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Managing Director, Impact Debt Fund



London, UK
Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2023

Acumen is looking for a Managing Director with 15+ years of experience to lead an Impact Debt Fund. This role will lead the new team in sourcing, evaluating, underwriting, and managing private credit investments for off-grid solar enterprises to expand into the "Hardest to Reach" markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. This role is based in London.

About Acumen
At Acumen, we’re working to solve problems of poverty and build a world based on dignity. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services help people living in poverty to transform their lives. To date, Acumen has positively impacted over 500 million lives by investing $154M in 167 innovative, early-stage companies in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. But investment isn’t just about capital, we’ve been investing in relationships for years, connecting with emerging leaders in their own countries and engaging them in extended collective dialogue, moral inquiry, and skill building.

About the challenge
Of the approximately 789 million people in the world who currently live without electricity, many will gain access through grid extension and off-grid solar by 2030. But estimates suggest that roughly 215 million people will be left behind because they live in risky or remote areas where investors are unable or unwilling to go. In the last decade, there has been a steady increase in financing available for clean, renewable energy, but that money is largely directed towards wealthier nations. Even when investment dollars are directed to low-income regions, they are not always directed where the need is greatest.

About Hardest to Reach (“H2R”).
H2R’s is working to bring clean energy to some of the “hardest to reach” countries in Africa. We will bolster markets and provide capital to off-grid companies enabling clean energy access via two vehicles: the Market Support Facility (a philanthropic vehicle piloting H2R strategies) and the Market Expansion Facility (an Impact Debt Fund).

About the role
Acumen is seeking a Managing Director to lead the Impact Debt Fund of H2R. This role will be directly involved in sourcing, evaluating, underwriting and managing private credit investments for off-grid solar enterprises to expand and grow in identified H2R countries. This role will report to the Head of Strategic Initiatives in London.


  • Lead the team: help the team understand the investment strategy, develop pipeline, source and evaluate new transactions, pre-screen transactions according to underwriting, eligibility and ESG criteria, conduct due diligence, support the risk officer in preparing credit approval memos, present transactions to the investment committee to obtain credit approval, negotiate and review legal documentation, and participate in deal closing.
  • Manage portfolio performance: It’s about understanding the core issues and where to intervene. And it’s also about covenant compliance, periodic/annual reviews, examining amendments and waiver requests, providing performance updates to managers, identifying and acting on warning signals, participating in portfolio reviews, cooperating in the validation of impact data collection and analysis and incentives to borrowers for extending first time clean energy access
  • Support fundraising and reporting with investors, including development finance institutions and nationally-designated authorities in the countries where we fund borrowers. Manage the LPAC meetings and relations. Partner with H2R program lead to progress broader H2R objectives.
  • Prior to the Impact Debt Fund’s first close, support the development, negotiation and closing of Market Support Facility pilot projects to develop and strengthen markets and develop pipeline to the Impact Debt Fund, which may include technical assistance capacity building grants, equity and debt instruments
  • Oversee vendors, including auditor, administrator, and ESG support organizations, and manage budgets within the constraints of the management fee
  • Manage team performance: Develop portfolio associates and analysts. Foster cooperation and teamwork. Drive continuous learning and performance improvement.

Skills and qualifications

  • 15 years + transactional experience, at least 10 leading deals, in venture debt or private credit funds in emerging markets
  • Demonstrated track record of managing portfolios of USD $100M or larger
  • Experience in conducting commercial and operational due diligence
  • Background in financing SMEs in an advisory or principal role; operational understanding of what it takes to build and run early-stage businesses across finance, marketing, sales, distribution, customer service, talent, governance.
  • Experience with a registered investment advisor.
  • Knowledge of (unlisted) fund structures for alternative investments (e.g. private debt, infrastructure, real estate)
  • Have good networks across financial intermediaries, impact investors, and other stakeholders in Africa
  • A commitment to serving people living in poverty.
  • A willingness to roll up your sleeves with your team and get to work. There are people that need clean energy, after all.
  • Partnership skills: Acumen’s larger investing team is a distributed network, driven by region-specific strategies. While dedicated to the H2R initiative, this role must stay connected to and coordinate with other senior leaders.
  • Ability to develop and lead your team and strike the right balance between challenge and support. The right balance between developing them as a decision maker, and understanding the core technical aspects of the role.
  • Commitment to good governance and ethical business practices. Acumen has a zero-tolerance policy on corrupt business practices. We expect careful diligence and engaged governance.
  • Self reflective and aligned with Acumen values.
  • Authorized to work in the UK. Available to work in London.
  • Ability to travel to Africa as needed.

Candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible as applications will be screened and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis.