Valerie D'Costa is infoDev's Program Manager. She has led infoDev’s evolution from its original founding focus on information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) to current its role as a “learning lab” and convener for donors, client countries, and public and private sector actors around the innovation, technology and entrepreneurship agendas. The vision Ms D’Costa promotes for infoDev’s role today is to derive and test new approaches to support the growth of innovative, technology enabled new ventures; provide cutting-edge knowledge, networks and tools to developing countries to navigate these dynamic market and technology evolutions; collate lessons from success and ‘failure’ in the field; and promote the adoption and scaling of interesting and innovative new approaches that work by the World Bank, donors and other development partners.
Ms D’Costa believes strongly in the promise and potential of innovative new ventures to create transformative, profitable and locally relevant solutions in their markets. She advocates infoDev’s grassroots approach to support these actors via start-up support facilities that give them access to mentoring, equipment, technical assistance, potential partners, and early-stage financing. She believes that by staying true to this ‘bottom-up’ approach, infoDev makes a unique difference and a significant contribution to the World Bank’s goals of alleviating poverty, growing jobs and livelihoods, supporting the growth of a strong private sector, and enhancing inclusive, sustainable development.
Before joining infoDev, Ms. D’Costa served as the Director of the International Division at the Info-Communication Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), where she formulated the Singapore Government's policies on international ICT issues and oversaw Singapore’s bilateral relations with other countries on these issues. She received a Public Administration Medal from the Singapore Government for her work in building Singapore’s international ICT trade and diplomatic ties. Ms. D’Costa had a distinguished career in private legal practice before joining her country’s nation-building efforts in government service at IDA.
Ms. D’Costa holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Laws degree from University College, University of London.
Laura joined infoDev’s Access to Finance team in February 2013. She is currently researching ways to cultivate angel investor networks with the aim of unlocking financing opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs. Laura has also supported infoDev’s training program on entrepreneurial ecosystem development which engages a cross section of stakeholders--including policy makers, academics, incubator managers and entrepreneurs-- for the development of practical local, regional and national policies that stimulate innovation.
In previous consulting work, she applied her knowledge of entrepreneurial ecosystems to assess support networks for start-ups in Medellin, Colombia, and to identify opportunities for bolstering the success rates of young companies. Prior to joining infoDev, she led the implementation of democracy and good governance programs across Africa and Latin America at a non-profit organization, the International Republican Institute. Laura holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a BA in Spanish and Latin American studies from the University of Virginia.
Research Analyst - A2F
Sam Raymond is a Consultant with infoDev’s Access to Finance Program. His work with the World Bank Group centers on the development of projects that address the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in acquiring financing to scale businesses and create jobs. These projects include market-access programs, angel investor promotion initiatives, online technology portals to promote diaspora investment, investment models for business accelerators, and, most recently, analytical work on crowdfunding. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Sam worked as Research and Staff Assistant to Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Sam is an avid cyclist, percussionist and tennis player.
Oltac leads infoDev's global Access to Markets and Finance programs that bridge the gap between technology entrepreneurs and funding sources, customers and partners globally by developing innovative financing facilities (eg. angel co-investment facility) and also strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem (eg. creative technical assistance to infoDev incubator and accelerators). Oltac has been angel investor in the US and globally, a semiconductor and software entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and was the founding advisor to the first intellectual property commercialization incubator/fund in Turkey. He also held a variety of management positions with Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse before joining the World Bank. Oltac holds an MBA from Stanford University, BA in Economics, Politics and Philosophy from Whitman College, and pursued Intellectual Property LLM at UW Law School.