Our close-knit team is based in the entrepreneurial hubs of Nairobi, London and Lagos.
Abel started off his professional career in 2011 as a Credit Research Analyst at Bloomberg L.P. in the US after graduating with an A.B degree in Government from Harvard University. He relocated to Kenya in 2014 to launch Sarora Dairies, a milk processing and retail distribution company in Eldoret town. Abel exited the dairy business in 2018 and joined Tulaa, an agritech business providing smallholder farmers with access to inputs on credit and markets. Abel joined Novastar in June 2019.Ask Abel about
Networking, travelling, reading, and farming.
Co-founder & Managing Partner
Andrew began investing in start-ups during the dot-com era in 1996. He launched his first fund on the London Stock Exchange in 1999 and was involved in managing 12 more over the next 15 years, investing in Europe, India and China along the way. Born in Lesotho with periods growing up in Ethiopia and Kenya, he is a graduate the London School of Economics. Andrew began fulfilling his professional ambition to apply Venture Capital investment techniques to stimulate transformation on the continent first in South Africa in 2009, and then in East Africa with Steve Beck, raising Novastar’s first fund in 2014.Ask Andrew about
Taking risks and going fast, motorcycle safaris, and water divining.
Brian Waswani Odhiambo
West Africa Director
Born and raised in Kenya, Brian’s career has been an entrepreneurial adventure across West, Southern and East Africa. Immediately after graduating from Yale University with honors, he joined the management team that started Jumia, a leading and award-winning e-commerce platform across Africa. Brian then co-founded Zamsolar, a last-mile distribution company in Zambia, and was later COO at Livelyhoods, a last mile distribution business in Nairobi. He joined Novastar in January 2015 and now heads up the team in Lagos.Ask Brian about
Mobility, B2B commerce & fintech. Investment activity in West Africa and building a career in venture capital.
Dayo started off his career in banking then moved to the built space, leading business growth for an engineering consultancy firm. He has a combined 12 years of experience including five years supporting entrepreneurs within the Middle East, Pakistan and Africa, helping them achieve their full potential. Dayo has a BSc in Statistics and received his Master’s in Business Administration from Obafemi Awolowo University.Ask Dayo about
Education in Africa, data analytics, architectural evolution and football.
Before joining Novastar in 2019, Dominic worked in corporate finance for EY in London and prior to that, for an NGO in Uganda. These contrasting experiences gave birth to a passion for supporting businesses that create large-scale social value as a result of their commercial success. Dominic is a Chartered Accountant and has a BA in History and Politics from the University of Nottingham.Ask Dom about
Energy access in sub-Saharan Africa; Measuring the social and environmental value of the Novastar portfolio; His long-suffering life supporting Tottenham Hotspur.
Director, Social & Environmental Value
Dot trained as a teacher, working in secondary and adult education in London, before moving to the USA to join philanthropic investment bank Geneva Global. She built and led Geneva Global’s Human Liberty Sector, developing integrated strategies and grants to community-based organizations fighting slavery and human trafficking in Eastern Europe, South Asia and Africa. Dot lived in Nairobi from 2014 to 2020, and established Novastar’s approach to assessing, measuring and reporting on social and environmental value. She holds an MA in cross-cultural studies.Ask Dot about
Her cross-cultural family and their food journey over the last two decades, and how to engage groups in meaningful discussion.
Ian is a certified economist with more than five years’ experience in developing and implementing business ideas and solutions. He loves to work with start-ups to find solutions to existing problems through knowledge sharing and doing deep-dives with trusted specialists. He joined Novastar in 2021 and brings with him entrepreneurial experience from his fashion company that he founded and has been managing for the past six years.Ask Ian about
Reviewing pitch decks, building a service provider database, hiking trails in Naivasha, and fashion.
Director, Talent Development
Born and raised in South Africa, Joss is an Executive Coach based in Nairobi and London. She works with teams and individuals, virtually and in-person. Joss is passionate about supporting leaders to create productive teams and healthy organisations. Joss has an Advanced Diploma in Executive Coaching (Academy of Executive Coaching), an MA in Modern Languages (Cambridge University) and an MA in Art History (Courtauld Institute of Art). Joss has previous experience in publishing, broadcasting, communications and interior design.Ask Joss about
All things Italian, social justice, and dogs.
Based in Nairobi, Mathews' passion is market analysis. He brings experience gained while working for Stroil Company Ltd as a researcher involved in community development and environmental programs for various multinational companies. While there, he acted as a research team lead, worked on mapping natural resources across 24 counties in Kenya, and helped refine the National Policy on Community Development. Mathews earned a degree from Curtin University in Petroleum Engineering and was the first African president of the university.Ask Mathews about
Market analysis, travelling (he's visited 35 countries so far), and Kenyan politics -specifically how culture and tribalism has shaped its politics since independence.
Michele followed her passion for justice and positive social impact in the community through undergraduate studies in Law and graduate studies in Governance, Peace and Security. She then spent a few years in the entrepreneurial space before working at Sanergy, a Novastar portfolio company innovating solutions to the problem of slum sanitation as a Legal Assistant. Michele joined Novastar in 2018 and leverages her legal training to support the management of PeopleOps and her organizational skills as a project manager to ensure the continuance and maintenance of projects in various departments.Ask Michele about
Community impact, Good governance & African History.
Nghi has over 15 years’ experience in venture capital, specialising in fund legals, VC transaction legals and financial services regulation, gained first from investing in companies in Europe and now in East and West Africa. She joined Novastar in 2019 from Spark Ventures, a VC investor in high growth technology, media and healthcare companies in Europe. Nghi is a UK qualified lawyer (admitted 2007) and an Australian qualified lawyer (admitted 2003) having trained at corporate law firm, Philips Fox (now DLA Piper) in Melbourne, Australia. She earned two bachelor's degrees in law and commerce from the Australian National University.Ask Nghi about
Venture capital transactions typical deal terms. The circular economy, human rights and anti-bribery and corruption. The differences between life in Vietnam, Japan, Australia, the UK, Kenya and Nigeria.
Niraj leverages his international professional experience as an actuary, management consultant and founder to support entrepreneurs and their businesses that generate large-scale social impact as a result of their commercial success. Niraj joined Novastar at its inception in April 2014. He earned an honours degree in Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland.Ask Niraj about
How to build businesses that empower smallholder farmers at scale. What the insurance industry needs to do differently to serve the many. And where to eat in Watamu.
Olúwatóke “Toke” Soyebo
Toke joined Novastar in 2022 and brings over six years of experience from different functions and industries. She started as a financial services auditor for PwC, before transitioning to spearhead strategy and operations for a fintech start-up in Nigeria. She later progressed to Dalberg Advisors where she supported developing country governments and multilateral institutions on a wide range of social impact issues including youth entrepreneurship. Through her experience, she formed a deep desire to promote impact through entrepreneurship and utilizes finance as a tool to achieve this objective. She holds an active CPA license for the state of California, and a Macc and BSc in Accounting from the University of Southern California (USC).Ask Toke about
Organizing meaningful gatherings for young professionals, the best Gospel music, and her budding photography skills.
Olúwatóyìn “Toyin” Emmanuel-Olubake
Based in Lagos, Toyin brings over 14-years of experience investing and advising in growth markets, with a focus on West Africa. He is inspired by supporting entrepreneurs working to address a range of complex issues in Africa with commercial solutions. He joined Novastar in 2021 from Acumen where he built a track record of identifying and partnering with dynamic, fast-growing businesses. Toyin’s prior experience includes time spent at Sahel Capital, and Afrinvest. An engineer by background, Toyin received his BSc from the University of Nottingham.Ask Toyin about
Building out a financing value chain in Africa; navigating a career with purpose; (trying to) balance faith, family and work; and movies.
Rebecca brings over 15-years of experience as a regulatory compliance professional specialising in advising on financial crime prevention measures, business integrity due diligence, investment due diligence and ongoing portfolio monitoring. Starting her career as a regulatory compliance consultant, Rebecca specialises in working with private equity, venture capital, impact fund managers and corporate financiers in the UK and overseas. Rebecca originally joined Novastar in 2017 as an advisor and training provider and is now Novastar’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer and Group Data protection lead.Ask Rebecca about
Superbikes, Mono-boarding, and playing the piano.
Sabrina is an entrepreneur with seven years of experience in business development and creative problem solving. Her journey began through founding a contemporary fashion business with a mission to revolutionize African fashion. She is energized by the thrill of working closely with fellow entrepreneurs disrupting industries. Sabrina received her Bsc from United States International University – Africa (USIU) in International Relations, Psychology, and Entrepreneurship.Ask Sabrina about
World travel requirements; the latest freshest fabrics in Kenya.
Samuel started his career as a strategy consultant with Dalberg where he supported a range of private and public organizations in building their strategies to serve markets in East and West Africa. His passion for building businesses and supporting entrepreneurship on the continent, especially in Africa’s exciting venture capital space, led him to Novastar in 2021. Samuel was born and raised in Nigeria and has a First-Class Honors degree from the African Leadership University.Ask Sam about
Investment trends in Africa; International development; African history; 60s/70s West African music.
Sapna started her career in international banking, initially at Lloyds TSB and later at HSBC, working with entrepreneurs and SMEs at various stages of their business lifecycle in the UK, US, Europe and the Middle East. She returned to Kenya in 2012 to continue her passion for working with entrepreneurs, this time as an investor at Acumen and co-founder of a food start-up. She joined Novastar in 2015. Sapna graduated from the London School of Economics with a Bsc (Hons) in Government and Economics.Ask Sapna about
Opportunities and challenges in the primary healthcare sector in East Africa. The highs and lows of scaling a coffee business in Kenya. Anything nutrition or fitness related.
Co-founder and Managing Partner
Steve has been investing in African start-ups since 2009 when he founded a private investor circle making seed-stage investments in East Africa. The investments that he and his partners made – NewGlobe and Sanergy among them – formed the proof-of-concept portfolio for Novastar’s first fund.
He had an 18-year career in consulting and led the European, African and Asian businesses of two global consulting businesses. Steve took leave of consulting in 2002 to help set up and lead Geneva Global - a philanthropic investment bank managing grants to more than a thousand projects in global health, human liberty, microfinance, education, and conflict recovery.
Steve grew up in the Silicon Valley when it had more fruit trees than silicon chips. He graduated from Stanford University and earned a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics with a focus on the politics of foreign direct investment.
The inspiration and influence of author, poet and activist Wendell Berry.
Winnie’s professional career combines 10 years of financial management and audit experience with five years of experience in Private Equity and Venture Capital leading on fund administration, reporting, investor relations and portfolio support. Winnie earned a Master of Science in Investments and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Nairobi. She is a Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in the UK.Ask Winnie about
Gender lens investing, her eclectic taste in music; and how to survive Formula 1 off-season.