Stellenbosch University appoints former US banker to head LaunchLab incubator


Stellenbosch University today announced that it is has appointed former US banker Joshua Romisher to head its business incubator LaunchLab.

In a statement today from Stellenbosch University, Romisher, (pictured above) who is from the US, said planned to open LaunchLab to companies across Africa this year. Currently only SA based startups can access incubation.

Romisher brings with him a decade of experience primarily in debt capital markets at Credit Suisse Securities in New York and San Francisco. He also helped build Braver Stearn, an innovative startup trading platform, during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

His banking career led him to San Francisco where he helped grow a profitable unit of the bank. Trips to Silicon Valley peaked his interest in utilising capitalism to solve critical global issues.

New CEO Joshua Romisher has a decade of experience primarily in debt capital markets at Credit Suisse Securities in the US

Romisher left the bank in 2012 to complete a Master of Science degree in Management at Stanford University where he acquired the skills needed to build businesses that have the potential to positively impact millions of people.

He focused on clean energy as he believes environmental impact is the critical challenge of our time. It is also a problem that can be solved by an innovative, private sector.

Romisher has spent the last six years launching businesses across 10 Sub-Saharan African countries. During this time, he raised more than $250-million from numerous investor’s groups to fund startups.

According to his LinkedIn profile he served as chief financial officer (CFO) at US-founded company Fenix International in Kampala, Uganda, between November 2017 and July last year.

The company — which was founded in 2009 and has over 500 staff members, according to the firm’s LinkedIn page — currently provided distributed solar energy to over 500 000 customers rural, low income customers across six countries. They were mostly farmers.

For Romisher social and business are one and the same thing. “Good business needs to be social and social companies need to be a business. And it should be for-profit – to be sustainable,” he commented in the statement.

For him, the role of LaunchLab is to set the stage for entrepreneurs to bring their ideas where they can be moulded into a sustainable, life-changing business.

He believes that LaunchLab is the platform which has to provide the vital services and important connections (local and international) needed to create the startups of tomorrow.

“These companies will solve critical social issues, drive employment and launch the next generation of African leaders,” Romisher said in the statement.

Bu why Stellenbosch? Said Romisher: “That is a place that attracts the best and brightest in the world that want to innovate by day, surf in the afternoon then collaborate in the evening amidst a beautiful setting.”

Featured image: LaunchLab CEO Joshua Romisher (Supplied)



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