Position Status Full-time, Permanent*
Salary Level £60-70k, depending on experience
Reporting to Director, Social Ventures
Mercy Corps is a leading global organisation powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In conflict, 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’ Social Venture Fund (SVF) is a seed and early-stage impact investment fund launched in 2015. We invest capital and provide a platform to accelerate the growth of disruptive startup businesses that have the potential to positively impact millions. We believe that connecting our portfolio companies to Mercy Corps’ programs, staff and expertise will accelerate their growth and impact.
We’ve closed ten investments to date across Kenya, Indonesia and Colombia in the following sectors: agriculture, financial services, youth employment and last-mile logistics & distribution. View the Social Venture Fund prospectus here.
As a key member of the Social Ventures leadership team, the Head of Venture Growth will design, launch and manage our Fund’s new post-investment engagement service for our portfolio companies. This is a new role, responsible for the direction and execution of this essential Fund function. We are seeking someone with an entrepreneurial mindset who is excited to dedicate the time, energy and grit to building a world-class post-investment advisory unit.
The ideal candidate will help create value for the SVF portfolio companies, cultivate linkages to Mercy Corps, and operationalise our impact assessment activities. This unique role requires a diverse skill set – from analysing internal company performance to delivering tailored advisory support to exploring links to Mercy Corps’ programming and external partners. The Head of Venture Growth will also work collaboratively with the MC SVF team and its portfolio companies to enhance and measure the breadth, depth and quality of their social impact while also communicating these findings to external audiences.
You will be joining a small, but growing team distributed across the USA, Latin America, and East Africa. We are on target to grow our portfolio from 10 companies to over 20 in the coming 18 months. You’ll play a key role in maximizing the chances of success of our portfolio companies. As part of an agile team, you’ll also participate in pipeline development and investment due diligence.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Refine the Fund’s portfolio engagement and technical assistance strategy based on feedback from our entrepreneurs and best practices from our peer Funds.
- Set direction for Venture Growth initiatives and continually adjust approach to better serve our portfolio companies.
- Oversee the development of quarterly, integrated work plans for the Venture Growth function.
- Continually identify new opportunities for strategic partnerships to finance and expand the Fund’s post-investment engagement with our portfolio companies.
Portfolio Engagement & Technical Advisory
- Systematise and deliver best-in-class, tailored business advisory and technical assistance to portfolio companies remotely and in-country. Services are demand driven from our entrepreneurs. Key areas will include: Governance, Financial Modelling and Accounting Systems/Processes, Recruitment and Talent Management, Target Customer Identification and Segmentation, Leadership Development, and Investment Readiness / Fundraising Preparation.
- Manage and facilitate external partnerships for technical assistance, including consultants, service providers, pro-bono advisory networks, and corporate partners.
- Cultivate collaboration opportunities with Mercy Corps field programming, experts, partners, and other platform resources to further the impact and growth of our companies.
- Leveraging our existing impact framework development tools and external consultants, ensure that each company initially establishes a Theory of Change, a core set of metrics (operational and impact-focused), and a standard reporting template.
- Engage with portfolio companies to design or improve data collection processes / systems (e.g., Lean Data methodology).
- Identify, manage and expand the ecosystem of partners that can benefit Social Venture Fund portfolio companies.
- Work in coordination with the Social Venture Team to capture and disseminate insights from our investments for internal and external communications.
- Lead all Venture Growth workflows, including staff, interns, and fellows.
- Ensure all technical assistance projects (internal and external) are project managed and completed within the agreed-upon timeframe.
Influence and Representation
- Cultivate relationships in the startup and investing communities in our target markets to develop investment pipeline.
- Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO and other relevant events in close coordination with other members of the Social Venture Team.
- As part of our commitment to organisational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organisations 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 Beneficiaries
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
The Head of Venture Growth will works directly with: the Managing Director and Partner of the Social Venture Team; select Mercy Corps field offices (Colombia, Kenya, Indonesia, Uganda, Tanzania, Jordan); select Regional Directors (East Africa, Asia, UBACCA); Agriculture Technical Support Unit, Financial Services Technical Support Unit; select major Mercy Corps programs (AgriFin Accelerate, AgriFin Mobile, YES!, and Impact Labs); and numerous external Social Venture Fund consultants and partnerships.
Knowledge and Experience:
- Proven track record of progressive management/ leadership positions in management consulting, investment, or portfolio management. Alternatively, long-term hands-on operational experience as a founder or executive team member of a startup in an emerging market or challenging context.
- Proven experience working with individuals and teams to quickly understand a business model, and jointly identify and prioritise key challenges.
- A project management ninja. Strong organisational skills and a demonstrable track record of results, with experience successfully coordinating a number of relationships and high value projects simultaneously across multiple time zones.
- Exceptional and broad toolbelt to support startups in different growth stages with an array of needs. From governance and financial modelling to talent recruitment and fundraising, you have significant experience to bring to bear on startups. You are keen to continue learning and contributing new methods to our team’s toolkit.
- Significant experience living and working in an emerging market. Strong understanding of how to navigate cross-cultural relationships. A deep understanding of the complexities of the challenges low-income communities face, and the current efforts to solve them.
- Fluent in written and spoken English (bonus if you are also fluent in Spanish and/or Swahili).
- Entrepreneurial mindset and zeal to dedicate the time, energy and grit to building a world-class technical advisory unit. Eager to hustle and do whatever it takes to help our portfolio companies succeed.
- Empathetic, humble leader with strong emotional intelligence. Diligent, highly organized and results-focused.
- Exceptional project management and communication skills.
- Outstanding relationship management.
- Ability to work and thrive in a virtual team that is spread across multiple continents (USA, Africa, SE Asia, South America).
- Cultural knowledge, sensitivity, and respect.
- A strong empathy with the mission of Mercy Corps.
- Ability to find joy and humour, even amidst tough challenges.
The position is based in Mercy Corps Europe’s central London offices close to London Bridge and will require significant international travel.
*NOTE: The position is subject to funding after 36 months.
MCE 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 MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all Mercy Corps locations.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis by CV and cover letter.