Why he dumped campus to create a Sh5m photography business

In Success

The difference between great leaders and followers is knowing when to take the shift or plunge. Risk taking as we know is not for all but for a select few who dare to embrace the possibility of failure.

In 2014, when an opportunity to make a killing out of his passion for creating stories through pictures finally knocked, he had to welcome it with open arms, even though it meant stopping his demanding academic journey, midway.

At that time, I was in second year pursuing a course in Computer Science at the University of Nairobi,” begins the co-founder of a two-year old photography firm, Paragon Timelapse.

What you must know before we go deeper is that, in the fullness of time, I had to make a serious choice between a course that would cost a fortune to complete but risk languishing jobless for a while or even for good, or go for a Sh1 million plus video making deal,” he intimates as he proceeds to say that he went for what would save him months, years or even decades of knocking on employers’ doors, and that is shooting for a giant construction company the setting up of a community center in Turkana.

That was my first major deal that saw me work for 10 months with one AFEX Group, a company renowned in East and Central Africa for setting up state-of-the-art tented and containerized social camps,” continues Mark-Denver Karubiu, Director of Photography at Paragon Timelapse.

Since then, he adds, their young business has been securing even bigger projects thanks to the quality of work the team of five delivers.

Our other deal worth mentioning was shooting in 8 weeks the construction of a secondary school belonging to a reputable brand that was coming in Kenya for the first time,” Mark-Denver indicated before giving out its name as Nova Academies.

He adds that, other than the aforesaid assignment, the 24-year old well versed in cinematography, photography as well as design says their small company is now working on two projects which he shied away from disclosing their worth, “at least for now”.

How much is your firm worth

But I can afford to say that we will be at a better position financially, when all is said and done,” he notes before reluctantly disclosing that Paragon Timelapse’s net worth is slightly at over Sh5 million.

Yet we started with just Sh100,000 which we raised the hard way,” he reflects, pointing out that all the initial money went to the purchase of one very efficient camera and a laptop computer.

And with the two tools of trade, we pursued a somewhat new and unique niche in Kenya going by the name time-lapse photography;

It essentially involves taking photos at intervals before they are finally converted into video,” explains Mark-Denver.

At this point he also notes that there is so far only one company rivaling them by offering a service “almost similar” to theirs, but then they are “that good” in their line.

And that is the group XIXO Collective, which by the way we are part of,” he says as he moves on to point out the attributes all dying to be professional photographers need to possess:

All good photography requires a lot of patience and persistence, which together demonstrate a passion to shoot plus technical skills, plus good organisation, and communication skills.”

And as to future plans, Mark-Denver says Paragon Timelapse envisions dominating the African market with documenting projects, among other services.

At the same time, he has this to say to all aspiring entrepreneurs:

Be sure you love what you are going for because it will demand your all including your mind, heart and will.”


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