Growth Equity in Growth Markets Financial Services

Apis Partners is a Private Equity manager focused on Financial Institutions and related Business Services (FS) in Growth Markets.

Our belief

Apis Partners provides catalyst capital for Financial Services in Growth Markets and aims to have a net positive impact in the communities we invest in.We aim to support growth in the Financial Services industry, which is so fundamentally important to societies and economies and can create an enduring socio-economic impact in Growth Markets. We also believe that now is a better time than ever before to foster reverse innovation - where innovative business models that are conceptualised and scaled in Growth Markets can also find traction and success in developed markets

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Our team: 600 years of collective experience in the Financial Services industry


Matteo Stefanel

Managing Partner

Matteo has a successful track record in private equity and investment banking spanning nearly two decades and focussing specifically on Growth Markets and Financial Services.
Formerly a Senior Partner at The Abraaj Group, the world’s leading EM private equity group, he held various roles there, including co-Head of Abraaj’s PE Investment Team in Dubai ($7bn), Head of both the Special Situations and the Real Estate Group as well as being a member of the Executive and the Investment Committees.

He was responsible for a number of Abraaj’s investee companies (10+), including Network International (payments), Saham Finance (insurance), and Jordan Ahli Bank (banking). Matteo has been a board director of over 20 companies and completed over 100 transactions in Europe (including CEE), South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, throughout his career at Abraaj, at MIG ($7.4bn AUM) where he was briefly CIO, and at Deutsche Bank as MD and co-Head of Emerging Markets in the Financial Institutions Group.

Since 2012, Matteo has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Financing and Capital (2012-14 and 2014-16).  Originally from Italy, Matteo has an MA (Hons) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Queens College, the University of Oxford.


Udayan Goyal

Managing Partner

Udayan brings to Apis his deep domain expertise and a global network of industry professionals, having co-founded Anthemis (one of the leading VC investors and corporate advisors in Financial Technology).

Formerly, Udayan was MD and Global Head of Financial Technology at Deutsche Bank and prior to that, a member of the European Specialty Finance practice at Credit Suisse.  He has advised on a number of flagship PE transactions in the industry, such as Abraaj’s AED2bn acquisition of Network International, Helios’ acquisition of Interswitch (Nigeria), and Advent and Bain’s £2bn acquisition of WorldPay. Additionally, he has been the lead advisor on a number of high profile financial technology and payments transactions including: KKR’s USD28bn acquisition of First Data, Visa’s IPO, Deutsche Borse’s acquisition of ISE, and the Markit Group’s acquisition of International Index Corp. Udayan is more recently the co-founder of Anthemis Group, a diversified financial services firm investing in and advising technology-led businesses globally. Whilst at Anthemis, Udayan invested in over 20 companies in the global financial services space.

Originally from India, Udayan has an MA (Cantab) from Trinity College, the University of Cambridge.


Kaj-Erik Relander

Chairman of the Investment Committee

Kaj-Erik has over 30 years experience in venture capital, telecommunications and technology within Europe. Most recently, he  was Chief Investment Office at Emirates Investment Authority, having previously served 9 years as Partner at Accel Partners in London.

Prior to this he was President and CEO of Sonera, Finland’s largest telecom operator, and also Director at SITRA, a Finnish Technology investment company where he was responsible for private equity investments. Kaj-Erik has served on the board at a variety of international companies including Carrier IQ, VoiceStream Wireless and Turkcell, and is an active member of the World Economic Forum and the EVCA. He holds an MA in Economics from the Helsinki School of Economics (HSE) and an MBA from HSE and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Graham Thomas

Investment Committee

Graham has over 20 years of buy side and investment banking experience, matured both in Growth Markets (particularly in Africa), as well as in Europe.  He was formerly Head of Private Investments at RIT Capital Partners, a £2.3bn investment trust chaired by Lord Jacob Rothschild, where he also chaired the Executive Committee.  

Prior to this, Graham was Head of Standard Bank Group’s Global Principal Investment business, which he joined from MidOcean Partners, formerly DB Capital Partners, where he was one of the Founding Partners.  Prior to MidOcean, which he joined in 2001, Graham was Co-Head of Alternative Telecom Investment Banking Group at Goldman Sachs.  He has served as a board member of some 20 companies, including Rockefeller & Co, TBIH Financial Services Group and United Biscuits Group.  Graham holds an MA from Oxford University (a Rhodes Scholar) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Degree from the University of Cape Town.


Michael G. Essex

Investment Committee

Michael has over 34 years of emerging markets investment experience in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia regions. He was most recently Director of World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), MENA, a position he held from 2005 until his retirement in 2010.

Prior to this, Michael held executive positions in risk management and corporate banking in Asia with Bank of Nova Scotia and in Australia/Pacific with NZI Bank Group. Currently he is Non-Executive Director on the board and audit committee of Ahli United Bank, a pan MENA region commercial bank and NED on the board and investment committee of Macquarie Bank’s India Infrastructure Fund, a $1.2Bn fund investing in the country’s airports, telecom, power and toll road assets.


Sean Park

Investment Committee

Sean is a well known and much sought after thought leader on the future of financial services. He combines a powerful mix of entrepreneurial, investment and corporate experience, informed by over 20 years of experience working at senior levels in capital markets and investment banking.

Sean was formerly on the Global Markets Management Committee at Dresdner Kleinwort where he ran a number of their Global Capital Markets including their Digital Markets Division, where he was instrumental in driving the introduction and adoption of electronic book building in the European Fixed Income Markets. He was previously a Non-Executive Director of Markit Group and Board Chairman of the International Index Company (iBoxx). With a 10-year track record in seed-round digital finance investments with returns ranging from 20x-100x, Sean was a founding investor in Betfair, The Climate Corporation (WeatherBill), Markit and Zoopla, and is currently a Board Director of Trov, Currency Cloud, Blueleaf and Fidor Bank and on the advisory board of Zoopla. He is also the author of the widely read Park Paradigm, a blog focused on the future of finance. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Sean has a BSc in Materials Science from Rice University in Texas, US.


Rotimi Oyekanmi


Rotimi is based in Lagos, Nigeria and is currently the Chairman of Rendeavour West Africa and Chairman of RenMoney MFB. Until 2013, Rotimi was Group Head Ecobank Capital Nigeria, prior to which he was CEO Renaissance Group West Africa and MD of Renaissance Partners (Private Equity arm of Renaissance Group).

Prior to Renaissance Group, Rotimi was for 18 years with African Capital Alliance, where he served as Chief Investment Officer. Previously, he was responsible for establishing the SME Fund for ACA in 2001 and was CEO of the Fund from inception, as well as being a Principal in Capital Alliance Private Equity Fund (Nigeria’s first structured fund).  Before joining ACA in 1999 he was, for over four years, Executive Director of Ventures & Trusts Limited, a diversified venture capital firm. Previous employment included Prime Merchant Bank in Lagos, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan and Arthur Andersen in Lagos.  

Rotimi is the pioneer President of the Venture Capital Association of Nigeria (VCAN). He was a Director of the African Venture Capital Association (ACVA) since 1994 until March 2008 when he was elected as Chairman of AVCA.  In 2011 Rotimi served on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Committee to review the potentials for demutualization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.


Oliver Krantz

Operating Partner

Oliver is based in Johannesburg, South Africa and brings a wealth of technology experience across payments and banking coupled with a considered perspective on disruptive technologies, and practical experience of mobile payments, particularly in Africa.  With over 20 years of experience, Oliver is currently an Operating Partner at Apis, in charge of operational improvement directly with Apis portfolio companies. He has held CIO and COO positions in several international corporates in Europe and South Africa including First Data, Telecash and Encorus Technologies. He has also run large data centres, NSPs and operations in the payments space and having architected a successful mobile payment platform for emerging markets, is a strong proponent of new payment technologies that can empower the un- / under banked populations. 


Keith Handley v2

Keith Handley

General Counsel

Keith is the General Counsel for Apis Partners LLP and advises on both investment activities and the advisory arrangements of Apis. He has extensive experience in M&A, private equity and regulatory compliance, particularly in emerging markets, gained over more than 25 years.

Keith was most recently the Managing Partner and Group General Counsel for Chayton Capital LLP, an emerging markets focused private equity firm, where he was responsible for all legal and regulatory aspects of the firm and its related investment funds, in addition to managing its European business. Prior to that, he was a Partner at Dentons (formerly Salans) in their Global Real Estate Group’s M&A and Private Equity practice.

Keith started his career in London but was based in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam for 10 years with leading US and UK international law firms.

Keith holds an MA (Hons) in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford and obtained his professional qualification at the Inns of Court School of Law.


Monica Pinto

Managing Director, Investor Relations & Operations

Monica has over 18 years of experience in direct investing, management and strategy consulting, primarily in growth markets. Prior to Apis Partners, Monica was a Director at Banco Efisa. She was the head of the Business Unit focused on private equity investments, debt financing and corporate finance, in international markets (Africa, India, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Brazil). She was responsible for all management aspects, including P&L, capital allocation, investment criteria, origination, end to end execution of transactions and management of the team. Previously she was a strategy consultant for Marakon Associates. She led teams in Europe and Brazil, for companies like ABN AMRO, Banco Real (Brazil), BBVA, Santander, in a variety of strategic issues. At Procter & Gamble, she worked in Latin America and South East Asia, setting up new companies. Monica holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Masters Degree from the Instituto Superior Técnico (I.S.T) (Portugal) in Computer Science & Systems Engineering.

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Asad Naqvi

Managing Director

Asad has over 14 years of experience in private equity investing and corporate finance. Prior to Apis, Asad was a Partner at Wolfensohn Fund Management, a private equity fund specializing in financial services in emerging markets. Asad headed the firm’s London office and was actively involved in originating, executing and managing the fund’s financial sector investments, ranging from consumer finance lenders to stock exchanges.

Previously, Asad was the Director of Acquisitions & Investments at The Resource Group (TRG), a global investment holding company where his experience included over 10 private equity style investments in the business services sector. Asad started his career at Lazard where he worked on over 10 M&A transactions with an aggregate value of over $14bn. Asad has also served on the board of directors of 4 portfolio companies.

Asad holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Georgetown University.


Nadeem Shaikh

Portfolio Management Committee

Nadeem is a thought leader and practitioner of innovation within financial services and has an unmatched global network within both the startup world and the established corporates.

Before co-founding Anthemis Group, Nadeem was President at First Data Corporation where he held a number of senior roles, including most recently as Head of the Financial Institutions, where he ran a multibillion dollar organization overseeing businesses in over 50 markets. Before that he led the strategy and technology arm at American Management Systems. At Anthemis, he advises international financial services institutions on strategic innovation. He is passionate about supporting the emerging digital financial services ecosystem and to that end, is a dedicated mentor to startups at incubators and accelerators, like Barclays Techstars and Level39. He also serves on the Boards of PayPerks, AFB and OneBento within the Anthemis portfolio.

Nadeem has lived and worked all over the world and now resides in London with his young family. He also is the Board Chairman of CARE, Pakistan’s largest educational NGO.


Mbwana Alliy

Regional Investment Partner

Mbwana is based in Nairobi, Kenya and is the founder and managing partner at Savannah Fund, an Africa focused Technology Venture Capital fund. As of 2014, he has overseen 15 investments in Africa in 5 countries (Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana). He is an experienced Product Manager within consumer web, enterprise Software & SaaS. Mbwana started his career working in military flight testing at QinetiQ, once a UK Government defense research organization as a systems engineer and software developer and most recently working as a Product Manager in the Office and Business Intelligence Group covering products inc. Groove Excel, Excel Services and Access at Microsoft. He later went on to co-found Tanzania’s first ecommerce travel portal, and then worked as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at i/o ventures- a silicon valley based accelerator and seed fund. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Bristol University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate school of Business.


William Keliehor

Regional Investment Partner

William is based in Dubai, UAE and has 25 years of multinational experience as a global leader in the financial services and payments industry. Having built five successful businesses, mobilised diverse cultural and multi-disciplinary teams and accelerated the growth of companies and divisions he has led, even during some of the most turbulent financial environments in recent memory, he is regarded as a heavy hitter in the consumer banking arena. He has served as executive advisor to USAID and the Central bank of Iraq and CEO of American Express MENA, covering 18 countries in the region. He has also spent 11 years at Citibank, leaving the company as Managing Director, Cards Division Head (Greece, Pakistan & MEA). William has served in various Board of Directors roles for both Citibank and American Express in Russia and the Middle East.



Sanjay Sachdev

Regional Investment Partner

Sanjay is based in India and the US and has spent over 25 years building game-changing asset management businesses in a number of growth markets. He has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer at Tata Asset Management, based in India. Prior to joining Tata, Sanjay also served as the Chief Executive Officer at Principal PNB Asset Management. He has also served as a Managing Director and Country Manager for India at Principal International Inc and at The Principal International for 12 years, 9 of them in India. He is currently the Chairman of Zyfin, a financial information company based in India. 


Alexia Yannopoulos


Alexia has nearly a decade of experience in Financial Services, and she brings an in-depth understanding of financial and operational performance within the industry, having worked on several business transformation programs within the payments and broader financial services industry.
Prior to Apis, she was a VP at Anthemis, one of the leading VC investors and corporate advisors in Financial Technology, where she worked on investments and M&A transactions spanning a broad range of Financial Services, FinTech and Financial Infrastructure.

Previously she worked at Deutsche Bank and at TEMES, an Athens-based developer. During her years at Deutsche Bank she worked in the Financial Institutions team, where she was engaged in a broad array of M&A transactions focused in the MENA region and other high-growth markets.
Alexia has a Bachelors degree from Tufts University and a diploma in Development Politics and Arabic from SOAS.

Nic Smalle

Nic Smalle


Nicholas has a decade of experience in financial services private equity investing, strategy and management consulting. Prior to Apis, Nicholas was at Old Mutual based in South Africa, where he helped set up a Strategic Investment Fund spanning the African Financial Services landscape, considering both direct investment and partnering with local strategic partners / DFIs. Previously he was an Associate Director at Standard Chartered and part of the Wholesale Banking Strategy team in Singapore. He started his career with McKinsey and Company in London as a Business Analyst, working largely for McKinsey’s Finance practice, covering the breadth of the industry. Nicholas holds an MBA from INSEAD, and was also a Shell Scholar at Cambridge University with an MPhil in Bioscience.


Ravi Bhatt

Investment Associate

Ravi has extensive advisory experience within financial services, having worked on a number of strategy and buy-side acquisition engagements in EMEA during his time at Anthemis Group. His interests in technology-led emerging business models in financial services range from alternative currencies and value systems to financial inclusion. Ravi previously interned with the European Natural Resources and Power team within the Investment Banking Division at Nomura.

Ravi graduated from the University of Warwick with a BSc (Hons) in Economics.

Kiprono Terigin

Kiprono Terigin

Investment Associate

Kiprono has a range of experience in financial advisory, capital structuring, and debt origination in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to Apis Partners, Kiprono worked with JP Morgan’s debt origination team in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he covered clients across Sub-Saharan Africa, including financial institutions in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. Kiprono also has experience of working in Kenya, his home country, where he interned with Jumia Kenya, the country’s largest eCommerce company (part of Africa Internet Group), and Kestrel Capital, the top stockbroker in the country. Kiprono holds an MBA from INSEAD and graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) in Economics.


Dolapo Agbaje

Investment Associate

Dolapo has wide-ranging corporate finance experience across Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining Apis, Dolapo worked for Standard Bank’s Telecoms, Media and Technology Group in London. He was involved in the origination and execution of Mergers and Acquisitions and Debt and Equity financings for clients across Sub-Saharan Africa, including several financial technology transactions. Previously, Dolapo was at Deloitte where he was a Manager in the corporate finance advisory practice, advising financial institutions on strategic alternatives and financing.

Dolapo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (Cum Laude) from Dartmouth College and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (ACA) with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.


Fares Al-Haffar

Investment Associate

Fares is an Investment Associate within our London office. Prior to joining Apis Partners, Fares was an Investment Banking Associate at Morgan Stanley, having worked in their London and Dubai offices. Fares has extensive experience in the payments and real estate sectors, having previously worked on a number of landmark transactions both in the Emerging Markets and Western Europe.

Fares earned a BSc in Finance from Bentley University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.


JP Rangaswami

JP is Deutsche Bank’s first-ever Chief Data Officer. As Chief Data Officer, he plays a key role in standardising the Bank’s processes, tools and governance around information, and in supporting its digital strategy. JP is also a non-executive director of Ribbit – “Silicon Valley’s first phone company”.

Prior to this he was Chief Scientist at, the world’s largest provider of customer relationship-management software, and at BT Group after having been the MD of BT Design (responsible for innovation at the Group). He originally joined BT as CIO of Global Services, supporting large businesses and organizations across the globe. He was named to’s “Top 50 Agenda Setters in technology” in 2007 and 2008 and was ranked 18th in Wired Magazine’s 2009 first UK100 list of Britain’s “top digital power-brokers.”

Regarded as something of a maverick and an innovator, JP Rangaswami is an outspoken advocate of open source and using emerging and disruptive technologies to improve information sharing, education and collaboration. He is also a keen blogger on his own Confused of Calcutta website. Rangaswami actually started his career as a financial journalist in his home city of Calcutta. He only switched to IT when he first moved to the UK in 1980, writing technical manuals.


Deanna Oppenheimer

Recognised globally as one of the decade’s most influential leaders in financial services, Deanna is an acclaimed turnaround strategist known for her ability to transform entrenched institutions into customer-centric champions. Deanna is the non-executive director for Tesco PLC, Tesco Bank, NCR Corporation and the AXA Group.

Previously, Deanna held C-level positions at national and international financial institutions. She most recently served as Vice Chair, Global Retail Banking at Barclays, where she was also CEO of UK and Western Europe Retail Banking. Deanna’s clear customer-focused strategies led to Barclays #1 ranking among high street banks in customer satisfaction and 92% employee engagement, while her relentless focus helped stabilize its Western Europe franchise and achieve double digit growth in annual financial results in the UK.

As someone who grew up in the small farming town of Parma, Idaho, Deanna has an uncanny ability to individually connect with people, either one-on-one or when leading the charge at a 50,000 person organization.


Moshe Tamir

Moshe is well known in the financial services innovation world, having spearheaded the development and deployment of multiple award-winning web platforms at Israel’s largest insurance company, Migdal, where till recently, he lead the company’s strategy, marketing, communication, digital platforms for clients and distribution channels amongst other things.

He currently heads innovation and sales in Generali, one of the world’s leading insurance and financial institutions managing assets worth more than 400bn Euros. Moshe brings with him strong knowledge and experience of innovation methodologies in financial services organisations together with strong field experience in the implementation of these initiatives while focusing on transition management activities in traditional insurance companies.


Kia Davis

Kia is a strategy professional with 10+ years of experience in strategy consulting, internal corporate strategy, and small business/ entrepreneurship strategy.

She has worked across several sectors with a focus on financial payments and consumer technology, as well as food and consumer goods. She currently consults independently for a number of global clients, spending a lot of time in Dubai nurturing the SME ecosystem. Her previous positions include Senior Strategy Manager in Visa Europe and Consultant at Marakon Associates. Her academic background includes a BA from Yale University with a focus on consumer psychology, and an MBA from INSEAD with a focus on strategy. She was the 2010 winner of the Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp alumni course and competition.


Andrew Veitch

Andrew Veitch brings in-depth knowledge of payment systems, product management, merchant pricing and payment schemes. Positioned across business and technology, he ensures that what has been promised is actually delivered.

With over 20 years experience in the payment industry, Andrew provides considered advice, as he understands the delicate balance between new opportunities and service delivery. His knowledge and approach has resulted in significant revenue growth and process improvement across a diverse set of clients. Andrew held senior positions within Visa and has been involved with payment entities across Europe and on a global basis as a consultant for the past 6 years.


Sabine Some-Mensah

Sabine Somé – Mensah has over 17 years of expertise in business development, agent network management, sales, marketing and hands-on experience in remittances, payments and mobile money. Sabine spent most of her career with the Western Union Company.

Starting in 1998, she spearheaded the development of the agent business model and the introduction of Western Union money transfer services in West Africa. Two years later, Sabine was selected to move to New York to lead business development, diaspora and grassroots marketing efforts for remittances from North America to Africa. Throughout her career at Western Union, Sabine has successfully led sales teams, established and managed agent network distribution channels across Africa, US and Canada.  Since 2013, Sabine relocated to Kenya and  has been working on mobile financial service projects. She is an expert B2C and B2B marketer particularly in the fields of new product development, communication and go-to-market strategy, customer relationship management and loyalty programs. She is bilingual French and holds an MBA from Central Michigan University (US), a Bachelor in Finance from IFAM (France) and a Certificate in Project Management from Humber College (Canada).


Gavin Holland

Gavin’s expertise lies in advising companies on recruiting, developing, and retaining high-performing talent and with them building world-class teams. As Founder of Anthemis Talent, his 15+ years of experience in the industry will help our external clients and our portfolio companies to grow and develop their organisations.

Prior to joining Anthemis, Gavin ran the Financial Services talent business across Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Heidrick & Struggles. In his 13 years there, Gavin worked in the New York and London offices, became one of the youngest Partners in the firm’s history at 29, and was recognised internally and externally as one of the very few executive search professionals who really understand the intersect point of the financial services industry with technology, change and innovation.

His recent client work has included hiring the Chairman, CEO, COO, CTO and other C-Level executives across a range of sectors including FinTech, Payments, Consumer Financial Services, Corporate & Investment Banking, Asset Wealth & Alternative Investments, Clearing & BPO. These clients have ranged from the world’s most prestigious multi-nationals, to the most disruptive small start-ups. Currently based back in the UK, Gavin has a BSc in Mathematics from Warwick University, and an MBA from Cass Business School.


Yann Ranchere

Yann brings in-depth knowledge of the trends shaping financial services innovation as well as the startups addressing those and has international experience in a broad range of financial services.

He contributes to the Principal Investment activities, with the sourcing and review of potential investments. He is the author of the Tekfin blog and @tek_fin twitter account. Prior to joining Anthemis, Yann worked as a consultant at KurtSalmon in New York in various sectors: retail banking, private banking, capital markets, custody and fund administration and lead the financial services innovation activity in the US. He worked previously in Luxembourg and France. Yann has a Master’s degree from french business school ESCP Europe. He lives in Geneva and is an avid skier, windsurfer and photographer.

Our investment approach

We look for innovative Financial Services and Infrastructure providers in Growth Markets, specifically around the sub-verticals of Payments, Savings and Investments, Credit, Insurance and Capital Markets. Our aim is to back entrepreneurs and management teams, investing primary capital to fund growth and step-change initiatives. We seek to have strong ‘hands-on’ minority positions where our subject matter expertise and connectivity can be a springboard for leaders and innovators.

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We want to create environments that empower entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses in Growth Markets

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We seek entrepreneurs and businesses that share Apis Partners' vision of financial empowerment in all Growth Markets

Linkedin: Apis Partners
Twitter: @apispartners
Tel: +44 20 3653 0500

Apis Partners
6th Floor
44 Great Marlborough St.
London, W1F 7JL
United Kingdom