Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.
Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV) is the impact investing division of Mercy Corps, a leading global development agency. MCV leverages the global resources and reach of a leading development agency to provide high-impact startups with investment capital, value-added support and catalytic partnerships so they can scale solutions for underserved populations in fragile, frontier markets. We designed our capital and support to help ventures overcome critical barriers, professionalize faster and scale smarter. We are generating a pipeline of impactful, scalable companies that are de-risked and ready for later stage investors – and can bring idle impact investing dollars to the table.
We’ve closed 20 investments to date across East Africa, West Africa, Latin America, and SE Asia since our founding in 2015. We have two recorded exits, >80% follow-on rate, and aim to close an additional 20+ deals through 2022. The Principal will join MCV at an inflection point with ample opportunity to influence strategy and lead the creation of MCV’s next fund.
For more information, please refer to our Ventures Overview, 2019 Annual Impact Report and Medium Blog.
General Position Summary
The Principal will join Mercy Corps Ventures’ growing Investment Team. He/she will work closely with Mercy Corps’ Regional leadership, field offices, technical teams, and external partners in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa to identify, evaluate, invest in and provide ongoing advisory to early stage companies that enter the investment portfolio. He/she will play a critical role in building out our frontier fintech portfolio, which is focused on emerging crypto, DLT and blockchain enabled solutions. The role will be highly entrepreneurial, spanning emerging market venture investing, portfolio management, and entrepreneurship, with a focus on cutting edge digital tech.
The successful candidate will be expected to lead all aspects of the investment process alongside the MCV Managing Director and Partner. Responsibilities include sourcing, due diligence, negotiations and closing of seed and early stage direct investments. This individual will be expected to take an active role on company boards and work closely with portfolio companies to guide business model implementation toward maximum structure sustainability and social impact. They will be a proactive and natural networker, able to identify promising deals early and build a deep pipeline of investable opportunities.
The Principal will work closely with local venture ecosystems in MCV target countries (particularly Sub-Saharan Africa), and will have a particular focus on emerging blockchain and DLT solutions for financial inclusion. The goal is not only to invest in successful for-profit startups, but also to demonstrate that pioneering social entrepreneurs in partnership with Mercy Corps offer a new, effective pathway to achieve social impact at scale.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Foster strong relationships and strategic partnerships with incubators, accelerators, peer investors and other ecosystem actors throughout MCV target geographies, particularly in Latam, East and West Africa
- Develop a pipeline of potential investments that meet the MCV’s investment theses and criteria
- Work with field and program leadership to identify Mercy Corps programming, expertise and/or partnerships that would both add value to and benefit from linkages to entrepreneurial solutions
- In collaboration with the Managing Director and Partner, lead investment structuring, negotiation, documentation, and execution.
- Present investment opportunities to the Investment Committee for debate and approval
- Assist, facilitate and/or lead deal closing processes, including local legal due diligence, definitive document development, and any other regulatory requirements.
- In collaboration with the Managing Director / Partner and the Head of Venture Growth, provide strategic direction, advisory and technical support to portfolio companies
- Play a key role in identifying partnership opportunities and cultivating relationships with investors for follow-on funding or co-investment capital as ventures mature
- Be a hands-on player to fill any necessary gaps in enabling new investments to succeed
- Actively identify and foster linkages between Mercy Corps field offices and portfolio companies that are mutually-beneficial
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP & AGENCY REPRESENTATION
- Maintain strong relationships with social entrepreneurs, impact investment funds, accelerators, and other ecosystem actors in order to provide our ventures and Mercy Corps teams with resources and opportunities
- Proactively develop knowledge resources and thought leadership, including preparation of documents on investment status and lessons for the industry
- Represent MCV publicly at conferences, events, and working groups as needed.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies
- As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves
ACCOUNTABILITY TO PARTNERS
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects
- Reports Directly To: Partner, Mercy Corps Ventures
- Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Ventures Team
Knowledge and Experience
- 6+ years of business experience with a proven track record in early stage venture capital investing and/or impact investing in Latam and/or Sub Saharan Africa (Strong preference for candidates that have previously supported or led debt, equity and quasi-equity impact investment deals)
- Unmatched network of contacts (investors, angels, accelerators, talent, startups) in one or more of Mercy Corps’ priority regions, including a track record of forging collaboration with partners, sourcing pipeline and securing investment deals
- Domain expertise in financial services, financial inclusion, fintech, agriculture / agtech, and/or crypto technologies (experience in crypto / blockchain / DLT preferred)
- Hands-on operational experience as a founder or executive team member of a startup in an emerging market or challenging context a plus
- Track record (as an investor or management consultant) in providing advisory and technical support to companies in emerging markets a plus
- Excellent problem-solving skills and ability to get things done
- Strong strategic thinking skills. Able to navigate complex environments and develop a clear, focused, and ambitious vision
- A team-oriented, “low-ego” individual who works collaboratively in a high-performance environment; just as comfortable strategizing in a boardroom with the C-team of a startup as chatting with a smallholder farmer customer in Northern Ghana
- Fluent in written and spoken English (French is a plus)
The ideal candidate will have a proven track record in impact investing and must be able to lead all aspects of new investments. A superb networker, this person will have well-established relationships with entrepreneurs, management teams, industry analysts, other investors and service providers that they utilize to proactively identify investment opportunities. They will have experience investing in and/or growing innovative companies in frontier markets and a demonstrated commitment to social impact. They will have the desire and ability to play an impactful role in a highly collaborative, dynamic, mission-driven and team-oriented culture.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position location is flexible and can include one of the locations listed below. The role will require significant international travel throughout West and East Africa. Candidates must hold authorization to work in base location and cannot be provided or facilitated by Mercy Corps.
USA: Washington DC
UK / Europe: London, The Hague
Sub-Saharan Africa: Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; Lagos, Nigeria
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a short-term assignment or trip to country offices. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all Mercy Corps locations.
Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.
Please submit your CV and cover letter. Applicants that also submit a deal sheet (PDF or Excel format) will receive additional consideration. The purpose of the deal sheet is to clearly outline a candidate’s investment track record. A template for the deal sheet is available here.
IF interested, please apply here.