María Rojas Fraile has 15 years of experience in the energy sector, having worked in different positions in Repsol. María has both a technical background and experience as a process engineer in the petrochemical industry, as well as management expertise in sustainability with a crosscutting vision of an energy company and deep knowledge in environmental and carbon topics.
From 2017 to 2022, María worked in the Repsol Corporate Venturing Fund, focusing on investing in technology-based start-ups and the active management of portfolio companies. She has been involved in several successful transactions, such as Tactotek, Recreus, Ezzing, Begas, Nanogap, and others while also contributing in their boards. Additionally, she has collaborated with OGCI CI, an international fund to accelerate the industry response to climate change.
Since October 2022, María has been working as Investment Director at Net Zero Ventures (NZV), a new venture capital investment fund created by Repsol and Suma Capital to invest in cleantech companies.
María joins Helsinki Incubators as a knowledgeable Senior Mentor for Biopsphere.
Jesper Brunhøj Olsen is the Group Head of Industry for Meta where he leads teams responsible for relationships with the largest export and omni-channel partners in the region. Prior to Meta, Jesper worked at Google consulting top clients and agencies while leading the regional Creative Lab for Innovation. Jesper serves on the Danish Management Society, and is an active Investor.
Jesper's special skills & interests include partnerships, sales, marketing, tech, venture, and funding.
“I stand for all people and all life being at home and thriving on the planet that we call home.”
Martin Quanch is a serial entrepreneur, who has co-founded four technology startups. He is the founder and partner at Happy Homes Ventures—the regenerative nature restoration advisory. Martin was nominated as the lead mentor for Techstars Portugal and has advised several technology startups from the bootstrapped iPaper to the venture backed SecretCityTrail and the NGO NuOceans. He is an ambassador at Vlinder and hosts two podcasts, Let's Talk Climate Business and Masters of Grit, where he interviews successful founders on their source of grit. He has led digital marketing for Red Bull TV, growth at Lunar Bank, and has experience from Google advising top tier growth clients on how to create success online.
As his special skills, Quanch names his aptness of connecting the dots where there is none, and designing ventures that all stakeholders want to contribute to.
Florence Korhonen is the Director at Miraflo Ventures Ltd, an investment and global business services company in Finland, facilitating growth solutions for entrepreneurs with global ambitions. Her work involves advising and mentoring seed and early-stage start-ups, as well as liaising with investors as an expert business evaluator.
In 2015, Florence founded NFBAN, the Nordic Female Business Angel Network, an organisation working to close the gender gap in angel investing. Her guiding principle is that more female angel investors means increased funding opportunities for innovators, whose work is the healthy pulsating heart that boosts economies. In addition, she is an advocate. Her focus areas of advocacy are social impact investing, financial inclusivity, female investor networks and female entrepreneurship. She invests sweat equity across sectors in seed-stage companies.
Florence joins Helsinki Incubators as an esteemed Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Andreas Roos is a designer of creative culture & behaviour. He is fascinated by herding cats and transforming hippos into creative collaborators tackling the challenges of the future, and is engrossed by user focused innovation & creativity formats that drive real business value. Andreas approaches serious things playfully and playful things seriously, and is convinced that creativity will be the key differentiator that saves us all from the AI-doom of the future.
As a special skill, Andreas names his ability to look at things from different angles & perspectives. He is passionate about end-to-end experiences that people can actually consume, and that have solid stories attached to them. He is a big believer in using behavioural science for good, and gets excited about any human-challenge.
Iiro Salkari is a hands-on strategist with experience from business development and driving new growth organically and inorganically in the technology industry. This has included growing new (digital) business and business transformation, and M&As. He is strongly grounded to technology with a researcher background in industrial engineering and management, and has worked to commercialise research results through spin-offs and technology licensing. Right now, Iiro works as Head of Portfolio at Vaisala Xweather.
For Iiro, while technologies and business are important, neither will happen without great people and teams, and of course customers. In his eyes, the true passion starts from people, team and understanding what drives them, and if we get this right, then there can be good business too.
Natalie Skvortsova has worked in tech for fourteen years, including the most recent eleven at Google. She has a unique understanding of what is needed to launch products that resonate with users, and of how to bring those products to the market quickly. Natalie coaches startup founders and tech leaders, and has has lived in six countries, always curious to explore new cultures.
As a mentor, she can help you:
- Build a product strategy and a roadmap for your product
- Determine what metrics you should use to measure your product's success
- Structure your customer research and capture customer insights
- Improve your team's co-working, increasing speed and results
- Come up with a personal development plan
- Improve your program or project management skills to better execute projects
Michael Hanf is a seasoned business and technology executive and advisor. With more than 20 years in business and technology consulting, Michael has deep experience in helping companies deliver and navigate disruptive change. He’s passionate about bringing together corporates, start-ups, and senior experts into an open ecosystem to deliver impact and value for all stakeholders. He has deep expertise in business, digital technology, data, circular economy, sustainability, and strategy. After his studies at the University of Paderborn and Aalto University, Michael had the opportunity to work with a wide range of companies during his 16+ years as a Management & Strategy Consultant at Accenture. Since 2017, he has been one of the co-founders and Executive Partners at Taival Advisory, an advisory company working on the intersection between strategy, digital, and environmental sustainability.
Michael has extensive experience in working with start-ups at different stages of the start-up journey. He has coached early-stage start-ups in different events and incubators, e.g. Maria 01, Startup Refugees, and Tampere Sustainability Start-up weekend. Additionally, he has worked with several growth companies e.g. in business model definition, go-to-market and sales strategy, operating model definition, funding round preparation, and many other areas. He is also one of the co-founders of the event series “AI Monday” and “Digitally Circular” which provide a platform bringing together start-ups, businesses, and the research community to identify and co-create sustainable impact solutions.
Michael is passionate about helping start-ups and business leaders in developing sustainable solutions that can address some of the most pressing challenges of our time by bringing together multi-disciplinary teams from various backgrounds and fields of expertise. He’s an active networker and is eager to connect people wherever and whenever possible to spark conversations and innovations.
Michael joins Helsinki Incubators as a seasoned Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Reinier Meerwaldt started his career with an MSc in Biomedical Image Processing from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. After his studies, Reinier implemented supply chain planning solutions in various technical and business roles. After ten years of seeing all that field had to offer he co-founded an international startup, Widget Brain, a software company specialised in AI based decision-making on a large variety of planning processes. Reinier has been involved hands-on in both the technical and business aspects of selling, implementing, and maintaining various algorithm solutions to customers from Asia, EMEA, and the US. While growing his business, he also lived for two years in the United States engaging with the local market. His company, Widget Brain, was recently acquired by Quinyx in 2020, where Reinier is now responsible for further improving the success levels of their operations departments.
Reinier aims to better align products and their delivery to the intended end customer and to use data efficiently and intelligently to offer customers the best possible value.
Reiner joins Helsinki Incubators as a wisened Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Aline de Santa Izabel is an entrepreneur and biosciences specialist with a broad experience in entrepreneurship and innovation at a European level. She has been working with different start-ups and scale-ups operating at the intersection of business, science, and tech focused on impact. She also advocates for female entrepreneurship, promoting diversity and inclusion, and empowering the next generation of founders.
Aline is currently supporting the development of the Deeptech ecosystem in the Nordics and Baltics by accelerating innovative startups through her work as an Expert Advisor in Deeptech, Biotech, and Foodtech at the European Commission's European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator and Women EUTech Horizon Europe Framework funding programmes. She also lectures at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), and works as an ecosystem builder at DigitalWell Ventures and DigitalWell Arena, an innovation platform from the Compare Foundation supported by the Swedish Innovation agency.
Aline joins Helsinki Incubators as an empowering Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Peik Stenlund has 15+ years of experience in the renewable energy sector as an entrepreneur and management executive, and has co-founded 3 start-ups in the sustainability sector. He has worked in various capacities in climate tech with projects in the DACH, UK, Japan, India and Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, he is based in Germany, where he's the managing director at one of Europe's largest and most advanced carbon removal facilities.
Peik is a lawyer by training with experience in leading complex negotiations and drafting various business contracts. Peik enjoys working in diverse teams in multicultural environments and has extensive experience in business development and new market entries, as well as raising private and public financing for sustainable businesses.
Peik joins Helsinki Incubators as an experienced Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Oscar Ramirez Muñoz is the co-founder of Startup Commons, the world's leading open platform about innovation and entrepreneurship, sharing, since 2009, knowledge, education, best practices, software, and data for free under open-source & creative commons -licenses — to scale innovation entrepreneurship around the world.
Oscar is also the CEO at Digiole, a Helsinki-based tech company, which owns all the Startup Commons open-source and creative commons assets and IPs, and provides digital interoperability solutions for economic development units in the context of innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem development. Digiole also provides consulting solutions to help SMEs in their transition to Digital Platform Economy and Ecosystems.
As an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem architect, Oscar loves advising, building capabilities, and implementing distributed data infrastructure for local, regional, and national governments in the five continents for more data-driven policymaking and KPI-based start-up ecosystem development.
Oscar also enjoys rolling up his sleeves working hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs. He has delivered around 1000 mentoring sessions with entrepreneurs and start-ups around the world at various development stages and industries, while also creating meaningful communities like the Lean Startup Costa del Sol Community and organising Startup Weekend events.
Oscar joins Helsinki Incubators as an knowledgeable Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Daria Giovannacci has been working in business development roles in different technical fields, such as photonics, (bio)nanotechnology, and now energy storage, focusing on innovation commercialisation. In her current role at Geyser Batteries, a Finnish battery start-up, Daria is leading the work on ESG and business development helping to fully utilise the business, societal, and environmental potential of the unique battery innovation created by the team. Her work covers various aspects of sustainability, from life cycle assessment to social topics, as well as EU relationships, fundraising, and general business development.
Prior to Geyser Batteries Daria was leading the commercial side in the research-to-business project of Aalto University.
She has studied chemical engineering and business administration.
Daria joins Helsinki Incubators as a respected Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Thais Maria Glod Nuñez is in innate research and has graduated as an engineer. She has always been passionate about how science and technology can improve people's lives and make the world better. She enjoys sharing her entrepreneurial learnings by mentoring triple sustainable and social innovation projects on European acceleration programs, like Climate KIC, UNDP, EIC Accelerator, Founder Institute, Star Startup, and Youth Business International.
She has founded INNOBOUND, a private innovation agency created to support triple impact solutions that help conquer the European Green Deal objectives. She is also the co-founder of TRL+, an initiative committed to highlighting research projects and turning them into commercially and economically viable triple-impact spin-offs.
She is also part of the board of directors at Asociación Nosotras, a chain of favor movement that helps women entrepreneurs tackle glass ceiling issues. Currently, she is one of the 700 Business Innovation Coaches for the EIC Accelerator of the European Commission. She is also proud to be a part of the Guide of the 200 Reference Women of Innovative Entrepreneurship in Spain and an EU Climate Path Ambassador.
Thais is specialised in communication skills, and is especially interested in helping people with tech & research backgrounds tweak their communication according to different audiences, as well aiding in pitching and deck preparation. Thais looks forward to helping participants explore innovative approaches and cross-pollination in corporates, SMEs, and startups, define strategy and roadmaps, and validate business models.
Cindy Moncada is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in economics, finance, business, and data science, who is passionate about driving sustainability and empowering startups. With a strong track record of mentoring founders and startups in the field of sustainability, she specialises in guiding and advising on crucial areas such as strategy, business models, finance, and fundraising.
Having founded a company focused on empowering consumers in the realm of climate action, Cindy brings more than eight years of practical experience to the table. Her venture's eventual sale is a testament to her ability to navigate the complexities of the startup landscape and achieve tangible results.
Currently, Cindy is actively involved in enhancing entrepreneurial education and uplifting capability across higher education institutions and the wider innovation community. Her responsibilities also encompass expanding entrepreneur programs and fostering venture building initiatives throughout Europe.
With prior experience in an investment boutique offering investment banking advisory services, Cindy possesses a deep understanding of the venture capital landscape. Her expertise lies in analysing startups from a VC perspective, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and providing valuable insights to investors. Armed with a comprehensive knowledge of the VC process, Cindy is adept at helping VCs make well-informed investment decisions.
Tuomas Mennola is an independent consultant who wants to help scientists understand the world of business and make new technologies move from the laboratory to the market. He has an extensive background in the commercialisation of academic and corporate innovations through spinoffs and tech transfers.
His career includes research, industry-academia collaboration, technology transfer, patenting, intellectual property management, business development, and consulting. A physicist by background, he is particularly energised by deep tech innovation and sustainability solutions. He is also fascinated by human communication and how scientists and entrepreneurs can become better at influencing and communicating their ideas.
Tuomas joins Helsinki Incubators as an experienced Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Reino Virrankoski, D.Sc. (Tech.), has over 15 years of experience in planning and managing research and product development projects implemented in cooperation with industry. He has been involved in preparing and implementing several cooperation projects between industry and research institutes, which have aimed at generating new knowledge, commercialising developed innovations and internationalising Finnish companies. His main area of technical expertise is information technology, especially IoT, AI and their industrial and security applications. In addition to his main job, he has done advisory tasks and consulting assignments for a few companies in the field.
Reino is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Electrical Engineering at Aalto University, lecturing part-time at the National Defense University of Finland and doing some consultation work (strategic analysis, business development).
Reino joins Helsinki Incubators as a valued Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Jouni Lounasmaa is an experienced startup and ecosystem leader with over 15 years of experience with start-ups as a co-founder, board member, CFO, and coach. In addition, he's a co-founder of four startups.
Most recently he worked as the CEO of the Startup Foundation – the non-profit owner of Slush, Junction, and The Shortcut as well as a co-owner of the Maria 01 start-up hub. Prior to joining the Startup Foundation he was the co-founder, CFO and HR director at Kyyti Group – a growth company building sustainable mobility services. He's currently an advisor to the forthcoming Erica Green Chemistry Science Park and the Viikki Food Design Factory.
He holds an M.Sc (Eng) degree from Aalto University and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and an MBA from Henley Business School. After graduation as an engineer, he worked at VTI Technologies with several large sensor programs for Smart, Continental Teves, and Siemens Automotive. He also worked for five years at the Technopolis Ventures business incubator as a business advisor for over 50 start-ups before his career as an entrepreneur.
Jouni joins the Helsinki Incubators as a multifaceted Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Anne Hämäläinen is a professional in the field of internationalisation, with almost two decades of experience in international cooperation and the internationalisation of individuals and higher education institutions.
As a Programme Manager at the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI), Anne works in the field of international higher education cooperation and currently manages a programme that supports cooperation projects between higher education institutions in Finland and developing countries. The goal of these projects is to strengthen and improve higher education in the participating countries.
In addition to her professional work, Anne is passionate about volunteering for good causes and thrives on developing initiatives that make a positive impact. This has led her to participate in mentoring programmes and develop the Mothers in Business International project, which aims to provide networking opportunities and peer support for international mothers living in Finland.
Anne joins Helsinki Incubators as a passionate Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Juha Miettinen is a seasoned private sector development and innovation expert with close to 25 years of experience of various development, export, and innovation programmes and projects both in Finland, Europe and Southern Africa. In addition, Juha has over 10 years of experience working in different roles as part of Team Finland-related projects. He holds degrees in Economics from the University of Tampere and the University of Oregon, and is pursuing a PhD on public-private collaboration models around innovation in Southern Africa.
He has successfully led teams in multicultural environments and has extensive experience in innovation ecosystems, business development and new market entries, public-private collaboration, innovation support programmes, project design, and various funding mechanisms. Having both lived in Southern Africa for a number of years and worked in many countries in the region, Juha as consulted and sparred with dozens of Finnish and African companies, HEIs, and research entities, providing market data and connections, as well as supporting their start of operations in various local markets. Some of his past projects include heading the ramp-up of an extensive private sector development programme in Zambia, coordinating for the African part of the 50 million euro Innovation Funding programme BEAM which focused on new business opportunities for Finnish companies in emerging markets, and acting as the team lead for the Southern Africa Innovation Support programme, a regional innovation programme.
Juha joins Helsinki Incubators as a veteran Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Tapio Leppänen, MSc in Forestry from the University of Helsinki, has extensive experience in forestry in Finland and abroad, with his past 14 years having been spent in Vietnam and the Indochina region.
Tapio’s experience comes from government agencies, forest industry enterprises, and international consulting companies. Currently, Tapio is works as an Independent Forestry Consultant based in Hanoi, Vietnam. His most recent work includes themes that are particularly relevant for sustainable management of forests, including management of production and protection forests in Laos, coastal protection zone management and mangrove rehabilitation in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, evaluating investment projects on long-rotation timber production in line with the Vietnam Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to climate change mitigation and adaptation, assessing the forestry value chain in Vietnam and the opportunities for Finnish-Vietnamese business partnerships therein, evaluating the Green Growth Action Plan of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Vietnam, and supporting the design and implementation of the Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance System as part of the EU's FLEGT-VPA implementation.
In addition, Tapio has been pioneering the support to digital transformation in forestry sector as both the Team Leader of the Forest Management Information System project (FORMIS) in Vietnam and the Cambodia Environmental Management Information System project (CEMIS) in Cambodia.
Tapio joins Helsinki Incubators as a well-versed Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Alisa Mick is the founder of MiXi, a Helsinki based organisation founded to impact the creation, growth and adoption of circular economy related solutions. MiXi does this by initiating action-oriented opportunities for collaborations, innovation, and learning.
Prior to establishing MiXi, Alisa has had experience working as both a business consultant and as an entrepreneur, having co-founded a number of companies and worked with startups in Tel Aviv and in Helsinki.
Alisa joins Helsinki Incubators as an action-oriented Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Annamaria Sola, is a Financial Accounting Expert and KLT Accountant. She holds an M.Sc. in Economics from Aalto University, and an M.A. from the University of Helsinki. Annamaria has always worked in the fields of accounting and taxation — with an international twist. In addition, she's a startup veteran, having spent seven years building a manufacturing company from startup to scale-up, before eventually growing to be a global group and market leader with ten international subsidiaries and over 150 million euros in turnover.
Her passion is in accounting, taxation, process creation, building a company's global presence, corporate governance, due diligence, leadership, recruitment, and other HR related issues.
Annamaria joins Helsinki Incubators as an analytical Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Aki Luukkainen holds an MBA and an M.Sc. in electrical engineering, and has over 20 years of international business experience from both executive positions in corporations and managing the growth of start-up companies in several business sectors.
Aki has a solid track record in B2B sales and marketing with global accounts and partners across five continents. He has negotiated agreements with strategic customers, including customer focused R&D and customer funding. He has also secured tens of millions of funding from VC-investors, strategic investors, and other sources. Over the past years he has been involved with dozens of start-ups and growth companies in operative and board roles. Building scalable organisations and operations including management team and board dynamics is close to his heart.
Aki joins Helsinki Incubators as a growth-oriented Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Benoit Mantel is responsible for sales and business development at Helsieni, an urban farm from Finland, that promotes the circular economy principles for growing mushrooms from recycled coffee grounds and other by-products. He brings his commercial expertise to the founding team.
He has a versatile experience of +15 years, mostly in the food industry, working in larger corporations as well as early-stage start-ups, in private and public sectors, and in various languages and countries, mainly Finland, France, Ukraine, Estonia. He promotes diversity and sustainability at all levels and dimensions of his activities.
He has studied economics and business administration at Neoma Business School and Aalto University.
Benoit joins Helsinki Incubators as an experienced Senior Mentor for Biosphere.
Jori Karvonen is an experienced digital sharing economy entrepreneur and mentor who has launched two startups in different countries. Jori is a multilingual mentor who speaks English, Finnish, Spanish and Russian, and has a passion for helping other startups.
Jori's journey as an entrepreneur began with his first startup in Spain, which focused on creating innovative and sustainable solutions in the agriculture industry. His most recent startup was a subscription business for consumer electronics. This experience has taught him the importance of agility and flexibility in the fast-paced world of technology, as well as the value of a strong company culture.
With a proven track record of developing and scaling digital products, Jori has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that come with building and growing a business in the digital space. From ideation to execution, He has built and managed teams of developers, designers, and marketers to develop and launch the products and services.
Overall, Jori is a highly skilled and experienced mentor with a unique perspective on the sharing economy and launching and scaling startups in different countries. His multilingual background and dedication to diversity and inclusion make him a valuable support to any startup looking to grow and succeed.
Jori joins Helsinki Incubators as an experienced Senior Mentor for Biosphere.