Founder of VentureLift Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
Dr. Wilmot Allen is an experienced emerging market investor, entrepreneur and political economist. Based in Nairobi, he is Founder of VentureLift Africa (VLA), an advisory firm with a fintech and curation platform for scaling African startups and SMEs through innovative financing and curated matches with Diaspora and other trade supply chains, technology transfer, talent, and advisory partners. The company also provides business training and distributes business-related media content about Africa markets.
Wilmot is also a Venture Partner with RH Managers based in Johannesburg, a private equity fund investing in healthcare and currently raising a fund to invest across Southern and Eastern Africa. Related to healthcare, he was recently a management consultant to the African Union CDC to develop its new Africa Public Health Foundation, the African institution leading the continent’s COVID-19 response. He served on the AUCDC COVID-19 Response Taskforce. Wilmot was also a consultant on innovation to the research and development group of Allergan Pharmaceuticals, helping the company to improve its internal management processes and shorten the time to market for new products.
He previously worked as the Director of East Africa with CrossBoundary LLC, leading the transaction advisory practice for East Africa from Nairobi. Under his leadership, this group served as the transaction team for a USAID Presidential Trade Africa initiative, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. The team facilitated over $120 million in closed transactions in two years and established the firm’s most successful advisory office. Prior, Wilmot worked with the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC, executing investments totaling over $300 million and managing a portfolio of $2.5 billion with the private equity and financial institutions groups. At the IFC, he was also Senior Advisor to the CEO on entrepreneurship initiatives in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, in conjunction with the World Economic Forum. He also helped develop IFC’s strategy on fragile and conflict-affected situations. Wilmot began his career in Africa supporting businesses and governments as a consultant to the clearinghouse of COMESA in Zimbabwe, creating new strategies for efficiently managing exchange controls and international trade.
In other roles, Wilmot executed over $4 billion in transactions as a venture capital investor focusing on minority and women-led businesses with the Commonwealth Enterprise Fund in Boston, a technology M&A investment banker with JPMorgan H&Q to Silicon Valley and international companies in San Francisco and a private placement and IPO investment banker with Merrill Lynch in New York. Wilmot has also worked with the finance and strategy team of ABC Television (Walt Disney Company) in the office of the CFO in Los Angeles.
Wilmot is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Africa Center for the Study of the U.S. at Wits University in Johannesburg and a researcher on sovereign wealth management and global capital with SovereigNET at the Fletcher School of Tufts University and with the Africa Studies Department of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is a Board Member for Ludique Works Game Publishers (Kenya), Melvins Tea (Kenya) and formerly with Popote Payments (Kenya). Wilmot has a PhD from Georgetown University in Comparative Political Economy, an MBA from the Wharton Business School, an MPA from Harvard University and BA from Yale University. His PhD dissertation focused on the governance standards, institutional design and investment strategies of African Sovereign Wealth Funds.