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. 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. This innovative approach has been featured in TIME, Forbes, BBC, CNN, the Guardian, and Newsweek, among others.
David Mikkelsen was named Schwab Foundation & World Economic Forum social entrepreneur of the year 2017, and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.
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. 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. This innovative approach has been featured in TIME, Forbes, BBC, CNN, the Guardian, Newsweek, among others.
Christopher Mikkelsen was named Schwab Foundation & World Economic Forum social entrepreneur of the year 2017, and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.
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 35 years 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 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 and an MBA from London Business School and Columbia 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.
Kaj-Erik Relander (independent board member; tenure: 7 February 2014 to date)
Kaj-Erik Relander is the Chairman of the REFUNITE Board and 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.
Dr. Katharina Gnirke (independent board member; tenure: 17 May 2013 to date)
Dr. Katharina Gnirke has more than 20 years of experience leading innovation at the multinational software company SAP. She has vast experience within strategic direction setting, product strategy execution, HR processes, and project execution.
Jana van Greunen (independent board member; tenure: 11 November 2016 to date)
Jana van Greunen is VP, Engineering at Datrium, a venture funded storage startup. Datrium provides open-converged storage for datacenters. Prior to Datrium, Jana van Greunen was at Facebook managing the Content Distribution Network development. Jana van Greunen holds a Ph.D from UC Berkeley with 9 publications and 22 patents.
Rupert Turnbull (independent board member; tenure: 11 November 2016 to date)
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 currently works for Time Inc as Group International Publisher for TIME and Fortune.
Christopher and David Mikkelsen (tenure: 20 June 2008 to date) – REFUNITE’s founders and Co-CEOs
Christopher and David Mikkelsen are REFUNITE’s founders and Co-CEOs. The two brothers and social entrepreneurs founded REFUNITE in 2008 based on a personal experience trying to reconnect a young Afghan refugee with his family. Christopher and David Mikkelsen are members of the Clinton Global Initiative and were selected as Social Entrepreneurs of the Year by the World Economic Forum and the Schwab Foundation in March 2017.