Our leadership is made up of the company’s founders and vision bearers, as well as investors from Asia, Africa and the Silicon Valley, each of whom have diverse experience in financial technology companies.
Ken is a Co-Founder and the Group CEO of Cellulant. He is a career entrepreneur having co-founded 3Mice Interactive Media which grew from a two-man team to a leading web development firm in East Africa. He headed 3Mice’s Technology, Strategy and Solution Development teams as its Solution Design Director. The team was responsible for conceptualizing and executing digital projects covering e-commerce platforms, content management platforms and e-business platforms for more than 50 blue chip customers in different sectors in the region. In 2000, 3Mice was acquired by Africa Online, the largest Pan-African Internet Service Provider at the time that was owned by London-Listed firm, African Lakes Corporation. Ken started his campus schooling at the University of Nairobi’s School of Pharmacy before changing course to study Management of Information Systems at Strathmore University, in total pursuit of his passion for Connected Computing. Ken has led Cellulant from a dream of two founders, one whose plan was sketched on a serviette in 2003, to a reputable mobile commerce firm in Africa.
Bolaji is a Co-Founder and CEO of Cellulant Nigeria Limited. Prior to assuming this role he was responsible for the GES project, an agricultural subsidy program for Federal Government of Nigeria that has disbursed fertilizer & seed subsidies worth $1B to rural farmers. Bolaji has driven Sales and Marketing at Procter & Gamble in Nigeria. He set up P&G in Ghana where he served as its Country Director and grew the business from scratch to a US$10M per year business in 2 years. He was recruited by the World Bank through KPMG to head the Business Development Unit for its Africa Virtual University (AVU) project and was based in East Africa. During this time he met Ken and they founded Cellulant; Bolaji provided strategic and financial support from a board position and, having served as Country Director for Plan in Malawi and Tanzania, he helped to set up and oversee Cellulant operations in these two markets. Bolaji is a Pharmacy graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and holds a post-graduate certificate in management from Herriot Watt University in the UK. He is also an alumnus of the Oxford University Business Economics Program.
Faizal Mirza is Cellulant’s Chief Operating Officer, who is driven by the vision of growing Cellulant’s ecosystem. With a strong background in software engineering he brings to the team expertise which he describes as creating extraordinary outcomes from ordinary inputs. Among Cellulant’s earliest employees he joined soon after graduating as a Computer Scientist from the University of Natal in South Africa. Up to 2013 Faizal oversaw the design, development and iterative refinement of Cellulant's platform and processes, while playing an advisory role to customer projects and delivery. These roles are merged where Faizal now oversees the platform design and development as well as the projects and delivery workflows. As a pioneer in the business he has had his greatest moments in seeing people develop by taking on challenges bigger than their capacity and succeed at them. In this role he nurtures the technology teams and drives continuous improvement to drive operational excellence.
Goke, a geologist and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, is the Chairman of Cellulant Nigeria. He started his working career with the Peoples Bank of Nigeria where he gained extensive experience in accounting, micro-credits policies and procedures and relationship management. He later joined Diamond Bank in 1996 as a Senior Executive Trainee in Internal Control. He joined Standard Trust Bank in 1999 as an Assistant Manager. While at STB he acquired further experience in Internal Control, Audit and Operations and he rose to head Internal Controls at STB as a Divisional Head. He left Standard Trust Bank in September 2004 to focus his attention on Cellulant, setting and heading up the Nigerian country operations. He has also overseen the financial structures and reporting of various country operations, such as Tanzania.
Dr. Samuel Kiruthu plays the role of Co-Chairman of Cellulant Corporation. He is an experienced industrial consultant and is well respected in local and international business circles. He has worked for international agencies such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Centre for Development of Enterprises (CDE) and the Common fund For Commodities amongst others. Together with the Private Leather Industry Sector, was pivotal in forming ESALIA (Eastern and Southern Africa Leather Industries Association) and served as the organization’s Secretary General. Dr. Kiruthu joined the Cellulant Board as Chairman in 2006 and has been instrumental in harnessing banking relations and supporting the setting up of several new country operations. He is the driving force behind getting in place good corporate governance practices, solid legal structures and transparent financial reporting. He is currently playing an active role across the group in putting in place good governance. He is also a Council Member of the Kenya-Nigeria Joint Trade & Investment Council.
Willem is the Board’s Co-Chairman with keen interests in technology, financial markets, as well as in infrastructure that connects people across the globe. That interest is manifest in his fully-owned venture fund, Velocity Capital Private Equity, as well as other high-impact investing endeavors for Velocity Capital. Through Velocity Capital Private Equity, Willem offers his portfolio partners not only the funding support they need to succeed, but a deep personal commitment to adding value through proven business acumen, an uncanny ability to connect the dots and a carefully cultivated global business network. Willem’s experience spans two IPOs, 40 M&A’s and a multitude of varying business deals in between. He holds a BSc degree with honors from the HEAO business school in The Hague, a MBA degree from Erasmus University in Rotterdam and the William E. Simon School of Management of the University of Rochester (New York, USA)
Allard has a passion for bringing game-changing ideas to market and ensuring they flourish. A proven entrepreneur himself, he understands the needs, wants and aspirations of start-up teams looking to reinvent categories and forge “Blue Ocean” in their markets. Allard supports all of Velocity’s portfolio companies as an active board member for, TradeKing, an innovative US online brokerage firm; 8 Securities, Asia’s next-generation online broker based in Hong Kong; Five Degrees, a progressive banking software provider from The Netherlands. He joined Velocity Capital in 2011, after co-founding and serving as the COO of the groundbreaking San Francisco-based online brokerage firm Zecco. Previously, Allard served as associate partner at the Dutch strategy-consulting firm Boer & Croon, as well as co-founder and CEO of TradingCars.com. Allard holds an MSc Management degree from the London School of Economics and an MA Political Science and Philosophy from Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Eline Blaauboer is representing TBL Mirror Fund on the Cellulant Board. She has worked in the venture capital and private equity sector in both Europe and Africa for the last 14 years. She worked at Netherlands-based Gilde Investment Management for 5 years, mainly focused on early stage investments in the IT industry. Since 2003 Eline is working in the field of Venture Capital in Africa. She is Managing Partner at TBL Mirror Fund, based in Nairobi and is a member of the board of the Fund’s portfolio companies Meridian Medical Centre, Software Technologies, Highland Mineral Water, Neo Amadiva and Cellulant. She also chairs the East Africa Venture Capital Association.
Andrej is a Slovakian-British national and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Progression Capital Africa Limited, managing private equity funds focused on Sub-Saharan African financial services and financial technology industries. He previously worked as an Investment Manager at Grassroots Capital, managing the US$120m Global Microfinance Equity Fund. Prior to this, he’d spent several years at a UK venture capital incubator firm, assisting entrepreneurs to refine their business models and achieve commercial scale. As Vice President in Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets division, he spent 5 years working with the bank’s Capital Markets, Leveraged Finance, Financial Sponsors and Mergers & Acquisitions departments, providing the bank’s clients with traditional and structured equity and debt funding solutions through public and private capital markets. He has a BA degree in Economics and Management from Balliol College, Oxford and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He’s an Open Society Foundation and Dulverton Trust scholar.