Wilmot Allen

Dr. Allen has over 20 years of experience in financial services, management consulting and deal advisory and entrepreneurship ecosystem-building. Based in Kenya, he is an emerging market entrepreneur, investor and political economist. The VentureLift Africa (VLA) venture studio and advisory firm (VLA Capital Advisors) facilitates two-way investment, trade, tech transfer, market entry and expansion for SMEs, startups and corporates. VLA has an innovative approach to Diaspora economic engagement with Africa (www.vlaadvisors.com; www.allafricahealth.com; www.vlafrica.com; www.diasporawithafrica.com), that mobilizes capital beyond remittances, facilitates B2B and B2C eCommerce, supports management and board development, and curates two-way market entry for Diaspora and African-owned firms. Wilmot works both as a practitioner and researcher with experience across 40 countries in Africa and significant experience as an investment professional in the US and emerging markets.

Wilmot is a multi-sector entrepreneur as Managing Director for Africa with DGrid Energy for solar-powered cold storage, architect of the Africa Healthcare and Biotech Alliance to build joint venture enterprises, Co-Founder of the International Writer’s Lab to connect storytellers in film, television and animation with the Hollywood ecosystem. VLA is an implementation partner with DAI and USAID for educating Africa and US firms on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provisions for product exports to the US.

In healthcare, he is a Venture Partner with a healthcare private equity fund, RH Managers in South Africa. Wilmot co-founded a genomics company and is a former management consultant to the Africa CDC and COVID-19 Taskforce Member. He previously worked with the clinical research division of Procter and Gamble and was a management consultant to the R&D group of Allergan Pharmaceuticals.

In the creative sector, he worked with the finance and strategy team at the ABC Television Network (Walt Disney Company) which managed the network’s primetime, daytime, late night, sports, and Touchstone Television properties, film finance with JPMorgan, and was Executive in Charge of Production of the award-winning Tavis Smiley Show and a Creative Executive for KCET/PBS in Hollywood.

In financial roles, Wilmot has worked as an emerging market private equity investor (IFC), technology and media venture capital investor for U.S. women and minority-owned businesses (CEF), and investment banker in technology M&A (JP Morgan) and Private Placements and IPOs (Merrill Lynch). At the IFC, he was also Senior Advisor to CEO Lars Thunell on entrepreneurship, in conjunction with the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment. In East Africa, he led the Transaction Team for the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub as Director for Cross Boundary LLC which established the firm’s most successful advisory practice. He has mobilized more than $7 billion in financial capital and invested or managed investment portfolios of over $3 billion as an investment professional across five continents.

Wilmot was selected as a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and served on a Global Agenda Council. He sits on several boards of African companies and has helped advance entrepreneurship ecosystems across the continent. Wilmot is a steward of the Council of Inclusive Capitalism and a Robert Toigo Fellow alumnus. He a visiting researcher with Africa Studies department of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a research associate with SovereigNet at Tufts University and a former fellow at the African Centre for the Study of the US of Wits University in South Africa and with the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. Wilmot is co-author of the 2022 Sovereign Wealth Fund Index by Konfidants and of the forthcoming book, Sovereign Wealth Funds and the New State Capitalism in Africa (Palgrave MacMillan). He has degrees from Georgetown (PhD), Wharton (MBA), Harvard (MPA) and Yale (BA).