may get a hit from this.

When Angani started, the angel investors included Invested Development, Savannah Fund, Africa’s talking and Africa Angels Network. It is unclear who are the new investors who also got a seat in the board and are behind the current troubles.

Angani is perhaps Kenya most successful cloud computing service but all this is now gone.

Here are some latest details;










  1. At no point in the court of public opinion has anyone questioned the capacity of the co-founders to actually run the business. The likely reason investors intervened is because of how the company was being run and/or the leadership of the company was found wanting or ineffectual. The funding runway in this case was likely running out and the investors panicked and needed a performer. Not every co-founder has the capacity to be a CEO. This is widely seen in silicon valley startups. Just because you know the tech doesn’t mean you know the business.


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