News Column

At 14, Niyotwagira Dreamt and Talked Computers Only

May 18, 2014

Moses Opobo



AimÉ Jean de la Croix Niyotwagira is the founder of Torque, a company that develops software for small and medium-sized enterprises. In an interview with Moses Opobo, he recounted his journey into the world of computers and software development.

Ever since I was fourteen, things started to go very fast for me. People around me would appreciate that I talked about computers a lot.

I started many small projects with my friends at school, and I loved what I could do with computers and mobile phones.

In my years at KIST, my colleagues would always ask me to fix problems on their computers and phones, and I would do it without any difficulties. I also believe that 70 percent of my time in KIST, was spent on the internet, in room P310. This room was my kLab of today.

The thing that I am most grateful to KIST about was room P310, Muhabura Block. The special thing about this room was that it had two WiFi access points and it was almost never used. In this room I learnt to be part of a geek community and real geeks in KIST almost lived in this room. In fact all the ideas of my first startup started in that room.

It is too bad that the startup did not grow and maintain the culture of room P310, so I quit it and tried to convince my old friends of the room to build a new startup. In this process we started a community of programmers called KODEVE (Code Evening) and we started meeting every Wednesday.

Meanwhile I had started working on what today is our leading product; the TorQue Workspace and during meetings with the KODEVE community, I had a chance to pitch the idea of TorQue Workspace and got great feedback. The community was very supportive, and we appreciated each other. It had brought together world class programmers, fresh graduates and enthusiast programmers and you could feel that something was happening.

Then I heard of the new innovation center that was going to start on Telecom House. I had always dreamt of having my offices in that building. I couldn't believe what I was hearing about kLab.

So kLab started and I and the KODEVE community were the first tenants there. The place was awesome, great designs, a relaxed environment, great internet connection and great people that I grew up hearing about. I truly appreciated what kLab was and I was so excited. My friends from the room P310 converged there as well and it was the beginning of what I am today.

Today my company runs online distribution channel management software. The software is being used by wholesale distributors in Rwanda and East Africa and it is growing very fast.


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Source: AllAfrica


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