15th & 16th of May
Maribor, Slovenia
 

All speakers

Dr. Miro Cerar /Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia dr. Andrej Fištravec /Municipality of Maribor, Slovenia David Rose /MIT, USA James Haliburton /Topp Design & Innovation, Sweden Shira Abel /Hunter & Bard, USA Mike Sigal /500 Startups, USA Nuno Gonçalves Pedro /Strive Capital, USA David Prais /Cofound.it, Slovenia Carolyn N. Spencer /Amazon, USA Carlos Eduardo Espinal /Seedcamp Steli Efti /Close.io, USA Brian Flynn /FounderPartners, USA Henry Hwong /Cunningham Collective, USA Dr. Guenther Dobrauz-Saldapenna /PwC Legal, Switzerland Chuck Goldman /VUI, USA Neeraj Berry /Sprig, Berlin Bernadine Bröcker Wieder /Vastari, UK Žiga Vavpotič /Outfit7, Cyprus Alexandre Massart /Blend Ventures, UK Maris Prii /Swisscontact, Switzerland Enis Hulli /500 Startups, Turkey Darwin Dubon /Dunkin' Brands, USA Chris Out /RockBoost, NL Heinrich Schmid-Schmidsfelden /Kapsch TrafficCom AG, Austria Sara Usinger /SwissContact, Switzerland Jan Habermann /Credo Ventures, Czech Republic Jonathan Grover /Plantronics, USA David Parrish /T-Shirt and Suits, UK Matt Kuppers /Startup Manufactory, UK Letitia Seglah /Startup Manufactory, UK Markus Lang /Pioneers Ventures, Austria Boštjan Špetič /OutBrain, Slovenia Florian Kandler /GetFunding.how, Austria Philippe Suchet  /Spider Capital Partners, USA Nina Nikolikj /SwissContact, Macedonia Johannes Naumann /Deutsche Post DHL Group, Germany Muhamed Turkanović /Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Slovenia Barnabas Malnay /EIT Digital, Hungary Philippe Thiltges /WhatAVenture, Austria Aleksander Tönnisson /Buildit, Estonia Jure Mikuž /South Central Ventures, Slovenia Daniel Cronin /AustrianStartups, Austria Tatjana Zabasu /South Central Ventures, Slovenia Urban Lapajne /Initiative Start:up Slovenia, Slovenia Peter Frankl /Finance, Slovenia David Bojanovič /D·Labs, Slovenia Tilen Travnik /D·Labs, Slovenia Primož Škerget /D·Labs, Slovenia Janže Račečič /D·Labs, Slovenia Julien Coustaury /Fil Rouge Capital, Slovenia Nejc Novak /Novak Law, Slovenia Marko Filej /Sporty.co, Slovenija Luka Sučić /HUB385, Croatia Matjaž Slak /Cofound.it, Slovenia Matej Golob /CorpoHub, Slovenia Ana Osredkar /Servis 8, Slovenia Iztok Hočevar /Cofound.it, Slovenia Jakob Gajšek /ABC Accelerator, Slovenia David Braun /DASHR, leAD Sports Accelerator, Germany Igor Madzov /South Central Ventures, Macedonia Vasja Bočko /IRYO.IO, Slovenia Pierre Marro /DG Connect, EC, Brussels Thomas Kösters /EIT Digital, Italy Josef Gröblacher /Nova KBM, Slovenia Martina Egger /WhatAVenture, Austria Dan Lupu /Earlybird Venture Capital, Romania Farid Edrisian  /Karanobin - Innovation group, Iran

Honorable Guests at PODIM 2018

Dr. Miro Cerar
Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia
 

Dr Miro Cerar was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia by the National Assembly on 25 August 2014. Before entering politics, dr Miro Cerar was a Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana, where he lectured on the theory and philosophy of law, comparative law and the ethics of the legal profession. In 2008, as a Fulbright Scholar, he taught comparative constitutional law at the Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, and underwent professional development training at the University of California School of Law in Berkeley. After holding the office of Vice-President of the Judicial Council of the Republic of Slovenia for a year and a half, he became its President during the period from December 2010 to June 2012. In the period 2000-2014, he was selected as one of the ten most influential Slovenian legal experts thirteen times, and in the period 2011-2014, he was named the Slovenian legal expert with the greatest reputation four times.  
 

Speakers

dr. Andrej Fištravec
Municipality of Maribor, Slovenia
 

Dr. Andrej Fištravec got his bachelor degree at the Faculty of Social sciences, University of Ljubljana, and received his PhD from the Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor. He worked as an assistant and university teacher at the University of Maribor. For some time, he was employed in the Maribor unit of the Institute of Education and lastly at the Institute for Development of Social Responsibility. He is currently the Mayor of the Municipality of Maribor.

David Rose
MIT, USA Linkedin profile
 

David Rose is a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab. David is in demand for his inspiring presentations at conferences like TEDx, South by Southwest, The Institute for the Future, and Fortune 500 corporations. David has extensive entrepreneurial, marketing, sales, and product development experience, ranging from founding technology organizations to leading research and innovation groups within large public companies.
 
David is proven leader with a track record of success in developing innovative customer-centric products that drive company revenues and visibility. After receiving his bachelor’s degrees in physics and fine art from St. Olaf College, David earned a master’s at Harvard.
 

James Haliburton
Topp Design & Innovation, Sweden Linkedin profile
 

James Haliburton is the CEO and co-founder at Topp Design & Innovation. James leads a growing team based out of Malmö, Stockholm, and San Francisco, tackling the some of the most wicked problems found in business, technology and life. From Doctors Without Borders to Samsung James is working with international, large scale initiatives to make impact with design. James is also the CEO of Noodl – the UX Design platform for IoT.

James spent the past 15 years leading design and innovation organizations (both industrial and academic), and has a special interest in developing cross-competent / multidisciplinary design & prototyping teams to help shape the best experiences for our digital world.

Shira Abel
Hunter & Bard, USA Linkedin profile
 

Shira Abel is the CEO of Hunter & Bard, a public relations and design agency that works with established companies on building their brand, establishing awareness with their customers and developing credibility through thought leadership.

Shira works with companies to build and implement smart strategies and build online communities that grow companies. She is also a sought after Corporate Speaker - and has spoken at AdRoll, Axa Tech, Allianz, eToro and more. Shira has experience speaking worldwide at conferences on marketing for startups, judging competitions, teaching marketing to startups, and mentoring at several startup accelerators.
 

Mike Sigal
500 Startups, USA Linkedin profile
 

Mike Sigal is an early-stage investor, entrepreneur, and strategic advisor specializing in innovation, business development, storytelling and transforming corporate culture. Over the last 8 years he's been specifically focused on innovation in financial services industry. He has founded 7 startups, with 3 exits including an IPO, and advised dozens of corporations and institutions on implementing startup-inspired innovation practices and culture.

Now, he is a Partner at 500 FinTech, which is 500 Startups’ dedicated fund for investing globally in early-stage startups transforming the financial services industry. He is also a speaker, a startup coach, and advises banks and insurance firms on innovation. He has made 33  investments since January 2016.
 

Nuno Gonçalves Pedro
Strive Capital, USA Linkedin profile
 

Nuno Gonçalves Pedro has led his own Venture Capital fund – Strive Capital – in Silicon Valley for the last 7+ years (AppAnnie, Enish, KeepSafe, etc), as well as been a partner with Delta Partners Group, leading its Investment Banking and Investment units in the US. Strive was the first early stage "quantitative" early-stage fund in Silicon Valley, deriving most of its deal flow from its own analytics engine and investing globally, including in China and Japan. Recently, he has focused on investing in start-ups that leverage blockchain and/or AI in unique ways. Nuno has been a Director on a variety of for-profit and non-profit Boards, and has more recently been heavily involved in several ICOs (AppCoin, LGBT, among others).

Prior to this, he was a senior leader with McKinsey in Asia-Pacific, while based in Beijing. He was also the head of Strategy, Corporate and Business Development for the GSM Association, the leading mobile player, which he helped transform from a small organization into the case-study of trade association transformation.

He has a unique 21 year track record in the Telecom, Tech and Digital spaces, which includes expertise in strategy, product, business development/partnerships, corporate development (M&A and investments) and the general management/business building of organizations and business units. He has led teams from several hundred people to small empowered SWAT teams of 3-4 that have produced billion USD impact in industries (e.g. Telecom), companies and non-profits. Finally, he is also a prolific angel investor, advisor/advisory board member and board director that has served in several companies in all possible roles – executive, investor and independent.

He has a degree in Computer Engineering from IST, one of the top Engineering Schools in Europe, and is a postgraduate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School, as well as the London Business School.

David Prais
Cofound.it, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

David Prais is the chairman at Cofound.it, a platform that connects blockchain believers to teams that are building serious blockchain businesses.

David has vast experience in the business world. He’s been through it all - a Founder, Board Director and Chairman. He has worked for many years in both Startups (including his own), to some fo the largest companies in the world at the highest levels. He has advised governments. He’s worked in the the VC, Public & Private Equity, digital and Marketing Industries and his skills cover everything from Strategy, Business Planning, Executive Coaching, to Blockchain, Business Tokenization, Fund-raising, Digital & Integrated Marketing, and E-commerce. David is a strong entrepreneurship professional with an excellent record of delivering exceptional resul.

Carolyn N. Spencer
Amazon, USA Linkedin profile
 

Carolyn N. Spencer is a Program Manager at Amazon. She is an innovation infuser with a plan to make a big difference in the world by connecting (with) and inspiring others. She is passionate about pairing market research and customer interaction with data-driven insights to drive technology-based (design) solutions. She thrives in a challenging and fast-paced startup atmosphere.
 
With scholarly designations, including being named to the prestigious All-USA Community College Academic Team, as well as named a Coca-Cola Scholar, she gives back to the community through personal and professional mentorship, such as volunteering to assist with Seattle University's Business Plan Competition.
 

Carlos Eduardo Espinal
Seedcamp Linkedin profile
 

Carlos Eduardo Espinal is a renowned Seed Investor & Partner at Seedcamp. As Partner at Seedcamp, he has led the creation of the Seedsummit.org free legal reference docs initiative across Europe, the creation of Seedhack, the creation of Seedcamp's Academy program and related content, the Seedcamp Podcast series, and the writing of the Fundraising Field Guide book to help founders navigate the fundraising process.
 
Additionally, he has led the investment in 200+ companies including: Transferwise, Farmeron, Property Partner, Grabcad, Profitero, Stamplay, EDITD, Basekit, Traity, Saberr, Try.com, BorrowMyDoggy, and many more.
 
Carlos has helped organize and lead investment meetups all over Europe as part of Seedcamp events and also in Hong Kong. He is also mobile tech lover & blogger, and a photography and hiking enthusiast.
 

Steli Efti
Close.io, USA Linkedin profile
 

Steli Efti is CEO and Co-Founder of Close.io (a platform that makes calls, sends emails, and conveniently automatically tracks all activity) and ElasticSales.
Steli has helped more than 200 venture-backed startups to build and scale their sales processes and closed thousands of deals worth tens of millions of dollars. Not only has he done it himself, but has also trained thousands of founders, sales directors and sales reps how to create predictable revenue.
He is an alumnus of Y Combinator (they helped making companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, 9gag, and more). His company has received funding from Spark Capital, SV Angel, Start Fund, and Omidyar Networks as well as several notable angel investors.
Besides firing half his team by singing Bye Bye Baby from ’N Sync, Steli also published a lot of interesting articles, from “Why Startups Need To Visit Their Customers” to “Hiring for Startups: How to Recruit the Un-recruitable!“.

Brian Flynn
FounderPartners, USA Linkedin profile
 

Brian Flynn is a private investor and serial entrepreneur focused on the software, internet/digital media and mobile sectors. He co-founded and/or invested in 22 private companies. Of that group, 10 exited, 9 are independent and 3 were shut down.

Some of his companies include AdMovate (sold to Yahoo!), IMsecure (sold to Checkpoint), Pixoart Design (sold to 51.com), Ultris (sold to Saba), Fotolog (sold to Hi-Media), Qpod (sold to Groupon) and others which are independent (Wheelhouse, Mixbook, Meltwater, Pinkoi, Chairish, iDentalSoft, Cleanshelf, CFOPlans, Markable). He is also an LP in Infinity Venture Partners, a Japan-China mobile Internet fund.

Earlier in his career, Brian served as Head of Corporate Development at Macromedia where he managed strategy, investments and acquisitions and facilitated the sale of the company to Adobe for $3.9 billion. He also was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley & Co. and Robertson Stephens where he closed more than 40 mergers, acquisitions and financings.

Brian spends his philanthropic time mentoring early stage technology entrepreneurs in Africa. He currently serves on the Board of the Meltwater Foundation which runs MEST (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology).
 

Henry Hwong
Cunningham Collective, USA Linkedin profile
 

Henry Hwong is an experienced marketing and product management executive focused on helping companies build and launch disruptive innovations. With over 24 years of experience in technology and consulting for venture-backed startups and public companies, he has strong operational experience in both large enterprises and startup teams.

Henry is currently a Principal at Cunningham Collective, where he has led a number of brand strategy and marketing engagements for clients in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, consumer technology, enterprise solutions, IoT, video, food tech, eCommerce, and semiconductors. He also served as interim marketing leadership for a consumer streaming video company and an enterprise unified communications company. Prior to joining the firm, he led product marketing at Deem, where he built the product marketing and demand generation teams, as well as implemented core product launch and pricing processes. Henry also led product management for Ariba’s cloud and on-premise platforms, as well as drove release readiness and pricing. Before Ariba, he was the Vice President of Marketing at Provade, a contingent workforce management SaaS platform. He also held product management roles at Elance and PeopleSoft, and managed strategic alliances at Moai Technologies.

Henry began his career in the technology and management consulting, where he advised global high-tech and automotive clients on corporate strategy, market entry and product planning.

Henry has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rice University, an MS in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
 

Dr. Guenther Dobrauz-Saldapenna
PwC Legal, Switzerland Linkedin profile
 

Dr. Guenther Dobrauz-Saldapenna is a lawyer, VC investor, disruption disciple, author and exponential technologies enthusiast.

Considered one of the leading European Banking, Investment and Blockchain/Crypto Law specialists Guenther is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, rock music, custom bratstyle motorcycles, obstacle course racing and vinyl records.

A Partner at PwC Zurich and Leader of PwC Legal Switzerland he and his team are building the law firm of the future. Every day. Prior to this he was a successful Venture Capitalist, served as in-house counsel at an international hedge fund and practised in court and with a leading business law firm. Guenther holds a PhD in law from Johannes Kepler University (Austria), an MBA from the University of Strathclyde (Scotland) and has completed an Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School. He is the author of 10 books mostly on investment law and regulation but also of "Making Money out of Technology" (2003), "Uptake Revisited: How Innovative Products Succeed in International Markets" (2007) and the upcoming "Appetite for Disruption" (2018). He is privately invested and actively involved in numerous ventures and lectures at various universities.
 

Chuck Goldman
VUI, USA Linkedin profile
 

Chuck Goldman is an experienced manager and creator of companies that create value. The Boston based investor is a co-founder and CEO of VUI – the first and only voice-driven customer engagement platform, aiming to create meaningful Voice-First experiences for brands. Chuck is also an investment partner at Sky Ventures Group that specializes in health technologies and innovations.

He was a Senior Director at Apple who formed an Enterprise sales team and led the launch of the iPhone into the Enterprise market. Chuck was the founder and CEO of enterprise mobile app management company Apperian as well as several other software and services companies.  Chuck has a proven track record of building successful businesses, both in the startup environment and within multi-billion dollar organizations.

Chuck spends a lot of time working with and mentoring young management teams at MassChallenge in Boston. He is a former semi-pro hockey goalie and still tries to stop hockey pucks every once in a while.
 

Neeraj Berry
Sprig, Germany Linkedin profile
 

Neeraj Berry is a technology entrepreneur from Silicon Valley currently based in Berlin. In 2016, Neeraj was recognized as Forbes' 30 Under 30 technology entrepreneurs for his work in Consumer Internet.

Most recently, Neeraj was the cofounder and creator of Sprig, a vertically-integrated online restaurant that prepared and delivered ready-to-eat meals on-demand. Sprig raised $57M in venture funding from top Silicon Valley investors, including Greylock Partners, Social Capital, Accel Partners and Battery Ventures, scaled to 1,200 employees, and served over 2 million meals over 3.5 years to customers in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Chicago. Over the course of the business, Neeraj oversaw the operations, expansion, finance, business operations, culinary organizations and the executive team.

Particular areas of his focus include strategic planning, executive management, finance, product creation, on-demand logistics, supply and demand generation, geographic expansion, recruitment, operations, online marketplaces, food innovation and workforce management.

Prior to Sprig, Neeraj led marketing and operations as part of the founding team for 12Society (2012-2013), a celebrity-backed, innovative subscription commerce business. Notably, Neeraj helped scale 12Society from $0 to $1M in run-rate revenue in 4 weeks after launch. Prior to 12Society, Neeraj worked in investment banking on the Leveraged Finance team at Jefferies & Co (2009-2011). He was named one of the top analysts in his class. Neeraj graduated from UCLA with a degree in Economics and Global Studies.
 


Bernadine Bröcker Wieder
Vastari, UK Linkedin profile
 

Bernadine Bröcker Wieder is the co-founder and CEO of Vastari, the largest online platform that facilitates exhibitions of art, science, history, and popular culture worldwide. The platform has facilitated 51 international collaborations between museums between September to November 2017 alone.

Prior to Vastari, she helped set up the Trinity House Gallery in Mayfair specializing in advising sales of Impressionist and Modern works of art. 

She holds a Masters of Letters from University of Glasgow and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in NYC. She is a member of the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars and the Professional Advisors to the International Art Market. 

Žiga Vavpotič
Outfit7, Cyprus Linkedin profile
 

Žiga Vavpotič is the Chairman of the unicorn company Outfit7 Limited, one of the fastest-growing multinational family entertainment companies on the planet, best known for its global phenomenon Talking Tom, which grew from an instant app success into a fully-fledged media franchise in the years since its launch. Previously, he also acted as the company's CFO and CRO.
 
Žiga is the  owner of Globaldreamvision ltd., co-founder of Ypsilon Institute (one of the best know youth organizations in Slovenia), social enterprise Simbioza Genesis and ABC start up accelerator, and the co-initiator of the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship of University of Ljubljana, think tank Act Tank and many social responsible projects and initiatives in Slovenia.

Alexandre Massart
Blend Ventures, UK Linkedin profile
 

Alexandre Massart is a renowned investor who currently runs Blend Ventures, Ltd, a consulting and advisory company for early-stage and established companies in the technology, fintech, payment and Internet segments. He is also an active Angel Investor in several tech startups EU/USA – payment, technology and blockchain.
 
As Director of Corporate Ventures and Strategic Partnerships, Visa Inc., and Innovation and Corporate Ventures Advisor at Visa Europe, Alexandre led and executed Visa Europe’s first corporate venture investment. In addition to driving new initiatives within Visa Europe’s internal innovation program, he also ran mobile venture capital investments and strategic partnerships to strengthen Visa’s leadership in mobile, authentication, loyalty and contactless payments.
 
Prior to this, as Director of Product Innovation and Business Development, Visa Inc., Alexandre built the mobile payment business in Latin America with special focus on Brazil, a $15b opportunity to Visa. He and his team launched the first mobile top-up payment program.
 
Before that, he was responsible for building and launching UBS’s first mobile app offering real time financial market data and transaction capabilities.
 
Alexandre is also an entrepreneur and was co-founder and VP Products of Viarua, Ltd., a crowdfunding startup offering funding to cultural projects utilizing both direct funding and funding through underutilized tax incentives, as well as co-founder at Msystem AG, a Swiss startup in computer networks. He earned an MBA from the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
 

Maris Prii
Swisscontact, Switzerland Linkedin profile
 

Maris Prii is a startup expert, entrepreneur in residence at Swisscontact / Swiss Entrepreneurship programs. She is a former member of Startup Wise Guys team as COO and Management Board Member, handling corporate governance, operations, financials, investments and legal side of portfolio management.

Maris has been hands on involved with 6 acceleration programs for B2B SaaS startups in Tallinn, Estonia, and also in Latvia. She has negotiated and finalised 56 pre-seed investments; advised and signed off a great number of portfolio companies' follow-on investment documents. Experience in managing large-scale EU projects.

She is a proud member of Estonian startup ecosystem and Latitude59 conference management team. Her previous experience involves helping to build up a B2B startup-company, also providing necessary back-office input for 2 acquisition processes.

Enis Hulli
500 Startups, Turkey Linkedin profile
 

Enis Hulli is an associate partner at 500 Startups. Educated as an engineer he has a firm grasp of the technological aspect of the startup world and the ambition and knowledge to see the global potential in the regional startup scene. That is why, rather than venturing on the civil engineer path, he joined firstseed, a network of investors focusing on early stages investements. 

 

He aims to cultivate and grow the Turkish startup ecosystem, help talented entrepreneurs of the broader region and the diaspora in building explosive businesses that will integrate with Silicon Valley. His goal is to position 500 Startups Istanbul as the leading actor in the region in order to re-shape the future of innovation at EMEA. 500 Istanbul is an early-stage VC fund within the San Francisco based 500 Startups network, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator with over 1,500 investments in more than 50 countries and venture partners in more than 25 countries.
 


Darwin Dubon
Dunkin' Brands, USA Linkedin profile
 

Darwin Dubon is a Technical Product Manager for Mobile at Dunkin' Brands, one of the world's leading franchisors of quick service restaurants, which runs two chains of fast-food restaurants: Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. Before this, Darwin was a Product Manager for E-Commerce at Staples, an American multinational office supply-retailing corporation, which comprises over 1,500 stores in North America.
 
Darwin's firm belief is that Mobile is where the world is heading, which is why he enjoys working in the Mobile Ecosystem. One of his main areas of expertise lies in his working knowledge of the Latin American market, not only from a business point of view but also from a cultural and political point of view.

Chris Out
RockBoost, Netherlands Linkedin profile
 

Chris Out is managing partner and lead growth hacker at RockBoost. He thrives on challenging companies on how to squeeze more out of their growth teams, and educates them on how to build organisations set up for high-tempo testing and experimentation.

With a background in business economics, Chris cut his teeth in online marketing in Shanghai, China, while also spending time in the corporate environment of KPMG… but the world of entrepreneurship was calling. After failing hard with his first startup, and feeling the torment of running a business the wrong way, he subsequently founded RockBoost. Now, he is challenging the CRO and Growth industries to examine and debate the issues that really matter… not just red or green buttons!

Chris also lectures regularly at Beeckestijn Business School – a leading business school in The Netherlands – and created a curriculum based on his systematic growth model: "The 7 Pillars of Growth Hacking". Each year, he delivers dozens of full-day growth hacking lectures to students, business leaders, CEOs and marketing experts alike.

RockBoost is now known as one of the leading growth agencies in Europe helping corporates and scale-ups to build a culture of experimentation. By supplying in-house growth teams and providing on-going execution, RockBoost can change a company's DNA to incorporate high-tempo testing and fast-paced execution. Success stories range from the world's fastest growing online print company to corporate media publishing giants.

Chris has spoken at industry-leading global events such as CXL Live (US), Conversion Jam (Sweden), and Conversion Summit (Germany). Chris firmly believes in the power of self-paced education and consistently re-invests 20% of his income to facilitate this belief. Some call him a walking and talking encyclopedia due to his relentless pursuit of personal and professional development.

Heinrich Schmid-Schmidsfelden
Kapsch TrafficCom AG, Austria Linkedin profile
 

Heinrich Schmid-Schmidsfelden is Head of Corporate Innovation at Kapsch TrafficCom AG, a provider of intelligent transportation systems in the fields of tolling, traffic management, smart urban mobility, traffic safety and security, and connected vehicles.

Heinrich is also Program Lead at Kapsch Factory1, an acceleration program for startups, which are building ground-breaking technologies in Kapsch TrafficCom’s strategic areas.
 

Sara Usinger
SwissContact, Switzerland Linkedin profile
 

Sara Usinger is currently working with SwissEP as an Entrepreneur in Residence, supporting Startup Ecosystem players around the Balkans sharing her experience building both a Coworking Space as well as a Startup Accelerator.

She recently returned from Iran where she spent the last three years building up and running Avatech, one of Iran's first professional Startup Accelerators. In the last three years the Accelerator graduated five batches that moved on building great companies.

Before moving from Germany to Iran Sara spent two years helping to built up and run STARTPLATZ, a Cologne/Germany based Coworking Space and Incubator for startups.
 

Jan Habermann
Credo Ventures, Czech Republic Linkedin profile
 

Jan Habermann is a Partner at Credo Ventures. Before his engagement in venture capital, Jan co-founded and operated several companies.
In 2003, a software development company Acron Communications he started and managed was acquired by a strategic investor and Jan became fascinated by M&A transactions and private equity investments.

Since then he completed several M&A projects as an advisor representing either the sellers as well as the acquirers. He also completed several venture capital investments working as an Investment Director of MCI Management.

Jan graduated from the University of Economics in Prague where he specialized in financial management, accounting and business combinations.
 

Jonathan Grover
Plantronics, USA Linkedin profile
 

Jonathan Grover is a seasoned professional and entrepreneur with diverse educational background and global work experience. His primary focus is on business strategy and innovation, where Jonathan has been tapped to consult for start up incubators, start up businesses and major corporations. He currently leads Innovation Business Development at Plantronics, a billion dollar publicly traded company, focused on creating an ecosystem approach to rapidly prototyping and bringing to market new transformational innovations. Previously a Vice President of Strategic Projects at a major global bank, and an Innovation Architect at Cisco, Jonathan also has experience working in the aerospace, biotechnology and software industries.


Innovation in practice is as poignant as it is in theory – Jonathan previously founded a Canadian B-Corporation software start up that combined mobile application with philanthropic giving before exiting the business to work as an Executive in Residence and joining the Canadian Innovation Centre.

As a corporate entrepreneur and innovator, Jonathan focuses on building and executing strategies that drive revenue through product introduction, diversification, market expansion, in addition to driving business process reengineering that decreases costs through creating efficiencies.

Jonathan holds an MBA from HEC Business School in Paris, and a B.Sc. from Johns Hopkins University. He currently lives in the heart of Silicon Valley with his wife and dog.
 


David Parrish
T-Shirt and Suits, UK Linkedin profile
 

David Parrish is a renowned international keynote speaker, adviser, trainer and consultant on creative industries, creative entrepreneurship, marketing, the creative economy, international business, cultural industries and creativity in business. He helps creative businesses world-wide to become even more successful - as a speaker, interactive training workshop leader, business advisor, consultant and author. 

He has written two creative industries books: 'T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity'; and 'Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success' and has worked in more than 50 countries. He brings his international experience to his clients, and to his speeches. He is a TEDx speaker.

His clients around the world include the British Council, Swiss EP at Swisscontact, Innovation Norway, World Summit of Creative Industries / Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), Creative Industries Agency (Russia), The Big Idea (New Zealand), SEBRAE (Brazil), plus more - including governments, startups, creative hubs, arts organisations, university business schools and business support agencies.
 

Matt Kuppers
Startup Manufactory, UK Linkedin profile
 

Matt Kuppers is the founder and CEO of Startup Manufactory, a consultancy with a focus on startup consulting, entrepreneurship training and startup ecosystem development. Having joined the startup industry in 2008, he launched new businesses, taught entrepreneurship, and advised governmental organisations across the EU.

Matt is also acting an Independent Expert to the European Commission and consults his alumna London School of Economics on entrepreneurship education.  Matt is also a renowned speaker and has been speaking at 50+ conferences and events globally.

He believes that entrepreneurship leads to peace, economic stability, and prosperity and therefore promotes entrepreneurship actively. Matt certified in science entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford and trained at a Military Academy.
 
 

Letitia Seglah
Startup Manufactory, UK Linkedin profile
 

Letitia Seglah is an independent consultant providing business management services to clients including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, HSBC, and BlackRock and the European Commission. Specialising in Corporate Innovation, RegTech, FinTech.

Active in devising and executing programmes for corporate innovation through procurement and engagement of innovation into financial institutions and digital transformation. Working with RegTech, and FinTech firms, small-medium enterprises on scale-up programmes and strategic alliance initiatives.

Listed on the Innovate Finance Women in Fintech 2017 Powerlist, Letitia is an advocate for institutional adoption and engagement of FinTech, RegTech, emergent and disruptive innovation. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Letitia spent her career in equity research, credit risk and regulatory compliance. Letitia studied towards an MSc Finance at the London School of Economics.
 

Markus Lang
Pioneers Ventures, Austria Linkedin profile
 

Markus Lang is the Managing Director of Pioneers Ventures, an Austrian early-stage VC firm supporting outstanding founders of digital tech companies all across Europe. He is a tech entrepreneur turned venture capitalist.
 
Markus has taken over several board roles in his portfolio startups and helped them to raise more than EUR 15M in follow-on funding. Previously, he co-founded & led a logistics tech startup, helped to scale several companies and worked as a project manager & consultant.
 

Boštjan Špetič
OutBrain, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Boštjan Špetič is a Global Entrepreneur, Application Developer, Project Manager and Consultant in a wide variety of multimedia, art and business applications.
 
Currently, Boštjan is in charge of Programmatic Business Development at Outbrain, the world's leading premium discovery platform, helping marketers and publishers drive results with highly targeted native placements on premium publishers.
 
Prior to this, Boštjan was the CPO at Zemanta, an advertising-technology company, offering programmatic native advertising platform. They are specialized in the art and science of content distribution, with their product is designed for media agencies and brands who want to put their content to work.
 

Florian Kandler
GetFunding.how, Austria Linkedin profile
 

Florian Kandler is an experienced entrepreneur and 3-time founder from Vienna. He is a fundraising expert who helps European startup founders to build fundable startups and find the right investors.

On GetFunding.how, in his Startup Podcast, and in his Fundraising Masterclass he shares his 10 years of experience of starting 3 companies, two of which closed 3 funding rounds in total of over €3.000.000 of venture capital with VCs and Angels in Europe and the USA.

He recently also helped de-mystify the ICO-hype by hosting the 1st Global Crypto Online Summit.
 

Philippe Suchet
Spider Capital Partners, USA Linkedin profile
 

Philippe Suchet is a Venture Partner at Spider Capital Partners, an early stage SaaS fund. Philipe is a serial entrepreneur turned investor. He cofounded a couple of companies in the marketing automation and mobile commerce spaces, which were respectively acquired by Acxiom and Shopzilla. He has also been a real estate investor/developer for over 20 years and manages a large portfolio of residential properties.
 
Philippe is an active angel investor in US and Israeli startups such as WePay, Forter, FundBox and Le Tote. He is also on the Board of Advisors of numerous companies, and a mentor at various tech accelerators.
 
Philippe was recently the Chief Strategy Officer at Shopzilla, which acquired his latest start-up, Zappli. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Zappli, one of the 1st players in the mobile shopping and payment space. Zappli was the creator of InstaBuy, a universal 2-click check-out solution, enabling consumers to buy from 100s of the largest online merchants in seconds, without requiring any retailers' implementation.
 
Before this, he was the CEO of Kefta, a leading online marketing SaaS player, acquired by Acxiom. Kefta developed an extensive targeting platform enabling large retailers, banks and telcos to provide a highly relevant customer experience, and dramatically boost sales. Previously, Philippe worked for the Boston Consulting Group, Goldman Sachs, Abuzz (acquired by NYT), and Keeboo, and lived in Africa, Asia, Europe and the US.
 
Philippe is a graduate of Harvard Business School, HEC School of Management, and ENSAE (Statistics).
 

Nina Nikolikj
SwissContact, Macedonia Linkedin profile
 

Nina Nikolikj is the Eco-System Facilitator for Swiss Entrepreneurship Program and Manager of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence initiative in Macedonia. She is also a startup storyteller, superconnector and and intrapreneur.

Nina's passion for supporting the start up community in Macedonia & the region is infectious. Her dedication to bring together eco-system actors has led her to become a super-connector of people across the country and beyond. As a member of the #SwissEP team she has an impactful job to do and for her it means so much more than earning an income.

After graduating in E-Business Nina became a storyteller for startups and regular contributor to the Huffington Post with the #StartUpSelfie initiative. She continues to promote and support innovative thinking in the region. Well traveled she's a keen observer of what works and shares that knowledge freely with partners and ecosystem actors. Most recently she has strengthened her transatlantic relationships by bringing in new partners from the US. Her latest initiative celebrates inspiring women in business through Womenpreneurs Stories.
 

Johannes Naumann
Deutsche Post DHL Group, Germany Linkedin profile
 

Johannes Naumann is the Senior Manager for Corporate Development at Deutsche Post DHL Group. There, he is in charge of corporate innovation, implementing incubation and acceleration processes within the corporation, as well as digitalization.
 
He is also the co-founder and board member of the Corporate Startup Summit - the leading platform for Intrapreneurship and Corporate & Startups Collaboration.
 

Muhamed Turkanović
Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Muhamed Turkanović has a PhD in computer science and informatics. His dissertation covered the area of cryptography, which is tightly connected to the area of blockchain and criptocurrencies. He currently works as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Maribor where he is part of projects for research and implementation of blockchain technologies in the Slovenian economy.
Muhamed is also the CEO of CEI-Systems where they develop traceability systems for value chains and provide their customers with all the necessary statistics and functionalities, tailored specifically to the needs of their customers.

Barnabas Malnay
EIT Digital, Hungary Linkedin profile
 

Barnabás Málnay is an experienced entrepreneur and advisor. He is a Business Developer in Hungary for EIT Digital, the leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation driving Europe’s digital transformation.

He is also a Partner at smartware.Tech, an early-stage startup investor helping product-oriented hardware companies get through the most critical initial stages of their business growth. They provide support in building prototypes; choosing the right manufacturing techniques, processes, and materials; sharpening business models; raising funds; and entering markets.

Barnabas is also a Partner at WS Cofounder, an advisory firm supporting standout early-stage technical founders. It is associated with White Summers LLP, a premier Silicon-Valley based boutique law firm specialized in tech startups. He has also been working as managing director of MMCluster, which is an association of the most dynamic companies and universities active in the ICT sector in Central Hungary. It is a platform for networking, for generating joint projects, and for helping members and their joint projects succeed in the market.

Philippe Thiltges
WhatAVenture, Austria Linkedin profile
 

Philippe Thiltges is a co-founder and managing partner of WhatAVenture – the full-service innovation agency launched in 2013 and expert in guiding new business ideas to success. WhatAVenture serves both as a sparring partner for innovation managers, and also as an external implementation team for new and innovative business ideas.

Philippe has a strong sales background and many years of experience as an innovation consultant. He started off in POS (point of sales) communication and established his own open innovation consulting agency after finishing university. He believes that opening up corporate borders during the innovation process leads to more outcome and success.


Aleksander Tönnisson
Buildit, Estonia Linkedin profile
 

Aleksander Tönnisson is managing partner in the Buildit Seed Fund for IoT and co-founder of Buildit Hardware Accelerator, first startup accelerator in Northern and Eastern Europe investing into hardware startups. He has invested into 40+ hardware companies with founders from 17 countries.

Jure Mikuž
South Central Ventures, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Jure Mikuž has established RSG Kapital, the first Slovenia-based VC Fund, raising private commitments mostly from domestic industrial investors such as Gorenje, Sava, Kolektor, FMR, Instrumentation Technologies and others. He serves on several boards of the investee companies, including CeltraTAB Systems and MountVacation.
 
Jure is actively promoting entrepreneurship and regularly holds lectures on finance and fundraising procedures for startup communities in Slovenia and across the Balkans. Prior to establishing RSG Capital, he was a deputy head of asset management in KD Group and a stock broker on the Ljubljana stock exchange.

Daniel Cronin
AustrianStartups, Austria Linkedin profile
 

Daniel Cronin is a passionate entrepreneur, lecturer, presenter and keynote speaker. He wrote his thesis on Mobile Marketing, became a founding member of the full-service app-agency allaboutapps (a joint venture of i5invest and Runtastic) and advises several startups.

Daniel is the Co-Founder and Member of the Board of AustrianStartups (a non-profit to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem), Co-Founder of the crowdinvesting platform primeCROWD, and lectures at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the Vienna University of Technology, the Vienna University of Economics and Business as well as the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt. In October 2015 he joined the Board of the WWG – Österreichische Werbewissenschaftliche Gesellschaft / the Austrian Association of Advertising Sciences, in January 2016 he became a founding member of startup300 – an early-stage accelerator, and in August 2016 a founding partner of the Vienna Mentoring Group (viemeg.com), a mentoring program for early stage startups.

He has hosted more than 180 events on startups including Pioneers Festival and was the presenter of the Austrian version of Shark Tank.

He is nicknamed “The Pitch Professor” and is considered as one of the leading experts and trainers on pitching.

Tatjana Zabasu
South Central Ventures, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Mag. Tatjana Zabasu joined the company in the beginning of 2007 and actively participated in the shaping of the company and establishing its business and investment processes. She is a member of the managment board of TAB Systems and procurator at ShoutEm and Efos. Before she joined RSG Capital she worked at Deloitte, where she participated at acquisitions and mergers of companies, due dillligence, and company valuations as a consultant of business finance. As a guest lecturer she lectures at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana on entrepreneurship, actively participates in entrepreneurship events as a mentor, and is part of expert juries at contests for choosing best business ideas.

Urban Lapajne
Initiative Start:up Slovenia, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Urban Lapajne is a Startup Enthusiast, Evangelist, and Mentor. Passionate about sports in Mother Nature. Hater of haters.

At the moment he is 100% focused on putting together this year's PODIM Conference - the coolest startup event in the Alps-Adriatic region.

PODIM Conference is a great opportunity for startups, investors, and corporations. Contact Urban with ideas for partnerships, cool speakers or topic suggestions.

Peter Frankl
Finance, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Peter Frankl, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Finance daily newspaper, studied journalism at the Ljubljana University and also trained at Stanford University in the USA. He has worked at the Finance newspaper since its inception in 1992. He was Editor since 1994, becoming its Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief in 2006. The newspaper is owned by the Swedish publishing multinational Bonnier Business Press, which issues business newspapers in ten countries. Before working for the Finance newspaper, he worked for the Gospodarski vestnik magazine and the Delo newspaper. He has contributed columns to the Saturday issue of Delo, the Dnevnik newspaper and the Institutional Investor business monthly from the USA.

David Bojanovič
D·Labs, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

David Bojanovič is a team lead at D·Labs.
 
D·Labs is a Slovenia-based team of internet veterans, product experts, and devoted agile developers. Over the years, they have helped their clients grow their business by building them successful internet products. At D·Labs they are heavily focused on users, passionately engaged within the development process, but also cold and analytical when it’s time to check the ROI. With new clients they usually start with a small (but scalable) project, observe the results and then quickly scale the successful parts of the product.

Tilen Travnik
D·Labs, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Tilen Travnik is a co-founder and partner at D·Labs.

He's also a 16-year veteran in managing internet projects. Combining an MBA in Entrepreneurship and a range of certifications from Scrum Alliance, he is uniquely skilled to boost development processes of corporations and startups alike. He has successfully converted management and operational teams to agile in over 20 companies in the last 5 years and is currently a development advisor in 5 of them. He also holds a biotech engineering degree. But that's more of a hobby.

Primož Škerget
D·Labs, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Primož Škerget is a lead UX Designer Generalist at D·Labs, a Slovenia-based team of internet veterans, product experts, and devoted agile developers. He works with clients on variety of domains which has broadened his skillset. He has been involved on many mobile and web projects providing services for the entire app or just sections of the app. His latest passion is in understanding processes and how to create the best design flow end-to-end. In his free time he enjoys brewing beer, tasting wine and playing drums.
He has his formal background in Visual communications and has been working in this field for the last 5+ years. Already at the University he acted on a few of his ideas and transformed them into startups.

Janže Račečič
D·Labs, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Janže Račečič is a designer at D·Labs.

D·Labs is a Slovenia-based team of internet veterans, product experts, and devoted agile developers. Over the years, they have helped their clients grow their business by building them successful internet products. At D·Labs they are heavily focused on users, passionately engaged within the development process, but also cold and analytical when it’s time to check the ROI. With new clients they usually start with a small (but scalable) project, observe the results and then quickly scale the successful parts of the product.

Julien Coustaury
Fil Rouge Capital, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Julien Coustaury has over 20 years of relevant experience in manufacturing and services, much of it at CEO level. He has worked in more than 80 countries across five continents and participated in over $1.7bn of purchase, sale and financing transactions.

More recently with his partner, he invested in more than 40 early/stage ventures, mainly focusing on B2C software with some HW exceptions like H20Pal, the first hydration tracker on the market. As part of the founding team of Double Recall, Julien attended YCombinator S11 class.

Julien currently serves on the board of Symvaro, H20pal and Europronet. He holds a master’s Degree in Telecom engineering. Julien is an avid wakeboarder and never says no to a good glass of Bordeaux wine.

Nejc Novak
Novak Law, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Nejc Novak founded the Novak Law Firm in 2016. He graduated cum laude from the Law Faculty at the University of Ljubljana in 2010 and part of his studies took place at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He then pursued his Masters of Law at University College London, where he wrote a dissertation on issues related to minority shareholdings in EU competition law and obtained his LL.M. in International Commercial Law.

He started working as an Attorney Trainee at the Law Firm Miro Senica and Attorneys in 2011. In 2014 he passed the Slovenian state bar exam and continued to work as an Attorney Candidate and since 2015 onwards as an Attorney at Law.

He devotes most of his work to issues related to business and commercial law, in particular statutory law, mergers and acquisitions, restructuring and insolvency. Special field of Nejc's interest is also regulatory framework of blockchain solutions.

Nejc Novak is a regular guest and lecturer at professional development conferences and events. Since 2010 he has been acting as an arbitrator at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna.

Marko Filej
Sporty.co, Slovenija
 

Marko Filej is the CEO of Sporty.co, the decentralized blockchain-based sports investment & funding ecosystem, serving athletes, clubs and other sports organizations, in raising the funds required to achieve athletic success.

Marko is a serial entrepreneur, having founded several companies and carried out also other successful business projects. Before founding sporty.co he founded the online platform Trainers4me for a fast and easy way of finding sport trainers with the help of an investment SK75 by the Slovenian entrepreneurship fund, as well as an online gym OnlineGym4me.com, that got support from the Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanović.

Luka Sučić
HUB385, Croatia Linkedin profile
 

Luka Sučić is the Managing Director of Nest01 – a coworking space in HUB385 Zagreb, which is an innovation center, coworking space and a platform for knowledge exchange and networking within the startup community.

Previously Luka was an investment Manager at Hub:raum, which links tech entrepreneurs and high growth startup companies with the expert network, capital and business opportunities of Deutsche Telekom. Before this, he was an innovation specialist in Croatian Telekom linking new business opportunities with corporations, and ran his own startups before that.

Matjaž Slak
Cofound.it, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Matjaž Slak is the Head of Project Scouting at Cofound.it, the platform that connects blockchain believers to teams that are building serious blockchain businesses.
 
Matjaž has 15+ years of B2B Sales experience from IBM. Breaking free from the dark side, he went to consult SMBs and Startups to set up and improve their sales efforts. Now he made it his personal mission to find the best projects and coach them to rock the market.

Matej Golob
CorpoHub, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Matej Golob is transforming established organizations into lean and agile innovation leaders, while also playing important role in regional startup ecosystem and programs - thus well positioned to bridge the two worlds. Balancing motivational and hard-driving cycles, he guides startup teams through treacherous waters full of untested assumptions toward product-market fit and scaling. Managing partner of CorpoHub, diligent connector, TED-ster and insatiable learner, currently half way through 7 marathons on 7 continents challenge.

Ana Osredkar
Servis 8, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Ana Osredkar is a co-founder of Servis 8 - Association for Service Design Innovation, Education and Workshops.  She is introducing design thinking methods and tools in product and service design projects. She is a facilitator of co-creation sessions with users and organizational stakeholders.
 
Ana organized the first Global Service Jam in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2012 and has been doing so ever since.
 
Ana has international experience in project management and key account management in creative industries, acquired during five years of living, studying and working in Belgium and Portugal.

Iztok Hočevar
Cofound.it, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Iztok Hočevar is in charge of international outreach and a member of the advisory team at Cofound.it, a platform that connects blockchain believers to teams that are building serious blockchain businesses.
 
For the last 10 years, Iztok worked as a journalist, editor and a founder in print, TV and digital media - both international and domestic. He co-organized 50+ international business conferences and local events. He co-founded a consulting company that helps startups grow and big companies to do business in the Balkans. He is a versed public orator with a decade of experience.

Jakob Gajšek
ABC Accelerator, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Jakob Gajšek is dedicated to building the ecosystem. He is seeking people interested in cooperating in the creation of a borderless community of startups and entrepreneurs. In his free time, he likes to pick up a good book, visit an art gallery, or learn more about bespoke tailoring and fine scotch. Feel free to talk about this, also!

David Braun
DASHR, leAD Sports Accelerator, Germany Linkedin profile
 

David Braun is an award winning Extreme Sports Athlete, Entrepreneur and UI Designer. He is a competitive hang gliding pilot, a certified skydiver and a recreational snowboarder.
His lifelong passion for running led him to create DASHR, a startup about connecting runners. It uses machine learning to identify patterns in the way people run, so as to match them with similar runners and help them achieve their next level in running. The venture-backed startup was one of the winning teams selected to participate in TechnoGym’s first cycle of its Wellness Accelerator.
The knowledge he gained during the process of building his own startup took him to a point where he wanted to pay it forward and pass his learnings on, giving aspiring Entrepreneurs the opportunity to kickstart their growth and avoid common pitfalls. So he joined Startupbootcamp Digital Health, as a Mentor and Entrepreneur in Residence. He also advises LiveDuel, a sports tech startup based in Ireland and mentors at the TÜV Innovation Kickbox Acceleration Program.

Igor Madzov
South Central Ventures, Macedonia Linkedin profile
 

Igor Madzov is an associate at South Central Ventures. He is a passionate investor, entrepreneur and unconditionally supports the development and growth of Macedonian Startup Ecosystem and startups in SEE. He is driven by technology and loves problem solving for early to growth stage Startups. For over 5 years mentors and work in Business development and Lead Generation for Startups and SME's. He is active in the Civil sector and nothing speaks better for his character than his charity work and passion for cooking.
 
He is one of the initiators and co-founder of Startup Macedonia, local representative of Founders Institute Macedonia and Startup Digest. As a community builder Igor takes part of many local and regional initiatives and events including co-organizing Startup Europe Week, Startup Weekend and taking part as mentor or organizer at other conferences and events.

Vasja Bočko
IRYO.IO, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Vasja Bočko is the CEO and co-founder of Iryo.io, the first participatory, blockchain driven healthcare network built on decentralising access to medical data.
 
With a background in corporate finance, investments and product development, Vasja has more than 8 years of experience building and deploying highly functional digital solutions. Prior to Iryo, he held positions in UniCredit, 3fs, and Bitstamp. Vasja is a tested leader with a passion for blockchain & crypto-based product development.

Pierre Marro
DG Connect, EC, Brussels Linkedin profile
 

Pierre Marro is is a policy officer at the European Commision's Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT). Within the unit Start-ups and Innovation, he is the team leader for the files on Financial Technology, DLT/blockchain and access to finance for innovation. He is member of the EC Task force on Fintech.

Thomas Kösters
EIT Digital, Italy Linkedin profile
 

Thomas Kösters is international outreach lead and manages partnerships in 14 countries for EIT Digital, the leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation driving Europe’s digital transformation. As such, Thomas has a wide knowledge of internationalization strategies.
Before joining the EIT Digital accelerator, he worked for Microsoft Ventures. He is also the founder of the Startup Heatmap Europe project, which analyzes founder movements across Europe.

Josef Gröblacher
Nova KBM, Slovenia Linkedin profile
 

Josef Gröblacher is the COO and member of the Management board at the 2nd largest Slovenian bank Nova KBM.
 
Josef is an experienced international banking expert with more than 15 years of leadership and management experience, especially in the areas of strategic management of information technology, banking operations, business process digitisation, project and change management, and cost optimization. Over the past years, he has successfully managed several projects of setting up and implementing new core IT banking systems. Before joining the Nova KBM Management board, he worked at Sberbank Europe in Vienna as the Senior Adviser on Information Technology, in which position he provided assistance to the Sberbank Group Executive Operating Director.
Prior to Sberbank, he was a member of the Executive Boards at Sberbank Hungary and Volksbank Serbia (the predecessor of Sberbank). Before joining Volksbank Serbia, he worked at Hypo Alpe Adria Bank for nine years, performing a number of responsible tasks at the level of the entire banking group, including the development and implementation of a five-year IT strategy, the standardized IT controlling and planning process as well as a project management system.
 

Martina Egger
WhatAVenture, Austria Linkedin profile
 

Martina Egger is a project manager at WhatAVenture, the full-service innovation agency launched in 2013 and expert in guiding new business ideas to success. WhatAVenture serves both as a sparring partner for innovation managers, and also as an external implementation team for new and innovative business ideas.
 
Martina gained several years of experience in the German banking sector. There she worked in the business development department for corporate clients with focus on digitization. She is responsible for coordinating our customer’s projects, scouting startups and is part of their sales team. She strongly believes in the successful realization of business ideas and implementation of innovations through the innovation process.

Dan Lupu
Earlybird Venture Capital, Romania Linkedin profile
 

Dan Lupu is an investor at Earlybird Venture Capital and Partner in the Digital East Fund. Dan is an investor, among others, in UIPath, DCSPlus and Flipps. He calls Bucharest his home.
 

Farid Edrisian
Karanobin - Innovation group, Iran Linkedin profile
 

Farid Edrisian is the Managing Director at Karanobin - Innovation group, a group of global innovation experts and leading companies that enable corporates and startups to accelerate their business ideas in a successful and sustainable way.
 
Farid’s wide repertoire ranges from managing corporate innovations to business development, which empowers him to see the big picture. Knowing both Corporate and Startup world and thanks to his intercultural awareness, Farid is able to connect the dots and unlock new opportunities.

Previously, he worked amongst others at leading international corporates like GfK, Kapsch and WhatAVenture.