People

People

MEST is supported by an international team with experience at all stages of the startup lifecycle. Come join us! We’re looking for Teaching Fellows and Incubator Fellows.

Leadership Team

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Jorn Lyseggen

Founder and Chairman
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Jorn Lyseggen founded Meltwater News in 2001 with only $15,000. Meltwater News has since grown into the Meltwater we know today as a global leader in online intelligence. Jorn also founded the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit designed to provide training and mentoring to young African entrepreneurs aspiring to launch new, Ghana-based software companies.

A Norwegian entrepreneur and patent holder with four start-ups, Jorn has two trade sales and one IPO to his credit. Jorn has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Bergen Ingeniorhogskole in Norway, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering with specialization in digital signal processing and artificial intelligence from Iowa State University, and training in entrepreneurship from Harvard Business School. An avid reader of ancient history and Viking sagas, Jorn enjoys fishing for salmon in the Norwegian fjords near the town of Grong and the peace and quiet of Trysil, his hometown in Norway. Jorn played clarinet in several orchestras and competed at various levels for more than 15 years, recently reigniting his interest in music with the purchase of a saxophone.

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Katie Sarro

Managing Director, MEST
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Katie’s role is largely focused on bringing in global and local strategic partnerships on behalf of the MEST program, as well as our incubated companies. She connects with organizations, corporates and individuals who share MEST’s impact goals and will work with us to support local entrepreneurs, as well as further catalyze growth in the African market. Katie formerly worked at the African startup incubator 88mph, where she advised startups in Cape Town and Nairobi in the areas of brand development, marketing and PR. Katie then joined 88mph's full time staff as head of Marketing and Communications, getting 88mph in front of journalists, investors and influencers in Africa and across the globe. She’s passionate about building community around tech in Africa on a global scale and creating scalable, sustainable pathways for technology entrepreneurship and venture capital in the region.

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Todd Holcombe

Senior Faculty
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Todd joins MEST with almost 30 years’ experience in technology, starting as mainframe programmer andcapping off his career as the Senior Manager of the teams that build and deploy the code for all of Bank of America’s eCommerce systems and Credit Card Services. Some of Todd’s accomplishments are: Designed and implemented a process model called “Controlled Entry” Manage teams responsible for the operations of all build, stage, deploy and validate functions for the Credit Card and EcommerceSoftware Configuration Management Westfall Fellow. Guest speaker at the SEPG Conference in Seattle, WA in 2006. Presented a paper entitled "SCM: The red headed stepchild of the KPAs (Key Process Areas)".Six Sigma Green Belt Lean Project ChampionTodd has three grown children and a beautiful grandchild that he misses very much while in Africa. Todd has many interests outside of Technology, among them are swimming, playing music in a band and golfing. When he is not enjoying the gracious people of Ghana, he calls the SF Bay Area home, where he was born and raised. Todd says that he is honored to be welcomed into the MEST family and feels he got a seat at the cool kid’s table.

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Celine Duros

Head of Operations & Partnerships
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Amma Baffoe

Head of Recruitment & Marketing
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Amma's role involves working closely with the local tech community and entrepreneurs to identify the best talent to join the MEST program. Amma obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Ghana with majors in Information Studies. She's also worked with the University of East London & the British Council in talent management capacities. This led her on to a brief business training at the University of Manchester Business School in the UK. In her spare time, Amma enjoys seeing new places and catching up on international affairs.

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Ashwin Ravichandran

General Manager, MEST Incubator (Ghana)
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Ashwin has worked in the startup ecosystem in India from 2011. His first stints were focussed on his ability to code and be a part of the critical processes of the strategy teams. After working for startups for about 2 years which included sectors like recruitment, lifestyle, education and environment, Ashwin jumped to study Liberal Arts for a year whilst focussing on psychology as a major. He then continued to work in the startup ecosystem with the major focus on social impact. He started working on design on products and working on understanding consumer markets to make products more successful. He moved to Ghana in July, 2015 to work with entrepreneurs at MEST to teach design, scale/strategy and technology.
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Neku Atawodi-Edun

General Manager, MEST Incubator (Nigeria)
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Kelechi Udoagwu

Communications & Recruitment Manager
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From a unique experience as an EIT here at MEST, Kelechi joins the MEST team as a MarComms and Recruitment Manager.

Cofounder of Skrife, a platform that provides written content for brands and startups, Kelechi guest posts career advice targeted at university graduates and young adults, and articles on tech and startups in Africa in various online magazines and blogs.

She hosts Techies, a web series in collaboration with Pulse Ghana, and leads communications at Next Money, Accra chapter, a community focused on engaging the local FinTech ecosystem.

Her passions center around effective brand communications, digital management, and youth empowerment through education and mentoring. When not working, she loves spending time at the beach.

Operations Team

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Kwesi Ammissah

Operations Manager
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Kwesi Ammissah, a part of the founding team of MEST, handles operations at MEST.
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Prince Yeboah

Finance Manager
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Prince Yeboah handles finance at MEST
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Jennifer Tweneboah

Administration Coordinator
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Jennifer plays a crucial role in Administration at MEST
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Tobi Lafinhan

Operations Assistant
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Tobi Lafinhan is a civil engineer by training, but has spent ample time working with multiple leading organisations across a variety of industries including tech; setting goals, monitoring progress and ensuring smooth operations.His role is centred around MEST operations in the Lagos Incubator as a cross functional team player, together with tracking the performance of incubator companies.

School Team

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Yaw Boakye Yiadom

Technology Teaching Fellow
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Yaw Boakye Yiadom is a MEST Alumni. He was an Entrepreneur in Training in the MEST Class of 2013. He went on to co-found DevCongress – the first organized developers community in Ghana; and build the REST API for the Fessup mobile and web applications using Scala. He returns to MEST as a Technology Fellow to further his passion to impact the evolving African tech scene and budding techpreneurs. A graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University, Yaw speaks English, Twi and Spanish.

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Jerry Yang

Technology Teaching Fellow
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Jerry is Full-Stack Engineer at FreckleIoT(Toronto, Canada). Prior to Joining Freckle, Jerry worked as Software Engineer at Centro RTB(Sitescout) from 2014-2015, where he involved in the new production development and release, helped with production migration after company’s acquisition. From 2013 -2014, Jerry worked at AMD as technologist of graphic driver group for new products bring-up testing and component quality assurance. Jerry, also helped some startup teams to prototype and architect their early stage products. Jerry has a B.ASc in Computer Engineering with Certificate in Entrepreneurship from University of Toronto (2013).
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Andrew Berkowitz

Technology Teaching Fellow
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Andrew Berkowitz is a Software Engineer who has spent the past few years working on projects like: a 250lb combat robot shown on ABC's "BattleBots", an interactive children's toy that teaches medical procedures through play, and mobile apps that work with biosensors to monitorpatient outcomes during clinical studies. He is currently interested in high efficiency farming, and commercial uses for internet of things sensors.
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Dziffa Ametam

Communications Fellow
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Dziffa Akua Ametam is the founder of Dziffa.com, a social enterprise that increases the global reach of local businesses by providing them with branding, marketing, and distribution services. She is a strong believer in the potential of African entrepreneurs and is heavily involved in the Ghana startup community. Dziffa was awarded the 2014 Entrepreneur of the year by African Youth Excellence, named Top 30 Under 30 rising stars of Ghana by Future of Ghana and named Top 100 Visionary Women to Watch in 2016 by Innov8tiv. She holds a Bachelor in economics and political science, is a fellow of the Edward T. Rogowsky Program, the American Economic Summer Training Program, and Yale Global Pre-MBA Program. Dziffa is thrilled to be a member of the MEST community and cannot wait to see EITs grace the world with bright ideas.

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Raquel Wilson

Communications Fellow
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Helps extraordinary thinkers and innovators tell compelling stories, grow strong communities, and build sustainable brands. She has been central to the growth of programmes and campaigns around the globe including providing organizational strategy support to ImagiNation Afrika, a learning and discovery hub for children in Dakar, Senegal; and serving as Campaign Manager for #55FORWARD, a Social Media Week Lagos initiative that brings together ambassadors from fifty-five African nations to share how they use social media to meet the needs of a rapidly increasing youth population.The co-editor of No Tees Please: Why Africa Aid Campaigns #FAIL, a crowdsourced inquiry into the practices of inventing disadvantageous aid campaigns for the African continent, Raquel is Managing Founder of Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market, a monthly event that supported local food and natural beauty entrepreneurs in Senegal; and currently works as Senior Partner with Young Art Collector, an art consultancy that engages artists and collectors in supporting an inclusive and lucrative global art community. Raquel also freelances as a cultural events designer and communications consultant using her “From Hobby to Global Brand” workshop series to help start-ups knock down the information walls between big businesses and hobbyists.
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Mike Zeidlhack

Business Teaching Fellow
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Prior to joining MEST, Mike worked in Accenture’s Strategy consulting group building cross-industry experience including retail, tech, sustainability, media, power, and telecom. Many of his roles emphasized expertise across eComm/digital/ICT, often focusing on financial analysis and business case development. Some of Mike’s formative experiences included developing a business case for a CRM strategy at an international sports league, developing a new products and services strategy for the innovation hub at a utility, defining the analytics roadmap for the customer organization at a utility, and conducting a market scan and due diligence on $1B+ asset for a potential acquisition. Outside of work, Mike has coached a few African entrepreneurs on how to scale their businesses and is a part of an incubator that helps grow small businesses for low-income entrepreneurs on Chicago’s South Side. He enjoys playing sports and reading all things related to entrepreneurship/VC. Mike is a graduate of Northwestern University, double majoring in Economics and Learning & Org Change.
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Lars C. Verhoef

Business Teaching Fellow
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So, you have been waiting for another person with superpowers and the ability to change the universe? Well, I am definitely not that guy. I am the guy with whom you have weird philosophical conversations with and end up having different views on the world. The guy with a Dutch Finance degree and has lived in Sweden, Scotland, US and Canada. The guy who has worked as a fund account, co-founder and business intelligence consultant. And the guy that loves working out, reads mind expanding books, enjoys people and different cultures and someone who believes in the great opportunities we still have in the even brighter future.
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Enoch Baffour Owusu

Business Teaching Fellow
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Enoch Baffour Owusu comes to MEST with a passion for teaching, entrepreneurship and learning. He has a keen interest in social impact investing and international development. He joins MEST after founding and managing Stratic Consult, which offers entrepreneurship training, career development seminars and study abroad placement services in Kumasi, Ghana.His former employers include ABN AMRO Bank, ING Bank and SOVEC Venture Capital in the Netherlands. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree from GIMPA (Ghana) and a Masters degree in Finance & Law from Duisenberg School of Finance / University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

Incubator Team

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Jeffrey Agbo

Office Manager
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Prior to joining MEST, Jeffrey served as a marketing and project supervisor for Global (Arc) GH Ltd., a construction and engineering consultancy firm. He holds a degree in Marketing & Accounting from the University of Professional Studies, Ghana.At the Incubator, Jeffrey is responsible for supporting the day to day operations of the facilities including: procurement, security, tenant relationship management, transportation and corporate service provision.Jeffrey is passionate about entrepreneurship, and his other hobbies include reading and watching documentaries.
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Vineet N. Ramesh

Product Management Fellow
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Prior to my MBA I worked at SAP as a software developer for 2.5 years. Post MBA I have worked with Indian e-commerce major Snapdeal.com as an Associate Product Manager for around 8 months. I love traveling, meeting new people, learning about new cultures and creating a positive impact.
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Kamil Nabong

Entrepreneur-in-Residence
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Kamil comes with experience from co-founding former MEST company Dropifi (the first African company to be accepted into 500 Startups) in 2011 and recently served as the chief front-end dev for Simple Merchant, a UK-based e-commerce company. He is passionate about building and growing e-commerce SaaS and crafting awesome user experiences. Kamil is keen on improving team efficiency through data-driven decision making, proper development workflows and setting up frameworks for putting customers at the center of your company.Once a speaker at the MEST graduation ceremony and several other events in and out of Ghana, Kamil is always looking for opportunities to share his successes and failures. You’ll find him mostly watching documentaries or going through user-experience teardowns when he’s not working.

Business Advisory Council

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Ashok Bhanaut

Senior Advisor
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Ashok is a Senior Advisor to the MEST Leadership Team, and a Director of Meltwater Holding.

Previously, Ashok was the CEO and later Chairman of Genkey. He also held senior executive and technical architecture roles at IBM for over 27 years in the UK, US, France, and the Netherlands. Ashok has served as an advisor, CEO, Chairman, and Board Member of companies around the world.

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Brian Flynn

Business Advisory Council
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Brian Flynn is an investor and entrepreneur focused on the Internet, mobile and software sectors. He has over 20 years of investment, entrepreneurial and isnvestment banking experience with emerging growth companies. Brian has invested in and/or co-founded 16 companies. Of that group, 8 exited, 5 are private and 3 were shut down. Some of his private investments include IMsecure (sold to Checkpoint), Pixoart Design (sold to 51.com), Ultris (sold to Saba), Fotolog (sold to Hi-Media), Qpod (sold to Groupon) and other companies which are independent (Relevad, Wheelhouse, Mixbook, AdMovate).Earlier in his career, Brian served as Head of Corporate Development at Macromedia where he managed strategy, investments and acquisitions and facilitated the sale of the company to Adobe for $3.9 billion. He also was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley & Co. and Robertson Stephens where he closed more than 40 mergers, acquisitions and financings. Brian received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and his M.B.A. from Harvard University.

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Stefan Cars

Business Advisory Council
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Stefan is founder at Snowfall, and Founding Partner at Treuhand. A serial entrepreneur, Stefan has been building and selling internet companies for over 20 years.

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Neal Hansch

Business Advisory Council
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