Acumen seeks a committed Portfolio Manager to help build and manage an investment portfolio of game-changing enterprises that provide goods and services to the poor in East Africa.

About Acumen

Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $114 million in 109 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. In 2015, Acumen was named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies.

East Africa

Acumen’s commitment to East Africa began in 2004. Core to our success is the ability to identify, resource, and build a world class portfolio that demonstrates the power of patient capital to solve the problems of poverty in East Africa and the world more broadly. Equally important is to leverage our experience into insights that compel this ecosystem of funders, operators, and policy makers to catalyze a broader paradigm shift in the battle against poverty.  Over the years, Acumen East Africa has made investments across several sectors: healthcare, energy, water & sanitation, agricultural and education. Our key focus now is in Agriculture and renewable energy with potential to expand into other sectors. We support entrepreneurs and business which are revolutionizing their sectors and pioneering new development paradigms. The office is staffed with a full-time team of professionals from diverse backgrounds.

In addition to its local focus on investing in companies, leaders and ideas, Acumen East Africa serves as a hub of global Acumen activity; a location where we often bring together partners, investees, team members and Fellows for a variety of events.


As Portfolio Manager, you will play a key role in the success, development and impact of Acumen’s portfolio in East Africa. As part of your core function, you will grow our portfolio by identifying and developing a strong pipeline of investment opportunities and provide management support to existing portfolio companies by building relationships, identifying key challenges and mobilizing resources. In addition, you will play a critical role shaping Acumen’s portfolio strategy, management process, team and influence in East Africa. The Portfolio Manager reports to the East Africa Director/Associate Director for Portfolio.

More specifically, you will:

Identify, cultivate and execute a pipeline of fresh investment opportunities providing critical services to the poor

  • Identify pipeline: Build an exhaustive network of relationships (including corporate, entrepreneur, NGO, academic, investor, advisory) to identify new pipeline opportunities for Acumen.
  • Conduct Investment Processes: Develop attractive opportunities by building relationships with promoters; conducting evaluations and analyses; thorough due diligence; and structure and execute investments
  • Investment documentation: Prepare, present, and maintain detailed and compelling investment documentation for Acumen’s Investment Committee, and Board of Directors

Develop and implement a post-investment management strategy to add significant value to investee companies

  • Assess portfolio company needs related to post investment support; design and implement post-investment management interventions in partnership with Global Post Investment Manager
  • Serve in a senior relationship capacity for Acumen East Africa, developing close contact with portfolio company promoters, including representing Acumen on portfolio company Boards
  • Design and evaluate and report on key metrics to measure the social and financial returns on investments
  • Develop long-term relationships with external stakeholders including funders, advisors, thought leaders, sector and functional experts to provide business development and strategic post-investment management across the East Africa Portfolio

Team Leadership

  • Manage 1-2 junior team members; coach and support them in developing investing skills related to financial modeling, relationship management, deal negotiation and post investment support
  • Work in close partnership with the Associate Director of Portfolio and East Africa Director and across the global portfolio team to support sector-specific initiatives and share learning

Qualifications & Characteristics

  • Bachelor's Degree is required; MBA preferable
  • Strong financial, modeling and business analysis skills as demonstrated by prior experience is required
  • Ideal candidates will demonstrate accomplishment through some of the following experiences:
    • 7-10 years of principal investing experience, including financial and operational due diligence of private companies. Understanding of early stage businesses and entrepreneurs is a plus OR
    • 7-10 years of management consulting or operational experience with a proven track record of delivering operational and management support to companies or internal units 
    • Significant commitment or experience with the social enterprise sector in East Africa
    • Solid operational skills including problem solving and project management skills, including ability to work and deliver projects independently, proactively and under pressure
    • Superior team management skills; demonstrated success as a supervisor and coach to junior team members
    • Strong communication skills and ability to be a "storyteller" of our work
    • Familiarity with the social enterprise and impact investing sectors
    • A good understanding of our key sectors of focus.
    • Authorization to work in Kenya is required

Additional characteristics we’re looking for in all roles at Acumen:

  • Commitment to, and enthusiasm for, the organization’s mission and business model, and respect for our core values: generosity, accountability, humility, audacity, listening, leadership, integrity, respect
  • Moral Imagination: The humility to see the world as it is, and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be. It also includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Displaying high level of empathy in all relationships and encounters
  • Possessing deep self-awareness and ability to identify own strengths and weaknesses
  • Actively listening and focusing on hearing what others are saying
  • Good understanding of financial concepts and our investing model
  • Solid operational skills including problem solving and project management skills, including ability to work and deliver projects independently, proactively and under pressure
  • Effectively collaborates with and across teams, seeks and provides constructive feedback
  • Exceptional relationship and interpersonal skills: courtesy, tact, patience and strong team orientation
  • Strong communication skills and ability to be a “storyteller” of our work
  • Ability to thrive when there is ambiguity, remain cool-headed when there are curve balls, and withstand the tests of a rapidly changing environment with resilience and resolve
  • Curious – always questioning, always probing, and never blindly accepting
  • A sense of humor (really)


Acumen offers a competitive compensation package commensurate with experience, including full benefits.


Nairobi, Kenya

Authorization to work in Kenya is required.

Application Requirements

Please submit a resume and responses to the following questions here:

  • Why are you on fire to work for Acumen? Be specific. (MAX: 200 words)
  • What are your top 2 skills relevant to this position, and how have they made you successful in the past? (MAX: 150 words)


The deadline for application is 10th February, 2019. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis,

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1. Why are you on fire to work for Acumen? Be specific. (MAX: 200 words)*
2. What are your top two skills relevant to this position, and how have they made you successful in the past? (Max 250 words)*
3. In which of the 7 countries that Acumen operates do you have authorization to work on a permanent basis?*