Why We Care
Enzi is founded by Ashni Mohnot, who experienced firsthand the frustrations of lack of funding for her education. Having been an international student at Stanford, she had no access to federal loans with low interest rates available to U.S. citizens. Further, private loan companies require internationals to get U.S. citizen co-signers. She was lucky enough to have American relatives who kindly guaranteed large education loans that she is currently repaying. However, she has friends who were not so lucky – who put their families through financial hardship or burdened themselves with part time jobs to make ends meet. While international students in the US have it tough, millions of students in the developing world are worse off. Their desires to pursue higher education even in their own countries are dampened by lack of funds.
Research from international organizations like UNESCO has demonstrated that only 24% of all eligible individuals actually enroll in higher education. While tertiary education enrollment is a worldwide problem, it is felt most acutely in developing countries like India (as low as 10.5%) and China (as low as 7.5%). Lack of funding is often the underlying reason. Over 35 million more Indian students will need access to funding for India to even catch up to the already low world average of 24%. Those who secure loans to pursue higher education fear being crippled by high repayment amounts misaligned with their actual earnings.
Enzi – meaning ‘powerful’ in Swahili – was born out of the desire to eradicate the financial barrier to education for millions of bright, motivated students around the world. Our goal is to create a new social asset class with the power to unlock human potential and move financial markets.
Who We Are
Ashni Mohnot, Founder & CEO
Ashni grew up in Bombay, India and studied at Stanford University (BA, Human Biology & English, '05; MA, International Education, '06). She blogs for PopTech on social entrepreneurship and has worked for two social ventures - Mobile Metrix and Gumball Capital. Currently she works as Director of Education for Stanford’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, which hosts the world’s largest collection of King documents. Besides international development, social entrepreneurship, and fiction, she is interested in innovation, design, startups, and emerging web technologies, specifically their application to advance the citizen sector.
Ashni previously worked on this idea as part of a team that was a finalist in national and international business plan competitions, including the Stanford BASES Social-E Challenge, the former RGK Center at Austin Social Innovation contest, and the international Uuni Big Ideas contest.
Ben Patch, CFO
Ben Patch is a seasoned finance and strategy executive with experience in mergers and acquisitions, strategy, finance and fundraising in both large, publicly held companies and small, venture-backed companies experiencing extremely rapid growth. He began his career in the audit practice of Arthur Andersen, LLP and later held management roles at Siebel Systems and The Parthenon Group. Most recently, Mr. Patch was the Vice President of Finance at XOJET and a key member of the capital markets team that successfully raised in excess of $125 million of equity capital and more than $2 billion of debt and leasing facilities. Mr. Patch earned a MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of Michigan. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
Patrice Capitant brings over thirty years of success as a technology leader and mentor in high-tech companies and social enterprises. He is a 25-year veteran of Silicon Valley and a pioneer in digital video who has managed R&D organizations including Macrovision, Sony and Compression Labs. He was also chair of the board of TransAccess, a non-profit that provides persons with disabilities access to adaptive technology and career transition services and COO of Mobile Metrix a social enterprise focused on improving the life of the invisible poor. Patrice is an executive coach and the founder of XTM consulting, a provider of cross-cultural training and mentoring services.
Avichal is Co-Founder and CTO of PrepMe, an online education company bringing personalized, online education to students around the world. Before PrepMe he worked at Google where he was a Product Manager on Search Quality (the ranking algorithms for the search engine) and Ads Quality (the algorithms for Google's advertising engine). He was awarded a prestigious Executive Management Group award for his work on Search. He also launched Google Transit to get public transportation data into Google Maps as a side project – it is now in hundreds of cities around the world. Avichal has an undergraduate degree in computer science and a graduate degree in Management Science from Stanford, with a focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has earned numerous accolades including a Chicago Innovation Award, being named as one of BusinessWeek's Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25, and winning the New Venture Challenge.
Lawrence (Larry) Litvak serves as a board member of, or adviser to, several nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Larry was part of the management team at Working Assets, a socially progressive wireless, long distance, and credit card company, until 2003 when he semi-retired as CFO, and continues to work part-time for the company. Before joining Working Assets, Larry co-managed $3.2 billion in assets as a Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager for the U.S. Trust Company of Boston. He is the author of Pension Funds and Economic Renewal and Innovations in Development Finance.
Anand Chandrasekaran is the Director of Product Management at Openwave and the co-founder of Aeroprise Inc., a successful Silicon Valley based wireless software company. Besides making his mark in the mobile technology world, he helped produce a documentary Tapestries of Hope to raise awareness and support for the Girl Child Network (GCN) that helps preserve women's rights in Zimbabwe. He received a masters degree in 2001 from Stanford University. He is recipient of MIT's Global Technovators Award for top technology innovators and was selected as a 2010 Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum.