He is Ham Serungoji…

Ham Serungoji is a Co-Founder & CEO of Chipper Cash, a venture-capital-backed Financial technology company that builds software to enable free and instant cross border peer-to-peer money transfers; as well as solutions for businesses and merchants to process online and in-store payments.

Let’s go down memory lane…

Ham Serunjogi, age 23, grew up in Uganda and started swimming competitively at age 6. His parents encouraged his academics and his athletics, and Ham excelled in both. In 2010 he enrolled at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya.

On his way to Kenya, he competed in the Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010. At AKA Mombasa, he trained and studied hard, learning leadership and teamwork. He became president of the AKA Student Representative Council. At the Academy he became fascinated by digital communication. In 2011 he conducted a school project back home in Uganda, where he interviewed the IT manager at Cineplex Uganda

Ham’s drive got the attention of educators. After graduating from the Aga Khan Academy he received a scholarship to study in the United States. He pursued a bachelor’s degree at Grinell College, where he majored in Economics.

With a fellow Grinnell student, he developed an app that allowed users to send short, encrypted voice recordings that would self-destruct after they were played. It was a smart solution that anticipated the rise of privacy concerns in technology. The app could work in places where voicemail systems weren’t common, like Ghana, where his app partner grew up.

The habits cultivated at AKA continued to bear fruit, he says. “The education I gained at the Academy had an emphasis on critical thinking,” Ham explains. That critical ability for problem solving fueled his achievement at Grinnell, along with a conviction that he had something to contribute.

As he prepared to graduate from Grinnell, Ham let himself dream big. He set his sights on the biggest social media giant he could find. “I took an unorthodox approach,” Ham said of his strategy for getting a job. “Instead of applying online, I sent an email directly to Sheryl Sandberg.”

He received responses to his email within hours, urging him to apply online. Soon recruiters were calling to set up interviews. The interviews led to an internship on Facebook’s Global Accounts Team in New York during the summer of 2015, before his final year of study at Grinnell College.

There he enjoyed a surprising degree of autonomy to tackle issues that he cared about. In his first weekly one-on-one with his supervisor, she asked him, “What are you most passionate about?” He took that as encouragement and created a new initiative.

“My role required a lot of problem solving and thinking outside the box,” he explained. His creativity gained supporters. Ham started a full-time career with Facebook in Dublin, its international headquarters.

He was responsible for managing partnerships for some of Facebook’s largest advertisers in the U.K, for which he travelled to London every month or so to meet with clients and represent Facebook at various events. On one trip he went  to Facebook’s Headquarters in Menlo Park, California he met with Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

And as they say, the rest is history…

We are proud of you, Ham!!  Congratulations!!

 

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