Innovation & Impact
A serial entrepreneur, Mark has lived on four continents and built five successful companies – from the very first dotcoms in New York City to investment matchmaking in London, and then to business incubation & agricultural services in Ghana. Heavily influenced by his anthropology degree, he’s sought out frontier markets in tech, innovating early and helping shape the path for others. Mark lives between Lisbon and Salvador.
Mark worked and lived in Ghana for 17 years and established offices across the continent (Accra, Nairobi and Mauritius) as well as partnerships in a total of 18 African countries and 3 in Latin America. He managed both impact and commercial investors, as well as a range of government and multilateral development agencies. He has particular insight into the operational and management challenges that exist on the continent, as well as the enormous market opportunities and human resource potential that exists.
For over 20 years Mark has focused on two critical businesses that are driven by an impact bottom line one being a tech incubator in Accra, and the other delivering critical agricultural information by mobile phone to farmers across Africa. He’s raised over $12m from leading impact and development funds, balanced impact and profit, struggled to measure that impact, and worked with a range of investors, donors and partners in a complex impact-driven landscape.
Mark has raised millions from a range of commercial to social investors, and donors – starting with cash advances on 15 credit cards in 1995 to closing with the IFC/WorldBank. Mark has managed partner/team equity options, debt, equity and convertible notes, cash burn and bankruptcy scenarios, ongoing investor relations and reporting, and building the model, plan, momentum and ask that gets the cash in the door and an exit on the table.
Working on three different continents and with a wide range of market realities and product offerings has given Mark a unique insight into how to adapt your strategy to a local context, and how to survive! Just how paranoid should you be? Are you listening enough? Who is your real customer? Who can pull you out of the weeds long enough to actually get perspective and focus? And what does leadership really mean, either for a CEO, a company, or a product?
Mark’s real passion has always been product design. He plays a critical role in the process, from designing logos to mobile apps. This core passion helped drive his businesses’ success. Understanding how leadership plays a role is critical and the key elements of creating an organizational culture, a successful design process and a comprehensive roadmap can’t be overlooked.