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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    Jacqueline Novogratz

    Founder & Chief Executive Officer, New York, USA

    “I believe that we have a chance to build a world in which all human beings can live with dignity, freedom and choice. It starts with imagining that world and then working together.” [READ MORE]

    Prior to Acumen, Jacqueline founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. She also co-founded Duterimbere, a micro-finance institution in Rwanda. She began her career in international banking with Chase Manhattan Bank. Jacqueline currently sits on the advisory boards of Sonen Capital and the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative. She also serves on the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees and the board of IDEO.org, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, World Economic Forum and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Jacqueline was recently awarded the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship. 



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    Yusra Gilani

    Pakistan Counsel, Karachi, Pakistan

    “All of us have a right to basic services. Acumen invests in businesses that strive to make this possible.” [READ MORE]

    Yusra has been Acumen Pakistan’s Counsel for over 5 years. Prior to joining, she worked with Mandviwalla & Zafar where she represented various banks and public/private sector companies on diverse deals which included setting up and licensing various Banks, Islamic banks, Microfinance banks as well as undertaking mergers and acquisitions. Yusra holds a BA Honors in Economics and Politics from SOAS (University of London), a CPE from BPP Law School, a BVC from Inns Court School of Law. Yusra is a Barrister-at-Law and a member of the Honorable Society of Lincolns Inn.


    T:+92 21 583 4298 x 103

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    Noor Ullah

    Global Agriculture Lead, Karachi, Pakistan

    “Acumen is an organization with a soul. It encourages intellectual curiosity and there is space for an active dialogue on what works for the poor and what does not.” [READ MORE]

    Noor joined Acumen in 2007. Since joining Noor has been working on the growth of Acumen’s Agriculture Portfolio. He co-leads Acumen’s efforts in the Agriculture sector globally and is responsible for leading our Agriculture work in Pakistan. In addition to his work in Agriculture, Noor also leads Acumen Pakistan’s Energy and Water Portfolios. Before joining Acumen, Noor served as a consultant for the World Bank, where he studied the socio-economic impact of environmental degradation in the province of Punjab. Previously, he worked as a business development consultant for a number of multinationals and private enterprises. He handled projects involving feasibility studies and financial projection analyses. He also worked as Manager Business Development and Manager Projects at Microtech Industries, an engineering and telecom multinational. Immediately after graduation he had also served as a Research Analyst with Dr. Salman Shah (a renowned Finance expert and Pakistan’s ex-Finance Advisor for the Federal Government) on a number of research papers for PILDAT (Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency). He holds a Bachelor degree with Honors, in Economics and Computer Sciences from Lahore University of Management Sciences.


    T:+92 42 3586 1240

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    Asad Jafri

    Senior Portfolio Associate, Karachi, Pakistan

    “The Acumen model is one that drives innovation, leadership, and social responsibility by fostering the next generation of leaders as well as partnering and investing in financially sustainable enterprises that bring about social impact, which in turn tackles the problems of poverty around the world. The best part of it all is that it is working.” [READ MORE]

    As a Senior Portfolio Associate in the Karachi office, Asad oversees investments in Housing, Education and Microfinance.

    Prior to joining Acumen, Asad was a Senior Analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York, where he performed portfolio analysis of an investment fund exceeding $1 billion in capital investments. Prior to that, he was a Senior Associate at Deloitte in New York, where he worked on a variety of client projects in the areas of corporate finance, business valuation, restructuring, management and risk consulting. Asad completed his Bachelors in business degree from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, completing a dual major in Finance and Entrepreneurship.


    T:+92 (21) 35846430-32

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    Ayesha Khan

    Portfolio Associate Director, Karachi, Pakistan

    “I am particularly impressed with Acumen’s patient capital approach towards finding powerful, innovative and scalable solutions for the multiple institutional voids defining emerging markets. In doing so, I believe we can achieve truly lasting, systemic change - and that is what inspires and excites me about the work we do.” [READ MORE]

    Ayesha joins Acumen as the Associate Director for Portfolio in Pakistan.  Ayesha has a strong background in business strategy, economic policy and international development.  She has previously worked as the head of strategy at the largest bank in Pakistan, where she was responsible for aligning corporate focus, defining core capabilities and articulating a comprehensive plan to achieve long-term growth targets.  She has also worked in New York as a management consultant with McKinsey and Company, where she primarily concentrated on the financial sector.

    Ayesha holds a doctorate from the Harvard Business School, where she focused on understanding how to build successful businesses in emerging markets. To that end, she has written various case studies and published several articles focused on emerging markets for different publications – including the Harvard Business Review.  Ayesha also holds a Masters in International Development (MPA-ID) from the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as an undergraduate degree in Economics from Princeton University.



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    Zoha Arshad

    Business Development and Communications Associate, KARACHI, PAKISTAN

    “Acumen has taught me to view the world through a multi-faceted lens, and to be more self-aware and reflective in my work. The Acumen model enables innovation, leadership and social responsibility, characteristics needed to tackle poverty across the globe.” [READ MORE]

    Zoha Arshad is the Associate, Business Development and Communications, at Acumen Pakistan. Zoha joins us from Habib University, where she worked in Student Recruitment and Marketing for three years. She joined the HU team in its planning phase, and helped build the print and online communications portfolio for the University. Before joining HU, Zoha worked at the Washingtonian Magazine in D.C. Zoha has a Master’s in Communications from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Anthropology from LUMS.



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    Syed Umair Hussain

    Finance & Operations Manager, Karachi, Pakistan

    “I believe that charity is not a permanent solution to poverty in Pakistan and Acumen’s business-oriented model to tackle poverty in Pakistan is the right approach.” [READ MORE]

    As Senior Associate for Finance & Operations in Pakistan, Syed Umair Hussain is responsible for coordinating all aspects of financial management, accounting, book-keeping, Treasury management, Investment Accounting and Office administration. He was also actively involved in HR issues of Acumen Pakistan. Before joining Acumen, S. Umair Hussain worked as an Accounts Officer at Interglobe Commerce Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, a large oil storage facilities and pipeline construction company, where he was responsible for various accounting and finance matters, including costing and Internal Audit of oil refineries projects. He has also worked as Assistant Accountant at Callmate Telips (Pvt) Ltd, a private telecom company in Pakistan. Umair holds an MBA in Finance and Accounts from Preston Institute of Management Science and Technology and is currently pursuing his ACMA from the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan.


    T:+92 21 3584 6430 32 x 101

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    Saima Irtiza

    Associate Director, Leadership, Nairobi, Kenya

    “At Acumen we recognize that the right way is almost always harder but always worth striving towards; having the gravitas and persistence to do so makes the real difference” [READ MORE]

    Saima has been working joined the Acumen, Pakistan office in April 2009, and is currently managing the Pakistan Fellows Program.  Saima is responsible for recruitment, training and coaching of Fellows with an aim towards building the next generation of social change leaders for Pakistan.  Prior to this, Saima served as Business Manager, where she was mainly focused on developing and managing Acumen’s Health and Education Portfolio. Before joining Acumen, Saima worked as CEO and Managing Partner of The Review Private Limited, a company formed to acquire and run a test prep franchise, The Princeton Review. Before making this entrepreneurial shift, Saima worked for six years in the financial sector; her last assignment was at Global Securities, a brokerage firm, where she worked as Senior Associate, Corporate Finance. Saima holds an MBA from Lahore University of Management Sciences.



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    Naeem Zamindar

    Pakistan Director, Karachi, Pakistan

    “Accelerating the rate of innovation enabled by Acumen’s commitment to developing companies, leaders and ideas to focus on lifting the lives of the poor will enable our vision of a more inclusive and empowered world.” [READ MORE]

    “We are enabling a world where all of humanity reaches its full potential, is happy.”  Naeem Zamindar is a results-driven leader with experience in venture capital, entrepreneurship, finance, operations, general management, in public and private companies. He is inspired to create a happier world and has a great track record of envisioning the future, transformational leadership, leveraging innovation and technology, and fostering collaborations to enable others to consistently deliver strong business results. As the Pakistan Country Director of Acumen, he is excited about the opportunity to invest and build social enterprises/entrepreneurs that will bring about a transformative change in the way the world tackles poverty. 

    Previously, as the CEO of Wateen, he turned around Pakistan’s leading communications and cloud services provider, where he restructured and refocused the company, and invested in high growth areas such as mobile financial services.  He was on the founding team of Mobilink, which has become one of the most successful companies in Pakistan.  He left Mobilink to go do his MBA at INSEAD where his team won the European Business Plan Competition and started his venture funded social networking startup (Facebook before its time).  His company became a casualty of the dotcom bust in the year 2000 after which he moved to the Silicon Valley to become a venture capitalist with Intel Capital, to invest and build successful expotential growth innovative companies.   He returned to Pakistan in early 2004 to startup a successful non-profit venture called the Art of Living, an organization enabling the self-actualization of human potential for happiness.  After the Art of Living started getting momentum and did not require his full time attention, he returned to Mobilink to lead the Strategy, Program Management Office and Business Development functions.  He was a part of the team that massively scaled mobile users from around 2 million to 32 million within 5 years and started up and launched the broadband business division.

    He is actively involved in the development of entrepreneurship as the current President of The Indus Entrepreneurs Lahore chapter and sits on the Advisory Board’s of The Center for Entrepreneurial Development, the business incubators Plan9 and Nest I/O, the leadership development organization AIESEC,  and the Punjab Vocational Training Council.


    T:+92-21-3584-6430 x102

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    Kinza Mahmud

    Fellows Associate, Karachi, Pakistan

    “In a world which continues to invest in systems and processes to solve the greatest problems, it is great to be a part of an organization which places value in the leaders behind these solutions.” [READ MORE]

    Kinza joins Acumen as a Fellows Associate in Pakistan. Prior to joining Acumen, Kinza was working in the Business Development team at Aman Foundation, where she was responsible for building relationships aimed at generating scalable and sustainable solutions for health and education in Pakistan. During her time at Aman, Kinza also focused on improving donor engagement, and streamlining systems and processes in order to optimize the fundraising engine. Kinza completed her B.A in Politics, Psychology and Sociology from the University of Cambridge, UK. While at Cambridge, Kinza also served as Vice President of Enactus Cambridge, a social enterprise, where she contributed to initiating three new projects, and streamlined internal communication by building and implementing a clear communication structure.



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    Khurram Shahid

    Portfolio Manager, Karachi, Pakistan

    “If sanctity of any asset is to be preserved, sustainability through accountability becomes an integral part of the investment scheme. What sets Acumen apart from other impact investors is its genuinely simple investment model that uses novel approach of investing patient capital in social enterprises that sustainably serves the poor.” [READ MORE]

    Khurram joins Acumen team as Portfolio Manager where he will be responsible for ensuring the success, development and impact of Acumen’s portfolio in Pakistan in addition to raising new funds for investment in social ventures in Pakistan.

    Prior to joining Acumen, Khurram was the head of the Investment Banking department at AKD Securities Limited, which is the leading Investment Banking platform in Pakistan. With 10+ years of diversified experience in the financial sector, he has worked on both debt and equity deals and has transaction credentials of over USD 1 billion. His work domain has predominantly been equity advisory with transaction spectrum ranging from capital market transactions to private equity play. Khurram also worked with KPMG Dubai and PWC Pakistan on statutory audits, review engagements and special assignments including due diligence exercise, risk advisory services and business process improvement assignments.

    Khurrram holds an Executive MBA with honors from Institute of Business Administration (IBA). He is also a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA).