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Our People

The Valenture team is made up of expert, highly-qualified teachers, passionate mentors and educational visionaries, a dedicated admissions team, innovative learning designers, and team players who are all instrumental to our overall success.

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The Board

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Robert Paddock

Founder & CEO

Robert is the co-founder of GetSmarter, an online education company that has educated over 90,000 working professionals from 134 countries around the world, and partners with Universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, MIT, Oxford, LSE and Stanford. GetSmarter sold to Nasdaq-listed 2U in 2017. Rob is a founding board member of Injini, Africa’s first EdTech incubator, an Executive Director of Hubble Studios, an education technology agency in Cape Town, and an advisor to a number of online education companies in Africa and abroad.

880 X 600

Robert Paddock

Founder & CEO

Robert is the co-founder of GetSmarter, an online education company that has educated over 90,000 working professionals from 134 countries around the world, and partners with Universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, MIT, Oxford, LSE and Stanford. GetSmarter sold to Nasdaq-listed 2U in 2017. Rob is a founding board member of Injini, Africa’s first EdTech incubator, an Executive Director of Hubble Studios, an education technology agency in Cape Town, and an advisor to a number of online education companies in Africa and abroad.

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Prof. Robert Lue

Chancellor of Valenture Institute & Harvard University Professor (1964 - 2020)

Prof Robert Lue was a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University, where he was responsible for fostering innovative teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He passed away recently after a short but intense battle with cancer. We were incredibly fortunate to have Rob intimately involved in the establishment of Valenture Institute. His legacy will live on through the education we offer our students and the values which drive our business. 

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Prof. Robert Lue

Chancellor of Valenture Institute & Harvard University Professor (1964 - 2020)

Prof Robert Lue was a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University, where he was responsible for fostering innovative teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He passed away recently after a short but intense battle with cancer. We were incredibly fortunate to have Rob intimately involved in the establishment of Valenture Institute. His legacy will live on through the education we offer our students and the values which drive our business. 

Samer Salty

Samer Salty

Founding Investor

Samer is the founder and managing partner of Zouk Capital with almost 30 years’ experience in private equity, sustainability, investment banking and technology. Samer’s vision for sustainability started with his investment in The Carbon Neutral Company in 2000 and his philosophy is to make investments that both create economic value and build on sustainable principles. He also sits on the International Council of the Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Centre, and the Advisory Board of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Samer Salty

Samer Salty

Founding Investor

Samer is the founder and managing partner of Zouk Capital with almost 30 years’ experience in private equity, sustainability, investment banking and technology. Samer’s vision for sustainability started with his investment in The Carbon Neutral Company in 2000 and his philosophy is to make investments that both create economic value and build on sustainable principles. He also sits on the International Council of the Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Centre, and the Advisory Board of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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Deborah H. Quazzo

Managing Partner

Deborah is the Managing Partner of GSV Ventures, a venture fund investing in education and workforce skills technologies that are disrupting the $7 trillion sector. Deborah currently serves on the boards of Aakash Educational Services Ltd (a leading tutoring and test preparation company in India), Ascend Learning (a portfolio company of Blackstone and CCCP), ClassEDU, Create and Learn, Degreed, The Educational Testing Service (ETS), Intellispark, Mighty, PhotoMath, QuillBot, Remind, Stride, Turnitin (an Advance Communications company) and Valenture Institute.

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Deborah H. Quazzo

Managing Partner

Deborah is the Managing Partner of GSV Ventures, a venture fund investing in education and workforce skills technologies that are disrupting the $7 trillion sector. Deborah currently serves on the boards of Aakash Educational Services Ltd (a leading tutoring and test preparation company in India), Ascend Learning (a portfolio company of Blackstone and CCCP), ClassEDU, Create and Learn, Degreed, The Educational Testing Service (ETS), Intellispark, Mighty, PhotoMath, QuillBot, Remind, Stride, Turnitin (an Advance Communications company) and Valenture Institute.

Leadership Team

Amy Desk

Amy Johnson

Chief Operating Officer

Amy is a curious and enthusiastic EdTech leader. Nearing 10 years in the education sphere, Amy has spent the majority of her career leading GetSmarter’s learning design, learning technology, learning analytics and student support services, most notably on GetSmarter’s executive team as Chief of Education. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Media and Writing and has a Post-Grad in Education. Her passion lies in pursuing micro-credentials.

Amy Desk

Amy Johnson

Chief Operating Officer

Amy is a curious and enthusiastic EdTech leader. Nearing 10 years in the education sphere, Amy has spent the majority of her career leading GetSmarter’s learning design, learning technology, learning analytics and student support services, most notably on GetSmarter’s executive team as Chief of Education. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Media and Writing and has a Post-Grad in Education. Her passion lies in pursuing micro-credentials.

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Chivimbiso Gava

Director of Education & Impact

Chivimbiso is a passionate and innovative thinker within the ever-changing educational space. She has worked at Valenture Institute, since its inception, as the Head of Learning Design. She has over seven-years experience in instructional design, having started her early career as a Learning Designer. She also has a background in the development sector having supported teams to deliver governance and health programmes in Southern Africa, and believes in taking strategic and forward-looking approaches to advancing social equality. Chivimbiso has a keen interest in social development, education being her primary area of interest, and is passionate about designing world-class online learning solutions, and shifting the paradigm as relates to access to quality teaching and learning for all children.

Chi Gava 1

Chivimbiso Gava

Director of Education & Impact

Chivimbiso is a passionate and innovative thinker within the ever-changing educational space. She has worked at Valenture Institute, since its inception, as the Head of Learning Design. She has over seven-years experience in instructional design, having started her early career as a Learning Designer. She also has a background in the development sector having supported teams to deliver governance and health programmes in Southern Africa, and believes in taking strategic and forward-looking approaches to advancing social equality. Chivimbiso has a keen interest in social development, education being her primary area of interest, and is passionate about designing world-class online learning solutions, and shifting the paradigm as relates to access to quality teaching and learning for all children.

Dan Desk

Daniel Coetzer

Registrar

Daniel was the registrar at GetSmarter where he worked in a senior capacity within a student success team, which has given him a thorough understanding of what students need to be successful in an online learning environment. His work is underpinned by a strong passion for high-quality education and social equality. In working with leading universities around the world, he has built strong working relationships with university academics and administrators, and developed the skills necessary to ensure that the varied needs and requirements of partner institutions are met.

Dan Desk

Daniel Coetzer

Registrar

Daniel was the registrar at GetSmarter where he worked in a senior capacity within a student success team, which has given him a thorough understanding of what students need to be successful in an online learning environment. His work is underpinned by a strong passion for high-quality education and social equality. In working with leading universities around the world, he has built strong working relationships with university academics and administrators, and developed the skills necessary to ensure that the varied needs and requirements of partner institutions are met.

Rick Desk

Rick Greener

Principal

Rick is an accomplished educator with 30 years of teaching experience, over half of which has been at management level. For the last 20 years he has worked in an international school which offers the Cambridge Examinations. Having taught science and biology to the International GCSE and A-Levels, he is well versed in the UK curriculum expectations and as professional development coordinator, has introduced many of the best practice teaching methods into his school. Rick got involved in education technology as the wave began to form in South Africa and helped organise and run the first national EdTech Conference. Since then, he has travelled both locally and abroad to research, plan and successfully implement the use of educational technology.

Rick Desk

Rick Greener

Principal

Rick is an accomplished educator with 30 years of teaching experience, over half of which has been at management level. For the last 20 years he has worked in an international school which offers the Cambridge Examinations. Having taught science and biology to the International GCSE and A-Levels, he is well versed in the UK curriculum expectations and as professional development coordinator, has introduced many of the best practice teaching methods into his school. Rick got involved in education technology as the wave began to form in South Africa and helped organise and run the first national EdTech Conference. Since then, he has travelled both locally and abroad to research, plan and successfully implement the use of educational technology.

Cheryl Desk

Cheryl Howson

Head of Finance

Cheryl Desk

Cheryl Howson

Head of Finance

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Bhongolwethu Sonti

Dunkeld Boutique Campus Manager and Senior Learning Coach

Bhongo1

Bhongolwethu Sonti

Dunkeld Boutique Campus Manager and Senior Learning Coach

Kim Desk

Kim Westcott

Head of Technology

Kim Desk

Kim Westcott

Head of Technology

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Kobus du Toit

Newlands Boutique Campus Manager and Senior Learning Coach

Kobus1

Kobus du Toit

Newlands Boutique Campus Manager and Senior Learning Coach

Offices

    Londondesk

    London

    +44 845 095 0046
    100 Brompton Road, London, SW3 1ER
    UK

    Londondesk

    London

    +44 845 095 0046
    100 Brompton Road, London, SW3 1ER
    UK

    Bostondesk

    Boston

    +1 61 7861 2926
    539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111,
    United States

    Bostondesk

    Boston

    +1 61 7861 2926
    539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111,
    United States

    Cpt

    Cape Town

    +27 21 207 3894
    4 Wandel St, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001
    South Africa

    Cpt

    Cape Town

    +27 21 207 3894
    4 Wandel St, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001
    South Africa