This position is open to the following locations:
Portland, OR; Washington, DC; London, UK; Kampala, Uganda; Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; Goma or Kinshasa, DRC; Bamako, Mali
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.
Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV) is the impact investing and innovative finance division of the global development agency, Mercy Corps. MCV provides high-impact startups with investment capital, value-added support and strategic partnerships opportunities so they can scale solutions for underserved populations in fragile, frontier markets.
MCV was founded in 2015 by former operators and emerging markets investment professionals. We have closed over 28 investments to date across South East Asia, Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America, including Sokowatch, Pula, Valiu, Teliman, Cloud to Street, Turaco and Ejara. Exits include Liftit and Vasham, and we have recorded >90% follow-on success rate.
MCV focuses on tech-enabled solutions and business model innovations that drive two outcomes: strengthening financial resilience and climate resilience of people and communities. Our approach includes Investments, Venture Studio and Insights.
Investments: We invest early-stage in high-impact, highly scalable startups. We’re thesis-driven investors, focused on tech-enabled solutions that build climate resilience and financial resilience, so that people living in frontier markets can withstand disruption, plan for the future, and thrive. We are acutely focused on driving more capital to local, female founders and diverse teams in markets that are typically overlooked by other funds (i.e. Francophone Africa).
Venture Studio: It’s about more than just providing capital; it’s about scaling venture solutions by providing value-added support, piloting new ideas, and providing partnership opportunities to startups in our portfolio and pipeline. For early-stage companies, we focus on business fundamentals, impact measurement and management, and product-market fit. For later-stage companies, it’s all about growth, expansion and deepening impact.
Insights: We recognize the importance of a strong ecosystem, so we dedicate resources toward identifying learnings and generating insights for the benefit of all. Sharing successes and failures helps us strengthen our approach and supports other actors and later-stage investors to make smarter decisions and more secure investments.
We’re building out a large toolbox because that’s what’s needed to address complex problems and create sustainable, scalable impact. We are developing a vibrant portfolio of innovative companies and partnerships that have proven, high-impact solutions. For more information, check out our 2020 Annual Impact Report.
The Principal will join Mercy Corps Ventures’ growing Investment Team. They will play a critical role in building out our FinTech portfolio, which is focused on, but not limited to, emerging crypto and blockchain-derivative technologies that build financial resilience. While the Principal will play a central role in leading our FinTech, crypto and blockchain investments, as a closely integrated team, they will be expected to work across the investment team including supporting in investment, evaluation, and decision making across our portfolio, including in logistics, agritech, and climate-tech.
The Principal will be an integral member of the investment team and will lead all aspects of the investment process alongside the Managing Partner and Senior Managing Director. They will be involved in the full investment lifecycle, from sourcing, due diligence, negotiations and closing of seed and early stage direct investments. They will have the opportunity to take an active role on company boards and work closely with portfolio companies. They will be a proactive and natural networker, able to build a deep pipeline of investable opportunities, identify promising deals, and collaborate with our team and extensive roster of advisors to close investments.
This is an opportunity to work in a highly entrepreneurial environment with team members who are passionate about finding and collaborating with talented entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality. Individuals who would thrive in our environment demonstrate a strong work ethic, self-motivation, intellectual curiosity, emotional intelligence, and humility. They also take their work seriously but know how to have fun along the way. Moreover, they will be an unparalleled opportunity to co-create, foster and scale the next generation of deeply impactful startups in some of the world’s most dynamic emerging markets.
- Foster strong relationships and strategic partnerships with incubators, accelerators, peer investors and other ecosystem actors throughout MCV target geographies (particularly in Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America) and sectors (particularly FinTech)
- Develop a deep and broad pipeline of potential investments that meet the MCV’s investment theses and criteria
- Leverage MCV advisors, Mercy Corps experts & partners, and your own rolodex to conduct diligence
- 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 conjunction with the Studio Lead, lead portfolio management including working with portfolio companies where needed and tracking operational & financial performance
Reports Directly To: Managing Partner
Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Ventures leadership and investment team, partner organizations, consultants and Mercy Corps team members as needed.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
- Bachelor’s degree in Business or related field
- 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)
- Ideally, you’ve been in the trenches pioneering solutions in frontier markets at some point and maybe you’ve bounced around the ecosystem some so you’ve seen how various players work
- Domain expertise in financial services, financial inclusion, fintech, and/or crypto technologies (experience in crypto / blockchain / DeFi preferred)
- 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
- 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
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills - able to articulately craft an argument and defend a position
- Fluent in written and spoken English (French is a plus)
Application Recommendations 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.
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.
A superb communicator, this person is adept at synthesizing complex information and concepts and expressing them in approachable ways. The ideal candidate has a demonstrated passion for harnessing business and technology to solve challenges facing the world’s most vulnerable communities. They 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 can be based in any Mercy Corps location and requires up to 50% travel to multiple global locations. This position is expected to travel unaccompanied often, which may include some weekends. Constant communication is important where infrastructure allows.
The position location is flexible and can include one of the locations listed below or other countries where Mercy Corps has an office. The role will require significant international travel throughout West and East Africa. Candidates must hold authorization to work in base location and this cannot be provided or facilitated by Mercy Corps.
USA: Washington, DC; Portland, OR
UK / Europe: London, UK
Sub-Saharan Africa: Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; Lagos, Nigeria, Goma or Kinshasa, DRC; Bamako, Mali
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.
How to Apply