Sept. 15, 2020

#4: Tiyani Majoko - Founder of Anu and Lawyer Who Came to the U.S. to Build and Scale Businesses

Tiyani is an entrepreneurial lawyer from Africa, TEDx speaker, and content creator. She came to the U.S. to get her masters in law and business/entrepreneurship, and is currently a co-founder of Anu: a startup that aims to connect startups with quality legal services/resources using artificial intelligence. 

In this episode she shares why she decided to come to the United States, how she uses her legal experience in entrepreneurship, and tips for new startup founders.

Key Points

  • [01:53] What does it mean to be an attorney by profession and an entrepreneur by purpose? The start of Tiyani's journey
  • [12:18] How to figure out what you actually like in your profession
  • [15:28] Why Tiyani decided to come to the United States to scale her business
  • [20:36] What skills can you actually gain from getting an MBA?
  • [28:21] What are some key tips and lessons for new startup founders?

Resources Mentioned


Note: Black Enterprise Network transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human transcription. They may contain errors, although we do our best to avoid them. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting a transcript in print. Questions? Errors found in a transcript? Email us! 

Kimmiko James  0:00  
Hi, and welcome to the black enterprise network Podcast Episode Four. Before we jump into the episode, I'd like to talk about the new book I'm releasing in the coming months. If you're a student or new grad on the hunt for internships or job offers, then I highly recommend that you consider pre ordering my book, navigating the job space with little to no resources or actually, in terms of the internet, too many resources can be really overwhelming. And that's why I created a condensed version of those resources and lessons within the book. So if you're a student and interested on knowing how do I actually stand out from these 1000s of applicants, how do I fix my resume? How do I build a network and so many other things then check out the book at the link b i t dot L y slash GTO underscore book a.

small percentage of black people are currently represented in the tech industry and entrepreneurial spaces. This includes engineers, startup founders, investors, especially those that hold leadership roles. I want to share their stories. In this episode, I talk with Gianni mutoko. Gianni is an attorney by profession and entrepreneur by purpose. We talk about her experience as a mining lawyer in South Africa and would lead her to coming to the US to build out her current company a new a new aims to connect startups with quality legal services and resources using AI. So be sure to check it out at go a That's GO a N And yeah, just be sure to check out Tony's work in general. She also shares advice for first time founders. So you definitely don't want to miss it. Yeah, I really had a fun time just getting to learn more about you. And without I kind of just wanted to kick off with this. I guess you could call it a quote just the statement I saw under a TEDx description, saying tianni is an attorney by profession and an entrepreneur by purpose. And I really liked that. Just because we we all have these professions that we do every day. However, we're not really clear cut about what our purpose is. So I wanted to know if you could talk about that a little bit more.

Tiyani Majoko  2:13  
Sure. Thank you so much for having me here, again. So nice to chat with you and to get the opportunity to speak with your listeners. So that quote really came about trying to encapsulate, like the fullness of all the things that I do, and at the same time respecting the hard work that it's taken to actually become a lawyer and become a professional in that way. I didn't want to have to minimize one at the expense of another. And I just really liked that because one of the things that I used to really struggle with, and to an extent, I mean, I still can do at times, was people always asking me, so tell me what exactly do to this stems from? I started my legal career in a big law firm in South Africa. And that's where I did my university. My background is pretty interesting as well. And whenever people ask me where you from, it's like, oh, my gosh, how do I.

So my father is from South Africa. That's where my that's, that's my dad. My mom is from Zimbabwe. And then my grandfather is from Mozambique. My grandmother is

on my dad's side of the family. And on my mom's side of the family, my grandmother has like, Zimbabwean and Zambian heritage, and then she got remarried. I don't even at this point, it's not even relevant when because that's the only person I've ever known as my grandfather. And he's, he's British.

Kimmiko James  4:03  

Tiyani Majoko  4:03  
so whenever people ask me, where are you from? I'm like, I'm coming out of that, like having, you know, growing up in in those different countries I grew up in, I did my primary school in Zimbabwe, sorry, in Botswana, High School in Zimbabwe University in South Africa. And now I just completed my Master's in the US. And oh, this is like such a long way to answer that question. But having that like breadth of, of like living experiences, have really like deep, interesting family background and having interacted with all of those different cultures. It's really been hard for me to like, pick one thing and like, just stick to that one thing. And I think it because I come from such a huge diversity. So when I started my career in law, I thought, you know what, I'm gonna do this thing and want to be a big law firm lawyer because my My parents are both lawyers. My mom's Well, my dad is a lawyer. So I'm a second generation lawyer. And I'd watched them like at school and they ran the law firm together. So that was another point of like, pure comedy when they come home, and like, they're still talking about work, like over dinner. And I was like, You know what, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna be a lawyer, I'm gonna take over my parents law firm. And I started working. And I was like, in the first week, I was like, I hate.

Kimmiko James  5:28  
I didn't expect,

Tiyani Majoko  5:32  
like, oh, my goodness, it took me a while to, like, hit a point where I could like, differentiate, like, what do I hate? And what do I enjoy, I really enjoy being able to help people, I really enjoyed interacting with my clients, and having face time with them, and, you know, getting into their problems and looking at sort of as a mining lawyer. And what I would do was to help large mining companies apply for mining licenses. So that, you know, they kind of had, well, they had the, they could mine in those communities, and then also helping them work on and repair and, you know, relationships that were really, really fragmented between the mining companies and the communities because you would find the mining companies are, you know, these huge international mining houses, and they're working in these communities where people don't even have running water. People don't have you no targets, they're not hospitals. And yet they are, you know, mining these very, very high priced minerals, yet the people that are located and are the, you know, custodians of that mineral resource don't receive any type of economic benefit, you know, they'd be lucky if they get a job. But no, that's a job underground. And that's like, not the safest type of work. And that has no, you know, like the long term plan, like, what do you do when you are retrenched as a mind worker, you don't have other skills. So there's also about, you know, doing that type of work of working with the mining companies to not just have like a legal right to mind, but also maintaining their social licence in those communities. So I enjoy doing that type of work. But the thing I really didn't like, was that law firm culture, that, you know, your hour, your day was broken down into, like point six, into like, six minute intervals, you had to account every six minutes. So like, the time she was like, dip by timesheets. And I began to, you know, explore other interests, you know, to kind of like, keep my sanity, and something that I've always enjoyed is writing. So I began to blog. And I was like, Oh, my blog is gonna be so big. And I'd be like, Sarah, Jessica, Parker, and Katie, that did not happen. I have it. No, it was like an escape for me to, you know, be able to, like, tell my little stories, even though like the only people that were really bad, more like, my cousins and my best friend, but it was okay. Then I was like, you know, what, after three years in the form of like, pajama time, and, and I was like, they have to be a better way to deliver equal services than through, you know, like, a very like rigid structure, which is either through a law firm, or you have to work like in a bank, or like in House Counsel, like, you know, the lawyer is within a company, or you work for the government, there was basically no way that a private company could give legal services to the public. And I was like, well, I'll do that. That's what I would do. And that's when I started up my own consulting firm logistics, with my university, pretty close friend. And, you know, in that space as well, we hit them in the midst of like running a legal consulting firm. And basically, we were just like two black girls at the time, we were like 25, and 26. And we were like, you know, what, we're gonna take legal industry by storm, with our new models, like our new consulting model, which is like, which was very, very, like, they were probably like three legal consulting firms in the whole of South Africa at the time. And here, we were, like, you know, and none of them were owned by black people. None of them are owned by someone who was under 30. So it was really an affront to the industry at that point for us to you know, come out the way that we did. But now it's so normal, like, almost everyone, like, you know, how, like it's become so normalized. But when we did it, no one really knew even when we asked the Law Society, they were like, Well, you can't not do it. But we're not saying you can do it. Can we do it? That's okay. We'll do it. And when you don't like it, you let us know.

I mean, so far, so good. But um, and in the midst of that, like we ran a COVID three other we ran a food business called matching glutton. So they were like, the four of us it was now we had two other friends that joined us. So all four of us were lawyers, like in to me and my business partner. my other friend was like a lawyer at like a huge bank. And then our other partner, she was like an associate, like at one of the biggest law firm in South Africa. And they were on a weekend, like dressed in hair nets, making flipping burgers at like a farmers market. for lack of a better word, we spent a weekend storing. And that was another business that I absolutely hated. But I just loved hanging out with my friends on the weekend. So that's all I tweeted that. And so whenever people like and then we at some point, we were running a nonprofit, helping entrepreneurs get access to tools. So whenever people would meet me, they'd be like, okay, Tiana. So what exactly are you doing a food thing? Are you a lawyer? Are you you know, running a nonprofit? Like, what exactly do you do nails? Like, okay, that we come up with a statement that like, encapsulates everything?

Kimmiko James  11:16  
Yeah, that's those are my vitals like, Oh, my God. She's, she's doing quite a lot. It's kind of hard to pinpoint what exactly, you kind of did. Can you give that statement?

Tiyani Majoko  11:29  
So that my statement had to be okay. lawyer by profession. And entrepreneur. I purpose.

Kimmiko James  11:36  
That's Wow, that was the best way to summarize it with storytelling. Like, I literally imagined everything you said. And I really just appreciated that story of you, just recognizing, like, I hate this, I hate. But actually, no, let me rephrase that. You hate certain aspects of law and law firms, but you still want to be involved in like, in terms of talking to people, and learning more about what they're trying to doing and how you can best help them. But you can really find that in the traditional sense. So yeah, I just want to say, I appreciate that you found a way around that to continue doing the stuff you love about that.

Tiyani Majoko  12:15  
Thank you. And I think at that, it's really easy, you know, when you're in something, to just feel like the entire experience is meaningless, and just, you know, terrible, but you just sometimes have to, you know, be objective and say, What is the thing that I actually don't like, I really did not like that six minutes, you know, judging my date six minute intervals. And having to account for it, I didn't like, not that I didn't like working for in representing the large law firms. I mean, the large mining companies, I enjoyed that, it's great to, you know, work with people that have got a lot of money and many resources, that's, you know, the best type of client that anyone would ever want. However, the impact that I was making, for the CEO of, you know, x mining company, versus when you are able to help a community be able to get access to, like a steady supply of resources that they need, for, you know, their children to be able to have like a better quality of life. That was stuff that I was really interested in doing. But I just wasn't able to, I mean, the economic system, you know, frankly, just didn't make sense, because they're really not in a position where they can, you know, pay the fees that you need, but it was figuring out, okay, how can we get as close to making a difference in, you know, someone's livelihood, while also being able to take care of our own needs. And we were able to kind of find that happy medium, in the type of plan that we had with within our business, our legal consulting firm is called logistics do consultants. And were able to find other people like us that were, you know, young professionals that were super smart, super talented, and it was really, like, really good timing in the sense that, so the South African government was doing a lot around encouraging entrepreneurship among young black people are, you know, to create jobs in the economy, and they will, you know, actually putting back a good, fair amount of money behind those initiatives. So you had a number of young, talented people leaving, you know, their jobs, and studying up, you know, their own companies, and they needed equal services. So they didn't have like, you know, the big budget of a lack of conglomerate, but they had enough money, and they had this sense to know that not I can't put my you know, put my thumb to the wind and like, you know, suck my time in like, you know, or like, just random contracts online. I actually need to speak to a person that is qualified in this because they were coming From a big company background, so they understand risk. And that's the type of client that we found. And so that was a really nice way for us to, to get going in terms of our business.

Kimmiko James  15:12  
Thank you for sharing all the details that go into that, like, I think a follow up I would have is what influenced you to want to bring that to the US, or rather, what influenced you to come to the US better phrased.

Tiyani Majoko  15:28  
So I was having a great time, with my business partner running our company, it was like, you know, it was really hard when we started out like, super, super hard. So many sacrifices that we had to make in terms of, you know, lifestyle, and just growing up, basically, you know, when you're working in a large company, there's someone that takes care of like, all the small things like billing, and collections, and marketing, and all of those things. And when you run your own company, all of those things are basically like, waiting on you, to make it happen, like a customer does not just a client does not just fall into your lap, you have to, you know, engage and like find ways to create these opportunities. And so it was all of that learning, and then we got to a point where we were, so like, personally, studying that business was like I was in debt, I had like, 10,000, debt, credit card debt, and my lease was up, and I didn't have a place to live, I still have like, one of my, like, one of my friends homes, and it was really hard to kind of start out at that point. And then, like, in less than three years, we were like, the business was making, you know, six figures turn over, like, life was good. And we were at that point, but I was still had that agitation, like, okay, like, we're in a good place. Now, super comfortable. Debt Free, everything paid. Not quite like trick your fancy, you know, here dentelles everything.

Kimmiko James  17:07  
That person a

Tiyani Majoko  17:08  
person. And I just don't have that agitation, like, Okay, this is like a really fantastic lifestyle business, like, we could probably do this, for the next couple years be super comfortable. We are we were really comfortable, like traveling all that stuff. But it just wasn't a scalable business, there was no technology to it, everything was very manual. And that really frustrated me. Because I've always had that like interest in in technology. And that belief that it's not, I wouldn't say like, there's no such thing as like a silver bullet. And it's not like the super great equalizer. But it helps. Like, it helps to allow for resources to, you know, to travel for, it helps to make things happen, basically, you know, you know, you're more knowledgeable in the space than I am. And I was like, we need scale, in order for us to actually build something meaningful, and that's gonna, you know, make a difference. And for us to, you know, move from being comfortable to actually be wealthy, you know, we're running a business in South Africa, we were not going to get to that point. We just, we didn't have the skills internally. We didn't have the skills, we didn't know how to make that happen. And then I came across this degree program as like, Okay, it's time for me to go into my master's. You know, I'm still single, I don't have kids. And I was like, this is a really good time to be able to make decisions like this. So I was looking at a couple of master's programs here in the US. And then I found one, you know, I'm a lawyer. So my mathematical knowledge is really, really shocking, shockingly bad, shocking,

Kimmiko James  18:49  
oh, you're gonna say shockingly great, no. Shocking.

Tiyani Majoko  18:55  
So I was like, I can't do something that needs achievements. Because I have not, that will not be a good use of my time and my money. So I had to find like a degree program that does not need achievement. And that allows me to build on my existing skills, without like, you know, it used to protect all about it. But most universities like have a pure LLM. So it's the Masters in law. And most of them are just like a pure, deeper study into an existing area of law. They normally don't look beyond that will like get into something practical. So when I saw the one at Cornell Tech, which is a master's in law, technology and entrepreneurship, I was like, that's the that's the thing that I'm going to go into, that's going to give me the skills that we need in the business, to be able to build the skill that we desperately need, fast, like take our business from this table to the next level. And that's how I got into that's how I came to the US.

Kimmiko James  19:57  
Yeah, yeah. Thank you for sharing all the details of that too. Like, I kind of wanted to ask a follow up of what you kind of just shared of a common thing that you maybe you have, like a common thing you'll see on LinkedIn, and maybe in the tech industry is like, oh, the an MBA is useless, you don't need those skills, you can just get that from building a company. And for me, in my opinion, I think it goes like, from a case by case basis, because from what you told me, like, even though you built your company in Africa, it was still kind of hard for you to figure out the skills, you need to scale your business a bit better. Yeah. What kind of what skills Did you find most useful from getting your masters?

Tiyani Majoko  20:40  
So all right, so first of all, my business in South Africa, I was the asset, like, I am the machine that makes the work, because it's a services based business and, you know, still the same model of what I read and enjoy. But in terms of the law firm work, which is, you know, selling hours, and I still had to do that in order, you know, for us to, you know, you could dress up in different ways, or put lipstick on the pig and say, Okay, I don't, I mean, I sell ours in bulk in the sense that you tell me what you need, and then I charge a flat fee, or you pay me a monthly retainer, and I do all the work that you need. But at the end of the day, it's like, you know, it's still based on hours, that's how I would look at my value. So now, with the startup that I'm working on a new that I started with one of my classmates at Cornell, the way that we're approaching things is so different when you're running a tech company, versus when you're running a business that, you know, a traditional type of business way, like, you know, like a legal business or an accounting from where you maybe, you know, you're, you're basing it on how many hours you sell. So the type of skills that although I have started a business before that we need in this context is completely different. First of all, the place where I've seen it in, if I had no idea about this when I was back home, but like user experience, and user design, and user interface, all of that stuff, like I would just like, call my one friend who has this little graphic design business and be like, dude, I need a website. And this is what it must, this is what you must put in it. There was like no real consideration about is this the right messaging? How is this gonna be received by the person that visits our website, what emotions are driven, evoke, none of that it was about this is what I want to say. And you know, like, basically, that not really like, if we build it, they will come that your focus is on more on what you want to do more than likely customer satisfaction, or like, you know, from that perspective, yes, you know that there's a problem, you're trying to solve it. But the way you go about it isn't really customer centric. So that's like, one of the things that I learned, I've seen, and we've learned so far, as well, as you know, the importance of storytelling. In both, you know, the pitch, because oh, my Lord, we have spent the whole month of june doing investor pitches. So we were like, okay, we'll do it. So what we do at our startup a new is, we pay your passionate professional using AI. And we really started to start because we realize that when people are starting something new, whether it's a tech business, or clothing brand, you want to write a book or start a career in modeling, you are new in that industry. So you don't have a professional network of people that can refer you to the best, you know, professional service provider in that space. So when you're starting out, writing a book, you need to publish in a literary agent. But if you're not a journalist by you don't have a journalistic background, or this is your first time writing a book, you don't know where to find a literary agent, you know, what the process is. So we're saying, if someone is starting something new, come on top platform, and we'll help you find professional service providers that want to work with people like you. And on the other end, we realized, you know, everything that had happened with, you know, the protests that earlier this year with the murder of George Floyd and so on that and then there were a lot of people that were interested in giving back or, you know, have they realized that, you know, my network is not as diverse as I think was I needed to be and they are interested in reaching out both professionally and personally. It's like, okay, there's that. There's this movement that's happening right now, around, you know, evolving the way that personal networks and personal and professional networks need to be evolved and the way that you you know, You might have a contact on LinkedIn. But you know, you need to have what like at least three, you need to be like, you know, a certain number of connections away, in order for you to access them and personal invite. So, there's still a lot of work that can be done in that space. And that's what that's that's the work that we were trying to put a new. And in

doing this, it's you know, being very focused on, obviously, you know, the two sides, we have two types of customers, one is the professional, then the other is the user, the individual person that's going on this journey, and figuring out how to give them both what they need, you know, and that wasn't something that I had really, you know, thought about. So coming here, has actually taught me how to think at scale, about, you know, something as basic as you know, like the customer journey, that wasn't something that I had ever thought about when I was doing my other business, that it might be a function of just the type of service that we're offering. And as well as you know, other factors, like just not knowing, for example, I didn't even know that like a product manager is an actual career path. Like, I had never heard of something like that. And I probably it's because I'm not technical. So there's no need for me to really come across a product manager per se. But you know, it's just things like that. So there's still so much scope and rule, in terms of, again, and I'd want to say it has nothing to do with being in Africa or anything of that sort. But I'm not a technical person. So there are lots of things that I don't know, but I cannot the way that the program is structured is such that technical, and non technical people, you know, spend a lot of time together in the curriculum. So I got, you know, by osmosis to understand, whoa, there's so much that's happening in this space that I'm not aware of,

Kimmiko James  27:00  
it is interesting to think about, I guess the perspective of being a non technical founder of like, it is kind of hard to catch on for all these different nuances that are going on in the tech space, obviously, just because like for me, the only reason why I know about product managers and graphic designers and kind of user experience is just because I've worked in this this space for like a few months now. And there are those people on my team. So I can kind of connect the dots as to what's going on. But if you're a non technical person, and you don't really work with all these different kinds of people within your company, or your workspace, it can be kind of difficult to like, figure out what you really need. So, yeah, that that makes sense, honestly, like, what are some of the key lessons you've learned from being a founder, especially when you're first starting out, because when at least from what I've seen and read, and kind of experienced as what I thought I was being a founder, it's, you think you've got something going, but then after a while, when things get tough, you're just, you're really just like, Whoa, this is this is a lot. And it can be hard to figure that out. So I wanted to know, if you had any experiences you could share that people can relate to have like, Yeah, what are some key lessons you learned when you were starting out?

Tiyani Majoko  28:24  
I think, in this instance, where I'm starting out as much, as far as I'm concerned, yes, I'm a second time founder, and I have built a business in South Africa. However, when it comes to the US, I'm a first time founder, and, you know, completely figuring this thing out. And it's really interesting in that sense, and I'm able to, like look at the ways that things are so different in the US and, and in South Africa. In the approach, and in the, you know, the way that, you know, kind of the format, I feel like is like a business format, in each country. And it's so interesting, you know, to kind of look at both of them, I feel like in the US, it's really, you know, like the VC feels like the most important person was second policy to the customer is you know, your VC or investors because it's about, you know, doing things that will make an impressive investor for them to either you know, think they've made a good investment, or for them to even be willing to make investments in the first place. Whereas in South Africa, the focus is it's more on the, I don't want to say that it's like really like on the government per se, but you want to be doing something that is kind of newsworthy, if that's like the right way to put it, where you can get some type of, you know, government acclaim and what that could result in zero, just like better visibility for your business. more funding for your business. You know, like this, we're always looking for like a really good story. Whereas I feel like in the US, for you to get on the government's radar, like, there's so many other companies there's, it's so competitive. And I just want to say like, the level of competitiveness in the US is like, through the roof like this, that, wow, wow, just like knocks and blows your socks off, like, you can't sleep. I'm not like, not that you can physically sleep. But as an You must not take anything for granted, like, every inch that you have, you have to earn. And I think it just feels so like, another thing that's different is that, like, in South Africa, when it's you know, because of apartheid background, there's a lot of, you know, focus around empowering black people and black youth and black businesses, with knowing that you us like, Yes, they are like diversity and inclusion efforts. But you know, it's run at the level of, you know, the corporate that is notify them on the measures that they want to use, so it's not legislated. And you kind of you know, as a person of color, you are just really hoping that you know, the company that you find to be put to you, whereas in South Africa, you kind of have that ability to, you know, rely on the government resources in that way. So those are like, you know, some some few things that are different, but in terms of like yourself, now, apart from a part of the environment, or a wave, aside from the environment, what you, as a founder, need, like, you need a steady team, that's something that you need that super essential. So for me building my startup inside of my company in South Africa, which is not a startup, I wouldn't call it a startup in the traditional sense of what you have in the US here, that sort of startup that, that would be a very low. That's a misnomer. It's, you know, it's a consulting business to small business. And then No, I had my, my co founder, my team, and she's still running that. And then, you know, I started a blog, and a lifestyle blog slash media company, focusing on you know, women in the legal industry, you know, focusing on work lifestyle in 24 minute legal industry, it's called the legal work. And, you know, we have a podcast and a blog, and between events, and so forth, and I started that with another friend. And then now doing this company, you know, you need to, as a founder, really know, like, what are the things you are very good at, and what are the things you are terrible at, and finding, you know, building a team, where you and other person that you work with are able to, you know, balance each other out. And, you know, then have that collective strength, as well as you know, the internal tools that you need to have, the resilience is really, really important. You need to, you know, kind of have that ability to be very, to reflect on things, and not, you know, not take things personally, and find the places where you are, where you still need a lot of work on yourself in terms of whether

it's improving a certain skill set, or changing something about your attitude, it's really a lot of internal work, as, you know, being on this journey now for the second time, and really hoping for, you know, a better result and being able to achieve, you know, both something scalable, it's a lot of fitness like that internal work, it's your network as well, fortunately, unfortunately. And you know, this is the thing that we're trying to like remedy to make it more accessible and equitable for more people, that it's that you know, your network and the way that you are able to leverage that, to create opportunities for yourself and even for people around you. And I think for me, those would be the core thing, a lot of that, you know, being super aware and hyper vigilant of opportunities that your external environment presents you with, like right now with, you know, the protest, there's everyone and, you know, their uncle has got some initiative around diversity inclusion, you know, some type of grant for black founders, and you know, looking at that, and then also, you know, doing the internal work for you to prepare yourself to rise to the occasion to actually make the most of those opportunities when they come up, when they come along. And, you know, thankful for resources like yours that helped to amplify our stories and amplify our voices and know you creating this type of platform as well. That's another thing that you know, you need as a founder, the ability to tell your story, and, you know, to get people to come along the journey with you or whatever it is that you're trying to achieve. Your network needs to be good people that, you know, they might have a different background, different upbringing, different days, however, they you have like no shared vision in the sense that everyone in society is equal and everyone society deserves an opportunity, you know, to create the life that they desire for themselves, whatever, you know, whatever that might be, and it's about how can we equip people to be able to do that? How can I use my privilege to, you know, to, to, to allow someone else to have like the same starting point as me, they don't have to end up the same way that I ended up, but can we at least, you know, have an opportunity to, you know, reach for the same, the thing that I drew for myself, someone in another part of the country, and another city needs to also be able to treat for themselves and it needs to feel real as real for them, as it does for me. So that, for me would be the type. Those are the type of people that I want to surround myself, surround myself with, not people that want to, you know, kind of like hoard opportunities,

or you noticed people that are just resigned, like, Well, you know, I didn't do this, I'm not responsible. I was funded like this, what I, what can I do about it? I'm just one person, like, No, those are not the type of people, not people that are, you know, gonna make excuses for people that are going to actually

know stand shoulder to shoulder with you, and have those hard conversations, and are going to take the strides and do their job. And it's such an interesting time to be in this country in view of, you know, the way that the election with this has been election year and the announcement of your vice president, you're the president. hopefuls, you know, that I like running from the Democratic Party. That's so interesting is because my co founders white male, and I'm black female, and we're like, we're like the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Kimmiko James  37:05  
Got it. Then thank you for highlighting just how your co founders why but you guys are really just working together to build something meaningful. But that also gives back so thank you for sharing that. And have this be like a kind of a lightning round kind of question, not something super in depth.

Tiyani Majoko  37:23  
I will keep it short.

Kimmiko James  37:26  
And your TED talk you you talked about the importance of blockchain and how it's going to be similar to how the internet exploded in popularity and just changed, literally, industries and all this other crazy stuff. So I wanted to know, personally, is this an industry you plan on getting involved in in the future, if you aren't already in that industry, or trying to get in that industry?

Tiyani Majoko  37:50  
I keep an eye on what's happening in the blockchain space, I'm not actively involved. That was something that I wanted to, you know, look into, upon graduating.


the type of business purpose building doesn't really need to be done on blockchain. One area I was thinking of it for was initial coin offerings for mining assets, like the junior mining companies. And I was curious about, you know, looking into that, but I haven't like physically done anything about it yet. So I'm interested in it, I think it has a lot of potential outside of just like the cryptocurrency application, I think it really does have a ton of benefits. And I'm interested to see below companies that are able to deploy it at a much, much wider scale. thing from an applications I'm interested in is like, land, like identity. So like land titles, identity, health records, things of that nature. Those are the like specific applications on each end supply chain was like this very specific places I want to see for. I know that there's a lot of projects happening. But I'm interested like that those specific applications that I'd want to kind of see around like blockchain, but when it comes to the crypto side, maybe more like some initial coin offering perspective and be able to help digitize commercial value using that more than like, blockchain.

Kimmiko James  39:26  
Don't worry, you'll you'll get there soon, like the internet is a sea of information. But for anyone that wants to kind of follow up on this conversation a little bit more tianni did this amazing TEDx talk and 2019 2018 it's

Tiyani Majoko  39:42  
called blockchain. So what?

Kimmiko James  39:45  
Yeah, blockchain So what? Cool? Yeah, for anybody that's curious about hearing Tiana. Break it down a bit more because she explains it so easily. And it was easy for me to understand. Just one of those tech buzzwords you hear but you never know. Definitely check that out on YouTube. It's called blockchain. So what?

Tiyani Majoko  40:02  
Great, thank you so much. I really enjoyed you know, being on your podcast. I trust that you're really so excited to see what

Kimmiko James  40:15  
Yeah, yeah, thank you for being a guest on this, especially when I know most of you professionals are like super busy. Just taking the time out of your Saturday to just help me out. So thank you. And yeah, I really appreciate this. So if anyone wants to follow you, your your startups or just the work you're working on in general, do you have a personal website you could share? Or your startup websites like what what could you share with the listeners?

Tiyani Majoko  40:42  
So our website is go and you come to a co Soto calm and then my blog? Interested follow? What's happening or around women in the industry? Our website is the legal work within

the arcade.

Yeah, that's my personal social media accounts. T underscore contact TTY, the school Costa Rica work for everything also going on twitter at Arby's TTY.

Kimmiko James  41:25  
If you're interested in keeping up with Tiana and her work, be sure to follow her socials on Instagram, Twitter and her podcast actually make the shift with the legal word and be sure to check out a new at go a And the next episode, I'll be talking with Dimitri Wheeler in which we talk about how he got into finance and investing and how he's currently building out his investment firm and equal equity impact. Thank you again for listening to the black enterprise network podcast and it would be greatly appreciated if you could leave a review on Apple podcasts or any other platform that has reviews.

Tiyani Majoko Profile Photo

Tiyani Majoko

Tiyani is a lawyer turned product manager.

Co-founder of NYC based legaltech startup Anü, a legal services marketplace. Experienced in product design, identifying customer segments (user and buyer personas), data analysis and Agile.

She was a mining lawyer in South Africa for five years and ran her own law firm for six years before moving to the U.S. to get my LLM from Cornell Tech. She has managed matters and solved complex problems, across heavily regulated industries like mining, financial services, energy as well as oil and gas.