RebootLA incubator participant Keefe, owner of IT consulting business Yagni
Keefe was sent to prison at the age of 19 and given a 30-year sentence. During his sentence, Keefe decided to change the trajectory of his life. Keefe obtained his A.A. degree in Technology, mentored inmates, facilitated groups, and enrolled in the Last Mile program, an immersive tech program for incarcerated individuals.

Given all the work he had put in to change his life, Governor Gavin Newsom commuted his sentence. After serving 13 years, Keefe returned home on August 30th, 2020.

To further expand his coding skills and pursue his passion for technology, Keefe joined the RebootLA Program in January 2021. Keefe said he joined because “I had these coding skills and I fell in love with technology and coding and applications. I believed I was fairly good enough at it that I wanted to just see where it would go. Honestly speaking, RebootLA was the first opportunity I had to get involved in something immediately. And it also turned out to be the best one at that time because there was no other program that would help me and give me a stipend and all of that.”

EWDD Incubators: Cultivating New Entrepreneurs

Through the program, Keefe learned soft skills, including professionalism, the tech industry workflow and software databases, such as Structured Query Language (SQL). Keefe carried over the lessons he learned in the RebootLA program into his own consulting business, Yagni, which is derived from the software engineering principle of ‘ya ain't gonna need it.’ His consulting business advises developers to be conscious of what they're implementing into their applications and progressively optimizing to reach the dream idea.

His tips for prospective students, especially for returning citizens? “You have to enjoy coding in web development because to get to a place where you're employable; you're going to be coding eight hours a day. Employers are also going to expect you to have people skills — you are going to have to work well with others. If you are a returning citizen, you need to be just as mindful of your technical skills as well as your soft skills and ensure that you're not bringing into that space, that former life.”

Keefe added that he is grateful to the RebootLA program for helping him move forward in life and is taking advantage of all opportunities coming his way.

RebootLA is a partnership between the City and Sabio, a Los Angeles-based company that was established in 2013 with the mission of increasing the participation of women and people of color in the innovation economy.


This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of August 9, 2021. Read this issue and more.