Zachariah (Zach) George is the founder & CEO of Cactus Advisors - a specialist corporate finance, investment and business advisory firm based in Cape Town, South Africa. In June 2015, Zach was appointed as one of two managing directors for the first ever corporate tech accelerator program in Africa – the Barclays Tech Lab Africa program designed to discover, nurture and empower the next generation of technology innovators on the African continent.
He concurrently serves as the African Chief Operating Officer for U-Start - a Swiss based global investment advisory firm specializing in direct and indirect venture capital investments in the tech and digital sector for private investors (prominent family offices and high net-worth Individuals) as well as venture capital funds, corporate ventures and wealth management institutions.
Zach was formerly an Asst Vice President at two of the largest bulge bracket Wall Street firms in New York - Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital - where he worked as an investment banker covering Mergers and Acquisitions, IPOs, Risk Management and Strategic Corporate Finance. In May 2010, he voluntarily left the global financial sector and moved to Africa where he spent a year consulting to micro-finance organizations and impact-driven venture capital enterprises, including a 6-month stint as a Professor of Finance for an Ashoka award winning Social Entrepreneurship MBA program in Nairobi. Since August 2011, Zach has been based in Cape Town where he is a specialist business consultant and financial advisor to senior management teams at corporations, banks, financial institutions, impact investment funds and enterprise development institutions. In 2014, Zach was recognized as a Certified Business Adviser at the Institute of Business Advisers for Business Advising Excellence.
Prior to his Wall Street career, at the age of 22, Zach got his Master’s degree in Management Science from Stanford University, California specializing in Corporate Finance. During the course of his degree, he was invited by the United Nations Secretariat to work on U.N. projects for the Department of Management and Procurement in New York. Zach is a Mechanical Engineer from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology.
He has lived and worked in the Middle East, California, New York, India, South Africa and Kenya. Outside of his professional life, Zach is a long-time singer and acoustic guitarist, loves adventure and the outdoors, and is passionate about art, theater and volunteering. Zach, his wife and three children live in the coastal town of Kommetjie in the southern peninsula of Cape Town.