Wale Ayeni, head of IFC’s investments in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, leaves the company – TechCrunch

Wale Ayeni, regional head of venture capital investments for IFC in Africa, has left the International Finance Corporation (IFC), TechCrunch learned on Wednesday.

Ayeni, who also led the company’s venture capital efforts, most recently in the Middle East and Central Asia, is leaving after more than five years.

The venture capital arm of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is known for backing leading technology companies in frontier markets. He has deployed more than $800 million in start-up and growth-stage companies over the past decade.

Since joining in 2016, Ayeni, as one of Africa’s most influential investors, has played a pivotal role in building IFC’s venture capital investment practice on the continent. For four years, he led the venture capital arm and developed IFC’s startup support strategy, particularly in the B2B retail and trading sectors.

In 2020, he moved up within the firm to co-lead disruptive technologies and venture capital investments – the department manages nearly $2.5 billion of assets under management in risk assets across markets. borders (Africa, China, India, Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia). ).

Then last November, Ayeni became head of venture capital investments in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, a position he held until his exit this month.

Under Ayeni’s watch in all three roles, IFC has supported more than a dozen African technology companies. Some of them include Andela and Wave unicorns; he led the company’s investments in the latter, as well as Africa’s Talking, Kobo360, MaxAB, Brimore, TradeDepot, Twiga and GrowSari in the Philippines. He is a board member of some of these startups.

IFC is also a funder of venture capital and private equity funds that invest in other startups, technically “a fund of funds.” Some of its grantees include Africa-focused funds such as Savannah Fund, Algebra Ventures, Partech, TLcom Capital, Wamda and SPE Capital.

Ayeni is on the advisory board of Partech and TLcom Capital – and has personally backed startups like Goldfinch, Ponto and Paystack.

Ayeni started his career as a microprocessor design engineer at Intel Corp. and later Qualcomm, working on “CSI” and “Snapdragon” chip architectures. He then launched his finance career at JP Morgan’s Technology Investment Banking group in San Francisco, where he executed more than $12 billion in closed transactions, ranging from mergers and acquisitions to IPOs for technology clients. large cap.

Prior to IFC, Wale led seed venture investments for Orange in the United States and served as senior advisor to pan-African startup fund EchoVC from 2013 to 2016. The investor, who is also an observer on the board of Mobility Unicorn Bolt’s board — and will most likely leave some of those board positions after he leaves IFC — didn’t share what he plans to do next in the memo seen by TechCrunch:

After more than 5 exciting years at IFC, last week was my last. I can only be grateful for the years filled with purpose, joy, learning and growth working alongside extremely talented, passionate and mission-driven colleagues focused on changing the narrative in emerging markets and borders, with action and through technology.

The richness, breadth and depth of experience was only possible because of the unwavering support and belief of colleagues who saw frontier markets as a digital “opportunity”, where the possibilities are indeed exponential, if they are properly used.

Everyone’s commitments over the past few years have certainly led to profound personal growth and development for which I am entirely grateful, and I am touched by the extreme passion with which each has engaged in the development and development dimension. impact of what we all do.

I am completely grateful to many people who believed in the vision, and the list is too long to mention here, but I would be remiss if I did not mention Bill, Atul, Maria, Nikunj for the support through it all – and more importantly to the founders of these marketplaces who do all of this and who I learned the most from.

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