Melinda Acito is the Administrative Assistant at Encourage Capital. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western Connecticut State University. Prior to joining Encourage, Melinda was the administrative assistant at Mission Capital, where she assisted the Debt & Equity team. Melinda also worked at AscendHire and Axelon in the recruiting field. She began her career in social work as a community training specialist with YAI. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, concerts, and spending time with her dog.
Utkarsh Agarwal (Uti) is an Associate at Encourage Capital where he focuses on climate change and carbon markets. As the Analyst on Encourage’s Green Carbon Fund, a specialized carbon forestry fund, he helped generate strong returns for the LPs. Uti worked on 5 investments helping catalyze the creation of over 10 million carbon offsets across 250,000 acres of forest land in the United States ranging from Redwoods in California to the Hickories in Appalachia. As an Associate, Uti continues his work in the timber and carbon forestry sector which spans deal sourcing, structuring, portfolio management and dispositions.
Uti graduated from Dartmouth College in June 2013 with an A.B. in Engineering Sciences and a B.E. in Environmental Engineering. While at Dartmouth, Uti was a Davis Scholar, a War and Peace Fellow and the President of the International Students Association. He grew up in Kashmir, India, and went to boarding schools in India and Canada before coming to the U.S. He has also spent time in Hong Kong and Malaysia working on social and environmental issues. He is a proud feminist, a political nerd and a travel enthusiast. He is currently working on getting his private pilot’s license and on the weekends can be found flying planes out of KBDR in Connecticut.
Tarun Arora is a Vice President at Encourage Capital focused on financial inclusion investment strategies. Tarun has been with the firm since 2011, when he started with Wolfensohn Fund Management. Tarun has been actively involved in Wolfensohn Capital Partners’ investments in DCB Bank, Fabindia, National Stock Exchange of India, Repco Home Finance, and Ujjivan Financial Services. Prior to joining the firm, he worked as a Senior Associate in the investment banking team of PricewaterhouseCoopers India where he worked on transactions across financial services, consumer branded goods, energy, chemicals and telecom sectors. Tarun graduated with a B.E. from Delhi College of Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Delhi. He also holds the CFA charter.
Ricardo Bayon is a Partner and a member of the Board of Directors of Encourage Capital. Ricardo leads the water team and new business and innovation at Encourage and works across several other investment sectors. Ricardo is a member of the Investment Committee of the EKO Green Carbon Fund. Prior to co-founding EKO in 2007, Ricardo helped found and served as the Managing Director of the Ecosystem Marketplace, a web site and information/analysis service covering the emerging environmental markets. In that capacity he co-authored a number of publications on voluntary carbon markets, mitigation banking, and ecosystem services, including The State of Voluntary Carbon Markets 2007: Picking up Steam and Voluntary Carbon Markets: An International Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work, and Conservation and Biodiversity Banking: A Guide to Setting Up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading System. For nearly two decades he has specialized on issues related to finance, banking, and the environment. He has done work for a number of organizations, including Insight Investments, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, Domini Social Investment, among others. His articles have appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and the International Herald Tribune. He has also written numerous publications and chapters on mitigation banking, biodiversity markets, markets for water quality, and other environmental markets. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, and is currently based in San Francisco. Ricardo graduated with a B.A. degree from Brown University.
Ameya Bijoor is a Partner with Encourage Capital. Ameya leads the financial inclusion team with Cesare Calari. Since joining Wolfensohn Fund Management in 2008, Ameya has been actively involved in the Fund’s investments in Development Credit Bank, National Stock Exchange of India, Repco Home Finance, Ujjivan Financial Services and Fabindia. Prior to joining WFM, Ameya had over 7 years’ experience working in private equity, corporate finance and development. He was a Manager in Standard & Poor’s Transaction Advisory Services practice, where he led financial due diligence investigations for private equity and strategic clients. Ameya began his career at Arthur Andersen. His experience at Standard & Poor’s and Arthur Andersen included approximately 50 transactions across a range of industries with an aggregate value of approximately US$10 billion. He also served as the Head of Operations for the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative in India where he helped to launch the local office by developing strategic objectives, negotiating partnership agreements and recruiting staff to support the Government of India. Ameya is a CPA and received a B.B.A. in Accountancy, magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Cesare Calari is a Partner with Encourage Capital. Cesare leads the financial inclusion team with Ameya Bijoor. Before joining Wolfensohn Fund Management in 2006, Cesare worked at the World Bank Group, holding senior positions, including the IFC’s Director of the Africa Department and the Director of the Global Financial Markets Group. From 2001-06, he was the World Bank’s Vice President, and member of the Operations and Policy Committees. In this capacity, Cesare had responsibility for the Bank’s financial sector operations, and was the spokesman in international fora, such as the Financial Stability Board. Cesare also served as Chairman of CGAP, and of FIRST, an international initiative in support of financial sector reform. As such, Cesare championed an agenda for financial inclusion, promoting the theme as a global priority. Cesare has served as Adjunct Professor of Finance at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS. He is a Director of Terna (Italy) and Global Ports Holding (Turkey), and a member of the Bretton Woods Committee. He has also been Director of Assicurazioni Generali (Italy), Moneda Asset Management (Chile), Meritum Bank (Poland), Nomura Hungary, Zivnostenska Banka (Czech Republic) and International Bank in Poland. Cesare holds degrees from the University of Bologna Law School and from Johns Hopkins University SAIS. He enjoys reading, gardening, canoeing and fly-fishing.
Ryan Carr is a Fund Accountant on the Finance and Accounting team at Encourage Capital. Ryan joined Wolfensohn Fund Management in 2014 after graduating from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in Finance. During his undergraduate career, he was a two-year captain of the University’s tennis team, a Big East All-American Academic Athlete, and the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Scholar Athlete Award. Ryan grew up in Madison, Connecticut and in his free time enjoys fishing, golfing, tennis and skiing.
Alex Eidson is an Analyst with Encourage Capital focused on green infrastructure and several other investment strategies. He graduated in May 2015 from Cornell University with a dual degree in Economics and Sociology. While at Cornell, Alex was the Co-President of the Society for Natural Resources Conservation, a group that makes campus more sustainable. Outside of work, Alex spends his time playing golf, exploring New York, and hiking. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.
Maria Fowler is the Bookkeeper at Encourage Capital.
Javier Fuentes is a Senior Consultant at Encourage Capital.
Gautam Ivatury is a Senior Advisor at Encourage Capital. Gautam has been at the forefront of expanding financial services in emerging markets. He has founded or led pioneering ventures in India and East Africa, overseen global innovation programs with combined budgets of over $30 million, advised VC and private equity funds, consulted to Fortune 500 players including Microsoft and Visa, and developed projects in 9 countries. Gautam’s work on the impact, design and regulation of mobile and branchless banking has also included advice to regulators in multiple countries. In 2002-2003, Gautam was the first CFO at SKS Microfinance, one of India’s largest micro-lenders and the first to IPO. After SKS, Gautam established and ran the $26 million Gates Foundation-funded CGAP Technology Program for digital finance at the World Bank. As co-founder of Signal Point Partners, a mobile services advisory and incubation firm, Gautam helped launch JipangeKusave — the first credit/savings product on M-Pesa and the precursor to M-Shwari. Today Gautam is co-founder and Head of Product at ArthImpact (one of india’s leading digital lenders) and is a Director and investor in multiple fintech startups. Gautam has been a senior advisor to Accion Venture Lab, the MIX, and chairperson of the GSM Association’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked Fund.
Otho Kerr is a Partner with Encourage Capital and one of the original partners of EKO. Otho works across several investment sectors of the firm and is a member of the Investment Committee of the EKO Green Carbon Fund. Prior to joining EKO, Otho was an Executive Director at Oppenheimer Asset Management. He has worked in the investment banking and asset management industries for over twenty years, having begun with Goldman Sachs & Co., where he worked in the Investment Banking Division. While at Goldman, Otho managed the U.S.’s first Rule 144A transaction, for British Aerospace. He later became Director and Head of the Corporate Finance Retail Industry Group at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (Deutsche Bank) where his clients included The Home Depot, Toys-R-Us, Kmart and Spiegel. Otho has a wealth of experience managing private placements and public offerings of debt and equity. He began his career as an attorney with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Otho received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was the first member of his class to receive the Dartmouth Alumni Award. Throughout his career, Otho has sought to merge his career with his interest in social justice. Otho was a co-founder of the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in Harlem and a Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow. He has served and serves on numerous not-for-profit boards.
Marcelo Lessa is a Senior Advisor at Encourage Capital.
David Levine is the Controller at Encourage Capital where he manages the Finance and Accounting Team. David graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Finance from the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University. While at Penn State, David served as Philanthropic Chair for the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity where he led fundraising initiatives for THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. After graduation, David joined Wolfensohn Fund Management as a Fund Accountant. Prior to Wolfensohn, David interned at the law firm of Guttman, Mintz, Baker and Sonnenfeld, in the Risk Assessment division. When he’s not working, David enjoys reading, running, and traveling.
Alex Markham is a Vice President at Encourage Capital focused on sustainable fisheries finance and other environmental investment opportunities. Alex joined EKO in 2013 after receiving his M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he also earned a Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation. During his M.B.A., he interned for The Nature Conservancy and The Natural Capital Project working on their Latin American water funds initiative. Prior to business school, he served as a Lorry I Lokey fellow in Environmental Defense Fund’s Ocean Innovations program, where he spearheaded their Ecomarkets initiative. In addition to his M.B.A., Alex holds an M.S. and B.S. from Stanford University where he graduated with Honors and received the William W. Whitley Citizen-Scholar Award. Alex was born in Nairobi, Kenya and has traveled extensively throughout Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia as a field-researcher, wildlife photographer, scuba diver, and fisherman.
Jonathan Morris is a Partner and a member of the Board of Directors of Encourage Capital and leads the company’s Ag.-related water investment strategy. He is a member of the Investment Committee of Wolfensohn Capital Partners, L.P. and Chairman of the Valuation Committee of Wolfensohn Fund Management (WFM) and Chief Legal Officer of Encourage Capital. Prior to co-founding WFM in 2006, Jon had over ten years of private equity and venture capital experience, both as an entrepreneur and as an attorney. From 2005 to 2006, Jon was CEO of JBM Consultants, an independent consulting firm. From 1998 to 2004, Jon was a Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Bluefly, Inc. (NasdaqSmallCap: BFLY), a publicly traded Internet retailer with over 500,000 customers and an enterprise value in excess of $250 million at the time he resigned his position. Prior to starting Bluefly, Jon spent five years as a corporate, securities, and private equity attorney in New York City. Jon has an A.B. in Political Science from Amherst College and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law.
Ellie Moss is a Senior Advisor at Encourage Capital.
Mwaghazi Mwachofi is a Partner at Encourage Capital focused on financial inclusion and brings over 35 years of experience in Africa across banking, private equity, operations and policy. Previously, Mwaghazi was General Manager of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) and managed microfinance banks and microfinance institutions in 11 countries in South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Prior to joining AKAM, Mwaghazi was a Vice President in a mobile phone group (Celtel and later re-branded to Zain) operating in 16 countries in the Middle East and Africa. He joined this mobile phone group after a 25-year career at IFC in Washington, DC. Before he retired from IFC, he served as Director of IFC’s Trust Funds Department where he led the mobilization of concessionary funding from donors around the world to finance feasibility studies for large projects, piloting of new initiatives, and provision of support and technical assistance to SMEs. Prior to this role, he served as Associate Director of IFC’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise department for the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Mwaghazi began his career in IFC as an investment officer in IFC’s Africa Departments, served as a senior Investment Officer in IFC’s Latin America Department, served as a principal investment officer in IFC’s Chemicals Petrochemicals and Fertilizers Department, served as principal investment officer in IFC’s Privatization Department, and also served as IFC’s Regional Representative in Southern Africa. While in IFC, Mwaghazi also served for three years as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance in the Government of Kenya while on secondment from the World Bank Group.
Mwaghazi joined the World Bank Group in 1980 after an intensive four-year commercial banking experience and training at Citibank. He holds an M.B.A. from Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Nairobi.
Trip O’Shea is a Vice President with Encourage Capital, focused on sustainable fisheries finance and other environmental investment opportunities. Prior to joining EKO in 2013, Trip was an investment banker in the Global Power & Utilities group at Barclays Capital in New York City, where he worked on financings and M&A, primarily in the renewable energy space. Earlier in his career, Trip spent over 5 years living and working in Central America, where he founded his own social enterprise consulting practice, and worked as a conservation finance analyst with The Nature Conservancy. He holds both an MBA and a MS in Sustainable Resource Systems through the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan, and received a BA in Economics and Environmental Science from Bates College in Maine. Trip grew up in Northern New England, and has since lived in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Brazil. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing, hiking, big mountain free-skiing, and sailing.
Brad Schwartz is the Chief Financial Officer at Encourage Capital. He is also a New York State licensed CPA. Brad holds an MBA with distinction from NYU’s Stern School of Business and a BS in accounting from SUNY Albany. Prior to joining Encourage, he worked at Lincolnshire Management, Inc. on their finance and accounting team. He has also worked for JP Morgan Chase in their Private Equity Fund Services business. Brad began his career as an auditor at Ernst and Young. He was also at one point a professional comedian and actor but now provides humor on a pro bono basis.
Jason Scott is a Co-Managing Partner and on the Board of Directors of Encourage Capital. He was a co-founder of EKO. Jason is a member of the Investment Committee of the EKO Green Carbon Fund. Prior to EKO, Jason was a founding Director and investment analyst at Generation Investment Management, co-founded by David Blood and former Vice President Al Gore, Jr. As its first employee, Jason helped build the firm and its first and second products, investing in global listed equities and climate change solutions respectively. From 1999 to 2004, Jason worked with Acumen Fund, Flatiron Future Fund/Foundation and New Philanthropy Capital. From 1996-1999, Jason was President of a NYC-based software company. Previously, Jason helped found and build Public Allies, a youth and community development organization. In 1998, the Rockefeller Foundation selected Jason as a fellow in its Next Generation Leadership Program. He co-founded Cleantech for Obama and served on several transition advisory boards for the Obama Administration and is currently on the boards of Oil Change International, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and Public Allies. Jason also co-founded and jointly leads a network of family offices investing in Cleantech, Renewables and other Environmental Opportunities (called the CREO Syndicate). Jason graduated from Duke University cum laude and has an M.B.A. with honors jointly from Columbia and London Business Schools.
Elisa Speranza is a Senior Advisor at Encourage Capital.
Adam Wolfensohn is a Co-Managing Partner at Encourage Capital. Before the merger, Adam was Managing Director at Wolfensohn Fund Management and also managed the Wolfensohn family office cleantech and environmental markets strategies. From 2003 to 2006, he produced the climate change documentary, “Everything’s Cool,” that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. From 2002 to 2003, he worked with Conservation International to help various rock groups and music festivals offset their carbon emissions through avoided deforestation projects. Prior to 2002, Adam composed music for numerous films, television commercials and theater productions, and he was founder and CEO of “Red Ramona,” an award winning music and sound design studio in New York City. He is a Trustee of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Yad Hanadiv, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Harmony Institute and Bang on a Can. He is a member of the investment committee of Rockefeller Brothers Fund and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Adam earned a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.E.M. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.