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Who is Novastar?

Novastar is an investment firm founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, combining decades of entrepreneurial, competitive strategy and venture fund management experience.

Steve

Steve Beck

Co-founder

Steve’s professional career combines 20 years’ strategy consulting and business leadership experience with six years of professional grant-making in frontier markets and a decade of investing in early stage businesses serving the mass, low-income markets in Africa. Steve earned an A.B. with Distinction from Stanford University in Economics and International Relations, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He is married with three daughters, and despite his California roots, lived in London from 1984 to 2002.

abel-boreto

Abel Boreto

Investment Associate

Born and raised in Kenya, Abel left to study in the USA in 2007. After graduating from Harvard University in 2011, he started his career as a Credit Research Analyst at Bloomberg in Princeton, NJ. In 2014, Abel returned to Kenya to co-found Sarora Dairies Limited, a milk processing and retail distribution company in Eldoret, Kenya. He exited the dairy business in 2018 and joined Tulaa Technology Services Ltd., a technology platform providing smallholder farmers with access to quality inputs on credit and markets, as Head of Market Linkage. He joined Novastar Ventures as an Investment Associate in June 2019.
Andrew

Andrew Carruthers

Co-founder

Andrew was born in Lesotho and spent part of his youth in Ethiopia and Kenya. After 20 years in Venture Capital managing 12 different funds across Europe and Asia, his experience now encompasses business creation, corporate finance, capital markets as well as operational experience in innovative, high growth sectors. Having started investing in emerging markets in 2008, co-founding Novastar has been the excuse to return to his ‘roots’ in Africa and apply his skills and experience here. A graduate of the London School of Economics, Andrew qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG. He is married with three children.

Michele-Gatemi

Michele Gatemi

Project Manager

Born and raised in Kenya, Michele followed her passion for positive social impact in the community through undergraduate studies in Law and graduate studies in Governance, Peace and Security. Michele then worked as a Legal Assistant at Sanergy, a Novastar portfolio company innovating solutions to the problem of slum sanitation. She joined Novastar in February 2018 and leverages her legal training and organizational experience as a project manager to ensure the smooth running of Novastar’s day-to-day operations.

dominic

Dominic Michel

Investment Associate

Prior to joining Novastar, Dominic worked for five years across Ernst & Young’s corporate finance and audit teams, during which time he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Dominic started his career working for an NGO in Uganda. This experience, combined with his training in finance that followed, gave birth to a passion for commercial investing that can generate large scale social benefits. Dominic joined Novastar in 2019 and leverages his financial background to support entrepreneurs as they build businesses for the common good. Dominic grew up in the UK and has a BA in History and Politics from the University of Nottingham.

Brian

Brian Odhiambo

Investment Director

Born and raised in Kenya, Brian’s career has been an entrepreneurial adventure across West, Southern and East Africa. Immediately after graduating from Yale University with honors, he joined the management team that started Jumia, a leading and award-winning e-commerce platform across Africa. Brian then co-founded Zamsolar, a last-mile distribution company in Zambia and later was Operations Director for Livelyhoods, a last mile distribution social enterprise in Nairobi. He joined Novastar as an Investment Associate in January 2015.

Sapna

Sapna Shah

Partner

Born and raised in Kenya, Sapna’s international banking experience focused on working with entrepreneurs and SMEs at various stages of their business lifecycle in the UK, US, Europe and the Middle East. She returned to Kenya in 2012 to continue her passion for working with entrepreneurs, this time as an investor, and co-founder of a start-up. She joined the Novastar team in May 2015. Sapna graduated from the London School of Economics with a Bsc (Hons) in Government and Economics.

Kim

Kim Tan

Director

Kim is a successful serial entrepreneur and private investor who is dedicated to fighting poverty through enterprise and helping others do the same. Having created and sold three biotech ventures himself, Kim is intimately familiar with the entrepreneurial journey. Raised in rural Malaysia, he also has a first-hand understanding of the challenges of entrepreneurial life ‘on the frontier’. With more than 15 years’ experience investing in sub-Saharan Africa, Kim supports Novastar and its portfolio on a part-time basis. Kim has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Niraj

Niraj Varia

Partner

A native Kenyan, Niraj leverages his international professional experience as an actuary, management consultant and entrepreneur to support entrepreneurs and their businesses that generate large-scale social impact as a result of their commercial success. Niraj joined Novastar at its inception in March 2014. He earned an honours degree in Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland.

Winnie

Winnie Zesiro

Finance Manager

Winnie joined Novastar in August 2020 and oversees Novastar’s finance function, leveraging her experience in fund administration, financial management, investor relations, reporting and portfolio management support. She started her career as an auditor with Deloitte in Kenya and then pivoted to work in the investment industry. She is passionate about providing founders with access to capital and gender lens investing. Winnie is a Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in the UK. She holds a Master of Science in Investments and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Nairobi.