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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"Doing the work that others didn’t want to do"

Odilon Bertrand Niyomugabo ‘21 | Rwanda

Major | Industrial & Systems Engineering

Minor | Business

“If I like the work, and everyone else has migrated away from it, maybe I should be doing the work,” said Charles Hudson. I greatly identify with this saying as my whole life has revolved around doing the work that others didn’t want to do.

Coming into the LSV Program, I did not know much about Venture Capital. But after an insightful day with Dale Falcinelli and other VC experts, I was able to get a small idea of what Venture Capital involves, but something about it still had not clicked. It was not until the third day, when Charles stepped into the virtual room (Zoom) that I had that ‘aha’ moment and I started connecting the dots about Venture Capital.

For me, Charles turned VC complicated language into simple, understandable, and digestible material. In addition, as an aspiring entrepreneur, when meeting with founders, I began to think, “If I were back home in Rwanda, what would the process consist of to fund a startup?” It was not until Charles mentioned his investment in two different African start-ups that I began to encounter the solution to that question. In other words, to say that it was perfect to end with Charles on our VC day would be an understatement.

If I was given a chance to talk to Charles one on one, I would ask questions about his experiences with public speaking and how he became so eloquent in speech. I have been in rooms with some extremely intelligent individuals who often struggle to convey their ideas. This is the antithesis of Charles. I believe that public speaking is an art and mastering it opens many doors for one’s future as a professional.

In addition, as a black man, it is hard to relate to some of the known figures not only in Silicon Valley but also in higher institutions. So given a chance to talk to Charles, I would wish to have a clearer understanding of his journey within Venture Capital and how his experiences shaped his eventual success. Last but not least, I would love to remain active in conversations about funding international startups and simultaneously become more educated about international funding as a whole entity. I look forward to, one day, reading a best seller where he shares his professional journey. It will surely inspire millions.

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