Social Ventures Fund Principal, East Africa – Mercy Corps

By April 11, 2018 No Comments


Authorization to work in Uganda and/or Kenya is required. Experience in East Africa is strongly preferred.

Mercy Corps

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.

The Team

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 11 investments to date across East Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia  in the following sectors: agriculture, financial services, youth employment and last-mile logistics & distribution. For more information, please refer to our Fund Prospectus2017 Annual Impact Report and Medium Blog.

The Role

The Principal – East Africa of the Social Venture Fund will partner with key stakeholders, including other Social Ventures Team members, East & Southern Africa Regional leadership, technical teams, the executive team, and external partners to identify, evaluate, invest in and provide ongoing venture support to early stage companies that enter the investment portfolio of the Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund.

She/he will work closely with local venture ecosystems in SVF target countries in East & Southern Africa to secure follow on investment for successful enterprises and be a thought leader in structuring the governance and financing of social enterprises.  Enterprises may be in the areas of financial services, agriculture, youth employment, and last mile distribution, linked strongly to Mercy Corps field programming strengths.  The goal is not only to invest in successful for-profit enterprises, 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

Venture Investment & Program Alignment / Linkage

  • Foster strong relationships with incubators, accelerators, peer investors and other ecosystem actors throughout East Africa.
  • Develop a pipeline of potential investments in East Africa that meet the Fund’s investment theses and criteria.
  • Prioritize investments in companies that are well aligned with Mercy Corps programming and have strong potential to achieve financial viability and to create impact at scale.
  • Work with field and program leadership to identify MC programming and relationships that would both benefit and benefit from, linkage to entrepreneurial solutions.
  • In collaboration with a Fund Partner, conduct due diligence to evaluate social and financial viability of individual social ventures.
  • Effectively balance business results and social impact in both business models and funding/incentive structures.
  • In conjunction with a Fund Partner, present investment opportunities to the Fund and/or Investment Committee for approval.
  • Assist, facilitate and/or lead deal closing processes, including local legal due diligence, definitive document development, and any other regulatory requirements.
  • Contribute to Social Venture Team duties as assigned for the success, evolution and growth of the organization.

Post-Investment Support

  • In collaboration with the relevant deal lead (Partner) and the Head of Venture Growth, provide strategic direction, operational focus and connections to East African portfolio companies. Mentor investee entrepreneurs in governance, financial management, business strategy, impact measurement and other technical areas.
  • Maintain strong relationships in the impact investment community and play a key role in identifying follow-on equity funding as ventures mature.
  • Play a key role in identifying partnership opportunities and cultivating relationships with investors for follow-on equity funding 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 and 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.
  • Contribute to thought leadership by presenting at conferences and public forums to discuss Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund, our investments, and case studies of both success and failure in our approach.
  • Be an active member of the Social Ventures Team in identifying where and how the SVF can best support Mercy Corps’ overall strategy with a particular focus on the East & Southern Africa region.
  • Contribute to developing Mercy Corps’ strategy in the SVF investment themes and identifying and proposing resources to support Social Venture Fund expansion.
  • Track key advances in social entrepreneurship and impact investing, informing and advising the Social Ventures Team, and Mercy Corps community, on the potential applicability.
  • Contribute to thought leadership social entrepreneurship, impact investing and other related fields.


  • 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.

Organizational Learning 

  • 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 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.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Managing Director, Social Ventures

Works Directly With: Social Ventures team

Knowledge and Experience

  • Proven track record with 3-5 years of progressive 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.
  • Experience with impact investing including an understanding of innovative funding structures, fundraising for social ventures, and existing strong relationships in the East African impact investment community. Strong preference for candidates that have previously led and closed impact investment deals (managed the whole process from pipeline development to closing).
  • Proven experience working with individuals and teams to quickly understand a business model, and jointly identify and prioritise key challenges.
  • Strong financial modeling, business planning, due diligence, competitive analysis, and valuation skills and experience.
  • 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.
  • Fluent in written and spoken English.

Success Factors

  • Entrepreneurial mindset and zeal to dedicate the time, energy and grit to building a world-class investment portfolio pipeline in East Africa. Eager to hustle and do whatever it takes to identify, review and close strong investment deals.
  • A quick and eager learner that is able to quickly understand new business models, technologies, market systems and contexts.
  • Empathetic, humble leader with strong emotional intelligence. Diligent, highly organized and results-focused.
  • Exceptional communication and networking skills. Outstanding relationship management.
  • Ability to work and thrive in a virtual team that is spread across multiple continents (USA, UK, Africa, South America).
  • Cultural knowledge, sensitivity, and respect.
  • Ability to find joy and humor, even amidst tough challenges.
  • A strong empathy with the mission of Mercy Corps.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in the office of either Mercy Corps Kenya or Mercy Corps Uganda, and the role will require significant international travel throughout East Africa. Authorization to work in Uganda and/or Kenya is required. Experience in East Africa is strongly preferred.

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.

For more information on our portfolio companies and the fund, please refer to our Fund Prospectus2017 Annual Impact Report and Medium Blog.

Please find more information here.

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