Posted 03/04/2014 by admin in Entrepreneurship

Millionaire at 20: Story of Heshan De Silva


maxresdefaultHeshan De Silva Age: 25 Job: Founder, Vencap Kenya Cars: Toyota first, but owns others like a Range Rover and Mercedes S350. Status: Girlfriend who is a pilot. Home: Hurligham, Nairobi “I grew up in an average family in Nairobi. I went to Banda School, and Roselyn academy. My parents denied themselves a lot of things so that I could go to good schools. I then joined university in Miami (the US). I was the top student in class and soon, I was getting paid to do assignments for rich kids. With excess money, I began drinking. I steeped into alcoholism that I dropped out of university. One day, I decided to take my own life and swallowed pills. I woke up in a hospital, and my father came for me. It was the first time in my life I saw him cry. I came back to Kenya and attended several rehabilitation centres unsuccessfully. My father used the little money he had left and I was taken for rehab in a South African clinic. It changed my life and I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed to say I love Jesus and I live according to the way he taught (he has a tattoo of Jesus of a cross on the left side of his chest). Sh90 million in the first year I made my first million when I convinced an insurance company to let me sell insurance cheaply through tickets. It wasn’t even my idea, but when I looked at the projections of the business, it was going to make Sh90 million in the first year. Nowadays, I fund young people who have a business idea, and we own a small percentage of the business. I am not a billionaire, but I know when the total value of the businesses, if each was to be sold today, it would be in billions. Vencap was founded by two New York hedge funds each at a cost of $1 billion (Sh87bn) as of today. Vencap has invested in about 24,000 business ideas from within the East Africa. We believe that Venture Capital should not take advantage of the financially insecure; that business should be done ethically, above board, and driven by an inherent desire to make a positive social impact, while being commercially successful. Lost 10 million in one day The most surprising loss was when the company lost 10 million in one day. I just went home and slept. It was a terrible feeling. I can’t quantify the highest we have ever made in a short period.”


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