Our Core Team

Dan Balke
Managing Director & Partner

Dan Balke is Managing Director and Partner of LFS, with a multifaceted record of senior management positions in financial institutions as project manager in the area of Digital Finance and Digitization Projects, Small Business Finance, Housing, and Impact Finance Projects. Mr. Balke holds an MBA in Finance from the Manchester Business School and an M.Sc. in Economics. For several years he has been responsible for pushing forward the digital and technological agenda with AccessHolding. Dan has managed projects to success in major emerging markets worldwide.


Patrick Schoeneborn
Managing Director

Patrick Schoeneborn has been working for LFS since 2004. He has a longstanding track record as an advisor and manager of projects in the impact finance space, with a focus on SME and agri-finance. Over the last years he has played leading roles in the design, strategy building and implementation of investment vehicles, financial institutions and blended facilities across a wide set of thematic areas. Aside from a long list of short term advisory missions to different geographies, Patrick has worked for four years as resident manager and consultant in East Africa. Patrick holds an M.Sc. in Industrial Strategy from the University of Manchester. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.


Bertolt Hertzfeldt
Manager, Advisory Services

Bertolt Hertzfeldt LFS Advisory’s Regional Manager for Central and East Asia. With more than 19 years of expertise in MSME Finance, Bertolt has a vast array of experience as bank executive, project manager and senior consultant in numerous assignments across the Eastern hemisphere. Bertolt’s outstanding track record in various areas of MSME finance, agriculture finance and banking (including C-level management positions) equips him for a number of senior roles in projects and backstopping capacities.


Dr. Mattias Grammling
Manager, Advisory Services

Mattias Grammling has a PhD. and an M.Sc. in Economics. He has been working for LFS since 2010. He works as Manager in Advisory Services with regional responsibility for Asia and Africa. Dr. Grammling served as CEO of AB Microfinance Bank Nigeria from 2012-2014, and in various other senior management roles (such as Credit Manager) in the same bank from 2010-2012. Prior to joining LFS, he worked 7 years as Freelance MSME Finance Consultant in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Mattias speaks German, English and Spanish. 


Jov O'Brien
Manager, Advisory Services

Jov O’Brien is an accomplished microfinance banker with over 18 years of diverse global experience. He has over 10 years’ experience as CEO and COO of regulated and non-regulated financial institutions. Jov excelled in developing, strengthening and expanding SME lending units. His regional experience includes Latin America, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. Jov has managed projects of the United States’ Department of Agriculture (USDA), USAID, and EBRD. He holds a Masters of International Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance. Besides his native English, Jov speaks Russian and Spanish.


Chris Statham
Business Line Manager, Digital Finance

For the last 12 years, Chris worked in Sub-Sahara Africa and the MENA region, mostly as a freelance consultant across multiple sectors – finance, agriculture, public health and FMCG, on projects ranging from strategy and business analyst to implementation, partnerships and product development.  His previous range of clients included a Payment Service Provider, a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and a USAID access to finance project in Jordan. Prior to starting his career in development consultancy, Chris gathered 6 years of commercial experience in- UK and Ireland, Recently he was one of the first 5 graduates to become a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner, this complimenting his post-degree certificate in microfinance and degree in Marketing.

Marco de Natale
Manager, Strategic Finance

Marco has close to 20 years of work experience in investment banking and Impact finance in different geographies. Before joining LFS, Marco was based in Moscow as the CEO & Co-Founder of a private investment firm focused on the CIS region, and previously served in CEO and CFO positions of leading microfinance institutions in Azerbaijan and Russia. Earlier career stages included working with Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse & Merrill Lynch in London, as well as with Blue Orchard in Geneva. Marco holds a Master from Stanford University and is a graduate of the Stonier ABA School of Banking (University of Pennsylvania/Wharton) & Oxford University Fintech Programme. He speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian & intermediate Russian.

Divya Balakrishnan
Manager – Business Development

Divya Balakrishnan rejoined LFS as the Manager – Business Development in April 2021.  With over 9 years’ experience across the Green Finance, Off-grid Solar and Mechanical Engineering sectors, she has worked in a variety of roles including business consulting, sustainability/energy consulting, team management, client management, market and technology research. Working previously as the Green Finance Business Line Manager, she was a consultant on due diligence, credit risk and energy efficiency housing finance projects. Earlier, she worked in Tanzania leading the innovation team of (ENGIE) Mobisol and managed projects with strategic implications. Her work experience is backed by her education of a double diploma MSc in “Energy technologies” and “Energy engineering and management” including a bachelor’s degree in “Mechanical engineering”. She aims to be a polyglot and can communicate in 6 languages.

Marius Siebert
Advisor, Digital Finance & Technology

Marius joined LFS in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Governance and Development from the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton. Marius has hands-on experience in developing digital products and services including mobile wallets and Digital Field Applications (DFA). He has supported commercial banks, MFIs and MNOs in Africa, MENA and the Pacific in developing digital strategies and has conducted financial sector assessments for clients such as IFC, DFID and KfW. Marius has also facilitated knowledge transfer by means of delivering digital finance trainings in five countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. He is based in Tanzania since 2013, where he experiences the transformative power of DFS first-hand and on a day-to-day basis.


Alfredo Soto
Senior Advisor, Digital Finance & Technology

Alfredo Soto is an expert in information technologies, including Financial and Industrial Software. He has extensive experience as IT Project Manager and Team Leader for the implementation of core banking systems in different microfinance banks. He has more than 15 years of international experience providing IT solutions for Banking. One of the most important aspects to highlight during his diverse experience is the strong emphasis on the development and reengineering of the digital area in microfinance. His experience also includes the development of systems for digitizing information, surveys and credit analysis. His latest training is on Fintech and Transformation in Financial Services and Data Science for business.​ He also has training experience for numerous organizations.

Raphaelle Smyth
Business Analyst | Digital Finance & Technology

Raphaelle is LFS’ in-house specialist for IT consulting and other technology issues requiring deep IT expertise. She has achieved a Bachelor of Science in Computer Applications, Software and Engineering from Dublin City University. Prior to joining LFS, she developed websites, a financial application for corporate actions and designed and developed a heat mapping automation tool for risk management. At LFS, she is involved in projects in Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Yemen and Brunei. Raphaelle is fluent in English and has a high level of French and Gaelic.

Konstantin Schroeter
Business Analyst, Project Assistant

Konstantin joined LFS after graduating with an M.Sc. in Economics from FU Berlin and a B.Sc. in Economics from HU Berlin. He has meanwhile gained work experience in Business Consulting with TWS Partners in Munich and in the development sector with the Sparkassenstiftung fuer internationale Kooperation in Mexico City. Konstantin is fluent in German, English and Spanish and possesses intermediate proficiency in Russian.


Dara Zlateva
Business Analyst

Dara joined LFS in April 2020. After graduating with a M.A. in International and Development Economics from HTW Berlin, she now holds the position of Business Analyst. Additionally, Dara has a B.A. in International Business Administration from SRH Berlin. Dara has gained working experience in FinTech at FinLeap GmbH and consulting at KPMG where she provided support for multiple initiatives. She has also worked as a freelance writer for Dataconomy and Startup Colors. Dara is fluent in English and Bulgarian and has intermediate proficiency in German and Spanish.

Louisa Wolf
Junior Business Analyst

Louisa joined LFS in February 2021 and studied Economics and Politics in Potsdam and Berlin. Prior to joining LFS, she gained first experiences in development finance with the ASA Program in Uganda, with the KfW development bank in Frankfurt, and most recently, also within the FinTech sphere at Billie GmbH in Berlin. She speaks German and English fluently and has advanced knowledge of French.