Catalyst Fund Project Team

The Catalyst Fund Project is managed by BFA, a global consulting firm that specializes in the development of financial services for low income people.

David del Ser

Project Director, Inclusive Fintech Practice DIrector

David is Director of Inclusive Fintech at BFA, which 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.

Maelis Carraro

Project MANAGER

Maelis is an Associate at BFA. Her work focuses on the business case of alternative delivery channels such as agent networks and mobile money and business models for financial service providers. She manages Catalyst Fund, an innovative fintech fund supporting early stage startups in the inclusive fintech space with grant capital, mentorship and business advisory services. She also manages OPTIX, helping financial institutions build better portfolios for their low income customers. She joins BFA from the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), where she advised and worked with regional teams on microfinance projects globally and advised financial institutions on how to implement strategies for responsible financial inclusion to serve the under-banked. Maelis has previously worked directly on microfinance product development for Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, on development and climate change policy issues for the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), and impact investing for Global Partnerships, a not-for-profit impact investing fund dedicated to alleviate poverty in Latin America. Maelis also co-founded RemitMas – a digital remittances service for Latino immigrants in the US, which sparked her passion for entrepreneurship and fintech. Maelis holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master in International Affairs from Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. She received her BA Cum Laude from University College London, where she majored in Political Science and Economics. Maelis speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Kelly Nguyen

ASSISTANT Project MANAGER

Kelly is an Analyst in Inclusive Fintech. Her expertise is in-depth research and building market competitive analysis. Kelly recently received a BSc degree from Babson College, where she studied Business Management with a focus in Economics and Entrepreneurship. She founded “Young Entrepreneurs Adventure Vietnam,” a youth development social enterprise for students, instructing and encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Wajiha+Headshot+400x400.jpg

Wajiha Ahmed

learning manager

Wajiha is Interim Director of Customer Insights, leading consumer research projects to better understand the intersections of user experience and financial services in developing countries. She has a particular expertise in using human-centered design and in-depth ethnographic research methods to develop effective and appropriate solutions. She joins the firm from the World Bank, where she advised and worked with regional teams on bottom-of-the-pyramid energy access pilots in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Wajiha has also worked directly on microfinance projects with the Aga Khan Foundation and the Kashf Foundation (an MFI based in Pakistan).   She holds an MA in Development Economics from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA from Boston College. Wajiha speaks Urdu/Hindi fluently.

Matt+Grasser+400x400.jpg

Matt Grasser

Data and apis

Matt is a Senior Associate in Inclusive Fintech. 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+Headshot+400x400.jpg

Asa Nyaga

Product manager

Asa is an Associate in Inclusive Fintech. 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 helpdesk 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.  

Javier Linares

Software Architecture and Product Manager

Javier is an Associate at BFA in Inclusive Fintech. He works on projects that focus on supporting tech-enablement in the financial sector and brings skills such as software development, product design and management, customer experience and data analytics. For over six years prior joining to BFA, he built innovative technology solutions for mom-­and-­pop micro­ retailers in emerging markets such as Mexico and Colombia that helped them to track and control their business, create new revenues and be competitive. Most recently, he founded H-elium, a startup that offers low cost solar powered beach umbrellas to charge mobile devices.

 
Jane+Headshot+400x400.jpg

Jane del Ser

Communications manager

Jane is Communications Manager at BFA. She is responsible for developing and delivering on the communications strategy for the company and for two new long-term Inclusive Fintech projects, FIBR and Catalyst Fund. 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.

Carmen Merab Wamukoya

assistant Communications manager

Carmen is the Assistant Communications Manager at BFA. She 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), Pepper Concepts, a design and advertising agency and Habari Consulting. 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.