FASE – Our Team
Dr. Markus Freiburg
Founder & Managing Director
By building FASE to become the leading social finance intermediary in Germany and Europe, Markus combines his strategic and financial expertise with his passion for social entrepreneurship. Today he is recognized as a thought leader for social finance, with an active presence in public discourses e.g. as member of the Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES) of the EU Commission and the German National Advisory Board of G7 Social Impact Investing Taskforce. He was also selected for the 40 under 40 European Young Leaders Class 2017. Markus studied Economics at Witten/Herdecke (Dipl.-Ök.) and Cambridge (M.Phil) and promoted at the WHU Koblenz on investments by institutional investors in private equity funds. He also contributes his experience as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and pro-bono advisor to social entrepreneurs.
Founder & Managing Director
Ellinor discovered her passion for financing sustainable business models in 2012 when working as an investment manager for German impact fund Bonventure. Before Ashoka Germany approached her to become a co-founder of FASE, she also supported social entrepreneurs in her role as a fundraiser and social impact lecturer at the Munich-based Social Entrepreneurship Akademie (SEA). For FASE, Ellinor contributes her broad network of investors, multiplyers and supporters as well as her extensive marketing and fundraising knowledge to build a pool of engaged impact investors. Through her father, Rolf Dienst, a seasoned venture capitalist, she knows the VC business from scratch and leverages her own entrepreneurial experience as a start-up founder. Ellinor is a frequent panelist for impact investing and social finance in workshops and conferences within and outside the impact sector. Originally, she obtained a bachelor degree in hotel and restaurant management from Lausanne and Oxford and ran marketing initiatives for premier brands such as Dom Pérignon, Dior and Falke.
Karsten has supported FASE as Senior Advisor since the beginning. He has over 25 years of experience in corporate finance, banking and consulting, with a focus on structuring and implementing equity investments and mezzanine financings as well as corporate transactions. Prior to joining FASE, he was head of the equity participations and investment business of social-ecological GLS Bank. Prior to that, he was Managing Director at the German bank WestLB AG, Senior Investment Manager at the investment firm 3i and Senior Manager at A.T. Kearney. Karsten holds a master degree (“Diplom-Kaufmann”) from WHU Koblenz.
Regional Manager The Netherlands
Simone joined FASE Benelux in February 2018 as a Regional Manager for the Netherlands. She brings more than 25 years of experience in business development, obtained through senior management positions in the staffing industry and as a partner in several startups. After fulfilling pro bono advisory roles at startup companies, Simone is now using her business skills to support social enterprises. Prior to FASE, she has been supporting Ashoka in the Netherlands during their startup phase. She studied business economics (Tilburg University) and business administration (Rotterdam School of Management), and is currently researching the scalability of social enterprises at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
Regional Manager CEE
Zsolt joined FASE in September 2018 as a regional manager for CEE. Over the past 20 years, he has accumulated a unique blend of business background and non-profit experience. Zsolt spent six years building a start-up Hungarian NGO focused on youth engagement and experiential education, for which he was elected an Echoing Green global fellow in 2001. Having built a stable organization, he was recruited by GE Capital and spent the following ten years in various leadership positions in banking. Always keen on helping mission-driven organizations develop, he set out to follow his passion and became Country Representative for Ashoka Hungary in 2015. For FASE, Zsolt focuses on developing a diverse ecosystem around social entrepreneurs across the CEE region.
Venture Partner CEE
Gábor joined FASE in 2020 as a venture partner for the CEE region. In the first part of his career, he worked for several financial institutions as business development manager, later as general secretary of the Hungarian Leasing Association. In the last 10 years, Gábor focused on the development of purpose-driven organizations (NGOs and social enterprises). As part of this effort, he founded Civil Support Public Benefit Ltd, an advisory company, which became the first Hungarian B Corp. He has also been engaged in bringing sustainability brand agency GreenBrands to CEE, while also investing in several purpose-driven startups. Since 2014, he has been closely working with Ashoka CEE on several projects around impact assessment and strategic planning. Gábor brings extensive knowledge on social startups and impact investing to the FASE team, and continues to be an active contributor to the development of the CEE impact ecosystem.
Regional Manager Austria & Transaction Manager
Alexandra joined FASE as Regional Manager for Austria and Transaction Manager in January 2021. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the international corporate finance business with banks, private equity and venture capital companies. In the course of her work, Alexandra has structured and placed a wide variety of financing solutions for customers, from debt to mezzanine to equity instruments. Her passion for impact-oriented startups and social entrepreneurship made her participate in the Ashoka Visionary Program in 2018. Alexandra studied both Law and Business Administration and wrote her thesis in international tax law. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Alexandra strives to connect impact investors and social entrepreneurs in a meaningful and highly professional way.
Dr. Adrian Fuchs
Senior Transaction Manager
Since March 2017 Adrian strengthens the FASE team as a transaction manager. He studied business economics in Maastricht (BSc.) and London (MA) before receiving his PhD from the University of Hamburg on the subject of impact investing for German charitable foundations (Dr. rer. pol.). Adrian gained relevant project management experience at Bonventure – where he assisted the establishment of the first German social venture capital fund for foundations (MRI pilot fund) – and at Bertelsmann Foundation. He is driven by the goal to professionalise the impact sector.
Christoph joined FASE in February 2021 as a transaction manager and is excited to support impact startups in their funding rounds. Previously, he built an accelerator program for impact startups from emerging and developing countries for the Westerwelle Foundation and founded a fair fashion online store. Christoph studied Economics (BA) at Witten/Herdecke and International Political Economy (MA) at Warwick and also brings with him his experience from management consulting at A.T. Kearney.
Investor Relations Manager & Executive Assistant to the Managing Directors
Magdalena joined FASE in April 2017 as the Executive Assistent to the Managing Directors. Since 2019, she additionally takes care of Investor Relations. Besides FASE, she is active as a systemic coach and Board member of a social enterprise, which gives her first-hand insights into the sector. Before, she gathered relevant experience by working with renowned international foundations and NGOs in the area of inclusion, education, health and development by assuming roles in change and project management as well as fundraising. During her master degree studies in management for non-profit organisations, Magdalena first came in touch with sustainable solutions for social problems developed by hybrid organisations and social enterprises.
European Investor Relations Manager
Laura joined FASE in June 2019 as a European Investor Relations Manager based in Luxembourg. She discovered her passion for social entrepreneurship during her teen years in central Romania, while she was fundraising for youth empowerment programs. Prior to FASE, Laura spent five years with Ashoka, where she launched the office in Romania, coordinated global training initiatives for Ashoka’s due diligence process and led a one-million euro program aiming to scale social innovations in Southern Europe. She also served as a member of GECES, the European Commission’s expert group on Social Entrepreneurship. In addition, she brings her experience as policy officer at the Commission, where she contributed to the set up of the first EU financial instruments supporting social enterprises. Laura studied Sociology at University of Trento, Italy, and has an MA in Management of Social Enteprises. SHe also recently finished her weekend MBA at Luxembourg Business School.
Finance and Accounting Manager
Since March 2018, Blanca is responsible for finance and accounting at FASE. Her professional experience builds on many years as a freelancer and entrepreneur, having been a founder and managing parter of a dotcom startup as well as a freelance financial planner and controller. She supported enterprises in multiple sectors during their financing and growth stages and gained insights into social entrepreneurship when doing a “volunteer summer” with Ashoka in 2011. Blanca has a holistic and entrepreneurial view on numbers and sees financial success as the expression of a purpose-driven collaboration.
Christina joined the team in August 2014 and takes care of FASE’s communications. In 2011, she entered the sector as a freelance writer and journalist to pursue her mission to actively promote social entrepreneurship and impact investing. Meanwhile, she focuses on impact finance product development for online and onsite education as well as on communications consulting for several impact clients. Before, Christina gathered more than 15 years of experience in structured finance, venture capital and investor relations, with partner and management roles at international VC firm Star Ventures as well as at DB Trust, a fully owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank. She holds a master degree in business administration from the University of Mannheim (Germany), and is a member of the German journalist association DFJV.
Pro Bono Advisors
Alexandra joined FASE in April 2016 after gaining her transaction and project management experience in M&A and merger integration at Henkel Adhesives in Duesseldorf, Germany. Alexandra discovered her enthusiasm for solving social problems with economically sustainable business models during her studies. To link both worlds more closely, she co-founded “SensAbility”, the largest conference in Germany organized by students around the topic of social entrepreneurship. Alexandra holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany, and a Master of Law and Business from WHU/Bucerius Law School. Since early 2019, Alexandra supports FASE as a pro bono advisor.
Thomas has been active as a business angel for many years, which includes several investments in social enterprises. In 2008, he established a foundation together with his wife to support projects in the area of microfinance across the globe. Thomas has more than 25 years of experience, first as a banker and then as the mananging partner of a consultancy firm in the financial services sector. Since September 2016, he strengthens the FASE team as a senior advisor.
Sabine joined FASE in May 2016 as a senior transaction manager. Today, she continues to support FASE as a pro bono advisor. Sabine is passionate about technological and social innovations that have a significant positive impact on peoples’ lives. She draws upon her experience from more than 20 years of consulting and entrepreneurial investing. Previously, she worked with McKinsey&Company, Technologieholding VC GmbH, 3i plc and BTV, an internationally active German family office. Sabine holds a Diploma in Human Biology from the Philipps-University of Marburg and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.
Dorothee joined FASE in February 2018, first as a Senior Transaction Manager and then as Head of Investor Relations. Acting as a pro bono senior advisor since mid 2019, she continues to contribute her extensive experience in social entrepreneurship, impact investing and philanthropy that she gathered e.g. as investment manager at the German impact fund pioneer BonVenture, as head of business development of the social business Change.org Germany, as well as project manager at Körber Stiftung, one of the largest German foundations. Dorothee holds a Masters degree in cultural sciences and studied at Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany) and Universitá degli studi di Macerata in Italy. As a passionate advocate for social change, she also has several pro bono roles for organisations with a social mission.
Initiators and Co-Founders
Felix Oldenburg is a pioneer for social entrepreneurship, social innovation and bottom up ideas. Most recently, he served as Secretary General at the Association of German Foundations, and as chair of DAFNE (donors and foundations networks in Europe). Ranked three times in Germany’s „40 under 40“ list, he is a member of the Baden-Baden CEO Conference, and recipient of the German PR Award 2007. He started an internet company before he graduated in Philosophy (Bonn, Tübingen, Oxford) and Policy Management (Georgetown). He worked with McKinsey&Company in London, and later led a series of large scale citizen participation project across Europe before joining Ashoka as Germany director in 2009. In this role and as European director, he pioneered a number of innovations including the first Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship, new Ashoka programs in Austria, Turkey, Netherlands and Southern Europe, and helped co-create governmental social innovation strategies. Felix serves on several boards, and speaks and publishes internationally. He lives with his wife and two children in Berlin.
Founder and CEO Roots of Impact
Bjoern Struewer is Founder and CEO of Roots of Impact. He has more than 20 years of experience in the finance sector, including 12 years at Credit Suisse, most recently as a managing director. After leaving the banking industry, he started working closely with public funders and impact investors to scale enterprises and innovations with strong potential for positive impact. With his team at Roots of Impact, he developed pioneering solutions such as Social Impact Incentives (SIINC) and Impact-Linked Finance as well as the Social Finance Academy. He also leads the Initiative for Blended Finance at the University of Zurich, is Senior Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth and a mentor at the Harvard Kennedy School’s ‚Impact Investment for the Next Generation‘ program. Bjoern is member of various investment committees and advisory boards, served as a senior advisor to Ashoka on social finance and is co-founder of the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE) and initiator of the Ashoka Angels Network.
Member of the Board of BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt
Markus Hipp has been a Board member of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt since 2006. In this function, he is devoting his energy and passion to help building the Foundation’s global leadership programs and Responsible Leaders Network. In addition to his professional activities, Markus Hipp is involved in numerous organizations and social enterprises, for example on the supervisory board of Museum of Tomorrow International, on the advisory board of Generationsbrücke Deutschland, on Germany’s largest donation platform Betterplace.org and on the Leadership Advisory Board of Quadriga University Berlin. In addition, he lectures at the European Business School (EBS) in the field of foundation management. Markus has actively supported the professional setup of FASE and is convinced of the crucial role that a strong intermediary can play in enhancing the capacities of social enterprises, thereby rendering the sector attractive for new investors.
Managing Partner of SponsorCircle
Andreas Lange is founder, co-owner and/or consultant for several financing platforms that connect demand and supply for alternative financing structures with the aim to close the gap to traditional and mainstream solutions. As managing partner of SponsorCircle, he is engaged in capital-constrained niche markets in the US, the UK and Germany. In addition, he is a consultant and co-owner of moonfare, a platform for fund investments, as well as an endowment consultant for Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh in a project to build up a VC platform. In the social entrepreneurship space, Andreas has been an active promoter of FASE since inception in 2014. He has also been a member of the Ashoka Support Network for many years and supported social entrepreneurs in Africa.