Mercy Corps Ventures Principal - West Africa (Open to West Africa locations and other MC Africa locations)

Social Ventures Abuja, Nigeria


* Location based in Mercy Corps West Africa locations preferred or Nairobi, Kenya. 

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV) is the impact investing division of Mercy Corps, a leading global development agency. MCV leverages the global resources and reach of a leading development agency to provide high-impact startups with investment capital, value-added support and catalytic partnerships so they can scale solutions for undeserved populations in fragile, frontier markets. We designed our capital and support to help ventures overcome critical barriers, professionalize faster and scale smarter. We are generating a pipeline of impactful, scalable companies that are de-risked and ready for later stage investors - and can bring idle impact investing dollars to the table.

We’ve closed 19 investments to date across East Africa, West Africa, Latin America, and SE Asia since our founding in 2015. For more information, please refer to our Ventures Overview, 2018 Annual Impact Report and Medium Blog.

General Position Summary

The Principal will join Mercy Corps Ventures’ growing Investment Team in Sub-Saharan Africa. They will work closely with the All Africa Regional leadership, field offices, technical teams, and external partners to identify, evaluate, invest in and provide ongoing advisory to early stage companies that enter the investment portfolio.

The successful candidate will be expected to lead all aspects of the investment process alongside the MCV Managing Director and Partner.  Responsibilities include sourcing, due diligence, negotiations and closing of seed and early stage direct investments. This individual will be expected to take an active role on company boards and work closely with portfolio companies to guide business model implementation toward maximum structure sustainability and social impact. They will be a proactive and natural networker, able to identify promising deals early and build a deep pipeline of investable opportunities.

The Principal will work closely with local venture ecosystems in MCV target countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and lead our expansion into West Africa, where we expect to close 5 investments by the end of 2020.  The goal is not only to invest in successful for-profit startups, but also to demonstrate that pioneering social entrepreneurs in partnership with Mercy Corps offer a new, effective pathway to achieve social impact at scale.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Foster strong relationships and strategic partnerships with incubators, accelerators, peer investors and other ecosystem actors throughout MCV target geographies, particularly in West Africa
  • Develop a pipeline of potential investments that meet the MCV’s investment theses and criteria
  • Work with field and program leadership to identify Mercy Corps programming, expertise and/or partnerships that would both add value to and benefit from linkages to entrepreneurial solutions
  • In collaboration with the Managing Director and Partner, lead due diligence to evaluate social and financial viability of potential investments
  • Present investment opportunities to the Investment Committee for debate and approval
  • Assist, facilitate and/or lead deal closing processes, including local legal due diligence, definitive document development, and any other regulatory requirement.


  • In collaboration with the relevant deal lead (Partner) and the Head of Venture Growth, provide strategic direction, advisory and technical support to portfolio companies
  • Play a key role in identifying partnership opportunities and cultivating relationships with investors for follow-on funding or co-investment capital as ventures mature
  • Be a hands-on player to fill any necessary gaps in enabling new investments to succeed
  • Actively identify and foster linkages between Mercy Corps field offices and portfolio companies that are mutually-beneficial


  • Maintain strong relationships with social entrepreneurs, impact investment funds, accelerators, and other ecosystem actors in order to provide our ventures and Mercy Corps teams with resources and opportunities
  • Contribute to thought leadership by presenting at conferences and public forums to discuss MCV our investments, and case studies of both success and failure in our model 
  • Contribute to developing Mercy Corps’ strategy in the MCV investment themes and identifying and proposing resources to support Social Venture Fund expansion
  • Track key advances in social entrepreneurship and impact investing, informing and advising the Social Ventures Team, and Mercy Corps community, on the potential applicability


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies


  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves


  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects

Supervisory Responsibility



  • Reports Directly To: Senior Managing Director, Social Ventures
  • Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Ventures Team

Knowledge and Experience

  • 5+ years of business experience with a proven track record in early stage venture capital investing and/or impact investing in Sub Saharan Africa (West Africa focus a plus)
  • Hands-on operational experience as a founder or executive team member of a startup in an emerging market or challenging context a plus
  • Understanding of innovative funding structures and fundraising for social ventures. Strong preference for candidates that have previously led and closed equity and quasi-equity impact investment deals 
  • Domain expertise in target sectors, especially digital financial services, crypto and blockchain a plus
  • Proven experience working with individuals and teams to quickly understand a business model, and jointly identify and prioritise key challenges
  • Unmatched network of contacts (investors, angels, accelerators, talent, startups) across West Africa, including a track record of forging collaboration with partners, sourcing pipeline and securing investment deals
  • Strong financial modeling, business planning, due diligence, competitive analysis, and valuation skills and experience
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and ability to get things done
  • Strong strategic thinking skills. Able to navigate complex environments and develop a clear, focused, and ambitious vision
  • A team-oriented, “low-ego” individual who works collaboratively in a high-performance environment; just as comfortable strategizing in a boardroom with the C-team of a startup as chatting with a smallholder farmer customer in Northern Ghana of a potential investee
  • Fluent in written and spoken English.  French is a plus.

Success Factors

The ideal candidate will have a proven track record in impact investing and must be able to lead all aspects of new investments.  A superb networker, this person will have well-established relationships with entrepreneurs, management teams, industry analysts, other investors and service providers that they utilize to proactively identify investment opportunities. They will have experience investing in and/or growing innovative companies in frontier markets and a demonstrated commitment to social impact. They will have the desire and ability to play an impactful role in a highly collaborative, dynamic, mission-driven and team-oriented culture. 

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position will be based in the office of either Mercy Corps Kenya or Mercy Corps Nigeria, and the role will require significant international travel throughout East Africa. Authorization to work in Uganda and/or Kenya is required. Experience in East Africa is strongly preferred.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a short-term assignment or trip to country offices. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all Mercy Corps locations.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.