Our Vision

About us

Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) prepares tomorrow’s leaders for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in a fast-changing world. Through online executive education courses, targeted research, and its growing league of industry professionals, DFI builds capabilities with the view to bridge human capacity gaps that exist, especially in developing markets.

Open up doors to vast job opportunities and success

DFI connects more than 1 500 industry professionals representing public, private and development sectors in 60 countries through its online community. The organization has trained more than 2 000 students in 90 countries, and has physical communities of practice established in 18 cities.

The non-profit organisation was founded in 2015 by David Porteous, Gavin Krugel and Ignacio Mas. Our funders include The Omidyar Network, FSD Africa, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which…

The Use Of Digital Services Becomes Common

The current occasional use of digital services becomes persistent because they are useful, relevant and trusted by people of all incomes, addressing not only current but future needs.

Necessary Digital Tools and Education Are Provided

Low income individuals should not be constrained by current resources and instead be provided with the digital tools and education needed to grow resourcefully.

Differentiated Notions of Digital Identity Are Enabled

Previously excluded individuals should be provided with opportunities and digital tools to not only make them discoverable but to also be educated to allow for effective inclusion.

Are you ready to be a digital sherpa?

Our theory of change

DFI believes that by equipping a new generation of “Digital Sherpa’s” through continued education, self-development and mentoring programs as well as engagement with peers, we will create a new cadre of professionals able to engage in building the digital economy in their countries.

These tools should focus on the development of professionals who are recognized for their ability to develop and deploy relevant and robust digital solutions, whether in private or public sectors.

This in turn will lead to accelerated growth in the adoption and usage of digital solutions, which is likely to lead to faster economic growth and greater economic efficiency.

DFI will also support activities in research, which will help maintain a fresh and relevant knowledge base and feed into the development of our curriculum.


David Porteous – Chairman

David has been involved in finance inclusion initiatives internationally for more than two decades. He received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Cape Town, and later obtained an M.Phil in economics from Cambridge and a PhD (Economics) from Yale. David has held executive roles in public and private financial institutions in Africa, and is the founder and CEO of BFA, a consulting firm based in Boston.

Gavin Krugel – CEO

Gavin has been involved in the payments and financial services industry for over 20 years. He has managed large global development programs as a former manager of the Mobile Money for the Unbanked and Mobile Health programs at the GSMA and has held leadership and board positions in both large multinational organisations and start-ups. He holds an MBA from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business.

Ignacio Mas – Co-Founder and formerly Executive Director of the Digital Frontiers Institute.

Ignacio Mas worked at DFI from March 2015 to the 31 December 2020. Ignacio is a Senior Fellow at CEME at the Fletcher School. He has been deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has held senior telecoms jobs at Vodafone and Intel, and has been adjunct professor at the Business School at the University of Chicago. He holds a SB degree from MIT and a PhD from Harvard.