Sam Laakkonen has been nominated Head Mentor and Senior Advisor for Incubator Operations at the University of Helsinki. Laakkonen started his career as a management consultant in the City of London from where he was headhunted to join his first startup, FirstMark Communications, which raised the largest telecommunications Series A round in European history, $1.5 billion. At FirstMark, he was responsible for building and running the company's Spanish office, which would eventually grow to a 5,000km network, 65 employees, and €300 million in booked revenue before a trade sale exit to Colt Technologies.
He has subsequently been an early employee at Spotify, privately invested in over 25 startups, had 3 further successful exits from companies, helped well over 100 startups to accelerate growth, and worked for the European Commission to distribute over €1 billion in equity and grant funding.
Laakkonen has been active in the Techstars ecosystem for a number of years, having been an Entrepreneur-In-Residence for Techstars Amsterdam, and a Lead Mentor on a number of programmes including Techstars Lisbon, Techstars Korea, Techstars Boulder and Techstars Energy in Oslo, amongst others.
Over the last couple of years Laakkonen's focus has increasingly shifted onto sustainability and impact, and how technology can be leveraged to protect the planet and to improve the quality of our lives. This he gets to investigate in his current position at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), a globally influential institute developing leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy.
Andrés-Leonardo Martínez-Ortiz, better known as Almo, holds a PhD on Software, Systems, and Computing and is a member of the Google Machine Learning Site Reliability Engineering team where he leads several programmes aiming for reliability & convergence. He is also a member of IEEE, ACM, the Linux Foundation and Computer Society.
Merja Kannisto works currently as a Head of Sales Excellence and Global Sales Competence Manager at ABB. She has 15 years of experience in global sales and in addition several years of experience in sales competence development, sales process development, customer experience and people development. She is also Certified Business Coach® with sales coaching and business coaching experience.
Kannisto holds BSc. Engineering Degree in Industrial Economics and MSc. in Environmental Management. She has true passion to develop business and customer experience through continuous people development.
Tamir Huberman holds an MSc in Structural Biology and MBA studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has a diploma in Electronics and Computers. Huberman was appointed as Yeda’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Head of Marketing in December 2019. He is also the director of IT at ITTN (Israel Technology Transfer Organisation) and brings over 20 years’ experience in core IT system implementation, deal negotiation and public speaking to Yeda.
Prior to joining Yeda, Huberman was the Founder of THI, CIO at Yissum, (Technology Transfer company of Hebrew University), served on the Board of Directors at InnerEye and was an Observer on the Board at BriefCam.
Kim Väisänen started his career by founding Blancco Ltd in 1997. He led the company for 15 years and grew it into international success, until it was sold to London Stock Exchange listed company on 2014. After that, Väisänen has been focusing on private investments.
Väisänen is a well-recognised columnist and blogger for several newspapers and online publications, as well as a popular public speaker in Finland. He is also the author of two best-selling books in Finland.
Anja Leissner has an extensive background in the food industry with engagement in innovative projects at Lund’s University and big corporations in dairy, vegetable oils, and flavouring solutions (Tetra Pak, Skånemejerier, AAK, Bush Boake Allen).
Her expertise in biotechnology, microbiology, food science and systems, and dairy technology and processes has been dedicated to deep molecular research, as well as product development, food production, and distribution.
An invention in functionalising plant proteins resulted in a patent and the founding of Stockeld Dreamery early 2019 (then Noquo Foods) a plant based company set out to create the world’s most ambitious cheese. Stockeld has launched two products based on Leissner's proven technology, raised significant funds, and has about 40 employees.
Leissner has been engaged in mentoring other startups since 2020 (Rockstart, Norrsken Foundation) and is now exploring new adventures and opportunities where her unique skill-set can have an impact. She is excited to support other companies in the space after building Stockeld's company, team and products for 3 years.
Juan Manuel Cortés Galindo, also known as Juanma, is an entrepreneur and investor with plenty of experience in growing tech companies across Latin America and Europe. His expertise has helped companies scale up to between 3 to 5 times their size YOY.
As a versatile leader with a strong computer science background, Cortés has had the opportunity to work in a number of roles ranging from operations to sales, having helped and led technical teams and executives rethink models, created new revenue streams, and brought cohesiveness to teams and clients. He also helps organisations develop partner network ecosystems regionally, develop world class products, and deliver great software to millions of users.
Michael Vormittag is the Head of SAP Delivery, Architecture, Analytics & CTO Office at Daimler Truck. In his role he is both a technology evangelist and a catalyst driving Daimler's digital transformation, while also providing foundational technology products to the whole organisation. Vormittag has a passion for technology and collaboration, and strongly believes that the combination of both leads to sustainable progress and innovation.
Prior to this function, Vormittag was the head of Digital Innovation & Partnerships at Mercedes-Benz's Marketing and Sales, working on all aspects of the innovation value chain. Defining strategy for their digital business, leading IT in the Mercedes-Benz Investment team, running a corporate startup programme (“The Builders”) out of Tel Aviv, and building the largest Innovation Network in Mercedes-Benz.
Throughout his career, he has held various positions in the field of bringing innovation to reality, from product ownerships and app development to agile coaching and design thinking – always keeping in mind the holistic picture of how to build digital products.
Vormittag studied Industrial Engineering and Management at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, and the Singapore Management University.
Anett Numa is the Head of Government Relations and Communications at Accelerate Estonia. Having lived and studied in different countries, she has learned to appreciate the perks of living in a fully digital society, and believes that all the processes and structures of public services should be accessible and simple to use. Based on her academic background in Political Sciences and International Relations, Numa works as the Head of Government Relations in Estonia's Governmental Innovation Lab, Accelerate Estonia, and focuses on enhancing an excellent collaboration between the public and private sector to create a comprehensive and supportive environment.
Numa has previously worked as a Digital Transformation Adviser in the e-Estonia Briefing Centre, advising governments around the world based on Estonian experience. She has also worked as a Cyber Defence Policy Adviser and focused on shaping cyber policies, helping to build a substantial collaboration between different countries in countering and tackling cyber threats.
Additionally, she runs her own consulting business to help people to become an excellent public-speaker and is happy to help to moderate events and talk about digitisation.
Marko Berg has a finance related background through studies at Aalto University, and before joining the University of Helsinki he worked for over seven years in investment banking in boutique offices in Helsinki. His experience in analysing all kinds of different businesses gives him the overall business perspective. As a “numbers guy” without scientific substance knowledge he takes an outsiders’ commercial view in different cases.
He joined the University in late 2019 and has been building the University's role in spinouts, investments, reporting, and other processes. In 2020, Berg launched the University’s HELSEED programme to invest in student founded startups.
Tuomas Oksanen is a Partner and Investor Director at Grid.vc. He has a “Been there, done that” approach to things, thanks to years of hands-on startup experience from various positions, including as the first employee at a successful startup, and as co-founder at another. He is also a former Aalto Startup Center advisor for funding and financing, and has assisted 100+ startups to develop their businesses. He is an eternal optimist with honest realism.
Sharon Fireman, PhD, is the Head of BINA at the Weizmann Institute of Science. She has over 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry in R&D management, BD, and Innovation positions. She has served as the Director of Project Management and Corporate Development at Teva Pharmaceuticals and as the Executive Director of BD at an academic accelerator.
Fireman became an internal entrepreneur by leading a successful open innovation programme to accelerate scientific knowledge sharing between Teva’s researchers worldwide. Her programme, “If only Teva knew what Teva knows”, won Teva's global Purpose and Values award in 2016; harnessing the knowledge of more than 1,000 Teva R&D employees in 18 sites, the programme generated more than 40 ideas for solving a scientific challenge.
Currently, Fireman heads Bina, a scientific research unit at the Weizmann Institute of Science, which aims to create an ecosystem of innovation and translational research by identifying the applicative potential of new, early-stage ideas and technologies, as well as through education, mentoring programs, and networking activities.
Fireman holds Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MBA, specializing in strategy and entrepreneurship, from Tel Aviv University.
Tarun Sharma is the Chief of Operations & Portfolio at Nokia Ventures, driving new ventures & new business growth there by working closely with entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, CXO's and leadership teams. More often than not he is building high-growth, technology-based businesses, or driving commercial success with innovation & digital.
His expertise is in strategy, general management, sales & business development in new emerging (risky) bets around software and technology either in consumer or enterprise businesses, combining internal investments of 50 million euros to working closely with corporate venture capital with 400 million euros, and few unicorn companies.
In his career, Sharma has held various cross-functional leadership roles in leading Fortune 100 companies like Microsoft, IBM, Bell Labs, Nokia, Tieto and in various startups & scaleups. Having worked across many industry verticals, innovations, digital, tech ventures, and transformations, his experience is quite wide ranging.
Saku Suuriniemi holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Mathematics. After a nearly two decade career in academic research and education at the Tampere University of Technology, he co-founded Jalonne Oy, a startup to monitor the condition of highways with smartphones as the data acquisition platform. His role at Jalonne was Head of R&D, with plenty of hands-on work in a small startup. After an intensive four-year stint in developing mathematical analysis methods to make the data work for well planned and coordinated road maintenance, he shifted to a consulting Data Scientist role at Reaktor.
Rashmi Kasat has spent more than 21 years leading IT and Digital transformations in global companies first as a consultant and now as an employee. She currently leads the Intelligent Equipment offering for Metso Outotec’s Mining customer segment. Her daily work is about creating growth opportunities through sensors, cloud, industrial automation, process control, AI, digital twins, and advanced simulations. Prior to this role she had founded and led digital garage at Metso. Digital garage’s objective was to incubate new business ideas using new technologies, fast prototyping and piloting to speed time to market.
Kasat holds an engineering degree and an executive MBA. She is at her best combining technology with business.
Lasse Huotari is an ISV Partner Specialist at IBM Finland. He has work in several technical specialist roles on field of AI and Cloud Computing combining sales and technical experience. His passion is to solve real world problems with next-generation technologies. In his roles Huotari has worked with startups and enterprise clients in various industries across Northern Europe.
Huotari has also role as IBM Academic Ambassador, where he has acted as a guest lecturer in several universities. As part of the ambassador role Huotari has also acted as a mentor for early technology professionals.
Laura Bonomini is the Head of Investments at Wayra Germany. At the beginning of her career, Bonomini helped startups getting ready for fundraising, supporting them with creating pitch decks and business plans. She then joined Plug and Play as Venture Capital investor, deploying capital to the most promising startups in the space of insurtech, health tech and enterprise tech. Bonomini now leads the early stage venture capital activities of Wayra Germany in the DACH region, looking for and investing in high potential companies with fit with Wayra business.
Fernando Trolia Slamic (MSc Eng, MBA, Tech) is originally from Argentina, and has lived and worked in various countries before settling in Finland in 2011.
With 20+ years of international corporate experience, he has developed and managed international businesses in diverse B2B industries; from energy and food, to technology and services. In recent years, he's been focusing on building new businesses and ventures, engaging with emerging players to craft together a position in a better future.
He is passionate about innovation and business transformations, aided with lean startup and service design methodologies, to help revitalise team cultures to create delightful and scalable solutions with real-world impact.
Ramón Crespí Rosselló is a Spanish entrepreneur and investor from Mallorca who lives between Helsinki and Palma. Ramón has experience spanning multiple decades in several positions across different business verticals, mostly as a founder, having founded several companies. Crespí attributes his ability to hyperfocus on his passions to his ADHD which, along with his communication skills, he says has helped him in his many professional pursuits.
After a long history with companies like ThePower Business School and BMW, Crespí now dedicates his expertise to coaching, accelerating, and nurturing the growth of Finnish companies in their global scaling phases. His skills lie in bridging cultural divides and minimising friction, all while working on elevating Finland to the top of the global hierarchy - a position Crespí believes the country has always deserved. His hope is to reshape the narrative surrounding Finland and solidify its position as an international powerhouse.
Crespí has interests in macroeconomics, psychology, nature, and education. He is married and has two children, Alvar and Clara.
Mia Uitto works as Senior Marketing Partner at Nordea. She has 15+ years experience in result driven marketing in several fields, especially in the technology sector. Her vast experience includes marketing strategies, digital marketing, lead generation and creating new concepts. Her campaigns have led to exceeding sales targets, successful product launches and won some of the most prestigious marketing awards in Finland.
Uitto has a profound understanding of technology companies and their business models. Her expertise extends to new data-based business models and technologies such as IoT, AI, robotics, and cyber security.
Uitto's achievements include the Grand One Best Virtual Event prize in 2021, nominations in the “Vuoden Huiput” Services category in 2019 and the Effie Awards Business Challenge category in 2019, as well as the promotion of a service that was nominated among the 30 Hot Products of 2018 at CES.
Uitto will be helping teams create effective storytelling around their products and services, generating concrete business results.
Matti Aksela works as Head of AI & Digital Innovation at Outokumpu, on top of being the the founder of Trust In Sight Oy. Aksela received his doctorate in machine learning with a minor in industrial management from the Helsinki University of Technology (a precursor of Aalto). After having started in the industry as a data scientist before the term was coined, Aksela has worked in senior leadership roles in both startups and publicly listed companies focusing on the use of data and machine learning and building innovative solutions across a variety of industries. Previously, Aksela was responsible for Managed Services at WithSecure (formerly F-Secure B2B business), a role which he moved to at the beginning of 2022 after heading the company’s Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence. In 2023, following decades of work, Aksela founded Trust In Sight to provide advisory services for companies building AI solutions that users can trust.
Aksela has experience in driving new initiatives through, leading teams ranging from just a small group to well over a hundred, designing and developing innovative solutions to real problems, technology, strategy, and business ownership, finding and convincing the right stakeholders, and working with Boards of both startups and public companies, among other things. Topics of particular interest for Aksela are finding the right business and technology fit of innovative solutions utilising large amounts of data, leveraging his experience in different roles to iterate towards the right idea-to-market fit and being a big believer in the critical role of people in any success story, focusing on team and stakeholder network development and actively supporting, coaching and mentoring of the people behind the idea.
Neri Friedlander is a Director of Innovation and Partnerships for Continental's Innovation and Venture Capital organisation. As part of his role, he leads Continental's activities in Israel and has a global Innovation role for Continental Tires and Contitech divisions to form partnerships and investments by leveraging access to startups and VC ecosystems.
Friedlander has a strong passion for developing new data business models and transforming companies from selling commoditised hardware to software and data. He believes that the right path for disruptive innovation starts from building bridges between non-traditional partners and finding the right synergies for business collaboration.
Prior to his job at Continental, Friedlander led the development of new mobility initiatives for Daimler Mobility Services and shaped their data monetisation strategy. Later on, he continued to the R&D division of Mercedes-Benz to support its Autonomous Mobility and Cybersecurity in its R&D hub in Tel Aviv.
Friedlander holds a BSc from Erasmus University, The Netherlands and an MSc in IT & Management from the Rotterdam School of Management.
Tua Trappe is the Head of Transformation, Supply Chain, at Nokia. She has worked with Nokia for 8 years in different positions in Nokia's operations. Trappe's expertise is in creating strategy, executing transformation and managing large and complex programmes. She has lots of experience in working with enterprises in the heavy industry segment and understanding their needs for digitalisation and automation. Trappe has also been leading teams to create efficient partnering and ecosystem models for co-creating technology, implementing complicated high tech solutions for industrial enterprises, and defining models for how value is shared between the ecosystem contributors.
Before joining Nokia, Trappe worked for a Finnish engineering and consulting company, Pöyry, where she was in key project management roles for large heavy industry investment projects.
Tomi Kankainen, born dynamic, agile, and innovative, for real. Fast and relentless, but at the same time very humane. Forward-looking leader, a visionary with an ability to create and sell the future instead of just looking at it. Not fond of hierarchies, instead believing equal people pursuing the same vision together will reach the stars. He likes to do things together in as diverse and multidisciplinary teams as possible. He knows what digitalisation is in practice, how business and products and services are created, and what it takes to lead transformation. He likes doing concrete stuff instead of power points. He has been working with startups and large corporations and everything in between. More than twenty years of experience on all organisational levels from a global corporate management team executive to a design team member.
Born in Finland, he holds an MA in Industrial Design from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (Now Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture), and an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Tampere University of Technology (now University of Tampere).
Specialties: Vision and strategy. Product and service creation. Lean Agile leadership and transformation. Digitalisation, innovation, and creativity. Utter interest in human behaviour, technology, and business. Practicing and coaching martial arts and strength training.
Pasi Toivanen is Vice President and Head of Strategic Partnerships at Nokia, where he is responsible for executing Nokia's and Nokia Mobile Networks’ strategy of being the preferred partner of web-scale companies, server makers and related ecosystems. In this role, he secures the contractual landscape with the strategic partners as well as owns business development and market making with these partners.
In a previous role, Toivanen was driving the development of Nokia’s O-RAN and Cloud RAN technologies and established an Edge Cloud partnering ecosystem across Nokia’s global businesses as well as through partnerships with international Cloud companies to drive innovation and position Nokia as global leader.
An enthusiastic senior leader with over 20 years of experience, Toivanen is well-versed in establishing new organisations, business models and driving organisational transformation. He is passionate about delivering customer success, innovation and building unique solutions with the latest technology and services.
Toivanen joined Nokia in 1998 and has held various senior roles across the Program, Portfolio and Partner divisions. Toivanen has also held senior roles at Juniper Networks and at Ericsson, where he was Global Head, IP solutions and Global Head of Service Delivery. In his career he has worked in a number of countries away from his native Finland including China, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In his spare time, Toivanen has a passion for motorcycling and good wine but is careful not to pursue these interests at the same time.
Hanna Helin is the Global Head of Technology Innovation at the LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group) CTO office. She is responsible for driving technology innovation including emerging technologies, ecosystem engagements and innovation programmes. She has previously worked in a variety of positions ranging from business management, strategy, business development and sales. Helin has two Master’s degrees from ESCP Europe and University of Vaasa. She has lived in six different countries in Europe and Asia, and is now based in New York City.
Pablo Campos has over 20 years of experience in people & business development, operations, and marketing. During his career he has held different responsibilities in companies like Google, Telefonica, and Stellantis Group in tech-related roles. Since 2016, he has co-founded 3 startups in the mobility, clean-tech, and AI & biotech industries, and he has been C-level advisor on several projects. He is also a co-founder of a Spanish Venture Capital fund focused in early-seed startups.
Campos holds a Master's degree from I.E. Business School in digital business, a financial business degree, and an industrial engineering degree. He has been teaching during the last 10 years in several universities and business schools in topics such as strategy & operations, marketing, and startup commercial & investor pitching. He is also a startup mentor in several renowned incubators as GoHub Startups, Santander Explorer Experts, EIT Urban Mobility & EIT Climate-KIC.
Entrepreneurship and working with people around startups projects have been his passions and main focus during the past few years.
Antti Ritala has 12 years experience in investments, strategy, and management consulting with renewables and energy-transition focus. Ritala is currently heading corporate venture capital at Neste, the world's leading producer of biofuels and renewable feedstock solutions for polymers & chemicals. Prior to this, Ritala was leading Neste strategy development and worked in management consulting with McKinsey & Company. Examples of areas that Ritala has worked on: renewable & circular solutions for transportation & chemicals, technology investments and scaleup, strategy development, GTM, sourcing strategies, pricing, performance transformation.
Suvi Hirvonen-Ere is a seasoned leader with 20+ years of practical leadership background mainly in global corporations. She is experienced in strategy, operational excellence, transformation, legal, commercial and contract management, risk management, and sustainability. Currently she is an Advisory Board Member and Advisor in four companies and a Mentor in the Helsinki Chamber of Commerce Women Leaders Mentoring Program, and a WorldCC Fellow. In her spare time, she is an active contributor in several organisations and communities.
Hirvonen-Ere holds a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Helsinki. Her dissertation (Contract Management Modus Operandi in the Post-Enron World) was about profitable growth. Her second PhD at Aalto University School of Business (Sustainable Business via Commercial and Contract Management as a Leadership Strategy Instrument, forthcoming 2023) is about expanded utilisation of contract management to drive also other business goals, such as sustainable growth.
Jukka Lahtinen is an Open Innovation Manager at Fortum. For the past decade, Lahtinen has worked in the convergence of tech and business in South Korea, Hong Kong, and the Nordics for consultancies, multinationals, as well as research institutes. During this time he has helped to accelerate and scale multiple deep tech and AI solutions to market, mostly in the industrial, infrastructure, and energy sectors.
Currently Lahtinen is responsible for the strategic renewal of Fortum, one of the largest energy companies in Europe, through open innovation. His expertise spans from co-innovation and design thinking to business and market modelling for digital solutions. In his collaboration with Helsinki Incubators Lahtinen is looking forward to helping validate the solutions of the incubatees and give concrete advice on how to build and scale in the midst of current energy crisis.
Konsta Rönkkö is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of IBM Finland. In his previous roles he has worked with business partners across Northern Europe to help them increase business by utilising business development, service design, and MVP approaches to create new products and services, with with technologies such as AI/ML, Cloud, and Blockchain solutions. He has also worked as a lecturer and has consulted university-led business development projects at the University of Jyväskylä.
Tiina Rainio is a Senior Manager, Social Media at Zynga creating content for games that have tens of millions fans around the globe. She has 10+ years of experience in social media and content marketing in several fields, especially in the technology and gaming sector. She's won prizes for her projects such as the first Tubecon Event for influencers, and the space education show in collaboration with Angry Birds and NASA. Her experience includes creating strategies and campaigns for global brands and international audiences, including social media marketing, content creation, establishing tone-of-voice, and community and influencer management.
Rainio has an agency background and has worked with and in startups, so she understands the vital role of turning key selling points into easy-to-digest messaging for audiences and how to scale the message to reach a wider market with the help of different platforms for different demographics.
Rainio helps teams in creating effective storytelling around the teams’ products and services, which generates concrete business results and brings audiences to their startups.
Before founding AnD-Ventures, Roy Geva Glasberg founded and managed several of Google's Global Acceleration programmes (LATAM, ASIA, AFRICA, CEE), Google's CorpDev and unicorn accelerators, the Google AI Studio, and Google's Sustainability Accelerator. Over the last three years, Geva Glasberg has also been building Google's global mentoring programme for startups as the Global Manager of the Launchpad Google Startup programme, by scaling it to over 40 countries. Previously Roy was the head of Campus TLV and led Developer Relations for Google in Israel and Europe.
Before joining Google, Geva Glasberg was the Director of Business Development at LivePerson, where he built the Liveperson market place for startups and integrated innovative solutions. Geva Glasberg was also the Head of Business Development and Business Solutions at Microsoft, where he led the BI market for Enterprises and Government. Geva Glasberg has vast experience in strategy formulation and implementation, through working as a Senior Consultant for Deloitte and for HayGroup.
Geva Glasberg holds four university degrees in law, business management, software IP, and financial engineering from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC Herzliya) and Hebrew University. Geva Glasberg's team includes his wife Zohar, their four daughters and Chewy their golden retriever.
Samuli Salmela is constantly looking for new ways to make things better. He has been working in various business and IT leadership roles in global logistics since 2003 and currently works as Head of Digital Transformation, Region Europe at DB Schenker.
Being passionate about new technology and human centric leadership, Salmela focuses on helping organisations and the society to become better every day. He focuses on exploring emerging concepts and technologies such as the Metaverse and on making sustainable impact with those that are already mature for use at scale, such as AI.
He currently chairs the digitalisation Group of Service Sector Employers Palta and the Innovation and Digitalisation Group of the Finnish Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association.
Salmela holds a BSc from Helsinki School of Economics and an eMBA from Aalto EE.
Leticia Rayas is passionate about promoting innovation & impact ecosystems that add significant value to the real needs of society from the formation of entrepreneurs to the investment in startups, with more than 15 years of international experience.
She has been a consultant for organisations such as Junior Achievement, the Ministry of Education in Guatemala, and BIGBAN, the largest network of private investors in Spain. She is currently a member of the Board of Advisors for the International Startups Association and during the last eight years she has been startup mentor for organisations such as Techstars, Socialab, Telefonica Open Future, Founder Institute, and the European Innovation Commission, among others.
Rayas holds a Master degree on Innovation and Development of Business Projects from the University of Valencia in Spain that makes her the best mentor to help startups to fit their idea-product-market until they decide to look for fundraising from private investors.
Mauro Sacchi is a curious and energetic person with experience in leading international organisations. His passion is simple: to inspire people to embrace a purpose and make it happen. Industrial sectors transforming through digitalisation are his domain of expertise, developed over 20 years of career.
The higher the degrees of uncertainty and innovation needed, the higher his interest. A strong direct drive from ownership or investors to innovate and execute a decarbonisation agenda get him going.
Sascha Fritz is Investment Principal at Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC) and operates out of its Stuttgart office. At RBVC, Fritz focusses on technologies and companies related to AI, enterprise SaaS, mobility tech, semiconductors, and healthcare to name a few.
Prior to Bosch, as Head of Venture Capital at a local investment company, he was responsible for managing the Seed and VC funds with broad investment foci as well as heading the company's Venture Capital Team. By leading numerous transactions, he backed his strong transaction and financial experiences. Before his role as head of Venture Capital Team, Fritz gained experience as an Investment Manager in the sector, and prior to his focusing on VC investments, he started his career as Consultant in Corporate banking.
Fritz holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University and the CPEA certificate from the Technical University Munich.
Maryna Barysheva is the COO of LKI Consulting. She specialises in Deep Tech, layer 1 blockchain, Defi, and SaaS.
After working with blockchain projects from 20+ countries and managing marketing for Lithuania's top event tech startup valued at $100M, Maryna knows what it takes to develop winning external communications, brand awareness, and global GTM strategies. Maryna has built marketing teams from 1 to 15 people and managed as big as $100K+ marketing budgets.
She also makes frequent appearances in international panel discussions and delivers keynotes on the latest marketing trends. Apart from her public speaking engagements, Maryna mentors young startup entrepreneurs on business development, operations, and growth.
Dr. Thorsten Lambertus is the Managing Director of DEEP, the Institute for Deep Tech Innovation, at ESMT Berlin. Prior to his role at ESMT, he built the NeuroTechlab by Biogen in Germany, initiated and led Fraunhofer’s central tech transfer and startup incubation programmes, and co-founded two startups himself.
For the past 15 years, Lambertus has also been an entrepreneurship educator at various universities and research organisations, such as Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, TU Munich, or WU Vienna. He is also following his passion in science-backed innovations by hosting the Hightech Ventures podcast.
Ariel Cohen is a Co-Founder and General Partner at AnD Ventures. He is a passionate early-stage investor and company builder, bringing his expertise to a number of projects to help them grow.
Oriol Pascual is the CEO and co-founder at Stage2, a venture-backed accelerator for early-stage Industrial Tech European startups.
Previously, Pascual was involved in different initiatives aiming to support engineering-based startups. These include IQS Tech Factory, the first Spanish acceleration program for hardware startups, as well as Dnamo, an accelerator program for clean tech ventures.
Prior to that, Pascual worked at the Philips Corporate Sustainability Office where we was in charge of setting up an environmental audit system, as well as at ERM, where he developed environmental and quality management systems for the likes of Peugeot and Repsol.
Veli-Pekka Luoma, M.Sc. Econ,, is an Innovation and Partner Ecosystem Lead at the Nokia HQ Technology Center. Enthusiastic about technology innovation, Luoma has been starting and leading data-based businesses of different sizes, from startups to global scale transformation and introduction of new services.
Currently, Luoma is working with innovation at Nokia HQ, enabling the world to act together – as the purpose statement of Nokia says. That means building 5G, 6G and AI/ML powered intelligent systems and services with their partners for smart industries and communities.
Jani Kangas is the Strategic Innovation Management Lead at Nokia Bell Labs. He is passionate about high-tech industries, their business models and strategies. By training, Kangas is an engineer, but over the last decade he has worked in several commercial senior executive roles internationally. His strength is the ability to manoeuvre in the cross section of technology, business and strategy, as well as people.
He leads Strategic Innovation Management and value creation activities (e.g. startup building for internal incubator) for Bell Labs Solutions Research and together with customers. He maximises the impact of their research portfolio and accelerates value creation by identifying market trends and business opportunities and enabling the channels towards innovation commercialisation. Bell Labs does research beyond connectivity and they work on breakthrough technologies for AI, software systems, robotics, and future industrial & enterprise solutions.
Sergio Rodrigues is a co-founder at Arca, a Spanish fintech offering fully digital pension plans. Prior to this he acted as Investment Associate at Telefónica Ventures, where he did investments in early-growth stages (Series A, B and C) for those strategic opportunities disrupting Telefónica's main businesses.
His experience is also built upon early-stage investments, venture building for corporates and taking part in the strategy teams of different mobility sector startups (Circ, MaaS Global).
Gabriele Garavini, PhD, is the Head of Venture Portfolio & Venture Building at Scania Ventures and a customer focused executive, innovation leader, board member, and coach focusing on new technologies, business development strategies, innovation & venturing to solve the climate crises.
He loves designing, launching and growing new businesses and organisations from vision to scaling. His work spans across different business domains & technologies e.g. IoT, AI, Data analytics, Saas, Smart mobility, Digital experience, Fintech always with the same relentless focus on understanding customer needs and developing business models and culture to foster sustainable growth.
Pablo Mosquera Martínez is investment director at Unirisco, a Spanish VC specialising in seed investment in deep tech startups based on science and technology born in universities and research centres.
Mosquera has a master's degree in financial management and a bachelor's degree in business. During his career of +15 years, he has held different positions related to innovation management, technology transfer and entrepreneurship. As a business consultant, he participated in the design of innovation strategies and policies for public administrations and companies. He has also been business developer at a neuroimaging biomarker software startup. Prior to Unirisco, he worked as technology transfer manager at a healthcare research institute, helping to create several startups and licensing healthcare technologies to companies.
He is passionate about working with startups with disruptive technologies emerging from the scientific field that can be scaled to an industrial level to meet new market needs.
Soma Sarkar is the Head of Edge Cloud Platforms at Nokia Mobile Networks, responsible for driving the development of Nokia’s O-RAN and Cloud RAN technologies. An impactful, proven industry leader with over 25 years of experience, Soma is also responsible for Nokia’s Edge Cloud portfolio, which includes AirFrame data centres, Radio Cloud Platform (RCP), Nokia Edge Automation tool (NEAT), Fronthaul Gateway (FHGW), and Service Enablement Platform (SEP) & RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller).
Prior to this, Soma has successfully led Global Engineering organisations. She was Head of Engineering for many years, leading and building out large-scale global R&D teams and responsible for the engineering and execution of product delivery across various technologies. She was also the Technology Center and Location Head of Nokia Bangalore, and as such, responsible for leading site operations focusing on people engagement, innovation, culture, inclusion and diversity, expert and leadership development as well as ecosystem engagements with government, academia and industry bodies.
Soma is passionate about building teams towards success, managing costs in complex and challenging environments, achieving business results, and delivering customer success. She is based in Finland, married, and is mother to one son. She enjoys music, reading books, and indulging in outdoor activities in her spare time. Soma is passionate about people and culture, leadership development, as well as coaching and mentoring people both within and outside the organisation. Technology and telecommunication excites her, and she considers herself a lifelong learner.