Amolo Ng’weno is the CEO of BFA. 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.
David Porteous is the Founder 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.
David del Ser is Director of Digital Transformation at BFA. Digital Trasformation 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.
FIBR Project Director
Jane Del Ser is Deputy Director 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.
Matt Grasser is Director of Applied Innovation 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.
Project / M&E Manager
Shirley Mburu is an Associate at BFA. She manages the Monitoring & Evaluation for the FIBR project, which seeks to deepen and accelerate indirect financial inclusion through linkages between small businesses and their customers, employees and suppliers. Since joining BFA she has managed multiple projects involving the coordination of external stakeholders and has also conducted trainings in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia. Prior to joining BFA, she worked for Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri) where she was involved in conducting financial sector diagnostics in Myanmar, Swaziland, and Lesotho using the Making Access to Financial Services Possible (MAP) diagnostics framework, and coordinated the FinMark Trust Progress Reporting. Shirley has also worked with Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in analyzing the Kenyan social enterprise ecosystem with a focus on the agricultural sector. Shirley holds a Master of Commerce Degree in Development Finance from the University of Cape Town, a Post Graduate degree in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management and a Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Accounting from the University of Cape Town.
FIBR Communications Lead
Carmen Merab is an Assistant Communications Manager for Insights & Influence at BFA. She is the Digital Content and Events lead for the FIBR project. She also supports the implementation of BFA’s communications initiatives and content creation. Prior to joining BFA, she worked as a consultant for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Pepper Concepts, a design and advertising agency. Prior to that, she worked for Access Afya in the Monitoring and Evaluation office and at the Federation of Women Groups-Kenya as a Program Coordinator and then as Executive Director. She holds an MA degree in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University and a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Southern Maine.
Off-Grid Energy & Digital Finance Specialist
Jacob Winiecki is Director of Solutions for Life at BFA. Jacob is an off-grid energy and digital finance specialist with over ten years of experience launching and growing energy enterprises and end-user finance initiatives in developing markets. He is a co-founder of Simpa Networks, one of the world’s first pay-as-you-go solar companies that now provides modern energy to over 100,000 rural Indian consumers. He has held senior product and operational roles at leading off-grid solar providers in Asia and Africa, and has authored industry-leading publications on energy access and digital finance. Jacob has provided off-grid energy strategy and business development services to development and impact investors, multilaterals and bilaterals, banks and microfinance institutions, and distributed energy service companies. He holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Accounting from George Mason University.