Verdant Ventures is an emerging markets real estate development and management company with a special emphasis on Diplomatic and Consular real estate projects.

Collectively, the Verdant Ventures team has $5 billion in real estate development experience, and significant construction experience in Sub Saharan Africa.

Our Team

Russ Murphy
Co-founder & CEO
10+ years experience in real estate development; built 4,000+ units valued at over $1 billion; co-founder of Aspen Heights, a multifaceted real estate development company with annual revenues above $500m.

Levi Benkert
Co-founder & President
6+ years of on-the-ground Ethiopia operations experience; 10+ years of real estate development and construction experience; founder and CEO of three residential real estate development and construction firms.

Scott Friesen
Co-founder & CFO
A serial entrepreneur with 18+ years experience founding-growing and successfully exiting 4 technology businesses in the US and 5 in Ethiopia serving in roles as CEO, COO, CFO & Head of Sales.

David de Villiers
Managing Director
David is a seasoned construction delivery professional with over 25 years of experience having worked in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for contractors, designers, project managers and as a developer. He is passionate about building strong high performance multicultural teams and has a keen eye for detail.

Sarah Jackson
Financial Controller
Chartered Management Accountant who has been based in Ethiopia since 2009, she holds Master’s degrees in Development Management and International Studies, she has built up a strong understanding of the political and social context in Ethiopia and is experienced in raising debt, equity and grant financing.

Tom McCallum

30+ years of real estate experience; spearheaded many of Sub-Saharan Africa's largest real estate debt and equity transactions on behalf of the IFC.

Verdant Ventures is a part of