Team Profiles

THABO NCALO

Founding / Managing Partner & Director

Thabo has over 15 years investment management experience in Africa. He was previously Portfolio Manager at STANLIB Asset Management until May 2016 managing the firm’s suite of Africa Equity (ex SA) Funds. STANLIB is the principal asset manager  for the Standard Bank and Liberty Group. Prior to this he was an Equity Analyst on the same STANLIB funds from 2007. —The Africa Funds invested in mid-sized and large companies listed across Africa (ex S.A). In this role he traveled extensively on the continent engaging with company executives, industry & financial sector players and regulators / public officials.

He was previously at Investec Asset Management for 4 years, ending as an Equity Analyst on the South African industrials, healthcare and small cap sectors on the JSE Securities Exchange.

He holds a PLD (Program for Leadership Development) from Harvard Business School and was also awarded the 2017 / 2018 Harvard University – South Africa Fellowship. Thabo graduated with a BCom in Finance, Investments and Accounting from the University of the Witwatersrand; a Registered Persons Exam (RPE) in Equities & Bonds; and a CAIB (SA) (Inst. of Bankers). He has also completed the Advances in Equity Portfolio Construction programme at the EDHEC Risk Institute in London, and the SAVCA / GIBS Foundation and Advanced Programmes in Private Equity.

——Thabo is a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow under the U.S. Department of State  Young African Leaders Initiative and underwent studies in Business & Entrepreneurship at Clark Atlanta University’s School of Business in the summer of 2015.

A panelist at Harvard Business School’s 2015 Africa Conference in Boston, Thabo was a finalist for the 2013 ABSIP Equity Manager of the Year award in South Africa and was awarded the Young Banker of the Year by IOB/SASBO in 2007. He has appeared regularly on various media (such as CNBC Africa) as a commentator on African markets and companies.

Thabo sits on the Venture Capital sub-committee of SAVCA (Southern African Venture Capital & Private Equity Association).

He is currently a consultant for Stanford Seed (an initiative of Stanford Graduate School of Business), and also serves as a Mentor for Startupbootcamp (CapeTown), MAN Impact Accelerator, Softstart BTI Technology Incubator and was a Judge at the 2017 Seedstars World competition in Johannesburg & Maputo.

 

Languages: English, Setswana/Sesotho (& currently learning Portuguese)

 

MMABATHO MOKITI  

Venture Partner & Senior Advisor

 

Mmabatho is an experienced entrepreneur and mathematician. She started her career as a Mathematics tutor at 19 and went on to found and serve as CEO of Mathemaniacs, a STEM education consultancy business that creates and implements CSI strategies that impact rural and disadvantaged schools in South Africa. She was previously a board of director of DAD Fund, a nonprofit that focuses on youth empowerment programs.

Mmabatho is Founding member of DreamGirls  an Outreach and Mentoring Program South Africa; a girl mentoring program which ensures that teenage girls from disadvantaged and rural communities study further after matric. She has consulted for several companies in the education and other sectors. In 2011 and 2012 she hosted a talk show “Teacher Talk” on Mindset Learn, DSTV channel 319 which focused on connecting and empowering educators in South Africa.

She holds a BSc (Mathematics and Chemistry) from University of Johannesburg; a Business and Entrepreneurship Program Certificate from Clark Atlanta University, USA through the Mandela-Washington Fellowship (YALI). She is currently studying towards a BSc (Mathematical Statistics) through UNISA.

In 2013 she interned at the Michigan Economic Development Cooperation and worked under the Governor’s office to work on Michigan’s State’s youth development programs

Mmabatho was part of the Gordan Institute of Business Science – Goldman Sachs 10 000 Women Entrepreneurs Program, Business & Entrepreneurship; she is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shaper and a Runnerup in the Ernest and Young (EOY) 2011 SME Toolkit South Africa Young Entrepreneurs Business Plan competition. She was selected as a Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2013

 

Languages: English, Sesotho, isiZulu

 

PHINDILE TSHABANGU 

Venture Partner & Senior Advisor

–Phindile is an entrepreneur and a business incubation & technology transfer practitioner with an engineeringbackground and a post graduate commercial degree. He has professional industry experience spanning over 20 years across manufacturing (petrochemical and industrial gases sectors), technology transfer, economic development and business incubation.
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–He has served as a Consultant on Enterprise & Regional Innovation Network development for the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership and was also Cape Town Regional Manager for ShandukaBlack Umbrellas. In addition, he served as a Mentor Co-ordinator and Enterprise Development Manager at ShandukaBlack Umbrellas.
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–Phindile was Programme Director for the Entrepreneurship and SMME Development Programme at the UCT Graduate School of Business.
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–He currently serves on the boards of companies, including as non-executive Chairperson of Savant Technology Incubator. He was Chairperson of SA Business and Technology Incubation Association for 2 years starting in 2005.
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–His primary interest is in the development of technology based businesses and has personally ventured into entrepreneurship when (amongst others) he previously co-founded KatlehoBiomedical, a Stellenbosch based medical devices company that seeks to accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative biomedical technology for underserved markets.
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–Phindile has completed the Innovation for Economic Development (IFED) program from Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He also holds a MSc, Technology Management from the University of Pretoria and a BSc (Hons) in Technology Management from the same institution. He completed a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from the University of Johannesburg and a National Diploma in Chemical Engineering from Tshwane University of Technology.
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—Languages: English, Setswana / Sesotho, isiZulu

 

CRAIG MCLEOD 

Venture Partner & Senior Advisor

Craig McLeod was previously CEO of Grotech Venture Capital fund and brings great experience having raised and led a VC fund before. He is currently CEO and Co-Founder of Get Build, a PaaS Website builder, and has forged strong partnerships with Google, 2Checkout, Microsoft, Facebook and many more. He also sits on the emeritus boards of a number of startups, as well as serving as mentor to a number of hubs, VC funds and incubators.
Previous highlights include having worked for Mark Shuttleworth, written an online bank, security consulting to governments, and UX design as one of the world’s top selling template authors. His last start-up co-founded with a Canadian partner prior to build was founded on $4000, and went on to a make 6000% return per annum.
He can also be found out and about speaking on Startups, Agile, UX Design, Information security, and has previously spoken at many events sponsored by the likes of Microsoft, Pearson, Amex, Adobe and others. Craig is passionate about mentoring, start-up’s and business partnerships.
He has served as lecturer of the following subjects: BSc Comp Sci(NCC CAMBRIDGE), MCSE, MCSD, CCIE, Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, Information Security.
Languages: English

 

LEROY BARNES

Founding Partner (Operations & Business Development)

LeRoy Barnes

 

LeRoy Barnes is an accomplished Senior Business Analyst, IT Engineer and Entrepreneur, offering 15 years’ experience in driving the delivery of several large-scale, state-of-the-art digital projects and business process improvements for various corporations.

In his current position as Head of Product for International Banking at Absa, LeRoy is part of a team that has revolutionised the organisation’s international payment offering through an innovative and new mobile application and foreign exchange execution platform.

He joined Absa Bank (now Barclays Africa) in 2006 as a Business Analyst within Payments Operations and also gained experience in other areas including International Banking, Custody and Trustee Operations, and Secondary Market Operations. He also held the role of the Change Portfolio Manager in the Foreign Exchange Back Office (Operations) of ABSA Capital.

LeRoy started his career at East Rand Water Company and then moved to AmVia (now VoxAmvia) as a Solutions Engineer. In this role his core function was to scope and implement Business Information Delivery solutions for customers such as SABC, TFMC, MediHelp, Xerox Kenya and HSBC. Amongst other achievements he implemented RightFax for PwC in Nairobi, Kenya.

LeRoy holds a BCom in Accounting and Information Systems from the University of the Witwatersrand, National Diplomas in Treasury, International Banking and Business Analysis, and other industry qualifications from UNISA, Microsoft, FTI, and SWIFT.

He has co-founded and directed several business ventures that have generated positive returns and management experience. He has a passion for business and new venture creation and volunteers his time as a business mentor at Awethu Projects and Barclays / ABSA’s Rise Accelerator.

 

Languages: English, Afrikaans

 


INVESTMENT ADVISORY TEAM:

 

YAIR MILLER

Legal Advisor

Yair graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 2012, and went on to obtain his Masters degree (LLM) with distinction in corporate finance law, with emphasis on the cost of capital and corporate governance, for which he was awarded the chancellors medal for the best LLM degree at the University of Johannesburg.

He then joined the team at Rothbart Inc, where he was responsible for advising corporate clients, primarily on debt and equity structuring, as well as capital acquisitions and corporate trading. He was also responsible for dealing with any disputes that arose in the course of his clients operations. In August of 2016, Yair joined Jurgens Bezuidenhout Inc, where he focused on acquisitions and outsourced agreements within the mining sector.

Yair advises Savvy Partners on legal matters relating to the venture capital funds, due dilligence and acquisitions.

 Languages: English

 

MMATU MZAIDUME, CA (SA)

Investment Advisor

Mmatu graduated from The University of the Witwatersrand with a Bachelor of Accounting (Hons) in 2002. After 3 years of auditing articles at Ernst & Young he qualified as a chartered accountant having gained experience auditing clients in the Banking and Mining industries. Following articles he worked briefly at Ernst & Young’s Washington DC office in the United States.  He then joined Nedbank Capital as an equity analyst focusing on the healthcare and services sectors for 3 and a half yrs. In this role Mmatu gained good experience analysing JSE listed compaies and marketing research to institutional and other investors. Since then he has engaged in a diverse range of business projects in financial services ranging from corporate finance,  private equity to SMME funding – including serving as Financial Manager at Otto Waste (Pty) Ltd and Meago Asset Managers.

Languages: English, isiXhosa

 

AHARON GOLDSTUCK

Investment Advisor

Aharon was previously an Investment Analyst at Grovest Venture Capital. In this role he analysed deals and companies approaching Grovest for venture capital from the various VC funds ran by the firm (which included a VC General fund, VC Hospitality fund and VC Technology fund). He left Grovest in October 2016 and currently works with Savvy VP to source and evaluate deals and companies needing funding and make recommendations to the investment committee.

He is also a Manager at Dot Safety Footwear – a highly entrepreneurial business focused on manufacturing safety footwear for various industries. Before Dot Safety Footwear, Aharon was an Auditor at RWFC Financial Consultants from 2011 to 2013.

He graduated with a BCompt Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa and is currently a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) program Level 2 candidate. 

Languages: English