Mbwana has worked in a variety of roles in Silicon Valley, UK and Africa from startups to corporations. Most recently as a Entrepreneur in Residence EIR at i/o ventures where he founded Savannah Fund. Mbwana has worked as an aerospace systems engineer & software developer at QinetiQ (formerly the UK’s Defense Evaluation Research Agency) in flight testing with clients such as Airbus and UK Ministry of Defense. He has also served a Product Manager in the Microsoft Office and Business Intelligence Group responsible for Excel and Access product line. He has since worked and advised at 2 US startups in social networking & gaming (AppPrizes and PixPulse) and worked as a founder of the first East Africa online travel portal, Yellowmasai.
Other ventures Mbwana is involved in include Usizame (ferry safety alert system) and Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic and was an advisor of the Dar es Salaam Teknohama Business Incubator via the Tanzania’s President’s Office. He was accepted to the Kauffman Foundation Global Partners program in 2012 and actively speaks about promoting entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. He blogs extensively about Africa technology and entrepreneurship.
Mbwana has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Communications Engineering from the University of Bristol, and an MBA from Stanford (2007).
Paul is the managing partner and a co-founder of i/o ventures, an early stage startup accelerator and fund in San Francisco. Previously, Paul founded and served as the CEO of three companies including: Lefora, online forum community platform (sold 2010), Meetro, the first location based social network, and Paragon Five, a game development studio. He’s also actively involved as an investor or advisor in 30+ companies. In addition to his work at i/o, he often advises governments – including Brazil, Malaysia, Poland and Tanzania – on entrepreneurship and policy that encourages startup ecosystems.
Companies Paul has been involved in include:
US: doubledutch, crowdgather, graph science, Uber, Aksel, flingo, Yourmech, Openocean, Life360, Kapture, Scripted, skout, cc:betty
International: playfire, microtask, transfluent, 2mundos, segurar, applifier, intelliwise, vivid games, taringa
These companies have collectively raised over $75 million in financing.
Selva Govinden is a Senior Accountant with Savannah Fund. He has more than 20 years of experience in the accounting/financial sectors and has worked in different sectors like Logistics, Travel & Tourism, Manufacturing, Micro-Finance and Investment Management in both onshore and offshore sectors. Selva holds a BA(Hons) in Business Accounting & Finance from the Open University of Mauritius, partly qualified from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountant and studying towards his MSC in Financial Analysis.
Tommy joined Savannah Fund as a Venture Partner concentrating on investments in Nigeria and South Africa. He is currently a Managing Partner at Trill Ventures, a Hong Kong-based early stage venture capital fund with a focus on gaming, e-commerce and financial technology startups. Tommy is also currently the Chief Investment Officer at Carita Investments Group, an Africa-based investment firm. Tommy graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (cum laude) with emphasis in Investment Finance from the University of Southern California.
Mohamed is passionate about seeing Technology utilised to accelerate development and create transformative impact on the continent. He holds a BSc Accounting and Finance with 1st class Honours from the University of Southampton. He is fluent in English and Swahili. Mohamed is a Global Shaper (Arusha hub) – a World Economic Forum initiative – and works alongside colleagues to create impact in communities by undertaking local projects.
Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in US$50,000-US$1,000,000 investments in early stage high growth technology (web and mobile) startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Initially focused on East Africa, the fund aims to bridge the early stage/angel and venture capital investment gap that currently exists in Africa. The Fund expects to achieve this objective by combining capital with mentor networks and local technical assistance both in the region and Silicon Valley.
The fund is managed by an experienced and technology savvy team that have founded companies or are actively involved in angel investing. Members of the team have also run successful accelerator programs in the past and also understand the unique Subsaharan African environment. We are backed and supported by local, regional and international networks of angels and venture capitalists whose expertise we can draw on to help startups succeed and scale to fully fledged regional or global companies.