About the Niara Pitch

About the Niara Pitch

Niara Pitch Rules

  • Only one submission will be accepted per person.
  • Submissions from individuals related to members of the Niara Pitch committee will not be accepted
  • All decisions by the selection committee and conference panel are final
  • Only shortlisted applicants will be notified
  • Deadline for submissions not later than 12 noon, January 19, 2015
  • Award disbursements will be monitored by the Niara Pitch committee

Apply for the Niara Pitch

Meet the Niara Pitch Judges

Sanyade Okoli

MD, Travant Capital

Sanyade Okoli is the Managing Director and a Founding Director of Travant Capital Partners, an investment and advisory firm based in Lagos, Nigeria.

She has over 20 years of financial advisory; private equity; corporate, commercial and management finance; and auditing experience.

At Travant, Sanyade has led numerous advisory transactions in areas such as mergers & acquisitions, capital restructuring and strategic advisory. She has worked on mandates in a range of sectors including financial services, oil & gas, and infrastructure. The company also provides investment management services to its clients. In 2008, Travant raised a US$107m private equity fund focused on West and Central Africa, an effort in which Sanyade played a key role. She plays a lead role in the sourcing for new investments and the management of Travant’s existing ones. In addition, she sits on the boards of Dorman Long, Venema Advies and Enterprise Creative.

Prior to Travant, Sanyade was Head of Finance & Strategy at Ocean and Oil Holdings, a Nigerian investment holding company. Before moving to Nigeria in 2006, Sanyade spent six years at BT (British Telecom) in the UK where she held various management and commercial finance positions.

She holds an MA in Mechanical Engineering from Cambridge University, UK after which she trained as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen (UK).

Chukuka Chukuma

Co-founder & Partner, Racecourse Capital

Chukuka is a Partner and Co-founder of Racecourse Capital Limited. Racecourse Capital is a principal investment firm which also provides advisory services in project and corporate finance. Chukuka has almost 20 years experience in Investment Banking. His specialty is building businesses of significance.

His industries of focus have included Media & Telecoms, Power & Infrastructure, Manufacturing & Industrials, Real Estate and Oil & Gas with tens of billions of US Dollars worth of deals done over the years in the US, Asia, Europe and across Africa.

Prior to Racecourse, Chukuka was Head, Investment Banking Coverage for West Africa at Stanbic IBTC Bank, in Nigeria where he originated significant investment banking business as well as more complex global market deals. Prior to that, he was Head of Debt Solutions also at Stanbic IBTC, where he set up Property, Structured Trade, Leverage & Acquisition and Project Finance. Prior to joining Stanbic, he was VP & Regional Head, Investment Banking at Afrinvest Limited, a UK based investment bank with a focus on Africa.

Before Afrinvest, Chukuka was a Senior Associate with Citbank’s Corporate and Investment Banking Group. Prior to Citbank, he worked in New York as a Financial Analyst at Salomon Smith Barney, a Trader’s Assistant at J.P. Morgan’s Foreign Exchange Department and started his career as a Research Assistant at Goldman Sachs. Chukuka graduated from Baruch College in New York with a B.B.A. in Finance.

As an entrepreneur, Chukuka is a board member and co-founder of both Evaluation & Staffing Africa (ES Africa), an executive recruitment firm and 3Finiti Partners (now DBH Solutions) an IT Infrastructure firm. He also sits on the board of iDEA which is an incubator of technology start-ups.

Tayo Oviosu

Founder & CEO, Paga

Tayo has over sixteen years of experience in a variety of technical and business roles in High-tech, Private Equity, and Financial Services. He is the founder and CEO of Paga, Nigeria’s leading mobile payment service. Prior to Paga, Tayo was Vice-President at Travant Capital Partners, a Private Equity Fund in West Africa. Prior to joining Travant, Tayo was a Manager, Corporate Development, at Cisco Systems in San Jose California. At Cisco, Tayo led numerous venture and acquisition deals for Cisco.

Outside of work, Tayo is passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship across various sectors. He believes entrepreneurship is a major driver of sustainable change and growth across the African continent. This passion has led Tayo to work with entrepreneurs to develop their ideas as an angel investor and adviser. He is currently an investor and adviser in Yswara, an indigenous African luxury brand; ReelFruit, a Nigerian fruit processing agribusiness; and ChopUp, a Nigerian mobile gaming start-up.

Tayo earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, cum laude, from the University of Southern California and also has a Masters in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.

Kofi Fynn

MD, Petra Trust Company Ltd

Kofi D. Fynn is the Managing Director of Petra Trust Company Ltd., a pension fund manager based in Accra Ghana. Kofi has spent his entire 18 year career in the asset management and pension space with BlackRock Inc. and Wellington Management Co. Ltd. in the United States, and most recently with Oceanic Capital Company Ltd. in Lagos, Nigeria.

Kofi is a product of the Achimota School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School.

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