Tag Archives: Venture capital


Recently, I along with a group of mid career professionals participated in a 3 day workshop entitled “Break into Impact Investing.”

The workshop consisted of seminars from leading practitioners in the field. They represented organizations such as Village Capital, Accion Venture Lab, Infodev (World Bank), and the Calvert Foundation.

Impact investing is a broad category that addresses many topics of concern around the globe. This workshop devoted much attention go early stage ventures in the developing world.

  • The Village Capital seminar for example focused on a case study featuring an a successful entrepreneur turned investor who need to allocate investment dollars between two mission driven startups, and Village capital’s own investment fund and a donation to Village Capital’s non-profit entity.
  • Infodev provides funding and support to entrepreneurs in the developing world. The seminar featured a startup in Kenya and dealt with several issues faced by impact investment funds such as how to define success, fund structure, and governance.
  • The Accion Venture Lab presentation offered insights on assessing a social venture at its earliest stage.
  • The Calvert Foundation discussed fixed income investments in the impact investment context, using vehicles such as the Community Investment Note to fund several kinds of loans to social enterprises, and the Ours to Own campaign to raise capital to revitalize urban centers including Denver, Baltimore, and the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts. The Calvert Foundation is a bit of a departure in that it uses debt instruments for impact investing.

All the presenters gave us frameworks to guide the process of impact investing. They had in common the identification of a value proposition or unmet need, development of a business model, and building a strong management team. It seem the elements of a promising startup are the same regardless of whether or not social impact is a factor.

It is also interesting to note that most of the cases and enterprises discussed were in Asia and East Africa. It was pointed out that Kenya is considered one of the more attractive countries for impact investing. East Africa’s popularity among the impact investment community is largely due to the advanced startup ecosystem in East Africa compared to other parts of the continent. The concerted effort to make Nairobi an African technology hub, plus the impressive regional integration efforts of the East African Community have attracted investment of all kinds including impact investment.

Careers in Impact Investing

In addition to learning about the industry, the workshop included insights on career options in impact investing.

The workshop organizer, Impact Business Leaders is in the talent development business, so the workshop was very much about career development and creating the talent pool for the impact investment industry.

Throughout the weekend career paths were revealed both implicitly and explicitly. Some of them include:

  • Portfolio manager – working with financial statements, managing relationships with portfolio companies.
  • Analyst/CFO – Overseeing accounting and financial analysis, being a resource to management for understanding financial issues.
  • Adviser/Consultant – working directly with entrepreneurs providing advice and technical assistance.
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Angel Fair West Africa 2014



In our last post on emerging market private equity we mentioned the African startup infrastructure and its potential to attract local and international venture capital. The startup community will be on full display in two weeks at Angel Fair West Africa, starting March 31 in Lagos, Nigeria.


Startups at the seed venture and growth stages will be featured. There will be two rounds of entrepreneurs pitching their businesses and panel discussions from founders and investors. In addition to the home country there will be startups from Cameroon, Ghana,Kenya and Senegal.


African venture capitalists and other investors will also be in attendance including 32 members of the Lagos Angel Network.



For more on Angel Fair West Africa, click here.




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    1. MESTThe Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and the MEST Incubator provide training, investment and mentoring for aspiring Ghanaian software entrepreneurs with the goal of creating globally successful companies that create wealth and jobs locally in Africa.” An arm of the non-profit Meltwater Foundation, MEST runs a two year training program in which budding entrepreneurs learn from experienced executives, MBA students and fellow entrepreneurs about how to monetize their innovative concepts. The incubator provides seed capital, guidance and support to graduates of the training program. MEST is one route to tap into the community of African tech entrepreneurs. http://www.meltwater.org/

2. VC4Africa Venture Capital for Africa is a matchmaking platform that brings together investors and African Entrepreneurs. VC4Africa also assists entrepreneur in finding mentors and other resources. VC4Africa members host occasional meetups and networking events worldwide. The last one in Boston was about 2 years ago. https://vc4africa.biz/


3. iHub Nairobi

Nairobi’s Innovation Hub for the technology community is an open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in the area. This space is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers.

iHub sees as its purpose the building of an ecosystem to support the growth of Kenyan technology entrepreneurs. It boasts over 12,600 individuals and 152 companies among its membership.


4. African Venture Capital Association The AVCA is a member supported organization with a mission to promote private equity and venture capital in Africa. Members include institutional investors, private equity and venture capital fund managers from 62 countries. Their activities support investments of all sizes and all stages of business growth. AVCA’s research and events provide a way for US investors to learn more about the startup ecosystem and the broader African private sector lanscape. http://www.avca-africa.org/  

5. Angel Fair More an event than a organization, Angel Fair is the brainchild of Ghanaian entrepreneur Eric Osiakwan, Scottish entrepreneur Jamie Clyde, and Artlogic, an events company that produces high end boutique fairs supporting the arts in Southern Africa. The first Angel Fair took place this past September in Johannesburg. It is part of a longer conversation that included a gathering a the Bergman Center at Harvard Law School, where investors, entrepreneurs and academics discussed how to make angel investing work in Africa. http://www.angelfair.net/

English: Diagram of private equity fund struct...

English: Diagram of private equity fund structure for Private equity, Private equity fund, Private equity firm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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