Who we are

Message from our Managing Partner,
Rajaa Mekouar

"Calista Direct Investors is the result of my 20+ years of Private Equity investing throughout Europe, with roles at PE/VC funds,  family offices and as Head of the LPEA (Luxembourg Private Equity Association) more recently. The common thread throughout my journey has been my passion for entrepreneurship and the potential of private markets to deliver strong, long-term returns to private investors. Today, as private markets are coming of age, I am proud to bring all my expertise and network to best serve private investors out of Luxembourg, the European hub for PE/VC dealmaking and investing, alongside a team that shares the same values and ethos and brings complementary skills to our clients". Calista Direct Investors is represented by a professional team with complementary skills and experience across the PE/VC spectrum, with the highest commitment to the task at hand and strongest sense of ethics.

Executive Team

80+

Years of cumulative work experience

14

Languages spoken

13

Countries covered

4

Continents covered

Rajaa Mekouar

Managing Partner
  • Former CEO LPEA
  • Former Head of PE at Family Office 
  • Worked as GP, LP and Co-investor in Europe, Asia and the US 
  • Advisory Board member of Spuerkeess 
  • Inspirational Woman in Finance Award 2020
  • Top 100 Executive Women Luxembourg
  • HEC Grande Ecole (Paris)
  • MBA Insead
                 

Claude Lutz

COO
  • Former partner and Managing Director in a large regulated multi-family office
  • Over 30 years of experience in organization, finance and accounting in the financial sector
  • Former COO and CFO at J.P. Morgan Chase in London and Paris

Natalia Koltunovskaya

Chief of Staff
  • Former Head of Communications at LPEA
  • Former Director of an exclusive early education start-up in Tokyo
  • Former editor at Tatler Russia, Conde Nast, Moscow

Aaron Wajsbrot

Principal
  • Formerly in charge of M&A for a major healthcare group under LBO
  • Previous experience in PE and M&A at Eurazeo and Clearwater International
  • Graduate of ESCP Business School and Sorbonne University

Hung-Ying Chen

Principal
  • Former experience in New Models at Allianz Partners
  • Corporate M&A and strategic risk at BNP Paribas
  • Graduate of HEC Paris Grande Ecole and National Taiwan University

Yann Decroos

Senior Associate
  • Former venture capital investment associate at Mangrove Capital Partners
  • Previous experience at Talkwalker, a VC-backed social intelligence platform, Atoz and CBP Quilvest
  • Worked and lived in Berlin and London
  • MSc in Corporate Finance from Cass Business School

Bruno Fernandes Do Vale

Senior Finance & Corporate Manager
  • Previous experience as junior accountant
  • Graduate of the University of Luxembourg and Haute Ecole de Namur- Liège-Luxembourg

Tom Leonardi

Associate
  • IÉSEG School of Management, MSc in Finance
  • Previous experience at Investindustrial as Intern Analyst
  • Intern at Disney Orlando and KPMG Luxembourg

Rupert Arnold

Analyst
  • Graduate of the London School of Economics and Durham University
  • Previous experience in Investment Banking at Silvermile Capital
  • Former Intern at Baring Asset Management and ACA Global

Gonzalo Elizondo

Senior Analyst
  • Former M&A Analyst at Telefónica Tech
  • Previous experience at Cardumen Capital and Abante Asesores
  • Graduate of Loughborough University in Aeronautical Engineering, Masters in Finance and Management at IE Business School

Message from our Chairman,
Serge de Ganay

“The potential of Private Equity and Venture Capital, presents gigantic opportunities but also potentially great risks.

Family offices and private investors increasingly express a strong appetite for this asset class but are quickly
confronted with access, valuation, monitoring, and suitability issues.

This is where the business of Calista lies: the team is dedicated to supporting its families to optimise their exposure in this asset class, as their outsourced investment team.

Under the leadership of our Managing Partner, Rajaa Mekouar, the business is going full speed. Clients and employees seem to be seduced by a positioning where the client is at the heart of the business model, more than the investment”.


Strategic Advisors

John Holloway
GP / Fund Selection, Luxembourg

John spent 20 years at European Investment Fund as the Director of Investments and is recognised in Luxembourg as the “Godfather of Venture Capital”. Prior to his engagement in the world of VC, he spent 20 years at European Investment Bank.

Throughout his career he invested in over 400 GP’s and met representatives of many more looking to raise money.

John has held Board Director positions, most of them as Chair, on over a dozen legal structures involving Venture Capital or Private Equity products.

I am very pleased to support the Calista team in their indirect investment activity, advising on the choice of GP fund managers best fitting the requirements of our Family Office partners.

Indirect investing into companies via a good GP can bring many benefits to a FO looking to construct a varied portfolio, not the least of which are strong return potential in the financial, social and environmental sense and also wider risk diversification.

The fundamental consideration is the selection of the right GP. Obtaining the right advice is key to attaining this goal. In this respect and given its skill set, the Calista team is well-placed to help, thereby also obviating the need for an FO to recruit its own in-house investment team.

Ian Prideaux
Asset Allocation, UK

Until 2022 Ian Prideaux was Chief Investment Officer for the Family Investment Office of the Grosvenor Estate, which supports the private interests of the family of The Duke of Westminster and associated family trusts.

In this role Ian was deploying money in assets other than real estate, with a view to diversification over a long-term time horizon. The investment portfolio includes principally public equities and fixed income, private equity and venture, hedge funds, absolute return instruments and cash. All assets are run by third party managers, Ian’s job being to put forward an asset allocation plan and select the appropriate managers for the different parts of that plan.

I am delighted to have joined Rajaa and her team at Calista. Having spent some 16 years as CIO at a prominent UK family office where we had a significant exposure to private investments, I recognise the strength of the team that Rajaa has assembled. The offering – deal sourcing, structuring, monitoring and advising on direct investment – is bespoke and the clients over quite a short time frame have developed into something akin to a club, which in my experience is quite rare. Certainly, there does not seem to be anyone in the private investment sphere doing quite what Calista is doing for family offices and wealthy individuals. I look forward to joining them on their journey to a bright future.

External Advisers

Calista relies on experts to assist us with important support functions that include “Talent / Leadership / Human Resources”, “IT / Data / Cybersecurity" and "Tax consulting".

Yves-Loic Martin

Venture Tech & AI Partner
  • Business Angel and early-stage investor focused on IT, Proptech and Deeptech European start-ups
  • Non-executive director of Eurofins
  • Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics from University Paris VI and a PhD in Chemometrics from Institut National Paris Grignon

Kenza Mekouar

Talent and Leadership Advisor
  • Founder of Career 3.0, an international Executive & Career Coaching company since 2013
  • Past corporate experiences include working as a Strategy Consultant at Deloitte, as a Consultant for a Global Bank, as a Recruitment & Talent consultant for banks in London
  • BSc.in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE)
  • Advanced Coaching Diploma from The University of Cambridge
  • Certificate in NLP and Positive Psychology
  • Fluent in English, French, Spanish and Arabic

Louis Thomas

Tax Expert
  • Partner at KPMG 2000-2021
  • Led the Tax Team of 60 people for more than 10 years
  • More than 34 years of professional activity and experience in business and international corporate tax consulting
  • Advises major families for their wealth structuring
  • Carried out successfully some very important restructuring and merger projects of top 10 major groups worldwide

Helie de Cornois

Estate Planning and Philanthropy Expert
  • Head of Family Office Luxembourg at Stonehage Fleming
  • More than 18 years of experience in the estate planning industry and philanthropy sector
  • Advises ultra-high net worth private clients and investors on a range of international and domestic estate planning matters
  • Former Head of Estate Planning & International Patrimonial Services at Banque Degroof Petercam in Luxembourg
  • Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)

Marcel Hoffmann

Digital Transformation Scout
  • Over 35 years of IT experience
  • Former Head of IT Architecture & Service Delivery at Luxembourg Stock Exchange
  • Constant learner with three IT courses completed in 2020 alone
  • Expert in technical support, cybersecurity and data protection

Core Values

Responsible Commitment

At Calista Direct Investors, we support the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and put the highest attention to:

We have clear guidelines to help us promote these goals meaningful to the team, and the desire to contribute to the prosperity for people and the planet are embraced by the whole team.

With every investment opportunity we advise our clients, we contribute to new solutions and better ways to improve the system. Our investors have the possibility to focus solely on sustainable investment opportunities.

As a part of our personal commitment, we endorse local artists, support local culture and encourage societal inclusion together with people whose work we respect and admire.

External Partners

Calista is supported by a professional network of external advisers, we work with closely on a partnership basis, with whom we have had a long-term relationship.