Karsten Wenzlaff is the founder of the Institute of Communications for Social Media (ikosom), a Berlin-based research facility for new forms of electronic technology. He has received an MPhil in International Relations with a thesis on international financial regulation from the University of Cambridge (UK).
His research focus is Alternative Finance, FinTech and Crowdfunding, in particularly Civic Crowdfunding and Corporate Crowdfunding. He teaches undergradates and conducts his research at the University of Hamburg at the Chair for Digital Markets. He is also a research affiliate with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the Judge Business School and the European Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Utrecht. Karsten also teaches Master Students at the University for Applied Sciences in Bremen and FinTech Regulators in the Executive Education Program on Fintech and Regulatory Innovation of the Judge Business School.
Karsten is author of the first European Crowdfunding-Survey, published in 2011 and author of the first survey of Crowdfunding in Germany, published in 2012. He also published the first German Crowdsourcing Report in 2013. Since 2013, he supported the Center for Alternative Finance in Cambridge on the Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, where he edited the European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report since 2017. In 2020, he became an author in the Global Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report of the Cambridge University and part of the Covid19-Response-Team of the Centre for Alternative Finance at Cambridge University. In 2020, he also published the first scientific study on Fintech/Alternative Finance Self-Regulation in Europe.
In April 2013 he organized the first international Crowdfunding congress in Germany, and has since then organized several industry meetings, such as the InnoFinance Congress in 2019 which facilitated cross-industry particiaption. He has been asked to speak at a wide range of events, both as a key speaker, panelist and moderator, for instances at events in London, Brussels, Tangier, Minsk, Kuala Lumpur, Aruba, Zagreb, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Vienna. In 2016, he moderated the FinTech Barcamp organized by the German Ministry of Finance.
From 2012 until 2015 he wasÂ a member of the Board of the German Crowdsourcing Association and initiated the German Crowdfunding Network. Since 2015, he is the Secretary-General of the German Crowdfunding Association, which represents the German Crowdfunding platforms towards policy-makers. Karsten manages a large network of Fintech associations and Fintech providers world-wide.
Karsten is also a member of the European Crowdfunding Stakeholder Forum, an advisory body to the European Commission. He is an external advisor to the UNDP Alt Fin Lab. He was asked to share his knowledge on Disruptive Financial Services to a report to the World Economic Forum, has been invited to speak at the German Bundestag on FinTech Regulation in the Committee to Advance the Digital Agenda in Germany. He has consulted the Fintech Association in Uganda on developing self-regulation, consulted the German Development Agency (GIZ) on the implementation of Crowdfunding support programs and wrote the OECD for a report on Civic Crowdfunding.
He has been active in a number of initiatives funded by the European Union. With his company ikosom, in 2016 he was awarded a tender by the Interreg Central Europe program to support Crowdfunding platforms in Central Europe (Crowd-Fund-Port). In 2019, the projects CE-RESPONSIBLE which supports social entrepreneurs, was also funded by the Interreg Central Europe program. He was asked to serve on the Validation Board of the EU project CitizEnergy.