our firm

Azurest Partners is an advisory services firm focused on providing insightful and innovative strategic and financial expertise in those economic sectors that promote high impact business opportunities.

our focus

As the volume and diversity of information, trade and investments flow continues to rapidly increase between Africa, North America, Europe and Asia we are positioned to help key participants in these commercial and political exchanges develop insightful views on the respective markets, stronger partnerships, and more successful commercial ventures.

our services

We leverage our commercial and governmental relationships in the United States and other key countries to create opportunities for African businesses and governments seeking commercial partners, markets for their goods and services and strategic investors.Our efforts focus on building bridges – commercial, political and financial – between these economic regions which will strengthen these communities, enrich these citizens and create brighter futures.

our team

The Azurest Partners team brings over two hundred years of collective experience in Tier 1 investment banking, strategic advisory services and project finance.

Kenneth Allen

Founder & Managing Director

Kenneth is the founder of Azurest Partners. He has over 20 years of experience in investment banking, business strategy and project management. His prior experience includes senior roles at Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase’s Investment Bank.

At Lehman Brothers, Kenneth covered clients in the business services, telecom / information services, financial technology and the Internet/technology sectors. Kenneth has been involved in equity and debt capital raising transactions as well as M&A assignments on behalf of his clients. He has transactional experience in Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.

He also served in the Corporate Strategy group at Lehman Brothers and has served as a CAO in Lehman's Mortgage Capital division. At JP Morgan Chase, he was a Global Business Manager, overseeing planning and administration, compliance, management reporting and special projects for those various groups in the Investment Bank.

Kenneth earned a degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He also has an MBA and a Masters in Education from Stanford University.

Wil Inscho

Senior Director

Wil Inscho, a finance professional with more than 25 years of institutional capital markets experience has spent the last 10 years working with early stage and middle markets companies, both private and public. During that time he has facilitated debt and equity financings for issuer clients in tech, media, telecom, biotech, med tech, energy, clean tech/alternative energy, natural resources, industrial, automotive, retail and other industries. Wil also works to facilitate various forms of asset based lending.

Wil worked for a number years at top tier investment banks/ broker dealers providing research sales and trading for several prominent institutional accounts in the U.S. During the early to mid- 90’s he worked directly for institutions that would later become clients. Institutional trading was his main focus while working for two of the largest State Pension Funds in the U. S., Ohio P.E.RS. and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

Wil earned a BS in Finance from the University of Dayton.

Joyce Ollunga

Director

Joyce is an experienced investment banking and private equity professional. She has lived and worked in New York, London, Chicago and throughout Kenya.

She is a keen investor and business strategist. Joyce previously served as the founding CEO & Managing Director of KCDF Investment Holding Company (a private equity investment company that was a partnership between the KCDF Foundation (Kenya) and Kagiso Trust (South Africa). She was also the founding CEO & Managing Director of Wentworth International Partners, a private equity investment company focusing on early stage SMEs across Sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently she was the Chief Healthcare Investment Strategist of the Lake Region Economic Bloc of Kenya.

She worked in the Structured Finance group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Her expertise includes portfolio management for deals ranging in value from US$ 800 million to US$ 1 billion, deal execution in diverse sectors across Africa and developed markets. Notably, she was a core team member for the fundraising effort for a US$ 125 million Eastern African regional fund based in Kenya.

Joyce has a Master of Finance from the University of Cambridge, UK. Her Interests include investing / capital markets, current world affairs and golf. She is also a passionate community development volunteer.

Arthur Ruffin

Director

Arthur has over 15 years of equity capital markets, investment banking, and finance experience. His prior experience includes roles at Merrill Lynch, Citadel Securities, and The Donjon Group. At Merrill Lynch, he focused on the origination and execution of equity and equity-linked offerings in the U.S. and Latin American Markets. He was also involved in the development of the equity capital markets and investment banking platform at Citadel Securities, where he focused on equity-linked transactions for corporate clients across the U.S.

Arthur was also a Founder and Principal at The Donjon Group. The Donjon Group was a unique equity capital markets raising platform focused on using innovative technology to assist corporations, sponsors, partners and owners sell equity through “at-the-market” offerings. He made use of technology to improve on traditional methods, lowering cost, minimizing dilution and taking advantage of efficient markets.

Arthur received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Ernie Green

Senior Advisor

Ernie has a long career in finance, having served in senior roles in public finance on Wall Street as well as serving on a number of industry associations. His prior experience was as a Managing Director in Public Finance at Lehman Brothers, where Ernie served as the lead banker for a number of critical client relationships including covering states, major cities and other governmental agencies in the United States. He was responsible for the structuring and execution of transactions in the bond and real estate markets for both the federal and local governments in the United States. Prior to Wall Street, Ernie held a number of roles in the U.S. Federal Government, including serving as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, Chairman of the African Development Foundation and Chairman of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board.

Ernie earned a BA and an MA from Michigan State University.

Simon Jackson

Technical Advisor

Simon is a loan specialist and banker with 30 years of experience. He has special expertise and experience in establishing, marketing, managing and executing syndicated loan business throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Simon established a Syndication & Co-financing unit for the African Development Bank. He also advised the senior regional managers at SMBC on market strategy and successfully led a team of sixteen for five years.

Simon’s prior work experience also includes serving at leading financial services institutions including the EBRD, Credit Suisse, The Chase Manhattan Bank, Morgan Grenfell & Co. Ltd and Grindlay Brandts Ltd.

Simon earned a BA and MA in Engineering Sciences from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.