Experience, Dedication and Knowledge.
It is important to us to demonstrate our dedication to, experience in, and knowledge of, our respective geographic markets. One of the best ways to showcase this is through our world-class international team.
We are meticulously building a solid, high-quality team with key members in India and Africa with a brilliant spectrum of specialized knowledge and expertise.
LAURENT ROTROFF | MANAGING PARTNER
Executive and Legal Experience
Founder and CEO of Equatorius LLC and an attorney licensed in Massachusetts. With a background in international law, specializations include EU, British, French and Japanese law. Received an award for an advisory memorandum related to the 1994 genocide for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda under the United Nations. Laurent’s recommendations were relied upon by the Tribunal to convict multiple war criminals and set a precedent in international law. She also has been involved in dispute resolutions before the World Trade Organization.
Global Corporate Investment Banking Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Closed hundreds of highly complex, creatively structured leveraged capital markets transactions, valued in the aggregate at hundreds of millions of dollars, with the world’s largest institutional investors. Highly specialized in the following areas: energy, healthcare, international deals, government transactions and corporate aircraft transactions.
Entrepreneurial and India Experience
With 20+ years’ experience in India, Laurent has established trusted relationships with entrepreneurs, startup organizations, institutions, government, investors and influencers. Equatorius has produced numerous startups events in India including the Equatorius Entrepreneur Summit in Mumbai | Indian Innovation + Global Collaboration. Hosted by ISME and Dice FinTech Ace (India’s largest FinTech accelerator), participants included the Office of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, address by the Minister of Railway and Transport (via video); speakers included the Chief Executive of the Indian Council on Global Relations, Chief Vascular Surgeon of the Cleveland Clinic, internationally acclaimed journalist for the BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera, moderator for ECOWAS, the UN and the World Bank (also via video), international venture capitalists and private equity investors.
DANIEL RYAN | MANAGING PARTNER
Executive and Entrepreneurial Experience
Co-Founder and Executive Director of DCS in Lilongwe, Malawi, an Africa-based management consulting, organizational development and investment firm, competitive with major international accounting firms such as Deloitte and EY, for 10+ years. Focused on innovative SME capacity building-training, strategic planning, financial analysis/management, and researching new innovative enterprises for equity investments throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Provided extensive leadership, development, business process review, performance management and skills gap analysis for international financing/economic development agencies including the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the World Bank, the European Union, USAID, and many other international organizations operating throughout Africa.
Private Equity and Fund Management Experience
Managing Director of a US-based investment bank and private equity firm. Proven track record of over 900 investment transactions valued at $40+ billion. Currently managing over $1.2 billion of capital for institutional investors. Responsible for marketing and management of EB-5 foreign investor diversified private equity fund VISA program for global emerging markets with special emphasis in Sub-Saharan Africa. This includes a portfolio of 13 separate and distinct private equity funds totaling $400+ million of deployed capital, comprising 35 job creating commercial development projects.
International Educational Experience
MBA Essentials program from the London School of Economics, Venture Finance & Entrepreneurship program from the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, Global Business Post-Covid 19 Strategic Planning program from the Harvard School of Business, Negotiation & Conflict Resolution program from the University of Cape Town executive education. Master’s Degree in Organizational Development/Corporate Education, Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration-Finance.
15+ years living and working in Africa; 10+ years in Lilongwe. Founded and managed local businesses. Established deep, trusted relationships in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Malawi with entrepreneurs, startups, organizations, investors, government officials, financial institutions, and influential leaders.
Involved in various relief efforts, including re-building infrastructure, housing and water supply in the wake of the 2004 tsunami originating in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, which devastated the surrounding countries and had a death toll of over 170,000 people. Spent 3 years as active Board of Trustee member of top-rated free full scale HIV treatment and prevention hospital in Lilongwe.
ADAM CAMENZULI, CFA, CAIA, CBV | CFO
African Executive and Entrepreneurial Experience
10 years living and working in Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi). Founded and led solar company in Tanzania that designed, manufactured and distributed 4,000 solar “hockey puck” kits that provide light and energy to 20,000 people. Real estate development experience as CFO of large real estate company in Kenya overseeing $2M+ projects across country. Launching 100-house affordable housing project in Malawi with innovative construction technology. Finance experience across Africa, Europe and North America, including commercial banking, where supported analysis of $400M lending portfolio. Experience in international trade (Global Affairs Canada), charity and manufacturing, where led a 50-person manufacturing team at General Motor.
International Educational Experience
CFA Charterholder, CAIA Charterholder and Chartered Business Valuator (CBV). International BBA degree from the Schulich School of Business, York University (Canada). He has also completed the Canadian Securities Course and holds Stanford University’s Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Certificate.
Academic and Teaching Experience
Granted US patent for solar technology developed (Modular Lamp, Camenzuli et al). Published author in the Social Enterprise Journal (UK) for microfranchising work in Tanzania. Author of several African social enterprise case studies including Kidogo and Eggpreneur. Taught management accounting to university students at the CIEE Global Institute in Berlin, Germany.
Awards and Media
Fellow of Royal Society of Arts (UK), was selected as a Canadian Top 30 Under 30 and he is a UN Global Accelerator. Won Africa Energy Awards’ Small and Medium Energy Company of the Year (South Africa), the Principality of Monaco’s The EDGE Business Competition and the United Nations SEED Award (Kenya). Awarded 2x at Harvard University’s Social Enterprise Conference for winning both 3rd Place and the Audience Choice Award (2010) and also finishing in Top 5 (2013). International Youth Foundation Laureate Global Fellow and York University Federation of Students Leadership Award recipient. Featured in Forbes Africa (South Africa), The Guardian (Tanzania), The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post (USA), The Globe and Mail (Canada), CHEX TV (Canada), CNN (USA) and CBC (Canada) and interviewed on the radio in South Africa (KAYA FM). He has presented and won awards on five continents.
Member of Rotary Club of Moshi (Kilimanjaro, Tanzania), where was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship. Former Treasurer of the Kilimanjaro Mountain Club. Represented Canada internationally at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summits in Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China, where won the “Social Impact” pitch competition and was a panelist on the “Entrepreneur Visa” plenary session. Head of the Delegation for the Young Diplomats of Canada to the OECD Forum. One of 150 Canadian Youth selected to meet Prince William and Justin Trudeau during the Canada 150 Royal Visit. Fluent Swahili speaker and currently learning Chichewa and local Kenyan languages. He also has language skills in French, Spanish and German.
GIRI KRISHNASWAMY | INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Multinational Executive Experience, Entrepreneurial and Board Experience, and Financial and Investment Expertise
Giri is the Chief Investment Officer of the Kalpavriksh Fund, a SEBI Category II Alternative Investment Fund, which he initiated. The Kalpavriksh Fund is a $15 million fund in the final stage of capital deployment. It is sponsored by the Centrum Group, a diversified financial services organization with rich experience in financial markets, and is listed on the Indian stock exchange.
The Kalpavriksh Fund has thus far made 6 investments, predominantly in the sustainable innovation space. The first closing for the fund was September 2017, with the term of the fund extending until March 2024. All of the profile companies are operational and Giri serves on the board of three, including a Singapore-based EdTech venture, an India-based Electric Vehicle Mobility solutions endeavor, and an India-based direct-to-consumer cosmetics brand. Further, Giri is the co-founder of a couple of startups and serves as an advisor to an organic and natural food business.
Giri also has over 25 years’ experience working with Nestlé for its India, Turkey, CIS and Caucasus businesses. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (US), Cost & Management Accountant (India), and has a Masters in Finance from the University of Delhi.
ZEKARIAS AMSALU DUBALE | STRATEGIC ADVISOR
Multinational Executive, Financial and Entrepreneurial Experience
Acclaimed as one of the Global Top 100 Most Influential Persons of African Descent under 40 for 2018 Under Business & Entrepreneurship, Zekarias Amsalu Dubale was also part of the 2018 Cohort of NextGen Africa Investor (US). Zekarias is also the Founder and Managing Director of Ibex Frontier LLC, Investment Advisory and Route-to-Ethiopian-market advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC.
With 20+ years of global experience spanning across three continents and deeper local expertise, Zekarias provides premier investment advisory, deal sourcing and structuring and route-to-Ethiopian-market consultancy services for Eastern Africa, with a primary focus of Ethiopia. Zekarias has been providing key advisory services to global investors. Further, he has been featured in press interviews and lectures throughout various media outlets including Forbes Africa, CNN, CGTN-America, Quartz, Capital, Africa-Digest and has authored various papers on Ethiopia’s Investment landscape.
Zekarias is a Co-Founder and Co-Organizer of the premier Pan-African summit connecting the United States and Africa —the bi-annual Africa FinTech Summit — that takes place every April in Washington DC in tandem with the WB/IFC annual meetings and every November in one African city. Zekarias is a Chartered Certified Accountant and an MBA Graduate of Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He is based in Virginia, USA and splits his time between USA, UK, and Ethiopia.
PUNEET ACHARYA | PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT
Entrepreneurial, Technology and Innovation Experience
Puneet is the Founder of Pluto, a Mumbai-based technology venture that provides a digital office for remote teams. Puneet manages product development, growth and strategy and provides the vision and blueprint for execution with a high-performance team. Puneet is a self-taught programmer skilled in mobile apps development, consumer tech and the gig economy.
Puneet is a graduate of St. Xavier’s College, a partner institution to Harvard University, with a degree in Business and Finance. While in college, Puneet co-founded a technology venture, where he served as the Chief Marketing Officer and led the strategic side of the venture. In addition to working with numerous startups, his experience includes working with the Reserve Bank of India and as a Research Analyst with Quest Partners in Mumbai, where his focus is on consulting and technology.
JEHAN KARANJIA | DUE DILIGENCE AND VALUATIONS, INDIA
India and US Financial and Entrepreneurial Experience
Jehan is the Co-Founder of Prophetic Ventures, a micro-venture capital fund that specializes in early-stage tech investments in India. Since 2017, Prophetic Ventures has deployed approximately $2.5M across a multitude of technology-focused companies in the following sectors: FinTech, AgriTech and IoT (drones, AI-enabled products).
He is accomplished in deal structuring, due diligence protocols, industry analysis and fund syndication. Jehan has a proven track record in facilitating funding for growth stage startups in a variety of sectors including Healthcare, Electric Vehicles and EdTech by leveraging his networks in the funding ecosystem. He has also provided consulting services to investors, predominantly high net worth individuals, looking to invest in startups in India as well as in investor marketplaces focused on impact investing.
Jehan is an Economics graduate from Loyola Marymount University in California, and spent the first 5 years of his career working in India’s Equity Capital Markets, largely as a sell side Institutional Equities Analyst. He also was an Investment Banker at Axis Capital (the 2nd largest domestic investment bank in India), where he focused on companies in the healthcare, real estate, and automobile sectors.
RUBEN MOONEESAWMY | DUE DILIGENCE AND VALUATIONS, AFRICA
Multinational Executive, Financial and Entrepreneurial Experience
Ruben is the CEO and Founder of Axcel Insights Ltd., a restructuring and advisory firm based in Mauritius. He is in charge of the daily operations of the firm, its strategic orientation, client relationship management and oversight of deliverables provided to clients. Axcel Insights has been appointed liquidator for 10+ local and global business companies; it has assisted EY on business plan reviews as well as in a market study on the private healthcare sector in Mauritius. It regularly performs financial due diligence for a variety of Mauritius entities in various sectors and provides group restructuring and valuations.
Ruben has been a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants since 2014, with 13 years in assurance, corporate finance, restructuring work and mergers and acquisitions prior to founding Axcel Insights Ltd. He spent almost 5 years with EY Mauritius in their Transaction Advisory Services team as Manager where he gained significant experience in working on valuations, IPOs, transaction support, business modeling, insolvency and M&A. Moreover, he served as the manager-in-charge in the introduction of 3 companies on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd. He has participated in a wide variety of complex valuations in West Africa Francophone, Tanzania and Kenya. He is also a licensed Insolvency Practitioner in Mauritius since October 2016.
RAKESH CHAVAN | VENTURE ANALYSIS AND DEVELOPMENT
International Entrepreneurial, Innovation and Healthcare Experience
Rakesh is a serial entrepreneur in the healthcare space, with a Masters in Health Policy, Economics and Finance from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in association with the London School of Economics.Rakesh was part of an Innovations in Healthcare cohort with Harvard X, in affiliation with the Harvard Business School.
He helped develop and implement one of the largest emergency medical services initiatives in India, a flagship program of the government of India in the state of Maharashtra. He advises healthcare startups on strategy, compliance and innovation. He is also involved in bio-incubators and accelerators fostering innovation in the healthcare and life sciences space. Further, he advises venture capital funds for evaluation of healthcare startups.
ASHISH TANDON | OPERATIONS
Multinational Executive and Entrepreneurial Experience
Currently based in Lagos, Nigeria, Ashish is a Senior Business Management professional with top line experience in India, Africa and the United States. He is a strategy practitioner who has leveraged his skills in business analytics, financial management, sales management, business development, marketing, consumer insights, product management and technology to consistently deliver exceptional, actionable value to Fortune 100 companies, high-growth startups, proprietor-owned business, social enterprises, non-profits and premier business associations. He has been responsible for business P&L in diverse industries and geographies, including consumer goods, packaging, IT services, e-commerce and consulting. Ashish brings more than 25 years’ experience as a successful builder of businesses and brands.
Ashish is currently leading a B2B, e-commerce startup in Africa that proposes to disrupt how traditional business-to-business engagements are conducted on the continent, often stifling entrepreneurial growth. Ashish is an avowed lifelong learner with proven agility; a strong believer in the servant leadership style and is passionate about working with and implementing new ideas. He has demonstrated visionary leadership skills and delivered results in uncertain and often ambiguous business environments. Ashish has an MBA from Hult International Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, with concentrations in Solutions Marketing, Digital Marketing, Finance, Operations, Strategy Innovation and Economics. Financial, Operational and Entrepreneurial Expertise6
MARCO BARBOSA | WEB DEVELOPMENT, DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
Entrepreneurial and Technological Expertise
Entrepreneurial and Technological Expertise. Originally from Brazil, Marco moved to the United States to pursue a career in finance in the Global Corporate Investment Banking Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Marco has traveled to South Africa with the founder of Toms Shoes with the One for One Movement, which has given over 45 million shoes to children in need all over the globe.
Marco left finance to launch In The Fourth Watch, an online marketplace for high-end timepieces, and B13 Studio, a creative and innovative web design firm that has attracted a number of high-profile clients, including one of Hollywood’s top film producers and entertainers. With a background in computer science, coding, and technological development , Marco develops and oversees ECG’s technological operations.
Impact Innovation Fund
We look for new and ingenious technological solutions that can be applied across a broad range of sectors. We are actively considering deals in the following areas: AI, Mobility, Renewable Energy, HealthTech, EdTech, AgriTech, FinTech and Additive Manufacturing. We refer to expert advisors in each of these fields for evaluation.
Technology is easier to scale up, replicate and adapt widely with fewer barriers, whether physical, geographic, logistical, human resource-related, or operational, than companies with inventory, equipment, brick-and-mortar presences and supply-chain management considerations. As a result, technology-focused enterprises can tend to scale more quickly with much lower associated costs and complexity.
- Focus: Innovative technology; SaaS; D2C and B2B solutions
- Fund Size: Up to $100M
- Stages: Predominantly Series A and B, although we will consider exceptional opportunities
- Criteria: High-potential startups with demonstrated traction, a solid management team and some degree of capitalization
- Impact: Technological solutions that can provide for a better, more sustainable future