Board & Advisory Members

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Alex Schneider - Founder

Alex Schneider is a brand builder with 10 years of FMCG experience in the UK and across Africa at blue chip consumer goods companies including Nestle, AB-Inbev and Pernod Ricard. 


She started her career on the Nestle brand management scheme working on Rowntree's and Kit Kit. Since then she has managed market leading brands such as Stella Artois, Budweiser , Maggi and Jameson.  


In her final role before she set up Savannah Brands she was Head of marketing for Pernod Ricard West Africa where she helped to deliver triple digit growth on Jameson in 3 markets.


When she arrived in Kenya two and a half years ago, she felt there was a gap in quality local beverage products in the alcohol space. She launched Kenyan Originals to address this gap.

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Darshan Chandaria - Director

  Darshan Chandaria is the Group CEO and a Director of Chandaria Group. Darshan is a fellow of the 2017 Senior Executive Program from Harvard Business School and in 2018 was the youngest ever East African recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from United Graduate College & Seminary International, USA. He sits on several influential boards, including Endeavor Kenya, Barclays Life Assurance Kenya, and WWF Kenya. 

Over the past ten years, Darshan has built Chandaria Group into one of the largest and most diversified business groups in Africa. Today the group’s operations include Tissue, Paper & Hygiene Products Manufacturing, Real Estate, Venture Capital, Insurance, Banking, Automobile Manufacturing, Mining, Flexible Packaging, and Solar Energy Generation. He is widely considered as one of the top upcoming business leaders in Africa.  

As an investor, Darshan has backed many successful African and international ventures. In 2017 he founded Chandaria Capital, the professional early-stage investment arm of the Chandaria Group. Chandaria Capital’s ever-expanding portfolio of pioneering and rapidly scaling companies span several sectors and include Sokowatch, Kobo360, Koko Networks, and Safi Analytics. Additionally, since 2016, he has guided young entrepreneurs on KCB’s Lions Den, providing investment, strategic guidance and mentorship.

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Sundeep Bahanda - Director

Sundeep Bahanda has over 25 years of investment and consulting experience. 

 

Sundeep co-founded Amaya Capital, a principal investment firm focused on Africa. He is an adviser to Azura Power, a Pan Africa power generation business, which was founded by Amaya in 2010.


Before Amaya, Sundeep was a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank in the Equities Division where he was the Head of the No.1 ranked European Retail Research Team and the No. 1 ranked European Retail Equity Analyst for a number of years. Later, Sundeep became responsible for the bank's European Sales coverage for the Retail/Consumer sector.

Prior to Deutsche Bank, Sundeep was a Strategy Consultant with Andersen Consulting and a Business Analyst with Zeneca PLC. Sundeep is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Scotland having qualified as a CA with Price Waterhouse.  He is also a member of the Mayfair Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization.

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Sam Chappatte - Director


Sam Chappatte is Jumia's CEO in Kenya. He has led the business to 4x growth over the last 4 years and is steering the business to profitability. 


Prior to this, he led the expansion of Jumia in 6 African markets (Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Algeria, Tanzania & Uganda).

Sam started his career at the Boston Consulting Group. He was a core member of the Africa Practice & focused on Retail & Digital. Through this, we worked with the leadership teams of large consumer goods companies and retailers

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Jeff Parrish - Director

 

Jeff Parrish grew up in Eugene, Oregon, USA and earned a Bachelors of Science in Laser-Optical Engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology, 1991.


He started Portland Cider Company with Lynda Parrish in 2012 with the intent of marrying English cider traditions with the innovative Northwest micro-brewing culture.  Lynda hails from Somerset county of England, the traditional cider making region, and Jeff is a native Oregonian.


In 8 years he and Lynda have grown the company from those first small batches to approximately 10,000L of cider annually on revenues of +$4MM USD.

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Paul Smith - Non Executive Director

Paul is currently the CEO of Java House Africa, based in Kenya. He is accountable for the growth of both the business and people across 3 countries; Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The business has 80 stores across 4 F&B brands and 1 Food Production facility called Foodscape; the company employ’s 2500 people.  


Prior to this Paul was consulting in Food & Beverage and Retail industries. He has successfully lead the establishment of business in 21 countries across MENA, India, Russia, China, S.E. Asia and Africa.  His commercial experience includes listed companies, Joint Ventures, Locally Owned and Private businesses, in positions as CEO, Managing Director and Director. 


In Paul’s previous career he served as Franchise Director Casual Dining Group, based in Dubai; CEO at Liwa Minor F&B, based in Abu Dhabi; VP, Hospitality Division, RMA Group, based in Bangkok Thailand. Before this in a 9-year career with Costa Coffee, (Whitbread Plc), he was M.D. Costa Asia, based in China; J.V. Director, based in Russia and China and Director MENA & India based in the Gulf. His earlier career was 19 years with Marks & Spencer PLC. 


He has a MSc in Change Management, a BSc (Hons) in Food Marketing, and Diplomas in Marketing, Change management and Executive Coaching. He has also attended the Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives at I.M.D. Lausanne, Switzerland.


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Jean-Jacques Velkeniers - Key Advisor

Jean-Jacques holds a Master in Law from the Catholic University of Leuven & a Master in Marketing Management from the Vlerick Business school in Ghent. He started his career as a Marketing intern at Philips, but he soon fell in love with the beautiful world of beer. Building his professional career at AB-Inbev where he held several commercial roles both on a national and international level over the last 20 years.


After returning from the UK as Marketing Director, he became Vice President Marketing for Europe where he centralised media buying and planning on a European level.


In his last role he was Business Unit President for Western Europe where he developed among other things the Non alcoholic and low alcohol beer category with brands like Jupiler 00 & Leffe 00 in the BeNeLux & Franziskaner NA in Germany.


He received in 2019 the title of ‘Master Marketeer’ from the B.A.M. (Belgian Association of Marketing).