MESH PILLAY – CEO YW CAPITAL
After succeeding at Ivy League institutions in the US and UK, Mesh returned to South Africa to help build our fledgling democracy. Mesh boasts 16 years experience in Investment Banking and Advisory where he led and executed some of the leading Equity Capital Market transactions across the African continent and Europe, including the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey and Poland. Mesh holds a Masters in Law from Duke University and studied at Columbia University, Imperial College (London) as well as the University of Cape Town.
Mesh found the traditional banking environment to be quite restrictive. While working extensively across the continent, Mesh soon realised that old traditional financial solutions found in first world textbooks didn’t necessarily apply or work for African companies. “Our deal making is very different to how banks and other financial institutions think. We believe access to capital should be made much easier than it currently is.”
His understanding of both the legal and financial aspects gave him an edge and eventually found his calling in investment banking.
As Mesh builds his empire, he is leveraging on his blue-chip clients and other business relationships to find technologies that can link opportunities to capital and in doing so ignite the opportunities for medium to large businesses to thrive.
As a niche, boutique in the financial services industry, YWC focusses on areas that others don’t. This niche service allows for a lot more personable time and dedication to client in order to fully understand their needs.
Therein lays the opportunity for YWC to step into a niche space that does not exist in the local South African market or within wider African markets.
The YWC team is currently raising capital for multiple projects, put together complex, bespoke deals and creating wealth not only for their partners but ultimately for communities and their respective countries. Our business imperatives when choosing opportunities in South Africa is in line with that of the national government.
But there is more to Mesh than high value business. His family is a key driving force and he relishes in his role as being a support structure not only to his family, but to the families of those who work for him. He is a key player within the community and hopes to one day lead the economic conversation shaping South Africa.
This value system epitomises both Mesh’s personal and professional life. He’s not inspired by the typical rhetoric of successful international billionaires but rather by everyday people who succeed despite the challenges stacked against them.
As a South African of Indian descent, Mesh is proud of his strong cultural heritage. He believes the challenges of colonization presents an ability to build a future different to how other people may typically see it. He relishes in the challenge of taking something purely South African or African, package it and offer it to someone sitting in Boston or London.
Opportunity comes in all shapes and sizes and Mesh will never say no to anything without trying. He’s often criticized for wasting time just listening to people but an idea can be sparked from just listening and that’s what excites him. The big banks don’t have the time.
Mesh Pillay is living his business philosophy; from executing a ground-breaking energy deal in Mozambique to concluding a monumental property deal in South Africa that will change the face of empowerment, to looking at Ethiopian privatisation and Angola’s ability to access Capital markets. It’s clear that Mesh Pillay is building his empire one deal at a time.
KESHAV SAHADEV – Vice President
Keshav’s introduction to Mesh Pillay and YW Capital was fortuitous, having come from the private equity industry where he played an integral role in some of the most significant empowerment transactions in the market. “The initial discussions were enthralling, and Mesh proposed a compelling value proposition for an ambitious, risk-taking young professional such as myself”, he says. Keshav’s track record, technical mindset – and ultimately, his values – earned him a coveted spot as a VP within the business. The “selling point”, as he accounts, is the opportunity to be mentored by one of the top international investment bankers within a high-performance team whilst having the opportunity to think freely and without restrictions.
Keshav graduated as the top student at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) for the Executive MBA, after completing the programme Summa Cum Laude in 2017. He also holds a PGDip in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from GIBS and a Bachelor of Business Science (Honours) with Dean’s Merit from the University of Kwazulu Natal. Keshav is a published academic, having contributed to new financial theory on an international basis with the development of new valuation and risk methodology to asset pricing.
Keshav is admittedly a competitive person. He adds that, “We are a small company, but we don’t play small. We don’t have a local counterpart to measure our success. I rate us on an international scale.” Our track record in Africa is a testament to our attitude and success in the continent.
Keshav is self-motivated and has a deep sense of personal values. “Do unto others as you would expect them do unto you” is his philosophy which guides his internal compass in both his personal and professional life.
JOSHUA SAUNDERS – Associate
Joshua, born and raised in Cape Town, swapped his graphics and web design tools for a seat at financiers table. The former skateboarder began his career in investment banking in 2012. He became one of the youngest bankers in Standard Bank, Investment Banking at the age of 19 years old. The experience encouraged him to embark on a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Business Finance from Wits University. During this time, he joined Mesh Pillay once again to incorporate YWC.
In lauding his creative personality, Josh believes this allows him to bring a different perspective to the financial services industry. He believes that one is not born with experience and strategy is only informed by how much time you spend in the industry. His interest is looking at financing from a strategic perspective.
YWC has given Josh the platform to grow his career and develop as an individual. At YWC, there are no hierarchical demands as is expected within large corporations. “When you work for a small business you tend to work on all aspects of a transaction. This is the steepest part of the learning curve.”
Josh enjoys his role in analytics. He assists with background research and identifying the strategic rationale.
His inspiration is drawn from his personal experiences. After his dad passed away, Josh had to step up and assist his family which motivates him in his day to day tasks. “Succeeding in financial sector comes with hard work and long hours”. Josh understands the importance of finding the balance and strives to mentor these values that underpin the long road to success. Josh has been working alongside Mesh since 2012.