Barbara Iyayi is an experienced investor and entrepreneur with over 16 years’ experience, spanning venture capital, private equity, investment banking and technology. She is the CEO & Founding Partner of Unicorn Growth Capital, a newly launched strategic FinTech VC firm to invest in category leaders transforming the financial services infrastructure of the digital economy.
Barbara has founded, invested in, scaled and advised FinTech-enabled and financial services companies globally. She invested in and served as board chair of AppZone, a leading FinTech infrastructure platform in Africa. She held advisory and investment committee roles at venture capital, impact and angel funds. Barbara also served as the Chief Growth Officer and Managing Director for Africa of Element, Inc, an AI-powered digital identity platform operating in the US, Africa and Southeast Asia that was co-founded by Yann LeCun, Chief AI Scientist at Facebook and Turing Award Laureate.
Notably, Barbara was part of the founding team of Atlas Mara, an LSE-listed financial services investment platform co-founded by Bob Diamond, ex-CEO of Barclays Bank, which was the first SPAC for Africa and raised over $1bn to invest in, operate and manage financial institutions. Barbara led acquisitions and investments in leading banks in 7 countries in Africa and pioneered the platform’s FinTech strategy. Prior to Atlas Mara, Barbara worked on global transactions of over $15bn at various financial institutions, including as Vice President, Investment Banking at JPMorgan, New York, where amongst other transactions, she led IPOs for Delphi Automotive and Nord Anglia Education. Prior to that, she worked at UBS Investment Bank and JPMorgan Private Bank in New York.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Columbia University, and an MBA at Harvard Business School.