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Introducing two new members to the DFS Lab team

The DFS Lab team. From top left to right: Joseph Benson-Aruna, Head of Founder Support; Chernay Johnson, Director of Research; Jake Kendall, Partner; Gift Agboro, Head of Community; Stephen Deng, Partner; Alina Kaiser, Head of Communications

We’re so excited about this. Let’s just get straight to the point: we’ve brought on two new DFS Lab team members and we can’t wait to see where we go together.

As you’re maybe already aware, last year we launched Sufficient Capital, our angel investing community. We’re loving the opportunity to build a community of angels investing together with us, and as our community grows, so does the workload. In order to ensure we provide continuous value to our community, we’ve brought on Gift Agboro who will be managing Sufficient Capital as the Head of Community. Gift joins us from the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub where she was the Deputy Country Manager and previously as an investment analyst at LoftyInc Capital.

In addition to Gift, Chernay Johnson has also joined our growing team as Director of Research to lead our generation of insights around digital commerce globally. We’re thesis-based investors at DFS Lab and our research is foundational to our ability to make evidence-backed investment decisions while providing practical advisory to our founders and advisory clients. Chernay brings world-class research experience having previously led projects for global clients like The Mastercard Foundation, The Gates Foundation, CGAP, and others.

We couldn’t be more excited that they have joined and strengthened our team and our perspective. With Gift based in Nigeria and Chernay based in South Africa, we feel confident that the support we provide our companies and community will be even stronger.

Meet the new members

Gift Agboro, Head of Community

Based in Nigeria, Gift is a lawyer and a multidimensional professional with over four years of professional experience working across diverse industries ranging from Law, Consulting, Technology, and NonProfit.

She has served in various capacities in organizations such as Ventures Platform, LoftyInc Capital Management and recently joined us from the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub where as the Deputy Country Director she designed and managed high-impact capacity building programs for startup founders, angel investors and digital talents alike. During her time there, she also facilitated cross-border partnerships between the UK and the Nigeria tech ecosystem.

She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, but has since explored her range of interests across industries designing development programmes and interventions, providing enterprise development support, building systems and processes and advocating for policies that creates an enabling environment for tech entrepreneurs.

As a life-long learner, Gift enjoys reading, traveling and visiting art galleries. She is a 2019 Google Policy Fellow and a 2019/ 2020 Open Internet Leader.

Gift shared why she’s excited to be joining our team and what she’s hoping to accomplish with us.

“Besides getting to work with a great and inspiring team, I’m most excited about expanding our work by connecting and building a vibrant community of investors seeking to invest in African startup founders in the digital commerce sector. By virtue of my role, I hope to enable the growth of the African Tech Space by supporting and connecting African early-stage founders with resources that will enable them to scale solutions that address some of the most arduous problems across Africa.”

You can find Gift on Twitter here.

Chernay Johnson, Director of Research

Based in South Africa, Chernay specializes in research on ecommerce and fintech for development drawing on close to a decade of experience as an economist and consultant; she has led and contributed to projects across Africa for clients such as the Mastercard Foundation, the Gates Foundation, FinMark Trust, CGAP and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Previously, she worked as an economist at the South African Reserve Bank and Credit Suisse Securities.

Chernay has also served as a Governance Committee Member to the Bureau for Economic Research since 2017, providing strategic advice to the institution. She was awarded a Master of Economic Science degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, and holds a Bachelor of Business degree (specializing in Economics and Business Strategy) from the University of Cape Town.

When Chernay is not in the online office or connecting with the tech ecosystem, you’ll find her meditating in the mountains, star-gazing or taking long walks on the beach with her dogs. In 2016, the Financial Mail ranked her amongst the top three young analysts in South Africa for her contribution to research on sub-Saharan Africa. Paying it forward, she mentors rising African talent and is particularly passionate about campaigning for #womenintech.

She shared why she’s excited to be joining our team and what she’s hoping to accomplish with us.

“Working alongside the dynamic and seasoned team at DFS Lab, I’m re-energized to build the future of digital commerce in Africa. Digitalization is reshaping the real economy and frontier business models are providing scalable solutions to long-standing challenges in emerging markets. As ecosystem builders and deep thinkers, we believe that evidence-based insights are so critical to informing not only our investment thesis but also in supporting our founders and clients in navigating complexity successfully.”

Connect with Chernay on LinkedIn here.



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Alina Kaiser

Alina Kaiser

Communications consultant for @TheDFSLab, @FiDAPartnership, and @cariboudigital. Master of Communication from University of Washington.