Founder Spotlight: Meet James
James Kaguima is a value-driven Social Entrepreneur, who is passionate about building sustainable solutions to help solve society’s complex social issues.
He is currently building a platform called Skate Cabal, which helps to amplify safe spaces for the Roller-Skating community in East London via a mobile web app. It organises community-driven Roller-Skating initiatives to help improve social connectivity and mental wellbeing throughout the borough through the community’s shared interest in Skating.
We recently spoke with James about his experiences working in a hyper-growth startup environment and how he used TikTok to simultaneously grow his audience and create a minimum viable product for Skate Cabal.
James, tell us about your journey after you attended the Foundervine Startup 54 programme?
After my experience at Startup 54, I participated in Barclays Eagle Labs Legal Tech Hackathon, tasked with creating a solution to real-world challenges faced by Barclays Bank. The event was about using cutting edge technologies like Blockchain and AI to solve challenges lawyers face in their profession. My Team came first place against some serious competition and it was a pleasure working with a multifaceted team of legal professionals and seasoned software engineers.
I also joined a financial technology Startup which raised $34 million in Series A funding to capitalise on the digital transformation in the legal industry. This gave me insight into what it is like being an operator inside a hyper-growth startup environment, that is transitioning into a scale-up phase.
The experience has been invaluable, as the skills and knowledge acquired allows me to apply what I learned to my own personal startup ventures.
What motivated you to startup Skate Cabal?
My inspiration came from witnessing how vibrant and uplifting the roller-skating community was especially during the lockdown when people were facing a lot of social isolation and mental health issues. Many have expressed that roller skating has provided them with an outlet for enhancing their social connectivity and mental well-being, as it helped them rebuild their support network, whilst also receiving fitness benefits from skating.
However, many have complained about the lack of dedicated safe spaces for roller skating compared to other mainstream sports, despite how big the roller-skating community is in the UK, so I decided I want to help them find safe spaces.
I posted a TikTok video showcasing how to use a rough version of the mobile web app (minimum viable product) on Facebook groups, which is where most roller skaters congregate, it went viral and people were signing up and showed a lot of interest in the platform.
Skate Cabal’s platform aims to help amplify safe spaces and the voices of the roller-skating community, by documenting safe spaces & community groups in a directory. We also curate content around the skate community to digitally magnify the roller skating experience through our campaign called Rolling in Peace.
What’s been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your social entrepreneurial journey?
During my social entrepreneurial journey, I have experienced numerous hurdles, curveballs, and roadblocks in all aspects of life. One thing I learned is that life will keep throwing curveballs until you learn how to throw them back. You can do this by being proactive and less reactive when problems arise.
Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting up?
When starting a new venture, it is common to wait until the product is perfect before releasing it to the public, but this time around I released an unperfect version and still received valuable feedback, which helped me decide whether I should pursue this Startup or not, and how I could improve it. If I knew this would happen, I would have launched sooner.
Any top tips for entrepreneurs struggling with structure?
Writing my ideas and thoughts down on paper or my whiteboard has helped provide more clarity when I am planning and visualising processes and workflows. This has helped me refine how I communicate my ideas because you could have the best idea in the world, but if you are unable to communicate it to your audience, it becomes worthless.
Entrepreneurial communities can be such powerful support networks — do you have any asks or gives to the Vine Community?
I think the Vine community is a great place to learn from people in various walks of life, who may possess unique skill-sets & experiences that could be beneficial in any venture.
I can provide value in creating aesthetic pitch decks, build smooth websites, and provide advice on content marketing & validating startup ideas.
I would love to connect with sports brands, product experts, impact investors and grant writers.
So what are some of the goals in your journey ahead?
Skate cabal has already secured funding from our local council and national lottery fund, we would like to continue this success by securing partnerships with sports brands, seeking further funding and building out a more scalable business model, whilst becoming the leading digital platform that amplifies safe spaces and the voices of the roller-skating community in the UK.