Reham Fagiri does not have a typical start-up story.
her journey started when, at 16, she left her family in sudan to attend university in america. after getting her degree(s), fagiri landed at goldman sachs as an engineer and analyst, holding other positions in the company during her tenure there, and participating in goldman sachs’ 10,000 women initiative in order to share her knowledge with and empower other women. now, she is the ceo of aptdeco, a company that makes it safer for women in new york city to buy and sell furniture without having strangers showing up to their homes. reham spoke with lady clever about what it’s like being a female engineer, sudanese immigrant, and tech entrepreneur, and how she uses her skills to aid other women.
what are your goals for aptdeco?
we want to make the exchange of home decor easy for everyone. so whether you’re looking to sell or are in the market for a new piece to accent your home, we hope to serve as the one-stop shop for everyone’s furnishing needs.
what was it like leaving your home in sudan at such a young age to pursue your goals in the united states?
growing up, i’ve always been fiercely independent, but when i left my parents at 16 in sudan to attend university in the us, i couldn’t help but be nervous. having a strong support system and a family that advocated for my success gave me the confidence to succeed through engineering school and land the job of my dreams at goldman sachs in nyc.
how has being a sudanese immigrant affected your experience as a tech entrepreneur and founder?
in sudan, strong family ties and an alignment with the community are really important foundations of a person’s life. it’s all about having a sense of belonging to a community and to your family that helps everyone learn and work together as a unit. starting a business is a little bit like building a family — my time in sudan has helped me apply this learning to build the team at aptdeco, and it’s constantly steered me on track to working and succeeding together.
what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
you’ll have a lot of ups and downs, so enjoy the ride, not the destination.