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Aspen Institute Maghreb Investor Delegation, next week in NY and CA

Localisation du Maghreb

Localisation du Maghreb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), a public-private partnership housed at the Aspen Institute, is organizing a Venture Capital, Private Equity and Angel Investor Delegation from the Maghreb. The delegation will be in NYC January 14-15 and is looking for investment professionals to join roundtable discussions as speakers.  In addition, as part of the program, I’ll be making my first public presentation of our research study on VC portfolio operations value creation.

The group is about 22 people; managing directors, partners and COO’s of major investments firms in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, and Tunisia. More details.

Aspen is looking for institutional investor and entrepreneur speakers willing to share their investing insights and personal experiences. Speakers need not have experience in the Maghreb, but should be able to speak about their experience and opportunities they see for the sector.  If you would like to be a speaker or simply attend any of the programs below, at no cost, contact Katherine St. Onge, Katherine.St.Onge(@) Space is limited, so they’re particularly seeking people with relevant experience.

The schedule of panels in New York is:

Monday, January 14th: Angel Investing Best Practices – 9-11AM, Edwards Wildman offices (750 Lexington, 8th floor; at 59th Street)

Speakers include:
–        Diana Dowling, Acting Executive Director, Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater NY
–        David Beatty, Managing Director, Golden Seeds
–        Brian Cohen, Chairman, New York Angels
–        Daphne Kis, Managing Director, Golden Seeds
–        Loretta McCarthy, Managing Director, Golden Seeds
–        Adam Quinton, Managing Director, Golden Seeds


Monday, January 14th: Technology Investing – 3-4:30 PM, NYU Wagner at 295 Lafayette Street (Puck Building)

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Speakers include:
–        Kareem Amin, Co-Founder, Frame
–        Rami Essaid, Co-Founder & CEO, Distil Inc.
–        Yao-Hui, Founder, The Hatchery
–        Andrew Mitchell, Managing Partner, ZIG Capital


The technology sector is of particular interest to the delegates for several reasons:

  • The Maghreb is being used as a near-shore IT platform for Europe, especially as Eastern Europe is expanding.
  • Promising start-ups exist in the region but the lack of a robust ecosystem for IT companies is a challenge, as is the lack of a link with US market.
  • There is a need to bring the major US players to invest and/or partner with local companies; this is the only way to develop this sector and make it more visible to the US market.


Monday, January 14th: The Lower-Risk Startup: How VCs Increase the Odds of Investment Success with Operational Support – 5 PM, NYU Wagner at 295 Lafayette Street (Puck Building)

David Teten, HBS 98, Partner, ff Venture Capital, will discuss his research study on VC portfolio operations, recently featured in Forbes). You can view the slides from this presentation here .  David will discuss:

–       The three major types of VCs: Financiers, Mentors, and Portfolio Operators
–       The systematic operational support of First Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, ff Venture Capital, and other operationally-focused VCs.
–       The 5 primary resources a VC brings to bear
–       The 7 major levers of value creation

Tuesday, January 15th: Energy Investing – 11-12PM, NYU Wagner at 295 Lafayette Street (Puck Building)

Speaker: Justin DeAngelis, Director, Denham Capital

The energy sector is of particular interest to the delegates for several reasons:

  • Energy is becoming an increasingly important sector in North Africa but is a new sector in which few local investors have experience investing
  • Europe will need to source about 20% of its energy from renewable sources; the Maghreb presents a unique opportunity to source solar energy
  • Europe-Maghreb renewable energy projects are creating  new investment opportunities
  • There is a desire to encourage US energy companies to outsource some of its production to the Maghreb (rather than Asia); the US can take advantage of the Maghreb’s competitive environment and proximity to the important European and MENA markets and the projects in them

Tuesday, January 15th: Turnaround / Buyout Investing – 12-2PM, NYU Wagner at 295 Lafayette Street (Puck Building)

Speakers include:

–        Hussein Khalifa, Partner, MVision Private Equity Advisors
–        Zineb Guessous, Managing Partner, Almena Partners
–        Jonathan Lewis, Director, Clearwater Capital Partners

Turnaround / buyout investing is of particular interest to the delegates for several reasons:

  • The Maghreb is an important buy-out market due to the first generation transition since independence and also due to privatization of seized assets by governments in Tunisia and Libya

There are many under-utilized industrial assets due to the lack of competition and no specialized turnaround teams in the region

Tuesday, January 15th: Impact Investment Roundtable – 3-4:30pm, Offices of Morgan Stanley (522 5th Avenue)

Speakers include:
–        Gustavo Eiben, Principal, Aureos Capital Limited
–        Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures
–        Akin Sawyerr, Managing Director, Feleman
–        Brinda Ganguly, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation
Moderator: Kris Balderston, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, United States Department of State.


Delegates are curious to know:

  • How can funds adopt appropriate social investment standards and improve their social investment strategy?
  • What incentives are there to incorporate social financing into their overall investment strategy?
  • What existing tools and mechanisms exist that can support impact investment?
  • What role can government agencies both in the U.S. (OPIC and USAID) or in the region do to support impact investing?
  • What types of partnerships can support impact investing?
  • What are the key sectors where social financing can have significant impact?

How can impact investing advance entrepreneurship and innovation?

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