David Porteous is the Founder and CEO of BFA and Co-founder and Chair of Digital Frontiers Institute. He has undertaken consulting assignments in the areas of financial strategy and policy for a wide range of clients including public clients such as DFID, the World Bank, CGAP, and private clients including banking and telco groups. Prior to relocating to Boston in 2004, he was active in executive leadership roles in the development finance sector of South Africa with private and public financial institutions as well as FinMark Trust, an NGO involved in promoting financial inclusion policies and projects, and a public-private partnership which sought to promote low-income housing securitization. He has written several books including Banking on Change, a book which chronicles and analyzes changes in the retail financial sector of South Africa in the decade since democracy. David has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Cape Town, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD (Economics) from Yale University.
Ignacio Mas, Senior Associate at BFA, is an independent consultant on technology-enabled models for financial inclusion, associated with BFA. Ignacio has been Senior Advisor in the Financial Services for the Poor program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and at the Technology Program at CGAP. Previously he was Director of Global Business Strategy at Vodafone Group, executive vice-president of marketing and account management at DoCoMo interTouch (a supplier of broadband solutions to the hospitality industry), and Senior Manager responsible for telecoms investments in Europe at Intel Capital (Intel Corp’s venture capital arm). Ignacio holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and economics from MIT and a Ph.D (Economics) from Harvard University, and has been a Visiting Professor of International Business at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He has authored many articles and blog posts on mobile money and branchless banking.
Deputy Project Director
David del Ser is Director of Inclusive Fintech at BFA. Inclusive Fintech supports and promotes tech-enablement in the financial sector, and reaches beyond the financial services sector to other tech-related businesses and social investors. David is also the founder of Frogtek, a business which provides app-based technology to enable small retailers in developing countries with better business tools. Frogtek was recently listed by the Wall Street Journal as having built one of five apps bringing the next billion online. David brings world class high tech skills in growing areas of to BFA to expand the company vision.
Amolo Ng’weno is the East Africa Regional Director for BFA. She heads up the Nairobi office while also leading the Finance for Life area of expertise, focusing on financial services addressing development areas such as health and education. Formerly, she was the Managing Director of Digital Divide Data Kenya, a social enterprise that provides data and research services to companies and governments, while hiring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and supporting their higher education. Prior to that, Amolo held a position as Deputy Director in the Financial Services for the Poor team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In that role, she worked to improve scale, range and impact of financial services available to the poor in developing countries. Prior to her work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Amolo worked in Kenya, her native country, where she was the COO of the Trust for African Rock Art. She also was a co-founder of Africa Online, East Africa’s first internet provider, which operated in eight countries before sale to Telkom South Africa. Amolo holds a BA in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University and a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from Princeton University.
Abigail Steinberg is an Associate at BFA. She manages the FIBR project, which seeks to deepen and accelerate indirect financial inclusion through linkages between small businesses and their customers, employees and suppliers. She has worked in challenging environments across 11 countries and has honed her skills in strategy and execution. Prior to BFA Global, she was a principal at the Fortitude Fund and was the Director of Strategy for Dallant Networks. There, her work focused on development and execution of online digital communities that build social impact and address global urban poverty. While living in India, she worked on building an Indian financial tech company, aimed at digitizing products for lending clubs. As a Princeton Fellow, she directed project implementations across Thailand. As a strategist reporting to the CEO at Digital Divide Data (DDD), an impact sourcing company with 1,200 employees, she designed and expanded service offerings. Prior to DDD, she was a Partnerships Fellow for Purpose Global, which creates its own ventures, develops technology and collaborates with leading organizations to build movements for good. In the UK, she reported directly to a female Member of Parliament, and drafted policies, briefings, and met with constituents. She graduated with a BA magna cum laude and an MA in Global Studies, both from Brandeis University.
FIBR Learning Manager
Sushmita Meka is a Senior Associate in Customer Insights at BFA where she works with financial providers and startups to incorporate consumer preferences, needs and behaviors into product strategy or design. She manages learning across the FIBR program, which seeks to deepen and accelerate indirect financial inclusion through linkages between small businesses and their customers, employees and suppliers, and OPTIX, which works with institutions to design better portfolios for low income clients. Previously, Sushmita worked with the IFMR Centre for Micro Finance in India, a research institute dedicated to conducting rigorous research to inform financial inclusion policy and practice and has worked in Kenya and Zimbabwe to explore the potential for mobile payments to support the health and financial services sectors. Sushmita holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in International Relations and Economics from the University of Southern California.
Matt Grasser is a Senior Associate in Inclusive Fintech at BFA. He is a seasoned technologist and entrepreneur in the US startup scene. He founded and served in leadership roles in several NYC-based startups and more recently turned his attention to the developing world and is passionate about more pressing technology and data challenges in the financial and social inclusion space. Matt holds a BSc in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and was pursuing a PhD in Physics when he withdrew to focus efforts on his growing startups: Bytemark, an international mobile payments and ticketing platform and LDLN, a post-disaster-oriented Locally Distributed Logistics Network that empowers “dark” communities without requiring an external power grid or internet/cellular infrastructure.
Asa Nyaga, is an Associate at BFA. He works on financial technology projects that seek to enable access to financial services for people and communities who are financially excluded. Asa has over 15 years of experience in software product development. Before joining BFA he worked at mFieldwork LLC as a product manager where he led the development of a data collection and analytics software product. He was also a co-founder of Synergy-pro Ltd, a Nairobi-based software company that develops help desk and asset management software for medium and large enterprises. At Synergy-pro he served in various roles from Software Developer to Technical and Product Director. Asa's skills include software development, user experience design and product management.
FIBR Communications Lead
Jane Del Ser is Senior Associate for Insights & Influence at BFA. She is responsible for developing and delivering on the communications strategy for the company and for the FIBR and Catalyst Fund projects. Her areas of expertise include marketing communications, digital and social media, product marketing, email marketing, content marketing, program design and event management. She brings over ten years experience working with startups, social enterprises and nonprofits leading Strategy, MarCom and Product in hi-tech, mobile and social innovation. Jane most recently served as Managing Director at Center4, an initiative in NYC to increase uptake of technology by health and human service nonprofits to transform how services are delivered and improve outcomes for people served.