Josh Romisher, CFA
Reformed investment banker with extensive startup experience across USA, Europe & Africa. Responsible for over $250+M USD of funds raised for African climate tech startups.
Dedicated to leaving a healthy earth for his two beautiful children.
Closed over $400M of total revenue at Credit Suisse from 2002 - 2013, earning a Director title before the age of 30 and being the youngest member of the bank’s hiring committee.
Founder and Partner of a NYC based startup that closed over $50M of revenue with 80+% EBITDA margins in less than 12-months during the financial crisis.
Served as a C-team member of Africa’s fastest growing PAYG solar startup serving over 800,000 customers across 6 markets while hiring a person a day for two-years.
Secured $200+M of investment for African PAYG solar companies across 15+ transactions including debt, equity, grants, market expansion and acquisitions.
Lead Stellenbosch University LaunchLab to EBITDA profitability while doubling the size of the team and earning enough cash to make 8 investments off our own balance sheet.
What are you currently reading?
So many books! "Why We Sleep," "Eat & Run," "Humour, Seriously," "Encounters with the Archdruid." Generally, I'm reading 5-6 different types of books at any time.
Where have you lived or visited that most shifted your perspective?
India. Such an epic mix of sounds, colours, smells, experiences. There are thousands of years of humanity all bubbling together within a beautiful setting amongst wonderful, interesting people. It can also be a very difficult place to live with tough problems to solve. I love it more every time I visit.
What was your most
painful learning about
You must be absolutely obsessed with the
problem you want to solve. If not then you’ll never have the grit necessary to keep putting one foot in front of the other when times get tough. A deep mix of passion and perseverance is critical for success (and fun).
A global food industry innovation, health and sustainability expert, helping companies grow in scale and impact.
Passionate about unlocking true human potential through empathy, connection and purpose to build a more vibrant world.
Former VP of Sales for one of the world’s leading FoodTech companies, leading an eleven-person global team responsible for $34M in annual revenue.
Managed a $750M P&L for a top Fortune 50 retail company.
Created company-wide health, sustainability, and social impact programs for two multinational corporations, impacting operations across four continents and over 80,000 employees.
Built a social impact food incubation program which grew and scaled 30 diverse South African food businesses, contributing to local job creation and significant revenue growth.
Consulted for six prominent South African food, agriculture and retail brands, developing and operationalizing product development, sales, go-to-market and investment strategies.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2015.
What is your “happy place”?
Lake Tahoe, California. It made me fall in love with nature and seeded my obsession with the mountains. The smell of pine mixed with dry Sierra dirt is still my favourite scent in the world.
What one piece of advice
has most resonated with you throughout your career?
I’m going to give you two. The first was from the earliest manager of my career who told me to never present a problem without also providing a solution. The second is more of a life and career mantra: “go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Always taking a step towards what I believe in has resulted in amazing work, an inspiring community, and a wonderful family.
What is one thing you love that most other people may not?
Eating vegetables for breakfast- I crave them in the morning! In many cultures it’s totally normal but I’ve been the recipient of many curious looks when I down a huge bowl of salad or some butternut lentil soup as my first meal.
Duval van Zijl, CFA
Experienced startup advisor and early-stage climate investor. Previously a corporate finance advisor across M&A, fundraising and public listings.
Climate and nature enthusiast that spends his off days freediving and trail running in and around South Africa’s beautiful mountains and oceans.
Acted as a corporate finance advisor on $300m+ deals across M&A, stock exchange listings, and private market fundraising.
Invested in 10+ early-stage venture capital startups (equity and debt) with a cumulated transaction value exceeding $15m.
Advised, accelerated and coached over 30 African startups.
Qualified Chartered Accountant (CA(SA)) and Chartered
Financial Analyst (CFA).
Terra.do Climate Alumni (2022 Cohort).
What is the best book,
article, or podcast you’ve
come across recently?
Chris Sacca podcast on 20VC. It’s a great podcast about how to tackle climate change, ensure your kids don’t grow up as idiots, and swear at B-teamers (not that we do that at Holocene - note from HR).
What are you currently
nerding out on?
Fertilizers. Might not sound too interesting at first, but tracing the origins of modern fertilizers back to WW2 (Haber–Bosch Process), and understanding their impact on agriculture and climate change is quite the rabbit hole. Better yet is when you start
looking into alternatives - i.e. fertilizers from clean air (think lightning) …
What has been your most
epic outdoor adventure and what will be your next?
Too many to choose! Most recent: freediving at Cape Point with (small) sharks and seals. My next epic outdoor adventure is a 60km run (3000m elevation) in the Cederberg.
An aeronautical engineer passionate about building businesses. He enjoys solving really complicated problems like how to make wind turbine blades morph, how to deploy new code into a corporate environment, or what to cook for dinner.
He aims to build a better future for everyone and the planet - and he doesn’t mind failing a few times along the way.
Founded and exited an AI and data science startup
Lead a multidisciplinary team that built the world’s first fully morphing wind turbine blade
What was your most painful learning about entrepreneurship?
There have been a few! You can’t go far without a great, aligned team. Make sure you understand the problem before you try to solve it. Don’t forget to be a human along the way.
Dr. Christan Barnard
A film enthusiast that loves being in nature with his friends. He obtained his PhD in engineering- pioneering a novel research method in the application of AI to the analysis of film style – while pursuing his passion for storytelling.
He is currently finalising post-production on his first feature-length documentary.
Obtained a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Stellenbosch University
Made a film in Venice called "Links" which showed at multiple European film festivals
Where have you lived or visited that most shifted your perspective?
I spent some time in Italy that changed my perspective on what it means to be a traveler as opposed to a tourist. Quarantine regulations were still in place, necessitating that I spend ten days indoors in a foreign country. That slowing down, becoming deeply acquainted with the unfamiliar sights and sounds, and learning the language of the locals shaped the writer-director part of me in ways I am still discovering.