Björn D. Fischer

Chief Executive Officer

Björn D. Fischer (M.Sc. International Management & Sustainable Economics, BA Real Estate Asset Management), Chief Executive Officer and founder of EcoKraft GmbH with offices in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, has over 25 years of experience in real estate & climate and sustainability finance. He started his career in the early 1990’s in the real estate industry, involved in brokering, investing ,financing and management of private and commercial properties. Since the early 2000’s has been active in climate finance and sustainability markets, having gained extensive experience across a variety of industry sectors, regulatory regimes, technologies, climate finance supporting mechanisms, private and public investment schemes from around the globe.

As access to energy is the prerequisite for economic development, while bankability of proposed projects is key to access finance, Björn and his team bring together project owners, governmental actors, financiers such as crowdfunding platforms and social impact investors, service and technology providers to identify, assess, select and finance scalable renewable energy and end energy efficiency projects worldwide.

He is currently advisor for a California start-up combining solar photovoltaics, smart energy storage, and software intelligence to shift telecommunications towers away from expensive and polluting diesel generators.

Björn received a BA Real Estate (Kaufmann der Grundstuecks- und Wohnungswirtschaft) Chamber of Commerce Cologne & GEHAG, Berlin/Aachen, Germany, Real Estate Management Boarding School, Ratingen, Germany in 1995 and graduated in 2003 as MSc in International Management from the International University of Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands (Sustainable Economics and International Finance).

Thomas Laleike

Head of IT and design

Thomas Laleike, Head of IT and design is responsible for web design, e-commerce and related IT topics at EcoKraft. As a veteran e-commerce specialist & web designer equipped with 15+ years of professional industry sector experience, he saw the industry grow from humble beginnings to one of the largest industries overall. 

While keeping EcoKraft on course, Thomas started his own boutique consultancy in early 2016 to serve his clients in aspects of web design, UX design, conversion optimization, e-commerce consulting and online marketing. Thomas was a pioneer during the massive, economy wide transformation of traditional wholesale and retail industries towards the facilitation of trading in products and services using computer networks, the web and online social networks.

While working at e-pages in Hamburg, Germany - Europe’s largest developer of e-commerce software for managed cloud solutions - Thomas was moving this transformation forward. As team leader for graphic and front end development he and his team created websites, marketing campaigns, fairs, online marketing tools and classic sales tools for a wide and expanding range of clients covering many different industries and sectors. Prior to his work at e-pages, he was senior web designer & e-commerce specialist at Otto, one of the most recognizable DIY brands in Europe. Otto was one of the first large industrial players that tested and championed in making use of innovative e-commerce software solutions.In these industry and market shaping years,Thomas was responsible for the design and development of online shopping applications for DIY products.

Thomas received a transactional leadership training (2015), a conversion boosting certificate (2014) and has won the German Award for the best online shop of 2008.

Heather Fischer

Communications Specialist and Climate Finance Analyst

Heather Fischer has 10 years of experience as an analyst and writer, including 5 years with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., where she synthesized technical information to make it understandable for policymakers, managed cases on market-based electric energy rates compliance, and followed trends in energy generation and transmission (e.g. renewable energy, and smart grid). Following her work at FERC, Heather accompanied Bjorn to Jakarta Indonesia, where he worked with ICCTF for 2 years. This time allowed Heather to gain developing country experience, learning about Indonesian language and culture; and to gain climate finance experience, assisting with Bjorn’s work on a volunteer basis.

Leading the team in external communications, Heather supports EcoKraft Gmbh in sharing our high-level solutions to industry problems. She also assists in research, particularly focusing on regulatory issues, and also assists in the development of diagnostic tools. Recognizing that climate change has a disproportionate effect on women in the developing world, Heather is particularly interested in gender issues within climate finance.

Heather holds an MPA in Environmental Policy and Policy Analysis from Indiana University - Bloomington, and BA in Environmental Science from Alma College in Alma, MI.

Zach Schweinfurth

Platform developer

Zach Schweinfurth has worked for 8 years in the technology space, with an emphasis on data analysis, data architecture, data integration, and application development. He has worked both in the government sector and the private sector, with experiences ranging from ERP implementation to single page web applications. He is experienced with both traditional data stores, such as relational database, and more flexible schema-less NoSQL stores. Most recently, he was been working with an energy consultancy firm, developing a django web platform to help commercial business find and realize energy savings.

Xiaochen Zhang

Xiaochen Zhang, as the founding partner, Xiaochen brings more than 15 years of global experience and thought leadership to the New Development Ventures. He also serves on the Board of Directors of American Crowdfunding Professional Association, as a green finance advisor of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Asia Small and Medium Enterprises Financing Network. He leads the design and implementation of NDV’s global strategy, which drives global innovation through a number of innovative collaborative initiatives such as a Sharing Economy Lab, and an Insurance Blockchain Lab.

Before BSR, Xiaochen advised government agencies and multinational organizations on low-emissions-development planning, climate policy and finance, and sustainable energy in positions at the World Bank, United Nations, and other international partnership platforms. Xiaochen has extensive experience in the incubation and scale-up of result-based climate solutions and innovative financing mechanisms for the public and private sectors globally. He is a recognized speaker on climate policy and finance, green innovation, and crowdfunding. He holds an M.A. in Global Studies from Leipzig University.

James Hutchins

International Development Expert

James Hutchins is a project manager and technical specialist with more than 25 years of professional experience. He has a broad-based understanding of population-environment dynamics, integrated approaches sea- and landscape-scale biodiversity conservation, natural resources management, and livelihoods promotion through local-level economic development. Mr. Hutchins is well-versed in the best practices in natural resources management. He has field experience working in Zanzibar to promote biodiversity conservation, effective marine-protected area management, sustainable fisheries exploitation, and alternative livelihoods. Mr. Hutchins has additional field experience with local-level integrated conservation and development in Guatemala, Sierra Leone, and Indonesia.

Mr. Hutchins has several years of experience in the design and implementation of effective project interventions. His project management skills include: proposal writing; project design and implementation; PMP and work plan development; reporting; creating and monitoring project budgets; recruiting, training, and managing highly-effective teams; writing/editing; and, the design and implementation of monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

Nazliza Riska

Project Manager of renewable energy and sustainable trade

Nazliza Riska. Project Manager of renewable energy and sustainable trade. When joining a summer program in Germany with a focus on renewable energy in 2011, she was instantly hooked and while continuing her master program she gained practical experiences in the sector. As a young and passionate sustainability leader, Nazli had already worked at various innovative and cutting edge organizations.

She was previously interning at Bettervest, a pioneering crowdfunding platform in Frankfurt, Germany with a focus on investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in Germany and developing countries. Working at Bettervest provided her with new understandings on how crowd based funding can financially support local communities in efforts to fight climate change and improve livelihoods. Earlier, Nazli was completing an internship at the Grameen Creative Lab GmbH in 2015, a social business founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus and Hans Reitz. As project manager she was working with one of the world's greatest social entrepreneurs in efforts to support local communities, alleviate poverty, and develop solutions to fight climate change.

Due to her background and her passion in social business and climate finance areas, she helps to get sustainable projects and sustainable trade initiatives off the ground in order to empower local communities with a particular focus on Indonesia, her country of birth. By end of 2016, Nazli graduates from HFU Business School, Germany as Master of Science (Msc) International Master Management. She previously received a BA in Accounting International Program from Universitas Islam Negri (UIN) and graduated from International Islamic Boarding School (IIBS) in 2009 with an Economic and Social Science Major.