Raising Capital: Paths for Developing World Entrepreneurs
The path to securing capital for any venture is long and arduous. Entrepreneurs in the developing world face even greater hurdles. What are the roles of different players in a successful fundraising journey? What is working? How are different investors in this space providing funding, building capacity, and working together? What are the gaps? How can developing world entrepreneurs best position and prepare themselves to raise capital?
Moderator Shari Loessberg of MIT Sloan School of Management.
SHARI LOESSBERG (moderator)
Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management
Loessberg is an entrepreneur with particular experience in emerging market venture capital fund formation, entrepreneurship in emerging economies, and the evolving issues and standards of corporate governance in the United States and abroad. In the United States, she founded and runs Big World, a strategy firm focused on new ventures in new markets. She also co-founded Zeta Networks, an optical networking firm built on technology developed at MIT. In addition, Loessberg spent five years in Moscow, where she was a partner, director, and general counsel of Brunswick (now Brunswick UBS), a startup investment firm in the brutally entrepreneurial Russian equity market. Loessberg is a director-designate of Parkhead Group Ltd., a startup investment firm in the Vietnamese equity market; a director of National Financial Partners; chairman of the board of the International Institute of Boston; and chairman of the board of overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Loessberg holds an AB from Georgetown University and a JD from the University of Texas.
Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation
Shruti Chandrasekhar has over a decade of private equity and venture capital experience identifying and evaluating businesses across multiple industries and geographies. She is currently a Senior Investment Officer covering venture capital investments for the IFC. At the IFC, she focused on startups across emerging markets such as Brazil, India, South Africa, etc. that have established proof-of-concept and are now looking to access growth. Prior to the IFC, she was responsible for private equity and venture capital investments (direct & indirect) for Premji Invest, a large Indian multi-strategy growth investor where she worked on private equity transactions in India as well as helped Premji Invest establish its global investment program based out of California. She has an undergraduate degree from MIT, an MBA from the Wharton School and some additional experience in consulting and investment banking. She loves travel and has moved her home-base every few years since 2000!
Vice President, Proterra Investment Partners
Mr. Obaseki is a Vice President in Proterra Investment Partners’ London office, with a focus on agribusiness/food and beverage private equity investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to Proterra, Mr. Obaseki worked for Black River Asset Management, a division of Cargill, where he also focused on food sector investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to Black River, Mr. Obaseki worked at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group, where he served in the Global Infrastructure & Natural Resources Group, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa growth equity and debt investments in the oil and gas sector. Mr. Obaseki began his career at Tradewinds Global Investors, a subsidiary of Nuveen (~$230bn in AUM), where he focused on global natural resource investments. In his personal capacity, Mr. Obaseki serves on the Board of Directors of Stawi Foods and Fruits, an ALN Ventures investee company, and is on the Board of Advisors of Growth Capital, Nigeria’s first social innovation fund, focused on supporting high potential, early stage businesses building technology-enabled next generation infrastructure in Nigeria.
Mr. Obaseki received his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Dartmouth College and his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), where he was a Fellow at the Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship & Development.
Sayuri Sharper is a retired high-tech executive and business litigator. She is passionate about promoting a better world and lending her expertise to nurture social entrepreneurs to provide scalable solutions to global problems.
Prior to her retirement, Sayuri was Of Counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a global litigation firm where she practiced complex, high-stakes intellectual property law. Before practicing law, Sayuri held numerous executive marketing positions in the high-tech industry. She was a co-founder and CEO of Telesend Inc., a telecom equipment company that was subsequently acquired by Cisco Systems.
Sayuri has a JD from Santa Clara University School of Law and a BS/MSEE from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is currently a Senior Partner at Acumen, a global non-profit that invests in social enterprises to tackle poverty, and a Partner at Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, a vibrant giving network based in Silicon Valley
Operation Manager, Emerging Markets, Village Capital
Heather is the Operations Manager of Emerging Markets for Village Capital, where she supports entrepreneurs in Mexico, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She was previously the Global Lead for VilCap Communities, where she traveled throughout Asia, Africa, and Central America in 2016, teaching local entrepreneur support organizations how to use peer review to cultivate innovators in their communities. Prior to joining the team, Heather was a Presidential Management Fellow and later an attorney advisor at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Heather holds a J.D. from SUNY at Buffalo Law School, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and a B.A. in International Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.