Our Team

The people behind Verdant Ventures.

Scott Friesen

Managing Director

Scott is a successful entrepreneur who helped build and sell three companies in the US. In 2013, he founded Verdant Frontiers to build large-scale businesses that generate life-changing jobs and compelling investor returns. One decade in, Verdant has made a $200M portfolio and created 2,500+ jobs. He co-founded Verdant Ventures in 2016.

Russ Murphy


Russ has 15+ years of experience in real estate development. He has built more than 4,000 units valued at over $2B. He is the co-founder of Aspen Heights, a multifaceted real estate development company with annual revenues above $500M.

Axel Decavele

Head of Developments

Axel has 13+ years of experience in planning and delivering complex projects in 15+ countries. He previously worked as Director of Development at BuildX Studio and as Director of Strategic Consulting for JLL Africa, providing advisory services for real estate projects across all asset classes. Prior to his work in Kenya, Axel was Project Director at Nexity, France’s leading real estate company.

Antti-Jussi Ahveninen

Advisor - African Investment

Antti has 20+ years of emerging market real estate fund management experience, with the last ten years solely focusing on Africa. He has led two African real estate development funds, headed the real estate funds operation of the investment banking arm of the most prominent Saudi bank, Al Rajhi, in Riyadh and worked as a fund manager in London for Pramerica (now PGIM RE) that is one of world’s largest real estate fund managers by AuM.

Baptiste Pouchot

Investment Manager

Baptiste has 8+ years of working experience in hospitality and real estate development in Africa. Prior to joining Verdant Ventures, Baptiste worked for one of the largest hospitality consulting companies in Africa, completing more than 30 projects spread over 19 African countries.

Robert Karuiyi

Investment Analyst

Robert has extensive experience in Real Estate analysis and modeling, market research, public markets analysis, and portfolio management. Prior to joining Verdant Ventures, he worked in both the Public Markets and Private markets at Cytonn Investments and InVhestia Africa.

Tim Redman


Tim has 30+ years of experience in Africa and the Middle East. As CEO of Omran, the Real Estate Management & Development Company of the Sultanate of Oman, he successfully managed the setup and delivery of company and project structures with values of over $5B.

Sherri Holland

Group Financial Controller

Sherri has 25+ years of experience in the Controller role. Her background includes founding, scaling profitably and selling businesses in the technology and media industries. She is a talented financial and operations leader who can successfully manage all aspects of a highly profitable business.

Jean Michel Lan

Project Accountant

Jean Michel has 10+ years of experience in finance-related fields. Prior to joining Verdant Ventures, he worked at KPMG, Medine Limited, Aspen Global Incorporated and Mont Choisy Group.

Thomas McCallum

Chief Investment Officer

Thomas has 30+ years of real estate experience. He is the founder of Richard Ellis Inc and Deloitte Real Estate Advisory Services in Canada. He has spearheaded many of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most significant real estate debt and equity transactions on behalf of IFC.

Lawrence Kiarie

Development Manager

Lawrence has 9 years of experience in Real Estate Development and Investment Management. Previously, he worked in Centum Investment Company, sourcing, developing and closing transactions in real estate, renewable energy and infrastructure across East Africa.

Ricardo Cardiga

Business Development Manager

Ricardo has 40+ years of experience in Africa. As a TCN/GSO for US State Department AF Bureau, he served at the US Embassies in Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Angola. From 2002 to 2005, he was seconded to OBO on the New Embassy Chancery project in Luanda. He also worked as Local Content Manager for the Angola LNG Project and on the Mozambique LNG FEED for Bechtel Corporation.