How one Pioneering Deal Maker is Re-imagining Investing-By Drive Africa Writer

Tokunbo Ishmael is the co-founder of Nigeria based Alitheia Capital, an investment and advisory company focused of mobilizing private equity capital into companies and SMEs serving base of the pyramid markets and consumers in Africa. A CFA charter holder, M&A specialist, and investment banker with over 20 years experience, Ishmael has worked on over $ 5b worth of transactions in Africa, Europe and the United States. Her firm Alitheia Capital, focuses on firms in sectors such as technology, retail, agribusiness, financial services, health care and telecommunications.

Ishmael Co-Founded Alitheia Capital with Jumoke Akinwunmi with the goal of mobilizing and deploying capital to opportunities which they saw emerging across the African continent. The firm was established with a focus on bottom of the pyramid consumers, SMEs and women. The founding duo were driven by the need to leverage the combination of capital and entrepreneurship for solve many of the everyday challenges faced in Africa. The two saw access to capital as a means through which they could provide needed solutions to every day challenges.  Thus, early in the development the firm, there was strong focus on amplifying development impact by mobilizing and deploying capital in enterprises which could provide essential products and services to people at the base of the pyramid. Thus, the firm became an early investor in sectors such as clean energy and financial technology as a way of enhancing access to these services. In effect, Alitheia Capital was really thinking a head into a new way of investing which would eventually become globally embraced as impact investing. Their unique investment approach led them to make early investments in innovative companies which were taking on intractable challenges such as financial access and inclusion. For instance, one of the companies in which they made their early investments was the Nigerian financial technology start up Paga which has grown to become a leading fintech company in Nigeria and on the African continent. In 2015, Ishmael Co-founded Alitheia Identify which is focused on making investments in women owned SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa. The investment platform sources and funds companies which are female founded or co-founded.

Prior to founding Alitheia Capital Ishmael was the managing director of Avante Capital where she was involved in a number of oil and gas transactions. She also served as Country Partner for Nigeria with Aureos Capital where she was involved in the firm’s fundraising for a $50 million West Africa fund. She has also worked as an M&A Banker with Salomon Smith Barney