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Software Innovation in Nordic Countries

John Lervik, FAST Search, Norway

John Lervik, FAST Search, Norway

WINTER '10. Stanford Engineering's European Entrepreneurship and Innovation Thought Leaders is a weekly speaker series that presents industry leaders from Europe's hitech startup, venture finance, corporate and university research and technology commercialization communities to share their insights and experiences with aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley.

From Ireland to Russia, and from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, Europe's technology sector is today playing a growing role in bringing new energy, environmental, water, information, medical device and life sciences technologies to market thru small- and medium-sized enterprises. Europe's countries and regions, however, face substantial challenges in rapidly moving to the marketplace the technical innovations that are being developed in universities, national laboratories and corporations. Many of these regions are increasingly looking to Silicon Valley to accelerate this process and train a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovation professionals. We invite you to join us each week for a lively discussion of the challenges and opportunities facing European entrepreneurs, investors and innovation sector organizations.

Session 7 - Monday, March 1

(full schedule below)
Michael Neidhofer, NetBiscuits (Germany)

Venture Capital and Mobile Startups in Spain and Germany

Michael Neidhoefer

CEO & Co-Founder, Netbiscuits (Germany)

Nico Goulet (Madrid Region, Spain)

Nico Goulet

Managing Partner, Adara Venture Partners

(Madrid Region, Spain)

Final Session - Monday, March 8

(full schedule below)
John Lervik, FAST Search and Transfer (Norway)

New Approaches to Software Innovation in Nordic Countries

John Lervik

CEO - Emeritus, FAST Search & Transfer (Norway)

Svein-Egil Nielsen (Norway)

Svein-Egil Nielsen

Innovation Norway - San Francisco

Dr. Burton Lee PhD MBA, Stanford Engineering School (USA)

Burton Lee

Lecturer, Stanford Engineering

Winter 2010 Speaker Lineup



January 4

New Venture Funds in Europe

Our first Winter session will kick off with an indepth look at several new funds being raised in - and for - European startups in cleantech, ICT and other sectors. Our new national Government Partner Enterprise Ireland will also give a brief overview of Ireland's economy and innovation sector.

Program Introduction: Dr. Burton Lee PhD MBA, Stanford Engineering

Ireland Overview: John McIntyre, Enterprise Ireland - Silicon Valley

Joerg Sperling — Partner, WHEB Ventures

Jörg joined WHEB in 2008 as it’s 5th partner when he opened the new WHEB office in Munich. Before that he has been active in the clean technology investment area for almost two years as a Venture Partner with Munich based VC firm Target Partners. Prior to that he was one of four partners at the US-based power and energy fund Ridgewood Capital. George has also been active in operational roles for semiconductor companies in Europe and the US, his most recent role being Global VP Sales for Dresden-based ZMD. George’s VC track record includes 18 investments with 11 board positions and successful exits via NASDAQ IPOs and LSE listings plus numerous trade sales.


Miguel Valls — Managing Partner & Founder, MED-SV Fund; VP Corporate Development, Vlex Networks

Established in Silicon Valley and Barcelona, Spain, Miguel Valls is Managing Partner and Founder of MED-SV, a Cleantech Fund based in Barcelona. He is also VP of International Operations and Corporate Development of Vlex Networks. Miguel serves as Technology Advisor to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, and he also sits on the Advisory Board of Melodis Corp. Miguel has extensive experience in the derivatives industry (Siaga A.V.B) and Money Management (Barclays Private Banking, BNP-Paribas Private Banking). He is a member of the CEFIE Angel Network (IESE Business School), the CEEI Angel Network (ESADE Business School) and the Keiretsu Spanish Chapter.


John Hartnett — Managing Director, Irish Technology Capital; President & CEO, G24 Innovations

John Hartnett is Managing Director at Irish Technology Capital; President and Chief Executive Officer at G24 Innovations, and is Chairman of the Irish Technology Leadership Group. Prior to joining G24i, John Hartnett was senior vice president of global markets at Palm, Inc. where he was responsible for worldwide sales, service and support. Before that, he was executive vice president of worldwide operations, service, support and eCommerce at Handspring, Inc. He was an integral member of the executive leadership team that led to the 2003 merger of Handspring and palmOne to form what is known today as Palm, Inc.


Jan 11

French and Irish Entrepreneurs in Software & Cleantech

This second session features our first European region, and two innovative startups out of the French software and Irish wave energy sectors. Wave power systems are an emerging alternative energy technology that has also received relatively little attention in the US (see also talk by Richard Yemm of Pelamis Wave Power Ltd (UK) in May 2009 here at Stanford Engineering).

The role of regions in European innovation and economic development is not well understood here in the United States. Our new regional Government Partner OnlyLyon/Aderly will give a brief overview of the Lyon Region economy and innovation sector.

We are also pleased to welcome to Stanford a senior representative of the European Commission's office in Washington DC who will provide a short introduction to EU Science, Technology and Innovation policy.

Prof. Elisabeth Pate-Cornell, Chair, Management Science & Engineering, Stanford University

European Commission Overview: Laurent Bochereau, S&T Counselor, Delegation of the European Commission to the USA, Washington DC

Lyon Region Overview: Stephane Barbier, OnlyLyon Development Agency, France

Jean (John) Rauscher — CEO, Yseop

John (Jean) Rauscher is a French serial entrepreneur, and the current CEO of Yseop, a software vendor of a unique solution based on Artificial Intelligence that can automatically dialogue with the user in English and write intelligent, coherent and multilingual texts just like a human. Before joining Yseop, he served as the CEO of Sunopsis SA, a Lyons-based software vendor with international operations. John sold Sunopsis to Oracle Corp. in October 2006 and the Sunopsis flagship product is now known as Oracle Data Integrator. Mr. Rauscher was previously the CEO of the US subsidiary of Cyrano, a public company specializing in RDBMS testing tools.


Andrew Parish — CEO, Wavebob

Andrew Parish, Chief Executive Officer of Wavebob, is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, the Irish Management Institute and Henley Management College, London. Prior to joining Wavebob, he was Irish Practice Leader for Pera International - a commercial R&D consultancy and previously held management positions in Sustainable Energy Ireland and GE Water and Process Technology. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management and Institute of Engineering and Technology.


Jan 18

No Class - Holiday

Jan 25

Nordic Entrepreneurs and Venture Spinouts

Our third session presents a prominent serial entrepreneur from Estonia and a technology venturing leader from Finland's pre-eminent contract research organization. The program will also feature a short overview by our national Government Partner Enterprise Estonia regarding the Estonian technology innovation sector.

Estonia Overview: Andrus Viirg, Enterprise Estonia - Silicon Valley

Snapshots: Seedcamp (UK) and Mind The Bridge Foundation (Italy)

Priit Vimberg — CEO and Founder, Yoga LLC

Priit Vimberg is CEO, a Founder and a Member of the Board for Yoga LLC, and is steering the development of Yoga's intelligent building system. Priit is a serial entrepreneur since 1997 and has extensive experience and knowledge in Estonian and international business affairs. In addition to being educated in NC and CNC programmable fully automatic machines for the metal industry, Priit has studied international business at Concordia University, and through the Executive MBA program at the Estonian Business School.


Tapio Koivu — Executive Vice President, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

As Executive Vice President, Tapio Koivu is responsible for managing VTT's IP business, including a portfolio of over 1,000 patents and 17 technology start-up companies. He also oversees licensing and sales of intellectual property at VTT. Prior to his current position, Tapio established VTT's Silicon Valley operations, and served as a research fellow at Stanford University's Center for Integrated Facility Engineering. Earlier in his career, he headed the Strategic Technology Development Division within the VTT Building and Transport group, with responsibilities covering industry collaboration and technology strategies for partnership level customers.


February 1

Entrepreneurs & Venture Investors in Spanish Regions

In Session Four, we deepen our focus on emerging Internet and semiconductor device startup companies out of Europe with two leading Spanish regions serving as our focal points. The lecture will feature short overviews by our new regional Government Partners PromoMadrid and Innobasque regarding the Madrid and Basque Region technology and innovation sectors.

Madrid Region Overview: Jesús Sainz, PromoMadrid, Spain

Basque Region Overview: Gaizka Zulaika, Innobasque, Bilbao, Spain

Bernardo Hernández - Director, Google; Business Angel

Bernardo Hernández is a leading Spanish Business Angel. At the age of 29, he started his first internet venture, now the leading real estate online portal in Spain. Since then he has participated in other online start-ups as a Business Angel, like,, or the leading social network in Spain, His latest venture is, a company that helps Spanish business to get established in the US. Bernardo joined Google in 2005 and is currently the Global head of marketing for consumer products based in Mountain View.


Javier Hernández - CEO and Founder, INCIDE S.A.

Dr. Javier Hernández’s fifteen-year career in the technology start-up industry has spanned corporate entrepreneurship, technology development and research. Javier is CEO and founder of INCIDE S.A., a semiconductor fabless house for chip manufacturing. He is also co-founder and board member of Donewtech Solutions SL / Addonia Team SL (ERP software), Ekicells Energy SL (solar cell manufacturing) and Bidetec Consulting SL (strategy consultancy). He also co-founded e-Signus SL and Ocean Semiconductor GmbH. Today, Javier is helping Innobasque (the Basque Innovation Agency) to promote Hazitek, an open acceleration platform and fund for supporting fast-growing startups.


Feb 8

Venture Capital and Technology Outsourcing in Eastern Europe

For this fifth session, we shift our gaze to Eastern Europe, where we will examine the important roles played by the venture capital and software outsourcing sectors in Slovenia and the Ukraine, and their growing linkages to Silicon Valley.

Burton Lee: Personal Reflections on Conflict, Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Europe

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Mario Orasche - Managing Partner, Eagle Ventures

Mario Orasche is the founder of Eagle Ventures, the first ICT and Greentech focused VC dedicated to Central and Southeastern Europe (CSE). Prior to establishing Eagle in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2008, Mario was a founding team member at gamma capital partners, Austria’s leading tech VC, where he headed business development for Central and Eastern Europe, and concluded over a dozen investments in Software and Electronics. Besides being a member of the Seedcamp selection panel, Mario serves as advisor and mentor to up‐and‐coming startups in the CSE region. He is Chairman of the Board at LiveCLIQ, a startup in live mobile video streaming.


Michael Shraybman - CEO, Cogniance

Michael Shraybman is CEO & co-founder of Cogniance Inc., a US-Ukrainian software outsourcing company to early-stage, venture-funded companies around the world. Michael's background as a Ukrainian-American technology executive spans management consulting, technology, and outsourcing strategy at companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, CSC, Serena Software, and Sonopia. For the past 10+ years he has been focusing on 'flattening the world' by delivering high-tech solutions for funded start-ups and Fortune 500 clients in Wireless, Financial Services, Entertainment, and other verticals.


Feb 15

No Class - Holiday

Feb 22

Europe in the Global Entrepreneurship Scene

Session Six shifts our attention to the global entrepreneurship scene, and how Europe compares to other leading regions. Our special guest speaker Dr. Ignacio de la Vega will give an overview of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2009 Global Report that was recently launched in January 2010. 

Host: Tom Byers, Co-Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program

Ignacio de la Vega - Chair, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

Ignacio de la Vega is Chairman of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). GEM is a not-for-profit academic research consortium that has as its goal making high quality international research data on entrepreneurial activity readily available to as wide an audience as possible. GEM is the largest single study of entrepreneurial activity in the world. Dr. de la Vega also serves as Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at the Instituto de Empresa (IE), one of Europe's leading business schools.


March 1

Venture Capital and Mobile Startups in Spain and Germany

Our seventh session this Winter Quarter will compare the state of venture capital and mobile startups in Spain and Germany, with a passionate Madrid-based VC and fast-moving mobile B2B web software company out of Kaiserslautern serving as our case studies.

Nico Goulet - Managing Partner, Adara Venture Partners

Nico Goulet has been dedicated to venture investment and management since 1999. He is currently Managing Partner & co-founder of Adara Venture Partners, a VC firm based in Madrid with more than $80Mn under management. Adara invests in technology ventures across Europe, with a particular focus on Spain or Spain related companies. With more than 13 investments, covering areas such as enterprise SW, components and semiconductors, mobility and telecoms equipment, Adara has significant experience in the development of companies that combine European technology, entrepreneurs and markets with Silicon Valley exposure.

Michael Neidhoefer - CEO & Co-Founder, Netbiscuits

Michael is CEO and co-founder of Netbiscuits. Established in 2000, Netbiscuits operates the world’s leading B2B web software platform for the creation, operation and monetization of mobile websites. Michael has successfully grown the company into a profitable market leading software enterprise serving 200+ business customers and major brands such as eBay, Yahoo and AOL. Today, he oversees Netbiscuits' global strategy as well as sales and marketing. He is one of the first true Mobile Internet pioneers in Germany and is recognized as one of the most experienced industry leaders in the worldwide mobile market. Michael was nominated for the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Germany in 2008.


March 8

New Approaches to Software Innovation in Nordic Countries

Our final Winter Quarter session will explore software innovation practices in one of Europe's leading search companies that was recently acquired by Microsoft. The program will also feature a short overview by our national Government Partner Innovation Norway regarding the Norwegian innovation sector.

The teaching team will also give a summary overview of the European innovation ecosystem and startups landscape based upon the major themes touched upon by our speakers during the quarter.

Norway Overview: Svein-Egil Nielsen - Innovation Norway - San Francisco

John M. Lervik - CEO (Emeritus), FAST Search & Transfer

Dr. Lervik was the co-founder and CEO of Fast Search & Transfer (FAST) through the acquisition by Microsoft in January 2008. Following the acquisition he served as a corporate vice president of enterprise search in Microsoft till January 2009. In 2005, Dr. Lervik was one of technology innovators named to the prestigious Forbes E-Gang. John holds a PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), where he was awarded the Esso prize for the best overall PhD in 1996/97.

Burton Lee - Lecturer, Stanford Engineering

Dr. Burton Lee directs Stanford Engineering's European Entrepreneurship and Thought Leaders speaker series. His professional credentials span over 15 years of innovation sector entrepreneurial, senior executive leadership and advisory positions with venture-backed startups, global technology corporations, venture capital and private equity firms, angel investor groups, federal S&T agencies, state economic development offices, leading research universities and foreign governments. Burton's management and technical experience includes senior executive and research positions with Hewlett Packard, GE Global Research, DaimlerChrysler AG and NASA in the United States, Europe and Japan.


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