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Silicon Valley Accelerators Panel on Pan-European Dealflow
Mondays 4:15pm @ Hewlett 201 Auditorium Stanford Engineering's European Innovation & Entrepreneurship Thought Leaders (ME421) is a weekly speaker series - now entering its fifth year - that presents industry leaders from Europe's hitech startup, venture finance, corporate, university research & technology commercialization communities to share their insights and experiences with aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley.
From Iceland to Russia, and from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, Europe's innovation sector is today playing a growing role in bringing new products, services, companies and jobs to the world in energy, environmental, water, information, medical device and life sciences technologies. Europe, however, faces substantial challenges in rapidly moving to the marketplace the technical innovations that are being developed in universities, national laboratories and corporations. Many regions are increasingly looking to Silicon Valley to accelerate their innovation organizations, and to train a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovation professionals.
Hot Software Startups Out of Central and Nordic Europe
Mighty Eagle, Angry Birds | Rovio (Finland)
Founder & CTO, Prezi (Hungary)
Founder & CEO, Prezi (Hungary|Sweden)
Startup Accelerators and Bootcamps in Estonia & Poland
Founder, Garage48 | Pipedrive (Estonia)
Founder & Managing Partner, HardGamma | GammaRebels (Poland)
Director, Enterprise Estonia Silicon Valley (Estonia)
CEO & Co-Founder, BEL.BIZ (Belarus)
EEITL's first Winter session kicks off with a look at two veteran VCs from very different European regions and traditions. Our UK guest leads Europe's most prominent venture fund that has played a central role in the growth of the UK's Cambridge technology cluster during the past 15 years. Our second speaker has successfully blended careers as a leading professor/researcher, entrepreneur and venture capitalist out of Lisbon, and joins us as our first speaker from Portugal in the course.
Anne is Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Amadeus Capital Partners Limited, the European technology investor. In Anne’s current position, she brings together her many threads of experience — as a scientist, operating manager, and venture capitalist. Before founding Amadeus, Anne was a business angel and Chief Operating Officer of Apax-backed company, Virtuality Group, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1993. Anne was Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) from 2004 - 2005, and a non-executive director of the UK Technology Strategy Board from 2005-2012. She is currently a member of the European Research and Innovation Advisory Board and Chairman of the EVCA VC Platform Council. She serves on the boards of Glysure, Covestor Inc, Nomad plc and the Royal Society Enterprise Fund. In June 2006 she was awarded a CBE for services to business, and in July 2008 was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Dr. José da Franca is Chairman and CEO of Portugal Ventures. As an entrepreneur-professor, he co-founded “CHIPIDEA Microelectrónica” in 1997, which he led from a small analog design team to eventually become a world leader in analog/mixed-signal Semiconductor Intellectual Property with over 340 engineers in design centers in Portugal, China, Poland, Belgium, France and Norway. Chipidea was acquired by MIPS Technologies Inc. in 2007. During his academic career as a Professor at Portugal's Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), he founded the Integrated Circuits and Systems Group, and in 1994, the IST Centre of Microsystems. He served as a member of IST’s Executive Council between 1987 and 1991, Vice-President of ITEC (Technology Institute for the European Community), between 1988 and 1991, and was a member of the Senate of the Technical University of Lisbon during 1990 - 1992. In June 2000 he became a Full Professor of IST's Dept of Electrical & Computer Engineering.
Session Two features an indepth look at one of Italy's leading startup accelerators, and the growing role of 'Entrepreneur Professors' as sources of spinouts at Irish universities. Both speakers offer contrasting examples of how new generations of European entrepreneurs are wearing multiple hats and blurring lines between traditionally highly separated careers, sectors, generations and institutions.
Maurizio Rossi is Vice President and co-founder of H-FARM Ventures, based near Venice. He belongs to the "bad boy" generation that is connected to creative culture inspired by design because it shapes new things as well as people's minds. Maurizio originally worked for family-run fashion company Rossimoda, a market leader of luxury women's footwear, where his main focus was new product-line spin-offs and market expansion. In 1990 he launched Vista Point, a business unit dedicated to internationally expanding leading US action-sports brands such as NoFear, Spy Optics and DC. He has been involved in both retail and wholesale distribution networks and believes that the 21st century will bring a big shift to new information technologies, clean energy and environmental issues as driving forces of change.
John Breslin is a Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Informatics at the National University of Ireland Galway. He is also leader of the Unit for Social Software at DERI, the world’s premier Semantic Web research institute. John is best known for being a co-founder and director of boards.ie Ltd., Ireland’s largest discussion website. John has won two IIA Net Visionary awards for his work on boards.ie and spin-off classified ads site adverts.ie. More recently, John co-founded US company StreamGlider Inc. with web entrepreneurs Nova Spivack and Bill McDaniel, a real-time streaming newsreader that can be private-labeled for content publishers on tablets. He also set up Technology Voice, a web publisher that covers emerging technologies in long-form articles. Dr. Breslin is an advisor to CrowdGather Inc., a forum network based in LA, and Dot-Irish LLC, an applicant for the .irish top-level domain.
Our third session builds on this year's core themes of 'Entrepreneur Professors' and 'bootcamps' as key actors on the European startup, innovation and university scenes. Spinouts from Swedish universities are playing an increasing role in developing quality deal flow from Sweden. As in our previous sessions, startups presented today are in the software and ICT space. Our Swedish government partner VINNOVA will also present a brief overview of Sweden's extensive innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem around manufacturing, software|computing, and aerospace. VINNOVA - The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems - is Sweden’s national innovation agency.
Peter Bunus is Co-Founder and Director of Business Development of SenionLab AB, a Swedish start-up company specialized in mobile sensor fusion technologies applied to indoor positioning and location based services. Prior to starting SenionLab, Peter was a Research Scientist at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and during his professional career has led several major software product development efforts and projects at various technology ventures. Peter has been involved in several start-up high technology ventures as a co-founder and has been actively involved in building their businesses. He is also an Associate Professor in Computer Science at Linköping University where he teaches Software Engineering and Computer Science courses at both graduate and undergraduate level and performs research in model-driven engineering.
Tomaž Frelih is CEO, co-founder and mentor at Hekovnik Startup School, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Over 200 startups have passed through at least one of Hekovnik's education tracks, with over 30 of them visiting Silicon Valley as part of Hekovnik's 'BoundBreaker' program. Of these, 15 companies have secured private investment, totaling over 4M EUR ($5.3M). Among these is Visionect, which has secured 1.5M EUR in private seed capital, while formerly Flowr - now Zeppelin - joined the ranks of TechStars. During his university studies in the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of Ljubljana, Tomaz served as President of the Slovenian Student Union, where he acted as the guardian of student rights across Slovenia and led several negotiations with the national government.
In Session Four, we present a panel of executives from selected leading Northern California startups (and recent startups) that are currently entering or expanding into the European market. Panelists will discuss lessons learned in why and how they tackled Europe, costs and benefits of expanding in Europe, the different approaches and channels used, and what advice they would give to new Valley tech firms who are getting close to moving beyond the North American market in the next year. Topics of particular emphasis will be user acquisition|localization in Europe, and acquisition of European companies by Valley startups.
Miriam joined Yelp in 2007 as the company's first Community Manager in Washington, D.C. After being promoted to oversee the East Coast Community Management team, she moved to London to establish Yelp's Europe beachhead as the Vice President of European Marketing. Now, as Vice President of New Markets, she oversees the company's expansion efforts internationally including recent launches of Yelp in France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. Prior to joining Yelp, Miriam worked in executive search and talent acquisition, most recently at McKesson. Miriam holds a B.A. in ethnic studies from Mills College.
Angela is working on spreading Facebook around the world. She spent the last four years growing the user base, developing the Facebook ecosystem and working with partners in key international markets. Starting with Germany, she later focused on Poland, Russia and more recently Korea and Japan. Before Facebook, Angela worked with the founders of African Leadership Academy, a social venture based in South Africa, and she was a consultant at BCG in Munich, Seoul and San Francisco. She holds a degree in International Business and Cultural Studies from Passau University in Germany and an MBA from Stanford.
As one of the first employees of Indiegogo, Erica has always believed that anyone with a great idea and the passion to act on it should have the opportunity to raise money. After spending two years leading marketing for the organization, she now leads the Strategic Programs group - engineering and executing against ideas at the forefront of crowdfunding. Prior to Indiegogo, Erica was a Brand Manager at Kraft Foods, Inc., where she worked on over ten different businesses within the portfolio. Erica is a board member of The Cheti Sponsorship Program, and a former board member of The House Theatre of Chicago, where she recently completed two terms as Treasurer.
Christina Mace-Turner joined Flipboard in July 2011 as their Head of Partnerships, overseeing partner relations, programs and content strategy. Prior to that she served as Director of Content Strategy in the Marketing Communications Group for Apple, and was part of Apple’s global planning team, strategizing for marketing communications around emerging content trends in key markets throughout the world. She previously founded Apple’s Business Affairs team in response to the company’s global need for strategic localized content planning. This included rights management and partnership development/management in the mobile apps, digital media and publishing spaces. Prior to her work at Apple, Christina focused on intellectual property law for the entertainment and advertising group at Loeb & Loeb, LLP in NYC.
For this fifth session, we shift our gaze to two highly innovative energy and cloud computing startups out of Bratislava and Berlin. This lecture features our first company from the Slovak Republic's emerging entrepreneurship scene and a speaker who is today a leading role model in Slovakia as an entrepreneur, innovation policy-maker and venture investor. Our second company won the 'Startup of the Year' Award at TNW's German Startup Awards 2013 in January.
Alexander Ljung has been a cornerstone of SoundCloud’s success since he launched the company in 2008 with co-founder and CTO, Eric Wahlfross. Alex is responsible for SoundCloud’s vision, overall strategy, and leadership, overseeing a team of 140+ people worldwide. SoundCloud is the world’s leading social sound platform that enables anyone, anywhere, to create and share their originally created sounds across the web. The company has experienced exponential user growth, reaching more than twenty million registered users, and averaging 1.5 Mn new users per month. Alex’s personal interests lie in the positive change and wider societal impact technology and design can have in the world. Prior to co-founding SoundCloud, Alex began his career working in sound design for feature films. Having been born in the UK, and grown up in Sweden, Alex splits his time between SoundCloud’s HQ in Berlin and the U.S. office in San Francisco.
Martin Bruncko is the Head of Europe at the World Economic Forum. Previously, he has held several senior positions in the Government of Slovakia, including the post of Plenipotentiary for Knowledge Economy and deputy for European affairs of the minister of finance. During his career in the government of Slovakia, he was responsible for national policy in the area of R&D, technology policy, and innovations and has played a key role in the development and implementation of major structural reforms. Bruncko is also the founder and former chairman of Neulogy, the first major advisory and investment boutique in Central and Eastern Europe focusing on R&D, technology transfer and technology start-ups. He still sits on board and advises several technology companies from Central Europe, including Geothermal Anywhere.
Igor Kočiš, CEO and co-founder of Geothermal Anywhere, brings almost 20 years of engineering, business development and managerial leadership experience to the company. He leads a 35-member team that is developing the groundbreaking PLASMABIT concept, a cost effective deep drilling and rock disintegration system with applications in petroleum and natural gas exploration. Prior to starting Geo, Igor spent seven years as founder and Chairman of ARDACO, a hi-tech company with 50 employees, where he successfully raised €3 Mn in venture capital. Before 2001, Igor spent eight years as the CEO of the security technology company TAUREUS, building the company up to 25 employees. He is a representative of the Slovak Republic in the European Technology Platforms in Brussels related to renewable sources.
For Session Six we are pleased to host our third 'Entrepreneur Professor' from Northern Ireland (UK) and a Computer Aided Design (CAD) startup from Finland. The speakers will discuss challenges associated with spinning out intellectual property and new companies from European public universities, as well as hurdles they face in bringing to market innovations in digital healthcare and hardware engineering and design tools. Our government partner InvestNI will also present a short overview of Northern Ireland's rapidly developing innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in technology, manufacturing and medical devices/life sciences.
Based in Belfast, Prof. Jim McLaughlin is Co-Founder and CTO of Intelesens, a spin-out from the Univ. of Ulster that designs, develops and manufactures a range of wireless healthcare products and solutions. He is also Professor in the University of Ulster's School of Engineering, where he serves as Director of the Engineering Research Institute and Director of the Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre (NIBEC). A physicist and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Dr. McLaughlin has developed significant initiatives within research, technology transfer, outreach and teaching over these past 27 years. His salient disciplines address Connected Health and related bio-sensing applications. He was recently awarded an OBE for his services to Research and Economic Development in Northern Ireland.
Kai is a founder and CEO of TinkerCAD, the world's most advanced solid CAD tool and the best way to get started with 3D printing. Since its launch in 2011 TinkerCAD has grown into the leading web-based CAD and has the largest public repository of solid models on the planet. Before founding TinkerCAD, Kai worked at Google as a systems engineer and previously founded two companies among them an indie games studio. His favorite pastimes includes writing ARM machine language, building yet another robotic rover and designing asynchronous distributed systems.
Our seventh session this Winter Quarter will examine two fast moving startups out of Hungary and Finland that have demonstrated substantial global traction and impact in the past two years. These speakers are considered among Europe's top entrepreneurs today, and have extensive ties into Silicon Valley.
After serving as lead developer of Origo.hu, Hungary’s largest Internet company, Peter was Assistant Professor at the New Media department of Budapest University of Technology. He also co-founded Kitchen Budapest with Adam Somlai-Fischer. To Prezi, Peter brings his love of technology, skills in swing dance, and a wicked sense of humor.
Before joining Prezi, Peter established omvard.se, which helps patients compare treatment outcomes between hospitals. omvard.se was voted Best Website of Sweden in 2009. Peter was also part of creating the world's first mobile news reader, secure an IPO, and acquire companies as VP of Product Management at a mobile internet start-up, Mobispine. His half-written cookbook aims to explain everyday Japanese cuisine beyond sushi.
Peter Vesterbacka is the Mighty Eagle of Rovio Entertainment, the creator of the wildly successful Angry Birds franchise and over 50 other games. Peter manages the company’s marketing and business strategy, including expanding Angry Birds into a broader entertainment franchise. He is also the founder of Some Bazaar, a new approach to building and growing new businesses. In 2011 Time Magazine recognized Peter as one of the most influential people in the world in their TIME 100 listing. Prior to Rovio, Peter worked for HP in several communications-industry-related roles. While at HP, Peter founded the HP Mobile E-Services Bazaar, a global innovation and corporate partnership program that Booz Allen Hamilton declared an industry benchmark. Peter is also Co-founder and the original initiator of MobileMonday.
In our final Winter Quarter session, we present startup bootcamp, hack-a-thon and accelerator founders from Estonia and Poland. We will discuss how Europe's emerging entrepreneurship ecosystem is being grown, shaped and educated by these important grassroots 'startup creation and mentoring engines'. Our returning government partner Enterprise Estonia will also give a brief overview of the rapidly maturing Estonian innovation and tech sectors, and its key industry, university and government innovation institutions.
We are pleased to have GammaRebels as our first presenter from Poland in this European Entrepreneurship speaker series. A surprise guest visitor from Minsk will also provide a mini-snapshot of the emerging startup scene in Belarus.
Ragnar Sass is a serial startup entrepreneur and co-founder of startup bootcamp Garage48 and Pipedrive, a simple CRM software company. Ragnar has organized more than 20 hack-a-thons in Eastern Europe and West and East Africa. These events are organized by the Garage48 Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting startups and entrepreneurship. In the Garage48 weekend event series, people can turn their ideas into working web and mobile prototypes in just 48 hours. Over 10 startups have been created out of Garage48, successfully raising funds or developing popular products. His latest startup Pipedrive was founded in 2010. In the following year the company was chosen by startup accelerator Angelpad and in 2012 the company was nominated as "Best Baltic Startup". Today this simple but powerful CRM tool is helping 15,000+ salesmen from 87 countries to manage their sales pipeline.
Krzysztof "Chris" Kowalczyk is Founder and Managing Partner of HardGamma Ventures (2010), an early stage fund based in Warsaw, Poland. As a part of HardGamma he founded the GammaRebels accelerator (2011). Both fund and the accelerator were recognized as ‘Highly Commended’ in the Europas 2011 Awards. His investments include mobile lab Appvetica, cloud collaboration integrator BusyFlow, coding skills tester Codility, iOS/MacOS lab Macoscope, e-commerce analytics Manubia and independent fashion e-commerce platform SHWRM.com. Chris helped SHWRM recently to close a series A ($1.5Mn) round with Burda International. Chris is deeply involved in the European startup ecosystem, being a referrer with HackFwd and a mentor with Seedcamp (UK), IBM SmartCamp, Springboard (UK), StartupBootcamp, StartupHighway (Lithuania) and StartupSauna (Finland). In 2007 he co-founded the leading polish startup meetup scene ‘Aula Polska’ and in 2011 he organized the first Startup Weekend in Poland.