OUR TEAM
Team

David Mikkelsen – CO-FOUNDER, CO-CEO
Social entrepreneur David Mikkelsen founded REFUNITE in 2008 with his brother Christopher Mikkelsen
based on a personal experience trying to reconnect a young Afghan refugee with his family. Realizing the
lack of any global, IT-based infrastructure to help refugees locate missing family, the two brothers set out
to change the state of things and founded REFUNITE, a non-profit tech organization with the mission of
reconnecting refugee families across the globe.
In their capacity as co-founders and CEOs, the Mikkelsens have built the first-ever family-tracing platform
for refugees, capitalizing on the ever-growing mobile phone usage across Africa and working closely with
partners, such as Kenya Red Cross, UN Refugee Agency, Ericsson and others. With little more than
access to a low-cost mobile phone, and in selected countries even without access to the Internet,
refugees can search, connect and communicate with missing family. This innovative approach has been
featured in TIME, Forbes, BBC, CNN, the Guardian, Newsweek among others.
David Mikkelsen is an expert on social innovation and an international speaker who bridges the gap
between the nonprofit world and the corporate world. With over 71 million forcibly displaced people
worldwide, the need to reconnect refugee families is as pressing as ever. Christopher and David
Mikkelsen are Schwab Foundation & World Economic Forums’ social entrepreneurs of the year 2017,
Huffington Post bloggers, members of the Clinton Global Initiative 2010 and 2011, have been named
“New World Heroes – People who deserve a bigger stage in 2009” by Monocle Magazine, nominated as
“People of the Year 2009” by DAS Magazin and as PopTech Fellows 2011.

Christopher Mikkelsen – CO-FOUNDER, CO-CEO
Social entrepreneur Christopher Mikkelsen founded REFUNITE in 2008 with his brother David Mikkelsen
based on a personal experience trying to reconnect a young Afghan refugee with his family. Realizing the
lack of any global, IT-based infrastructure to help refugees locate missing family, the two brothers set out
to change the state of things and founded REFUNITE, a non-profit tech organization with the mission of
reconnecting refugee families across the globe.
In their capacity as co-founders and CEOs, the Mikkelsens have built the first-ever family-tracing platform
for refugees, capitalizing on the ever-growing mobile phone usage across Africa and working closely with
partners, such as Kenya Red Cross, UN Refugee Agency, Ericsson and others. With little more than
access to a low-cost mobile phone, and in selected countries even without access to the Internet,
refugees can search, connect and communicate with missing family. This innovative approach has been
featured in TIME, Forbes, BBC, CNN, the Guardian, Newsweek and more.
Christopher Mikkelsen is an expert on social innovation and an international speaker who bridges the gap
between the nonprofit world and the corporate world. With over 71 million forcibly displaced people
worldwide, the need to reconnect refugee families is as pressing as ever. Christopher and David
Mikkelsen are Schwab Foundation & World Economic Forums’ social entrepreneurs of the year 2017,
Huffington Post bloggers, members of the Clinton Global Initiative 2010 and 2011, have been named
“New World Heroes – People who deserve a bigger stage in 2009” by Monocle Magazine, nominated as
“People of the Year 2009” by DAS Magazin and as PopTech Fellows 2011.

Markus Fix – CTO
Markus Fix grew up in Liberia, West Africa. Always interested in science and technology he taught himself
programming at the age of 14. Later he studied Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science at the
Universities of Tuebingen, Ulm and Bremen in Germany. He worked as a lecturer at the Institute of New
Media in Frankfurt before founding his first startup. Many startups later, he still is a true programmer at
heart, constantly thinking about building software systems that solve practical problems. Markus has 35years of experience in building reliable systems, leading software teams and making software systems work in the real world.

Claudia Simler – COO
Claudia runs operations and management of the REFUNITE team and is responsible for strategy and
execution around partnerships, product, growth, user engagement, prototyping/testing, data, new market
entry, recruitment, process, and culture.
Prior to joining REFUNITE, Claudia has worked at eBay as well as for various consultancies working with communication and PR. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Communication &
Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School.

Yegor Tsynkevich – PRODUCT MANAGER
Yegor focuses on building practical user-centered solutions that serve to achieve business goals and increase ROI. Having worked as a product manager on projects of various scale and complexity, including Y Combinator and other Silicon Valley companies, Yegor has extensive experience in strategy building and implementation. Being a devoted UX design advocate, Yegor is passionate to use technology to improve lives, create insights and spread the power of meaningful online experience.

Alexandra Aparicio – EAST AFRICA PROJECT MANAGER
Alexandra’s work involves coordinating all field operations and supervising REFUNITE’s call center. Prior
to joining the team in East Africa, Alexandra was the Latin America Manager for REFUNITE; supervising
outreach volunteers across Brazil to assist refugees and asylum seekers in registering onto the family
tracing platform and searching for their loved ones. She has previously worked in Public Relations for
Ketchum and was a member of the Plan International Brasil’s Board of Directors. Alexandra has a
Bachelor of Arts in Social Communications from Faculdades Integradas Alcântara Machado.

Lotte Jespersen – ACCOUNTANT
Before joining REFUNITE Lotte Jespersen lived and worked in the tourist industry for over 20 years in
Spain and Florida. She moved back to Denmark in 2001 and joined Euro-Alarm and Europæiske Travel
Insurance as an accountant. Later she was Head of Economy at the Foundation Baltic Sea Solution,
working with renewable energy projects. Over the past seven years she has been self-employed and
managing her own accounting company.

Alexander Bugge – STRATEGIC PROJECT MANAGER
Alexander’s work involves coordinating various project, fundraising and online marketing. Before joining
REFUNITE, he was the editor in chief of a Danish international relations journal and has helped the
Danish Minister of Social Affairs get elected to office. He holds a MA in Intelligence and International
Security from King’s College London, UK.

BOARD MEMBERS
Kaj-Erik RelanderKaj-Erik Relander is a Senior Independent Advisor to the ICT, Aerospace and Defence Division of the sovereign investment vehicle Mubadala Development Company in Abu Dhabi. He helps the management
and boards of different portfolio companies with issues such as finance function development, investment
plans, workouts and restructuring with focus on the Gulf region and emerging markets. Kaj-Erik brings
vast experience from private equity and venture capital and supports REFUNITE on high-level fundraising
strategies, among other things.

Jana van Greunen
Jana van Greunen is currently VP, Engineering at Datrium, a venture funded storage startup. Datrium
provides open-converged storage for data centers. Prior to Datrium, Jana van Greunen was at Facebook
managing the Content Distribution Network development. Prior to that, she was VP of Software
Engineering at Silver Spring Networks where she built the largest outdoor wireless mesh IPv6 network.
Jana van Greunen holds a Ph.D from UC Berkeley with 9 publications and 22 patents.

Rupert Turnbull
Rupert Turnbull started his career in media at Leo Burnett, working on global giant brands such as
McDonalds, Procter & Gamble, United Biscuits & Mercedes. From there he moved into magazine
publishing where he has stayed for 19 years. Working on magazine brands including HELLO!, Men’s
Health, Condé Nast Traveller, House & Garden and GQ. He was launch Publisher of Wired UK and
oversaw its evolution from print magazine to multi-platform brand, with a digital portfolio, several annual
conferences, a weekly podcast and a consulting business. He currently works for Time Inc as Group
International Publisher for TIME & Fortune and is using his learnings at WIRED to help shape the future
of these two venerable brands. Rupert frequently talks at industry conferences on the role of magazines
in the 21​st ​ Century.

DONATE
Hundreds of families are reconnected through our work every month, often after years of searching for their missing loved ones.
Any donation will help separated families reconnect.