The SunFunder Team

We're not just a solar finance company. We're a collection of unique, talented and highly skilled individuals from 15 countries who are working to make a global impact. Find out more about our team below. 

Our leadership team
  • Ryan Levinson

    Founder & CEO

    Ryan founded SunFunder in 2012 when he was inspired by the prospects for a global solar energy transformation and the need for new financing solutions to make this possible. Prior to SunFunder, Ryan was VP of Environmental Finance at Wells Fargo and led $500 million of investments in more than 150 solar projects. He is a Baltimore native who started his career with the World Resources Institute working with businesses and policymakers on climate and clean energy policies. Ryan holds a Master’s degree in Int’l Relations from the University of Bristol and a bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Audrey Desiderato

    Co-Founder &

    Chief Commercial Officer

    Audrey is French-Indonesian and grew up in 9 countries. She is based in Nairobi, where she is responsible for growing the team and SunFunder’s portfolio. Prior to SunFunder, Audrey modeled clean energy projects for GI Energy, and performed market research for energy access impact investor E+Co. She was also a founding member of GOOD magazine. She is inspired on a daily-basis by our clients’ work and believes helping them scale is the best job in the world. Audrey holds a Master’s degree in Int'l Energy Management & Policy from Columbia University's School of International Affairs, a Master's degree in Environment and Sustainable Development from Sciences Po Paris, and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Political Sciences from UCLA.

  • Alycia Kellman

    Chief Legal Officer

    Alycia joined SunFunder as its CLO in 2015.  She manages all corporate legal matters and structures SunFunder’s debt funds.

    Prior to SunFunder, Alycia was the Vice President of Legal & Compliance at the Grassroots Business Fund. Alycia previously consulted for FINCA International in Amman, Jordan and worked as a project finance attorney at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

    She holds a law degree from Georgetown University, a master's degree in human rights and democratization from the University of Witwatersrand, and a bachelor's degree in political science from Yale University

  • Ritesh Shah

    CFO

    Ritesh joined SunFunder in 2017 and leads corporate finance, systems and investor relations. He is based in Nairobi and brings over 25 years of global experience and leadership in the financial services industry. Prior to SunFunder he was CEO of Rabobank Africa, and previously CFO of Rabobank International North America Wholesale, CFO Europe of Rabobank International, and CFO of De Lage Landen International. Ritesh has lived and worked in three continents. He was educated and trained at the London School of Economics and KPMG, with a professional Chartered Accountancy qualification.

  • Sammy Malaki

    Head of Finance

    Sammy joined SunFunder in February 2020 and is responsible for all aspects of corporate finance and internal controls. Additionally, he supports the KOSAP program. Previously he was Vice President at debt fund SIMA, where he oversaw financial reporting, as well as structuring and managing a pool of off-grid solar and microfinance debt investments in Africa and South East Asia. Prior to that,  Sammy worked as Director of Finance and Administration at Nuru Energy, a renewable energy social enterprise with operations across East Africa. He holds an MBA from the University of Derby and is a Chartered Accountant.

  • Sanjeev Debipersad

    Head of Risk

    Sanjeev is SunFunder’s Head of Risk with more than a decade in banking experience covering strategy, credit portfolio management and credit risk management. He joined Standard Bank’s Kenya franchise as the Director of Credit in the Retail and Business Banking franchise. While in South Africa with the bank, his domain of responsibility spanned 16 African countries across multiple asset classes. Sanjeev also has a rich history in deal origination, structuring and distribution in the pan African context. He has a BSc in Electronic Engineering and an MSc in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Natal. He also has an MBL at the University of South Africa with a specialization in Corporate Finance.

  • Surabhi Mathur Visser

    Head of Investments

    Surabhi is responsible for the healthy growth of our portfolio by supporting the team in developing bankable financial solutions that address our clients’ capital needs and growth strategies. Surabhi joined SunFunder from MRI Group in Singapore where she led the structured trade finance team globally. Prior to that, she was a member of SMBC’s power & infrastructure project finance team and also has worked at Standard & Poor’s securitisation team. Surabhi holds an MBA from HEC Paris and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Georgetown University.

All team
  • Antoine Riffiod

    Investment Analyst

    Antoine is based in Paris and joined SunFunder in March 2019 to support the company’s development in West Africa. He participates in the sourcing, due diligence and structuring of off-grid solar investments. Prior to SunFunder, Antoine worked in financial audit at PwC, in M&A at BNP Paribas, and in project finance at SMBC. He notably contributed to the financing of large-scale infrastructures, including multi-MW solar and wind farms in Europe and in the Middle East. Antoine holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and a master’s degree in Finance and Strategy from Sciences Po Paris. Before that, Antoine studied in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and worked at the French South African Chamber of Commerce in Johannesburg. 

  • Avi Jacobson

    Investment Director

    Avi is an Investment Director at SunFunder. He oversees and leads SunFunder's transactions in the solar home system sector for products ranging from basic inventory loans to arranging syndicated structured receivables finance facilities.  Prior to joining SunFunder, Avi was the Director of Market Analysis at Lumos Global, a solar home system provider that launched initially in Nigeria. He previously worked in energy project development and state/local energy policy in the United States after serving in the US Air Force. Avi is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and holds Bachelors Degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

  • Baraka Megiroo

    Senior Investment Analyst

    Baraka conducts research and analysis on the African solar sector, leads financial diligence on SunFunder’s potential and existing borrowers and supports the lending team’s core operations, business development and monitoring activities. Previously, Baraka was finance officer for Singita Grumeti Reserves in the Serengeti. At Singita, Baraka was also involved with the Community Development outreach team, working with neighbouring communities to develop small businesses that can be sustainable and replicable over time. Baraka holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Dodoma, and is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the National Board of Accountants and Auditors in Tanzania.

  • Brian Chege

    Investment Analyst

    Brian is an Investment Analyst with the Lending Team based in Nairobi. He carries out financial due diligence on potential clients, having joined the team in November 2019. He has over 5 years experience in investment analysis and management. Prior to joining SunFunder, Brian worked as a Research Analyst at Britam Asset Managers, mainly covering the Fixed Income Asset Class. He also covered the Cement, Insurance and Energy sectors within the Equity Asset Class. Brian holds a BBS Actuarial Science degree from Strathmore University and is a CFA Charterholder.

  • Collins Kuindwa

    Investment Analyst

    Collins is part of SunFunder’s Lending team. He carries out financial due diligence on potential clients. Collins joined SunFunder from a local corporate and project finance advisory firm where he was responsible for the preparation and audit of financial models in the energy, banking and commercial services sectors in both Kenya and Rwanda. Collins has a background in Financial Economics having studied at Strathmore University. He is a FAST Level 1 Certified Financial Modeller and a Level III candidate in the CFA Program. He is passionate about helping people make sound business decisions.

  • Geraldina Tarimo

    Portfolio Analyst

    Geraldina was born and raised in Arusha, Tanzania. Geraldina conducts financial diligence on SunFunder’s potential customers and supports the Lending team’s main operations which include keeping the team informed of customer progress. She has worked as an Account and Auditor before becoming a Lecturer at Tumaini university Makumira where she currently lectures on Accounting, Finance and other business studies. Geraldina holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Dodoma and a Masters degree in Finance and Investment from Coventry University.

  • Gilbert West

    Head of Systems

    Gilbert helps plan and introduce new systems into the team and ensure they work together in the best possible way. He has over 20 years experience in programming and web development. His recent background is in renewables crowdfunding and carbon-offsetting projects. Gilbert hails from Scotland, but has spent most of his life in London and Brussels, with stints in New York and Sana’a.

  • Hella Bennani

    Business Development Associate

    Hella is based in Nairobi. She joined SunFunder from Lion's Head Global Partners, an asset management firm where she worked on debt transactions for solar-home-system companies in Sub-Sharan Africa. Hella started her career at the World Bank in Washington, DC and later worked as a management consultant at Ernst & Young before moving to Nairobi, where she joined Pawame, a solar-home-system provider, as a Partnerships Manager. She is French-Tunisian and holds a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree in Economics from University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne.

  • Jemimah Kwakye-Fosu

    Investment Officer

    Jemimah has over 10 years of working experience in debt and structured financing as well as consumer data analytics.  She previously worked with Oikocredit as an Investment Officer where her responsibility included developing the country's MFI and SME portfolio. She started her career with Standard Chartered Bank and also worked as a Client Service Executive for The Nielsen Company. She holds an MBA from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Ghana.

  • Isabelle de Cointet

    Director, Debt Funds

    Isabelle is based in London with the Debt Funds team. She worked for 4 years at J.P. Morgan in London, as an Associate in the High Yield Credit Research team. She was keen to make a career shift to social finance and became passionate about off-grid energy access. Isabelle has an MSc in Management with a Corporate Finance major from the ESSEC Business School, where she also did long-term internships in private equity (at mid-cap UK fund Lyceum Capital and at Ardian, fka AXA Private Equity) as well as in debt capital markets at J.P. Morgan.

  • Kevin Gaitho

    Technical Lead

    Kevin joined SunFunder in 2019 as our Technical Lead based in Nairobi. He has over 5 years’ experience developing, designing and executing solar, storage and hybrid systems. He co-founded Equatorial Energies, where he successfully implemented over 4.5MW of C&I and residential PV systems, and previously worked with Strathmore University’s Energy Research Centre. With his strong understanding of access to energy as a key catalyst for Africa’s growth, Kevin’s goal is to make transformative contributions to the energy industry with SunFunder.

  • Lillian Njoroge

    Credit Portfolio Analyst

    Lillian is a part of the Risk Team working as Credit Portfolio Analyst. She has over 20 years’ banking experience in credit risk, portfolio management and   governance   with   a   proven   track   record   of   successful   strategy development, team leadership and business development.  Prior to joining SunFunder she worked for Stanbic Bank in various positions such as credit origination and evaluation, credit securities and collateral, credit account management and credit portfolio management where she successfully implemented controls and systems which addressed risk encountered in the post credit granting stage.  Lillian holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in International Business Administration from United States International

    University and is also an Associate of the Kenya Institute of Bankers (AKIB).

  • Naleke Kaapei

    Systems Support Officer

    Naleke is based in Nairobi and joined SunFunder as a Systems Support Officer in October 2018. She is responsible for helping the team with technology related problems to ensure maximum productivity. Before joining SunFunder, she spent time researching on issues affecting girls’ education in Kajiado county in Kenya and also has experience in IT Administration. She holds a degree in Business and Information Technology from Strathmore University.

  • Nico Tyabji

    Director of Strategic Partnerships

    Nico is a native Londoner who joined SunFunder from Bloomberg New Energy Finance in July 2016. There, he led coverage of off-grid solar and energy access, which included co-authoring the Off-grid Solar Market Trends Report and coordinating Climatescope Africa. He has a Masters in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

  • Rim Azirar

    Investment Officer

    Rim joined SunFunder in May 2018 to lead transactions in West Africa, covering both off-grid solar and other productive use, microgrid and commercial & industrial solar opportunities in the region. She joined from responsAbility Investments where she worked for more than four years completing agriculture investments in Africa. Before that she started her career at BNP Paribas in the structured finance department. Rim was born in Morocco, speaks 5 languages and holds a Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Sciences Po Paris.

  • Susan Muchiri

    Investment Officer

    Susan is an Investment Officer working out of the Nairobi office. She brings 8 years of banking experience. Prior to Sunfunder, Susan worked as a Branch Manager for Chase Bank Kenya, after having spent 3 years at UBA Bank. She holds a Diploma in Public Relations & Marketing, a Degree in International Studies & Diplomacy and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Environmental Policy, all from the University of Nairobi.

  • Tinashe Makoni

    Senior Counsel

    Tinashe is a senior transactional lawyer with over 12 years experience advising developers, international banks, development finance institutions, private equity funds and state-owned enterprises in complex, cross-border transactions. Tinashe has previously worked for leading legal practices at Allen & Overy, Norton Rose Fulbright and Trinity International LLP, where he advised clients on a range of financings, including project financing, trade and commodities financing and off-grid power development. He is a director of the International Lawyer’s for Africa (ILFA), a multi-award-winning international training programme for African lawyers. Tinashe obtained an LLB from the University of Cape Town in 2003, qualified in South Africa in 2006 and was admitted to the New York Bar.

  • Tom Kinoti

    Portfolio Manager

    Tom is SunFunder's Portfolio Manager providing oversight in loan portfolio performance. Prior to joining Sunfunder, Tom was a Portfolio Analyst at Stanbic Bank where among other achievements, he led the implementation of their core banking system and credit risk scoring model. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Mathematics and a diploma in management information systems (IMIS-UK). Tom is passionate about data driven decisions.

  • Tom Parr

    Debt Funds Associate

    Tom is a born and bred Londoner who joined SunFunder's Debt Funds team. He is responsible for debt fund accounting and leads investor reporting. Previously, he spent 5 years in the Investment Banking industry where he trained to qualify with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Tom spent the formative part of his career working in the energy sector having gained a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cardiff University. Tom believes that social impact can be realised through financial innovation in the sustainable energy industry.

  • Vanessa Agbenyoh

    Accountant & Analyst

    Vanessa is part of the lending and corporate finance team as an Accountant/Analyst. Prior to joining Sunfunder, she was working with Solarkiosk AG as a finance Manager in three country subsidiaries; Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. She brings on board 9 years experience in finance and accounting. She also worked with JCS Investment, an equity investment firm in Ghana as well as PKF Ghana in the audit and assurance department. Vanessa is a member of the Association Chartered Certified Accountant, UK.

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