Profile Of Speakers

Hema Vallabh

Founder & GP, Five35 Ventures

Qualification: BSc Chemical Engineering, MSc Engineering, EMBA (2022)(Cum Laude)

Years of Experience: 17 years

Language Capability: English, Afrikaans, German


Hema is a South African entrepreneur, venture capitalist, engineer, diversity & inclusion specialist, investor and all-round change-maker. She is the founder and GP at Five35 Ventures, a $30 million VC fund investing in pan Africa women in tech businesses. She is an angle investor with dazzle angels and completed the Stanford VC Connect Programme. She is the co-founder & CEO of WomHub, a boutique pan-African incubator for female-founders in STEM. WomHub is a spin-out of her award-winning non-profit WomEng which provides interventions for girls and women at every stage of the engineering skills pipeline. Hema was also responsible for finance and investment at WomHub.

Hema has a diverse and unique set of skills ranging from being a trained engineer, having practiced locally and abroad; to being a social entrepreneur, leading and growing a global social enterprise; as well as being a certified ontological coach and a noted international speaker and facilitator. She is an avid gender advocate and also serves as a diversity & inclusion specialist, providing advisory and informing policy at various levels. Her passion for the work she does has resulted in a number of accolades in recognition of her leadership.

These include being awarded the South Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Engineering title, branded as a “Change-Maker” by Oprah Magazine, named as one of the Top 200 Young South African’s by Mail & Guardian and selected as one of 27 women globally for the Fortune Global Women’s Mentorship Exchange.

She is a Vital Voices Global Leader; a member of the African Leadership Network, a community of dynamic and influential leaders in Africa; and a member of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) committee for Women in Engineering and Capacity Building.

She been named as one of South Africa’s Inspiring Fifty Women in Tech, a fellow of prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship, and winner of the Fortune/Goldman Sachs Global Women Leader’s Award. Hema is also board member of Ping Lady and ALA Student Enterprise Program. However, it is not these accolades that define her, but rather the impact that she has through her work.