Biosphere Mentors
Biosphere thanks its mentors for the time and dedication they are providing the programme and its participant teams. Get to know them below!

Would you like to work with Helsinki Incubators and become one of our valued mentors? Get in touch with Biosphere Project Manager Tuomas Pollari - contact details at the bottom of this page.
Tuomas Mennola — Innovation Management Consultant

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.

Florence Korhonen — Director at Miraflo Ventures

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.
 

Oscar Ramirez Muñoz — Co-founder at Startup Commons & CEO at Digiole

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 — Head of Business Development & ESG at Geyser Batteries

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.

Reino Virrankoski — Postdoc Researcher and Consultant

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.

Aline de Santa Izabel — Expert Advisor and Innovation Ecosystems Manager

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.

Jouni Lounasmaa — Impact Driven Foundation & Startup Executive

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 — Programme Manager & Team Lead at the Finnish National Agency for Education

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 — Seasoned Private Sector Development & Innovation Expert

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.

María Rojas Fraile — Investment Director at Net Zero Ventures

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.

Tapio Leppänen — Independent Forestry Consultant

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 — Founder at MiXi

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.
 

Michael Hanf — Co-Founder & Executive Partner at Taival Advisory

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 — Director of Operational Excellence at Quinyx

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.

Aki Luukkainen — Board professional, Investor, and Entrepreneurial company developer

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.

Peik Stenlund — CEO at Circular Carbon

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.

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