A Global Community

Acumen’s dedicated team works across its five global offices in Accra, Karachi, Mumbai, Nairobi, and New York to support our work investing in companies, leaders, and ideas. Our entire global community — including our staff, board, and advisors — are integral to the success of our team.

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    Duncan Onyango

    East Africa Director, Nairobi, Kenya

    “Any far reaching development can be achieved by implementing what we believe: That the promise of a continent can be achieved when the full human potential is unleashed” [READ MORE]

    Duncan Onyango joined Acumen as Director of East Africa in September 2012. He has been a long supporter of Acumen and informally served as an advisor to the East Africa team over the years, as well as being actively involved in the Fellows Program.

    Duncan most recently served as the Group Chief Finance Officer of Rift Valley Railways, where he led the structuring of a $287M debt and equity capital investment in the rail sector. He began his career with over ten years at Abbey National, a major international bank in London, gaining cross-functional business experience in both the retail and corporate arms of Abbey, including serving as the bank’s Head of Training & Management Development for the Wealth Management Division. Building on that experience, Duncan moved into consulting at Strategic Workforce Limited in London, before returning to East Africa where he founded Quantum Africa in 2006, working with many small businesses and entrepreneurs. He has expertise in strategic & business planning, organizational alignment and business transformation. Duncan holds an honors degree in Computing and Retail Management from Oxford University.

    CONTACT

    T:+245 716 252 802
    E:donyango@acumen.org

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    Joy Gikandi

    Leadership Associate, Nairobi, Kenya

    “Acumen is impacting lives and making a difference the world over. It is immensely gratifying to support social change-makers on their leadership journeys and absolutely amazing to be part of a team that is empowering game-changers and emerging leaders who are driving real change in their communities.” [READ MORE]

    As a Leadership Associate, Joy manages engagement and community building initiatives for Acumen Fellows all over the world, primarily helping plan the upcoming Acumen Fellows Global Gathering. Previously, Joy was working as an East Africa Fellows Associate responsible for the program’s communication and management, as well as the annual selection & recruitment of the new cohorts of fellows. Prior to Acumen, Joy spent a little over four years managing training programs in Kenya & Rwanda for corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and government institutions as part of their capacity building initiatives.

    CONTACT

    E:jgikandi@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Lawrence Riungu

    Lawrence Riungu

    Portfolio Manager, Nairobi, Kenya

    “Acumen’s patient, focused and supportive approach to investing makes us the right investment partner for any ambitious entrepreneur who has set their sights on developing scalable solutions to some of the world’s intractable social and economic problems.” [READ MORE]

    Throughout his career, Lawrence Riungu has actively sought out opportunities to launch and build new initiatives and businesses, including both within existing corporate organizations and through stand-alone entities. In the process, he has developed a passion for and significant experience in business model design and change management to meet evolving customer needs and competitive business environments.

    Lawrence comes to Acumen with 15 years’ experience in the financial and operational aspects of a broad range of industries including real estate and geothermal energy development, ICT (mobile commerce), energy commodity trading, electric power utilities, oil and gas pipelines, insurance and mining. He also brings with him a unique mix of local and international business experience and strong capabilities in evaluating and solving business problems. Immediately prior to joining Acumen, Lawrence was the Kenya Country Manager for BizCorps, a non-profit program that connects recent MBA graduates with SME entrepreneurs in emerging markets. In the past, Lawrence has worked in investment roles at Centum Investment Company, East Africa’s largest publicly traded investment company and has also worked as an investment banker at JPMorgan Chase in New York and First Africa Capital in Nairobi.

    Lawrence earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and holds a dual Bachelor of Arts (A.B) degree in Economics and Computer Science from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

    CONTACT

    E:lriungu@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Mary Nduta

    Mary Nduta

    Finance Manager, NAIROBI, KENYA

    “At Acumen we believe in a world of possibilities; where there are equal opportunities for the poor in which they can have a chance for a sustainable livelihood that restores their dignity. It is the drive and desire to change how the world tackles poverty that makes me proud to be part of Acumen.” [READ MORE]

    Mary has over eight years’ experience in financial management, administration, project management, budgeting and human resource management. She started her finance career by working at Farmer’s Choice Ltd for five years and was part of the team that implemented the ERP for the company. She later moved to the non-profit sector at One World International where she handled implementation of a mobile content project. She joins Acumen from the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office where she worked for five years in finance and administration managing the implementation of financial, administrative and human resource systems. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration from United States International University (USIU) and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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    Dennis Otieno

    Portfolio Associate, NAIROBI, KENYA

    “Acumen has pioneered a social and financial model that has left indelible footprints on the investment ecosystem.” [READ MORE]

    Prior to joining Acumen, Dennis was a Senior Investment Analyst at Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), where he was involved in sourcing, conducting due diligence and managing portfolio clients. He has also worked as a business associate at Transglobal Consultants where he helped Small and Growing businesses with working capital planning and management. Dennis holds an MBA, Finance option from United States International University – Africa (USIU-A).

    At Acumen, Dennis identifies, cultivates and manages a pipeline of investment opportunities providing critical services to the poor. He also supports Acumen’s post investment efforts to add significant value to investee companies.

    CONTACT

    E:dotieno@acumen.org

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    Patrick Oketa

    Associate Director of Portfolio, Nairobi, Kenya

    “Patrick is the latest addition to the East Africa team. He joins us as the Associate Director of Portfolio and will lead and guide the team in shaping Acumen’s portfolio strategy, management process, team and influence in East Africa.” [READ MORE]

    Patrick brings a wealth of experience in private equity, project financing, project cycle management, and a practical understanding of how resources can best flow to those who need them most. Over the last 15 years, he has worked with various projects and entrepreneurs to deliver practical financial and social value and added innovative solutions to their businesses across Africa. Patrick joins us from the Uganda Development Bank where he was the Director of Development Finance a position that allowed him to oversee the development and improvement of credit, risk management and customer service at the largest government owned bank in Uganda. Prior to that, he was a Partner at Pearl Capital Partner a fund manager that focuses on investments in the Agribusiness value chain in East and southern Africa. In the past, Patrick was the Chief Investment Officer of the African Agricultural Capital and also worked at the international fund manager Actis where he was responsible for the administration of the $100 million Actis Agribusiness Fund. He began his banking career at the East African development Bank where he worked for 5 years in Uganda and Kenya in various capacities. Patrick holds an MBA and MA in Banking and Finance as well as an honors degree in Economics.

    CONTACT

    E:poketa@acumen.org

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    Minayo Sagala

    East Africa Legal Counsel, Nairobi, Kenya

    “The Acumen model embraces and celebrates individual strengths and weaknesses, weaving a beautiful tapestry of talent that seeks, awakens, empowers and inspires stories of dignity.” [READ MORE]

    Minayo is legal counsel based in the Acumen East Africa office in Nairobi, which currently manages investments in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. She holds an MSc in Education for Sustainability from the London South Bank University and an LLB from the University of Nairobi. Prior to joining Acumen, Minayo was a senior associate at Anjarwalla & Khanna Advocates, a top tier corporate commercial law firm in Nairobi and also spent about a year and a half as a senior associate in its affiliate office, Adept Chambers, in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

    CONTACT

    T:: +245 716 252 802
    E:msagala@acumen.org

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    Ashley Speyer

    Impact Associate, Nairobi, Kenya

    “I am inspired by Acumen's commitment to moving beyond the status quo, challenging conventional solutions to global poverty, and pioneering a new approach with powerful results.” [READ MORE]

    Prior to joining Acumen in June 2014, Ashley worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York where she conducted research on Cuba’s energy landscape and Brazil’s foreign policy strategy in Africa. Her passion for international development and social entrepreneurship began during her experiences in East Africa where she learned the importance of local ownership in development efforts. In 2007, while in high school, she partnered with a women’s cooperative and created a non-profit organization to build a school in Arusha, Tanzania. During college, Ashley spent time in Uganda studying international development and the impact of decentralization on citizen participation. She volunteered at a local human rights organization and wrote her undergraduate thesis on transnational advocacy networks and their role in enforcing international norms. Ashley received her B.A. in Sociology from Colorado College and enjoys hiking and skiing.

    CONTACT

    T:(646) 747-3852
    E:aspeyer@acumen.org

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    Loise Nduati

    Senior Business Associate, NAIROBI, KENYA

    “Acumen is challenging the world’s status quo-allowing people to gain choice, dignity and hope in building their own futures. This is what excites me about being part of the team.” [READ MORE]

    As the Senior Business Associate for East Africa, Loise holds a cross-functional role working on the Business Development, Communications and Talent teams. She was previously the Executive Officer of the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations, the umbrella body of women entrepreneur associations in Kenya leading policy advocacy, capacity building, strategic business development and entrepreneur mentorship for an enabling business environment for women. Just prior to joining Acumen, Loise was training business member organizations in East Africa on how to engage government for policy change. Loise holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Kenyatta University and a MBA from United States International University-Africa.

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    Beatrice Onyango

    East Africa Fellows Associate, NAIROBI, KENYA

    “Acumen calls for us to be leaders who do what is right and not what is easy. With such thinking, I believe that we can transform our lives and also transform the lives of the people around us hence being a positive change agent.” [READ MORE]

    Prior to joining Acumen, Beatrice served as the President of AIESEC from 2012-14 in Rwanda, where she worked with university students in Kigali and Huye to develop their leadership potential through exchange programmes and experiential learning activities.  She also served as a public relations officer at the University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economic (then School of Finance and Banking).  Originally from Kenya, Beatrice is interested in leadership development for youth, women’s development and being a positive change agent.  As the Administrative Associate, Beatrice champions the operational needs of the East Africa team and provides executive support to the East Africa Director.

  • Close Drawer Martin Leboo

    Martin Leboo

    Portfolio Analyst, Nairobi, Kenya

    “Acumen has taught me to embrace complexities in the world. There are no simple and singular narratives, the problems are intricate, and the solutions are varied – and the answers are found by listening to those who are affected.” [READ MORE]

    Martin joined Acumen in October 2014 as a short term associate on the portfolio team, and in July 2015 joined full-time as a Portfolio Analyst. In this role, Martin supports the East Africa portfolio team in sourcing pipeline and doing due diligence on potential investments.  Prior to joining Acumen, Martin was pursuing his master’s degree in economics at the University of Nairobi. Martin has interned at the UN office in Nairobi. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Nairobi.

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    Kazi Mghendi

    Administrative Associate, Nairobi, Kenya

    “While many investors focus solely on profitability, Acumen seeks to understand the social impact that its investments make. I believe this is what society needs most. Indeed it starts with standing with the poor, listening to the voices unheard and recognizing potential where others see despair.” [READ MORE]

    As the Administrative Associate, Kazi manages the operational needs of the East Africa team and provides executive support to the East Africa Director. Kazi brings valuable on-the-ground experience in East Africa’s development sphere coupled with solid administrative skills. Prior to joining Acumen, she worked in the microfinance industry and the humanitarian sector. Her past roles include working as a Credit Officer with a Kenyan microfinance institution appraising loans and managing relationships with clients, a Business and Entrepreneurship Trainer with AIESEC in Rwanda, an Administrative Assistant with Nairobi Chapel, and a Project Management Intern with Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK). Kazi holds a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies with a concentration in Integrated Community Development from Daystar University in Nairobi.

    CONTACT

    E:kmghendi@acumen.org