We are excited to share some news about the growth and evolution of our team since the beginning of the year.
Mia von Koschitzky-Kimani has officially joined us as a Partner and Lead Venture Advisor for East and Southern Africa based in Nairobi. Mia moved to Africa in 2009 and spent the first six years on the continent starting the Johannesburg office of The Boston Consulting Group and building the Sub-Saharan Consumer and Retail Practice of the firm. Mia has led consulting projects in many African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Angola as well as Southern and Eastern Africa. Subsequently Mia co-founded her own company, DukaConnect, building artificial intelligence-based technology for micro-retailers, which she later sold to MasterCard. We welcome Mia’s wealth of experience in strategy, entrepreneurship and venture building and the new perspective she adds to Persistent. Mia will focus on our key venture building initiatives in East and Southern Africa and help refine and adjust our investment strategy in the region.
After having started working with us as Principal in early 2018, Tobias Ruckstuhl became Chief Financial Officer last year, and officially joined the rank of Partner at Persistent this year. Even though Tobias is based in Zurich, he brings in nearly 10 years experience of living and working in Sub-Saharan Africa. He spent large parts of his early youth in rural Africa and later worked in finance and logistics, and as an entrepreneur in Central Africa before continuing his career in Europe and subsequently joining Persistent. Since joining us, Tobias has been a great manager and leader and exceptional venture builder. He has shown deep insights into the sector, successfully filled mandates in our portfolio companies and manages our finances to a high standard. He has been central to attracting and building the cohesive team we have today.
One of our co-founders, Dirk Muench, has decided to take a step back from the Persistent day-to-day operations to spend more time with his family. He will remain a board member of Persistent, and will also continue to add his strategic value in projects such as the Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund and the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Over the nine years since co-founding Persistent with Chris Aidun, Dirk has led many of Persistent’s strategic initiatives in the off-grid sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, and his passion about entrepreneurship has helped shape Persistent into the prime venture builder that it is today. In his own words, “We have a fantastic team, and many more amazing people have embraced our business model and want to join the platform for venture building in Africa that we have created. I am proud of what we have built at Persistent and have full confidence that the company will succeed in scaling impact to mitigate climate change and improve livelihoods in emerging markets.”
Together with Chris Aidun and Jens Godat, Persistent has a very experienced and well functioning group of Partners. With Eva Stolz and Manuela Böck, we have a talented core team of venture building professionals. At least three additional professionals are slated to join in the next few months, and with a focus on expanding our staff presence in Nairobi and Lagos. We look forward to continuing on our mission and bringing more amazing talent to the team in the months ahead.