Our Team

“Walk with the dreamers,
the believers, the courageous,
the cheerful, the planners,
the doers
people with their eyes to the sky and their feet on the ground.”
Afnan Hannan

Afnan Hannan

Co-Founder / CEO

Affy has an academic background in Renewable Energy Engineering and Economics from the Australian National University. His mission is to empower the under privileged by enabling access to energy and technology. Having worked for various technology companies, such as Bueno (Australia’s fastest growing IoT start up) and IBM, Afnan has an appreciation for persevering with challenging problems that require human centric design & implementation of innovative technologies.

Damian Veling

Damian Veling

Co-Founder / CTO

Damo is a software engineer with a background in information systems and business. In the past he was software architect at Bueno, where he and Affy met, responsible for managing vast amounts of IoT data in real time, used for optimising energy efficiency in buildings. Now he uses his extensive knowledge of computer and IoT technology to ensure 1 billion people around the world can get access to clean and reliable electricity, as fast as possible.

Nithya Menon

Nithya Menon

Product Owner

Nithya is an engineer whose technical expertise ranges from computer programming to mechanical sciences. She is passionate about applying her knowledge to empower marginalised communities in the developing world, with a particular interest in water management and energy access. In India, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Mali, she has experience developing and implementing water access and agricultural services. At Okra, she builds firmware and works on product design and development strategy.

Dylan Lu

Dylan Lu

RnD Consultant

Dylan is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney and at the University of Sydney, Australia. He has a passion for engineering for humanitarian causes and has over 20 years of experience working with power electronics. Dylan’s current research interests include power electronics circuits design & control for efficient power conversion, power factor correction, renewable energy systems, micro-grid and grid-integration. He holds 2 patents, is associate editor of various electronics journals & is author and co-author of over 140 academic papers.

Sovannara Pha

Sovannara Pha

Community Support & Operations

Sovannara was a Buddhist monk for 12 years in Cambodia before joining the solar energy sector as a project manager and sales lead. He draws on his extensive experience of customer service and community activation to assist Okra in navigating within Cambodia, and to help end-user communities leverage energy access to lead more comfortable and productive lives.

Sam Battenally

Sam Battenally

Senior Software Engineer

Sam is a firmware and software engineer with a background in team leadership and project management. He built his technical toolbox at a leading Australian electronics and firmware design consultancy firm where he contributed to turning many ideas into products, particularly in the IoT space. Sam further honed his skills as a senior software engineer and technical lead at Seeing Machines, a global leader in Driver Monitoring Systems.

Louis Jolivet

Louis Jolivet

Business Development & Operations

Louis has an academic background in development economics and politics having studied a masters degree in the Political Economy of Emerging Markets at the International Development Institute, King’s College London. Having worked in the startup environment in the past, as well as in sales and logistics focused roles, Louis aims to provide value to business development, social impact assessment and operations functions at Okra.

Oscar Aitchison

Oscar Aitchison

Power Engineering & Operations

Oscar is an engineer with a broad range of experience in designing and commissioning electrical power systems. After several years working with big energy companies that manage coal fired power plants and large scale electrical infrastructure, he has since directed his efforts towards finding clean, sustainable energy solutions for those who need it most. He is a passionate believer that energy poverty can be eradicated by consumer led, ground up solutions.

Fergus McCracken

Fergus McCracken

Hardware Engineer

Ferg is a hardware engineer specialising in optics, with a passion for BMI’s (brain machine interfaces) and building innovative products that disrupt the status quo. He has spent 7 years working with Seeing Machines, one of Australia’s most innovative companies and a world leader in the development of computer vision technology. At Okra his primary roles are in product development, covering all bases from requirements definition to high volume manufacturing processes.

Matthew Smart

Matthew Smart

Data Science & Finance

Matty is a data aficionado that enjoys meticulously designing, tuning and analysing spreadsheets on a Sunday afternoon. He loves solving mysteries whilst remaining a mysterious person himself. He holds degrees in economics & actuarial studies from the Australian National University and completed an honours program focusing on systemic risk in Australian banks by modelling networks and system interdependence. Matt aims to bring all the tools of his trade to the Engineering world to ensure Okra provides end users the maximum benefit from each joule of energy generated through solar.

Landry Leblanc

Landry Leblanc

Firmware Engineering Intern

Landry is an electronics, computers and mechatronics student at Brest National School of Engineering in France. His will to learn and to discover the world while trying to help others has brought him to Cambodia, where he works on the development of automated testing equipment for the next product.

Erin Thomas

Erin Thomas

Engineering & Marketing Intern

Erin is a computer engineering student at Boston University who helps Okra with a vast range of projects in engineering, marketing and HR. Her passion for learning and experiencing new cultures has landed her in the heart of South-East Asia where she is able to focus her efforts on sustainable development using innovative technology.

Alexey Zaytsev

Alexey Zaytsev

Hardware Engineer

Alexey has a background in molecular biology, firmware and software systems, amongst many other things. Now, he is a self taught hardware hacker at Okra where he leads hardware design and leverages his 3+ years experience of living and working in China to reduce manufacturing costs. One might say he is the “Jason Bourne” of electronics and hardware.

Callum Yap

Callum Yap

Supply Chain & Operations

Callum has a background in electrical engineering with professional experience in marketing, business development and data analysis. He is driven to accelerate off-grid empowerment and tackle climate change issues using scalable technologies. Currently he leverages his past experience as an engineer in China to manage supply chain of Okra products and appliances.

Georg Lippitsch

Georg Lippitsch

Firmware Engineer

Georg is an versatile and well-rounded engineer with a background in both hardware and software development. Before joining Okra, he worked on high-end server and video processing applications as well as embedded firmware. Georg is very passionate about open access to technology and has participated in several open source projects. At Okra, he works on the core firmware of our solar controllers and helps maintain Okra’s commitment to the open source community.

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Equal Opportunity

At Okra, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it. We support it. We thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products and our community. Okra is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace that's committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or gender identity. If you have a special needs that requires accommodation, please let us know in your job application.