Chief Strategy Officer, SkyGrid
VP, Strategy & Operations, SparkCognition
Senior Strategy & Operations Consultant, Deloitte


Imandra is an AI start up, developing a cloud-scale automated reasoning system that brings rigor and governance to the world’s most critical algorithms. They are Series A company, having taken investment from Albion Capital in London and LiveOak Venture Partners in Austin. The team is mainly situation in Austin and the UK.

Search Background

As the company prepared to scale further, they sought to complement their existing leadership team which is highly technical with someone adept at Strategy and Operations. Imandra was keen to grow effectively, to ensure key indicators were in place for performance, and to have robust contracting, legal and HR processes in place. With the likelihood of additional funding and potential corporate investment, it was paramount to ensure the business was primed fully for efficient growth.


With the Co-CEOs based in Austin, the requirement was to find a COO that could collaborate closely with them in person in this ecosystem. A Strategy and Operations background was sought, ideally with a consulting or finance foundation which had then been applied to a high growth start up. Imandra’s customers are in highly regulated industries such as financial markets, government and defense, and critical manufacturing, and a candidate with experience with these businesses would also be sought to add value on the go-to-market side of the business. Imandra’s culture and decision making style felt considered and intentional, and we sought a candidate who would be well aligned with this way of working.


Erevena identified and introduced Zehra Akbar to the role. With foundational early career experience with Accenture and Deloitte, Zehra spent subsequently spent 6 years helping to build SparkCognition as VP Strategy and Operations, while also serving as Chief Strategy Officer of their spin-out joint venture with Boeing, SkyGrid. Zehra brings the obvious functional skillset, while having scaled one of Austin’s biggest recent start up success story. In addition, given her experience with SparkCognition, Zehra has a strong understanding of AI products and the customer personas that resonate most closely with Imandra.

Denis Ignatovich

Co-Founder & Co-CEO

We worked with Chris and Eric at Erevena to hire our COO and they exceeded our expectations. From the beginning, they took the time to deeply understand our company culture, our growth trajectory, and the unique demands of our industry. They identified and engaged top-tier candidates efficiently and made sure we had strong comparisons so that we could make an informed decision. I would gladly recommend Erevena and will work with them going forward.

Our experts

Chris Warner, Partner

Specialisms: Sales, Marketing, SaaS, FinTech

Eric Liao, Principal

Specialisms: Sales, Customer Success, Marketing, SaaS (Bottoms-Up/Enterprise)

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