Venkat is the Manager, Restoration Finance for WRI’s Global Restoration Initiative (GRI). He leads strategy development and implementation for the GRI Finance team with a direct focus on the Land Accelerator, TerraMatch, and the Rural Prosperity Bond. Venkat also identifies thematic investment priorities for the GRI Finance Strategy by exploring knowledge gaps through research and collaboration with key public, private, and multilateral stakeholders.
Prior to joining WRI, Venkat worked at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as a natural resource economist with expertise in assessing and managing the environmental and social impacts of agroforestry investments. He has earlier worked with the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) leading multi-sectoral task teams to develop sustainable finance solutions for wetlands and forests in Asia, Africa, and South America.
Venkat holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Economics from Cornell University, with a specialization in Natural Resources, and a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.
Outside of work, he is an avid sports and wildlife enthusiast. A former professional tennis player who was Captain of the varsity tennis team at Cornell, his hobbies include hiking, fossil-hunting in the Chesapeake Bay, and bird-watching.