Every quarter at MEST, we host business leaders from around the world as Guest Speakers who come to share their professional experiences and lessons learned with our entrepreneurs and students. Here’s a peek into last February’s Guest Lecture speaker profiles and photos from the weekend’s activities.
Speaker ProfilesAbraham Choi Founder of SimpleMerchant)
Abe is founder of Simple Merchant, a SaaS company focusing on ecommerce operations. He started the company to address his own merchant pains experienced over transacting over 250,000 times on Amazon. He started his Amazon business because he had broken his back and was stuck in bed. Previously in 2006, he co-founded a Financial Risk consultancy in Johannesburg, South Africa which was acquired four years later. He opened six frozen yogurt cafes in Johannesburg as well.
Curtis Vanderpuije CEO, expressPay
Curtis Vanderpuije is co-founder and CEO of expressPay, where he oversees several aspects of expressPay including both B2B and B2C segments of the business. Prior to starting expressPay, he spent several years at Visa’s headquarters in San Francisco where he was part of the Global Corporate Strategy team. He developed expertise in the eCommerce and mobile payments space – driving key aspects of CyberSource and Fundamo post-acquisition strategies. Curtis holds a Masters of Engineering in Manufacturing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Master of Science degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University (NTU) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, also from MIT.
Estelle Joubert Westling Head of Tonaton)
Estelle Joubert Westling is the Head of Tonaton.com, Ghana’s Largest Marketplace, attracting over 1 million Unique Visitors per month. Prior to Tonaton.com, she was working as a strategist and partner at an innovation agency for sustainability, The Good Guys, covering multinational companies, entrepreneurial businesses and NGOs. She has extensive experience from coaching emerging market entrepreneurs in strategy, communication and execution, and has been working at the global communication agency, Hill & Knowlton, in China and Sweden. Estelle holds a M.Sc from Stockholm School of Economics and has studied at Duke University’s MBA program.
Marek Zmyslowski Managing Director Jovago.com)
Marek is the Managing Director of Jovago.com, the largest hotel booking site with over 200,000 around the world. At Jovago, Marek develops market entries, launches commercial activities, executes the business models and markets, conducts negotiations, sales and recruitment, and manages the country offices. He has a B.Sc. in Business Administration / Industrial management from Wyzsza Szkola Bankowa. Poznaniu and B.Sc. in Engineering / Industrial Management from Politechnika Poznanska. Marek has been recognized as one of 2014’s Ten Most Important Africans in Tech by IT News Africa.
Mauricio Caio Founder and Managing Partner at TLcom Capital LLP)
Maurizio is a founder and Managing Partner of TLcom Capital LLP, where he has been focusing on communications technology, internet and digital media since the firm’s foundation in 1999. His current board positions include Movirtu in the UK and South Africa; PacketFront in Sweden; TheBlogTV in Italy; Medial Lario in Luxembourg and the US; and Topica in the US. Maurizio has a Summa cum Laude Laurea degree in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan and New York University, and an MBA from Stanford University. He also served as a Professor and Research Fellow in Strategic Planning and Control at Bocconi University in Milan and as an Instructor of Information Technology at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Oscar Sehliberg Westergard Director of Africa & Middle East, Spotify)
Oscar Sehlberg Westergård is the head of Middle East & Africa for leading global music streaming service, Spotify. He formerly co-founded and served as Chief Operating Officer of mobile insurance provider, Milvik AB (Bima). Prior to that he served as Manager for Innovation and Mobile Financial Services for Millicom International Cellular, covering its 7 Africa operations, and he also has a background in the financial services industry with Swedish investment group Kinnevik and JPMorgan in London. Oscar holds a M.Sc. in Economics and Business Administration from the Stockholm School of Economics.
Tani Fafunwa Managing Director, Resourcery)
Tani Fafunwa has over 20 years of Senior Management experience in the Information Technology industry. After graduating with an MBA from Stanford University in 1993, Tani returned to Nigeria to lead the operations of Resourcery. In 2000, he prepared the company for external investment and convinced the first Nigerian private equity firm to invest in Resourcery. Tani also serves on the board of Paga Tech, the leading mobile payments provider in Nigeria, and on the Advisory Board to the Minister of Communications Technology. He was also a member of the Partner Operations Advisory Board for Cisco Systems (EMEA).