Axel Stelk, Finance Expert in Hamburg, Germany
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Axel Stelk

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Hamburg, Germany
Toptal Member Since
March 22, 2018

Axel has eight years of financial management experience working for PwC and Morgan Stanley, where he worked on $5 billion of debt, equity, and M&A transactions. He then served as CFO and COO of a high-growth tech company in East Africa, leading financing rounds, corporate restructuring and the spin-off of a key subsidiary. Axel enjoys freelancing to find challenging FP&A and fundraising projects where his skills can be leveraged.

Career Highlights

Morgan Stanley

Education Highlights

Bachelor's Degree
Warwick Business School

Certification Highlights

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Case Studies

Work Experience


2017 - 2018
  • Worked as part of the founding team, managed the spin-off process from Esoko Networks, including all the key workstreams such as structuring of the transaction, new company establishment, legal due diligence, and asset allocation.
  • Led the execution of an $800,000 equity seed round, including the investor selection and meetings, due diligence process, and coordination of legal documentation and closing.
  • Modeled and tested unit economics of different go-to-market strategies and determined which strategies to further test and implement.
  • Analyzed data from our pilots in Ghana and Kenya from a quantitative and qualitative perspective, and made recommendations to the board based on the findings.
  • Built Tulaa’s internal financial and operating models and made strategic recommendations to the leadership team and board of directors based on the results.
Focus areas: Financial Modeling, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Financial Restructuring, Fundraising, Cash Flow Forecasting, Budgeting


2016 - 2017
Esoko Networks
  • Raised $2.4 million of new funding in the form of equity and grants for the business by managing the fundraising process from investor selection to due diligence and closing.
  • Grew the revenue by 200% during 2016 and implemented new pricing structure for all of Esoko's products, taking a holistic view of the companies cost structure.
  • Initiated and led a complete restructuring of the group, which resulted in $500,000 run-rate cost savings and a strategic refocus on three key regional markets and the eventual spin-off of the Tulaa business line.
  • Created detailed financial and operating models to drive business strategy and presented key recommendations to the board.
  • Implemented a cash flow management system that helped the company manage its resources effectively until the closing of the investment round.
Focus areas: Financial Modeling, Finance Strategy, Management, Audits, Budgeting, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Fundraising

Business Development Fellow

2015 - 2016
Kiva Microfunds
  • Developed strategic partnerships with key partner organizations in San Francisco and the Bay Area, and enrolled 30+ new businesses into the program, helping them raise debt financing of $200,000.
  • Developed an engagement strategy and marketing campaign for Oakland launch event in March 2016, including a direct mailing campaign co-sponsored by the Oakland mayor's office to 30,000 SMEs.
  • Built the operating model for Kiva US—forecasting the growth from the various borrower channels and shaped the engagement strategy for the 2016 financial year.
Focus areas: Business Planning, Strategy, Business Development


2013 - 2015
Morgan Stanley
  • Led a $450 million inaugural debt raise of UK-based pension insurer, involving the creation of operating model to determine the adequate quantum of debt that could be supported, drafting of roadshow material, and industry and market analysis.
  • Led the development of complex operating and LBO valuation models for the $290 million acquisition of mortgage specialist Kensington by Blackstone and TPG.
  • Constructed financial models for a $740 million acquisition attempt of a German insurance company by a leading global insurance company and acted as the key point of contact for our client and the sell-side advisors during the buy-side due diligence.
  • Built detailed financial models of insurance companies and projects, including a return analysis, a sensitivity analysis, risk assessment, and valuation.
  • Covered a portfolio of 20+ leading insurance companies in Europe from a business development perspective and was the key point of contact for any specific analysis required by their CEO's offices.
Focus areas: Financial Modeling, Capital Raising, Equity Financing, Debt Raises, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

Senior Associate

2010 - 2013
  • Performed controls and year-end audits on clients in the insurance industry (Life, GI, Lloyd's), with a client portfolio including Swiss Re, Ace, and Aviva.
  • Was promoted to the team lead in my second year with the firm and was in charge of a life insurance subsidiary with revenues in excess of $30 million.
  • Mapped and tested the entire Sarbanes-Oxley controls environment of a first-year audit client—reducing the substantive audit work to be performed by 25%.
Focus areas: Management, Audits, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)
2007 - 2010

Bachelor's Degree in Finance

Warwick Business School - Coventry, England



Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales