Raj is part of the Founder’s office at Circles.Life, the world’s first digital telco platform. Raj was formerly a Partner at Kaizenvest for ten years and worked closely with portfolio companies to help drive significant increases in revenues and margins, post-investment. Prior to Kaizenvest, he spent 7 years in private equity investing including stints at Guggenheim Partners and Helix Investments. With experience investing across sectors, Raj’s most successful exits were with education companies, one of which is now listed.
He maintains close relationships with education entrepreneurs, investment advisors and research professionals, and brings his extensive network and operational experience to bear in his roles at companies. Raj has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi.
Founder and Managing Partner
Sandeep is the Founder and Managing Partner of Kaizenvest, an education focused fund management firm, headquartered in Singapore. He is responsible for overseeing the firm’s strategy, growing operations across regions, driving the company's thought leadership and building the firm’s investor and entrepreneur networks across the globe.
He has 25 years of experience in private equity, investment leadership, consulting and operations management. His passion is to work closely with entrepreneurs who have a deep sense of purpose similar to one that led him to establish Kaizenvest. Under Sandeep’s leadership Kaizenvest has established itself as the only education sector focused fund manager with private equity and private debt funds across South Asia, South East Asia and Sub Saharan Africa.
Prior to founding Kaizenvest, Sandeep spent seven years working in the Silicon Valley. During his time there, he was a Partner at Outlook Ventures, a leading US-based venture capital fund, where he was involved in 11 investments and delivered superior returns to his investors. He also served as a board representative for the firm’s portfolio companies, providing active support in areas of sales operations, business development and product marketing leadership.
Sandeep sits on the boards of various education companies across the Philippines, Vietnam and India. He is also an established thought leader, having been frequently featured as a speaker on private equity, emerging investments, globally impactful trends and the importance of continuous research and innovation.
Sandeep holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Jetu is a Managing Partner of Kaizenvest, an education focused fund management firm, headquartered in Singapore. He is responsible for driving the firm’s portfolio management, impact assessment and sits on the firm’s investment committee. He is Kaizenvest’s ESG officer and supports portfolio companies in strategy definition, operations execution, hiring, reporting management, and corporate governance.
He has 30 years of experience in investing and building companies from the ground up. Prior to his current role with Kaizenvest, Jetu has helped nurture emerging companies in the fields of engineering and chemicals with world-leading joint ventures in India, such as Saab from Sweden, Dresser Industries & Emerson Electric from the US and Degussa from Germany, among others.
Jetu is also a trained DiSC® profiler under Thomas International for evaluating individuals and teams, a capacity he has used to conduct corporate team analysis for portfolio companies and conducted trainings in multitude areas including creativity, execution, effectiveness and business ethics. He has also provided corporate leadership advice and was the Ethics Officer at Emerson Electric's Saab Rosemount for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance.
A life-long learning champion, Jetu has been in the sector for close to three decades. His notable contributions include building village schools, working with student councils and teacher unions as well as holding various administrative and leadership roles at leading education institutions in Mumbai.
Jetu holds a Bachelor's of Commerce from Sydenham College, Mumbai and an OPM (Owner/President Management) accreditation from the Harvard Business School.
Nirav is a Managing Partner of Kaizenvest, an education focused fund management firm,
headquartered in Singapore. In his role, Nirav actively supports Kaizenvest's portfolio companies in India pursuing holistic business excellence using the firm's proprietary COGS model. He also oversees Kaizenvest's initiativesin Sub-Saharan Africa. This leverages his proven track record in leadership roles and managing several projects across different geographies.
He has over 20 years of experience in corporate leadership, education and telecommunications
management. Before joining Kaizenvest, Nirav worked with the Tata Group in various roles. These include being the CEO of Tata ClassEdge and Tata Interactive Systems, Vice President of the Chairman's Office and the Head of Telecom Practice for Tata Consulting Services in the Asia-Pacific. In addition, his notable roles include leading several international projects and collaborations in the fields of telecommunications and aerospace, as well as serving as a Director on the boards of companies in and out of India.
Outside of the professional sphere, Nirav is the founding Co-Chair of the Impact Future Project's education track. He is also a member of the Council of Confederation of Indian Industries School Summit's steering committee. In 2013, Nirav was recognised as a Young India Leader by the British High Commission. He is also an Indian government nominee on the governing council of the Jagran Lakecity University. Nirav is also Trustee on the Board of the Global Schools Forum.
A firm believer in education-for-all, Nirav regularly speaks at events such as the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Global Education Conference and Africa Financial Services Investment Conference, with a focus on affordable non-state education, education technology and innovative financing mechanisms for promoting education access and quality.
For his contributions in the space of management, education, and technology, Nirav was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts (Management) from Jagran Lakecity University. He also holds a Chevening Rolls-Royce Science, Innovation and Policy Leadership Programme certification from the University of Oxford - Said Business School, and a MDP, Telecommunications Strategy and Marketing certification from INSEAD.
Nandita joined Kaizenvest in 2021 and leads the firm's Credit practice. Nandita has twenty years of experience in financial services with global and Indian Financial Institutions such as ICICI Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Northern Arc Capital. She also served on the Board of Northern Arc Investments – a leading impact alternate investment fund that facilitates debt investments in the financial inclusion sector.
Prior to joining Kaizenvest, Nandita spent nine years at Northern Arc Capital – India's leading financial inclusion focused lender and debt capital market platform. At Northern Arc, she held various leadership positions including Head of Capital Markets, Chief Officer Strategic Alliances and Chief Financial Officer. Under her leadership, the placements and debt syndication business at Northern Arc Capital grew by over 10 times in six years. Nandita successfully built and scaled up partnerships with over 150 investors including large multilateral agencies and DFIs as well as domestic investors like Public and Private Sector banks, Mutual Funds and Insurance companies. Over the years her work with regulators, intermediaries and investors has been directed towards building a deeper market and efficient access to capital for financially excluded borrowers in sectors such as microfinance, affordable housing, small business finance, vehicle finance and agri finance.
Nandita is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has a Bachelors degree in Commerce from Mumbai University.
Ryan joined Kaizenvest in 2021 as a Project Director for South Africa. Prior to joining Kaizenvest, Ryan co-founded SPARK Schools, a South African start-up focused on changing the education paradigm for low-income communities. Having built and exited SPARK Schools, Ryan joined the South Africa SME fund, the largest institutional investor in venture capital. At the SME fund, Ryan has been involved in the establishment of five venture capital firms.
Ryan currently sits on several LPAC and Investment committees and has served on the Board of Entrepreneurs Organization and was Chairman of Moringa Schools. Ryan holds a PDMM from Rhodes University as well as an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science and is currently an Aspen Institute ALI Fellow.
Gaurav is a Principal with Kaizenvest with 12 years of PE/VC experience in emerging markets. He joined Kaizenvest as its first employee, and has experience across the complete life cycle of investing - from
fund raising, fund structuring, commercial diligence, termsheet negotiations, deal structuring, investment execution, portfolio management, exits, and ESG reporting.
Gaurav has led the complete execution of several investments in businesses such as K12 school chain, B2B Ed-Tech company, Online SaaS education business and skills training and has actively done diligence in companies across India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. He has also executed multiple exits through strategic sales, promoter buybacks and distress sales. He has also worked with portfolio companies as a Board member and helped companies in areas of strategy building, working on projects to improve cost efficiencies and streamlining internal process.
Gaurav has also set up funds across India, Mauritius, Singapore, and Netherlands and built internal processes such as finance, operations & Investor Relations and ESG Policy and reporting. He has contributed to various thought leadership pieces developed by Kaizenvest and actively helps in developing the fund's investment thesis. He is as a silver medalist with an MBA in Finance from NMIMS Mumbai in 2009.
Marjon joined Kaizenvest in 2014 and focuses on investor relations. Prior to Kaizenvest, she has over 7 years of experience in Investment Banking in fund raising, investment and financial analysis, and in developing and marketing PE and M&A transactions with stints at Waterfield Advisors, Centrum Capital and Future Capital Holdings.
At Kaizenvest, Marjon supports the fund raising process, and drives LP reporting, and portfolio compliance. She holds an MBA in Finance from the Welingkar Institute of Management.
Christy Tran Minh Trang
Christy joined Kaizenvest in 2019 and is responsible for evaluating and executing new investments. Prior to Kaizenvest, she spent 3 years at Edhec Infrastructure Singapore as a senior research analyst focusing on market analysis and company evaluation.
She holds a Bachelor of Business with Banking & Finance major from Nanyang Technological University, where she was one of 4 Vietnamese students receiving the prestigious Singapore government scholarship. She also passed level III of the CFA program in August 2018.
Frances joined Kaizenvest in 2020 as part of the EduFinance Africa team. Prior to Kaizenvest, she worked with SPARK Schools - an affordable learning provider network, where she was responsible for organisation-wide strategic planning and project management. Her expertise lies in translating strategic goals into defined operational activities, particularly in new ventures and organisations in their scale up phase. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Indrayan joined Kaizenvest in 2018 and focuses on analyzing investment opportunities for the firm. Prior to Kaizenvest, he worked with a boutique private equity consulting firm where he was responsible for conducting due-diligence processes and corresponding industry research for a US middle market private equity firm with over $1B of capital under management. He holds a B.Tech. degree from VJTI, Mumbai.
Anay joined Kaizenvest in 2021 as an Analyst in the investment team. Prior to Kaizenvest, he worked with the Investment Banking division in J.P. Morgan for 2 years, primarily focused on opportunities in the Greater China region, across sectors. He has worked as a Market Risk Intern at Credit Suisse for 6 months. Anay holds a B.E. (Hons) degree from BITS-Pilani, with a major in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Finance, where he graduated 6 months ahead of his batch. Anay has also cleared two levels of the CFA charter.
Prathamesh joined Kaizenvest in 2020 and looks after Compliance. He has 4 years of experience in Secretarial Compliances. Prior to Kaizenvest, he has worked independently with SVC Industries Limited as Company Secretary, looking after its 11 group companies. He is an Associate Member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India and holds a Master’s Degree in Commerce, and Bachelor of Laws.
Mike is the Founder and Managing Director at EdTech Asia, an EdTech and education market intelligence, business development and research services firm specializing in emerging markets throughout Asia and the south-south corridor. Mike also serves as an International Development Consultant for UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and USAID. Mike holds a Master of Education degree from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado.
Diana leads Education in Motion (EiM) Ventures as its Executive Director. She also sits on the Group Executive Board of Dulwich College International. Over the last 12 years, Diana has been a hands-on member in the formation and growth of the schools in the DCI family of schools. Diana holds an MBA degree from INSEAD (Dean’s list), a Bachelor of Business/LLB degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and is a Solicitor of England and Wales.
John is the founder of Saturday Kids - a curiosity school for children - and Doyobi - an edtech startup whose mission is to help educators nurture future-ready students who can exercise agency, become changemakers, and create positive impact in the world. He is also an investor in tech startups, in particular startups reimagining the future of work and learning such as Padlet, Galileo, Contra and Beanstalk. Saturday Kids runs Code In The Community, a Google and government supported initiative that is the largest free coding programme in Singapore. John is an Obama Foundation Asia-Pacific Leader, Transcend Fellow and Ashoka Changemaker.
Claudia is a well-known Professor at INSEAD and an advisor to corporations & institutional investors; as an esteemed public speaker and critical commentator; she brings the ability to explain complex concepts to audiences of diverse backgrounds.
As an Author as well as Angel Investor and expert on private equity and corporate venture capital, Claudia is one of the best-networked people in the Private Capital space with extensive experience in bringing her academic and professional background to inform boards. She has done work on Responsible Investing and ESG strategy implementation.
Claudia advises governments on the creation of entrepreneurial ecosystems, is an Angel investor and Startup mentor. With three decades in global financial markets in Germany, US, UK, Japan and Singapore, Claudia brings in-depth knowledge of the challenges of implementing corporate governance within diverse cultures and international corporate settings.
Country Lead, Rwanda
Carmen is a seasoned tourism policy analyst with over 20 years of experience in the hotel and tourism industry in Africa and Europe. She is a dynamic business leader with an international track record of delivering significant results in a variety of difficult, volatile markets. She has an extensive experience and deep domain expertise in the tourism business (destination management and tourism policy); cross-regional consultancy and most recently tertiary education.
She is driven by her passion to catalyze change, initiate and oversee transformation, and a deep desire to serve. She is an expert in pulling together strategic frameworks, building coalitions, fostering innovation, and through lobbying, advocacy, and communication driving substantial policy changes. Most of her development work and consultancy has been in emerging destinations and fragile states, Carmen has worked in different capacities as an advisor to tourism boards, international and private organizations in East, Central and Western parts of Africa. A passionate champion for building solutions that transcend national borders, her interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence have infused her advocacy for inter- and intra-regional travel and tourism in the East African region. She served as a regional coordinator for East Africa Tourism Platform and a former Director-General of the National Tourism Office in Burundi, her native country.
She is at ease in most cross-cultural settings and is a determined inveterate adventurer who loves the challenge of learning all about new cultures through travel. Her most recent areas of interest have been how to migrate businesses and institutions up the value chain, by instilling a commitment throughout the culture of the enterprise to optimizing the customer experience.
Naina is the Chairperson and CEO of AVPN. She serves on the Board of Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN) and as a Trustee of the Bridge Institute. Prior to joining AVPN, Naina was a member of the senior leadership team of a purpose driven unit at the Monitor Group. Naina was also a Partner and Co-founder of Group Fifty, which provided a medium for Indian artists to showcase their work to a larger audience. Naina holds a Masters degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University where she graduated at the top of her class.
Jens is a Managing Partner at Halo Investments, a principal investment and corporate finance firm headquartered in Dubai. Prior to Halo, Jens was a Partner and Managing Director at New Silk Route Growth Capital and has over two decades of private equity experience, serving on the boards of over 20 companies. Jens holds an MBA degree from Harvard University.
Greg joined Kaizenvest as an Inclusive Finance Analyst as part of the EduFinance Africa team. Prior to Kaizenvest, he has worked for three years in the credit division of Merchant West, one of the largest privately-owned financial institutions in South Africa, providing alternative business funding outside of commercial banks. Greg has experience in credit and risk analysis, having worked with SMEs from various different industries with a focus on the education sector.
Greg is a passionate entrepreneur with exposure in the E-commerce space. He has completed several internships within the investment management industry both for boutique and multinational firms. Prior to this, he has worked as a fly fishing guide in Alaska. Greg holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a Major in Investment Management and Financial Management from Stellenbosch University and has also cleared one level of the CFA charter.
Alex is the Managing Director of Spaze Ventures, a seed capital fund focused on early stage tech startups. Alex is the Vice-Chairman of Singapore Enterprise Chapter at SGTECH and the Vice-President at Enterprise Singapore Society. Alex has served as the Manager and Team Lead in Enterprise Singapore in the past. Alex holds a Master of Science degree and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Nanyang Technological University.
Jia En Teo
Jia En Teo runs a single family office and invests in both the private and public markets, across various asset classes. Jia started her career in New York, working at Bloomberg. Jia then founded a company in the travel and technology sector, which she ran for 7 years before joining her family office and focusing on investments full time. Concurrently, Jia is also one of the founders of Crane, a social club and community with a focus on sustainability, mindfulness and lifelong learning.
Learning Outcomes Manager
Pitso joined Kaizenvest in 2021 as part of the EduFinance Africa team. Prior to joining Kaizenvest, Pitso worked with Catalyst for Growth as Data and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Specialist in the entrepreneurial development ecosystem where he was responsible for strengthening internal and external M&E capacities of business incubators and accelerators in South Africa.
He has led numerous business support evaluations and the production of Small Business Ecosystem Report at Catalyst for Growth, an annual report that focused on the role of South African incubators and accelerators on small business performance. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree Mathematics and Economics from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Harshad joined Kaizenvest in 2014 and handles accounts and finance for the firm. He has 13 years of experience in the domain, having worked with both Indian and offshore companies. He spent a year in Dubai to explore the international work environment before returning to Kaizenvest in 2020. Prior to Kaizenvest, Harshad worked in the accounts and finance teams at Frischmann Prabhu and Birla Sun Life Insurance. Harshad holds a Master in Finance Degree from LLIM, Mumbai.
Chief Data Science Advisor
Vijay is an Applied Mathematician who specializes in behavioral and cognitive analyses, and their applications to the design of learning systems. Over the last 25 years, he has applied data analytics to a wide array of fields ranging from investment analysis to educational effectiveness. Vijay currently serves as the co-founder and Chief Scientist of Discourse Analytics which developed the Digital Counselor platform used by several universities in the US to aid in student retention initiatives.
Vijay led a study conducted by the US National Academy of Science to develop effective strategies for implementing behavioral countermeasures for transportation safety, as well as a Gates Foundation initiative to improve college enrollment from under-performing high schools in rural and inner city areas. He also serves several organizations developing AI applications in an advisory capacity.
Vijay holds eight patents, all for analytical methods related to human choice architecture. He holds an Engineering Degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India and a Ph.D. in Applied Sciences from the University of Delaware.