MANAGEMENT TEAM

Audrey Verhaeghe, Chief Executive Officer
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Audrey spearheaded the commercialisation of the SA Innovation Summit as a Southern African institution and main innovation event for the country. The Summit grew over 13 years to represent the largest ecosystem in tech-driven start-ups on the continent of Africa.  Over 5 000 technology entrepreneurs have participated in prototype and start-up competitions run by the Summit. The economic contribution of the Summit is estimated to be R1.15 billion to the economy of SADC in 2019. Audrey championed Open Innovation and established three open innovation platforms on the continent. She has published a number of articles and conference papers on innovation as a business process and mentored numerous student research studies in the same area. Audrey is also the chairman of the RIIS and the SA Innovation Summit, and director at WineTech.

Saskia Nysschens, Chief Operating Officer
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Saskia is a systems thinker with over 15 years of experience across a range of industries, focusing on operations, implementing & streamlining processes and identifying inefficiencies. A successful professional with a wealth of transferable skills gained in business. Possesses a commitment to delivering operational excellence and a reputation for ensuring complete customer satisfaction. Able to reduce costs by implementing processes that are more efficient. 
Obtained two bachelor degrees – BCompt Accounting & BCom Corporate Communication (Cum Laude)
Demonstrated history of working in the medical device industry, skilled in eHealth and online and remote support, device manufacturing and distribution with a focus on operations, business development, marketing, finance, customer relations and engagement and communications.
Mayowa Ayodele, Venture Partner
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Mayowa has over 14 years’ experience in investment banking and private equity. He is Former Director on the Africa Standard Chartered Private Equity (now Affirma Capital) with responsibility for a US$200 million portfolio. His experience covers various sectors including Manufacturing, Retail, Logistics, Fintech and Agribusiness. He has worked with other leading institutions like the International Finance Corporation and Deloitte. He is on the board of an Agritech company and an Advisory and Investments business in Nigeria (with a pan-Africa focus).  He is an alumnus of the IESE Global Executive MBA. 
Van-Lee Gunyere, Head of Investment
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Van-Lee has over 15 years’ experience in private equity, corporate finance, M&As, business turnaround and restructuring in Spain, South Africa, and rest of the SADC region. He worked as an Investment Officer at ASOCapital and Sovereignty Capital leading fundraising, deal sourcing, investments analysis, due diligence, portfolio companies monitoring, and exits for deals ranging between R50million and R1billion. He successfully worked on over 15 deals and exited 3 investments achieving the funds’ target return of 2x – 4x ROI, he also led M&As for mining and general industrial companies valued over Rand 2 billlion and advised executives and board of directors for a property fund with over Rand 3billion assets. He holds an International MBA from IE Business School, and Bachelor of Commerce honours in Finance from National University of Science and Technology.
Nick Robertson, Venture Partner
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Nic Robertson is a well-connected CEO with 10+ years in building and expanding businesses in emerging markets, with experience in corporate strategy, business development, organisational management and finance.  A result-oriented executive with a collaborative leadership style, his background in leading business expansion for Uber Eats across Middle East and Africa within difficult environments through a creative, analytical and people-led approach.  Robertson founded an investment business Afribloom Capital, focusing on Food and Beverage in 2020.