European Entrepreneurship & Innovation Thought Leaders Seminar

Speaker Bios - Winter 2012

January 9

Emil Eifrem, Neo Technology (Sweden)

Emil Eifrem - CEO, Neo Technology (SE)

Emil is the CEO of Neo Technology and founder of the Neo4j open source graph database project, which is the most widely deployed graph database in the world. Part of the lightning hot "NOSQL" space, graph databases are said by analysts like Forrester to "boom in 2012 as companies everywhere adopt them" and Neo4j is leading the pack. Or at least that's what Emil would like you to believe! 

As a life-long compulsive programmer who started his first free software project in 1994, Emil has with horror witnessed his recent degradation into a VC-backed powerpoint engineer. He founded Neo4j's commercial sponsor Neo Technology in Sweden in 2007 and in 2011 raised a $10M series A and moved the company's headquarters to Palo Alto, CA. Emil intends to marry European 'sustainable pace' with American 'aggressive ambition' and build Neo Technology into an American company with a Swedish soul.

Lorenzo Thione, Powerset (Italy)

Lorenzo Thione - Co-Founder, Powerset (IT)

Lorenzo is the co-founder of Powerset, Inc., an innovative search startup founded in 2005, with the vision of bringing to consumers a more natural and effective type of Internet search than conventional keyword search. Funded by notable Silicon Valley VCs and angel investors, Powerset was acquired by Microsoft Corp. in 2008 to complement and innovate on its own search technology and offering. Lorenzo joined Microsoft as Principal Program Manager in charge of the Powerset division of Bing, Microsoft’s innovative “Decision Engine”. 

Lorenzo is an active angel investor, board member and advisor in several startups, including Dolores Labs, an exciting and energetic San Francisco startup building a scalable platform for human-based computing and crowdsourcing, Crowdflower, and several others at various stages, in the US and abroad, like Kidlandia, Etacts, 8Coupons, and iBrii.

January 23

Hardi Meybaum, GrabCAD (Estonia)

Hardi Meybaum - CEO & Co-Founder, GrabCAD (EE)

Hardi is currently the CEO and co-founder of GrabCAD Ltd., a free CAD library with plans to create a freelance CAD engineers marketplace. He has 8 years of experience in manufacturing field as an engineer, business and sales consultant, CIO and ERP Team Manager. He also holds a MSc in product development from Tallinn University of Technology.

Hushpreet Dhaliwal, NACUE (UK)

Hushpreet Dhaliwal - CEO, National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) (UK)

Hushpreet Dhaliwal is CEO of NACUE, which is headquartered in London, UK. Her enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and development of start-ups came when she studied in the USA and worked at an international start-up. She holds a first class BA degree in International Business. Since graduating in 2009, she has managed NACUE's corporate relations, operations and developed key programming to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of students. She has since been appointed CEO to carry NACUE through into its next stage of growth, exposing the model to all students post the age of 16 in the UK.

Hushpreet sits on the advisory boards of Astia, ISBE and the UK Government's Steering Group on Enterprise Societies, and has represented NACUE and its unique model at G20 Yes, to members of the UN and World Economic Forum, to encourage political reform surrounding the issue of youth entrepreneurship. Her interests lie in business model innovation, commercialisation, understanding innovation-driven ecosystems and mobilising great people and resources to affect change.

Andrus Viirg (Estonia)

Andrus Viirg - Director, Enterprise Estonia - Silicon Valley (EE)

Andrus Viirg is the Director of Enterprise Estonia, Silicon Valley (from 2007), which is the representative office of Enterprise Estonia - a state foundation for business, trade as well as technology support and development. Mr. Viirg has also served as the Director of the Estonian Investment Agency (2001-2003). 

During the 1990s Andrus followed an international career with the World Bank Group (IBRD and IFC) heading the Bank Group Office in Tallinn, Estonia (1995-2001); and with the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, as an Assistant to the Executive Director (1992-1994). Mr. Viirg has also worked for the Bank of Estonia (the Central Bank) on relations with international financial institutions. 

Andrus holds a diploma of engineering from the Tallinn University of Technology (1983) in the areas of automation and software engineering. He has also graduated from the Estonian School of Diplomacy (1992) in foreign trade relations. Mr. Viirg combines technical and economics knowledge with hands on experience in software development and electronics.

As the Director of Enterprise Estonia, Silicon Valley, Andrus is responsible for building up the network of contacts enabling Estonian tech companies to access the US market, as well as promoting Estonia for foreign direct investment.

January 30

Claus Fuglsang, Novozymes (DK)

Claus Fuglsang - President, Novozymes (DK)

Claus Crone Fuglsang, President and Managing Director, has worked in Novo Nordisk’s Enzyme Division (later renamed Novozymes) since 1993, first as a research scientist, then as a manager, and since 2002 as Director/Senior Director responsible for Novozymes Protein Chemistry area and Pharmaceutical Protein Development. At the end of 2008, he transferred to the US and assumed responsibility for Novozymes’ global R&D efforts in BioEnergy with a focus on cellulosic ethanol. He manages a portfolio of projects with more than 100 employees. 

Claus possesses a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Copenhagen, specializing in protein chemistry, and in July 2000, secured his MBA from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Business School, in the United Kingdom. He is author/co-author on over 20 refereed publications, and inventor/co-inventor of more than 20 patents and patent-applications.

Arkady Borkovsky, Yandex Labs (RU)

Arkady Borkovsky - CTO, Yandex Labs (RU)

Arkady Borkovsky is the Chief Technology Officer of Yandex Labs based in Silicon Valley. Prior to joining Yandex in 2008, Arkady worked as relevance scientist at Yahoo!, and before that, at Inktomi, Verity and Knight Ridder / Dialog. He is an expert in search relevance and statistical semantics. At Yahoo!, Arkady built the query speller (“Did you mean:..” mechanism) and search suggestions (Suggest). 

In the late 1980s, it was Arkady who, together with Arkady Volozh, founded Arkadia, the predecessor company to Yandex which developed search utilizing the Russian morphology. Prior to Arkadia, he worked in the AI Lab of the Computer Center of Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Arkady graduated from the CS Department of Moscow State University.

Frederic Maire, Renault Innovation Silicon Valley (FR)

Frederic Maire - Director, Renault Innovation Silicon Valley (FR)

Frederic Maire has been based in Silicon Valley since June 2011, when he opened the new Renault Innovation office located in Mountain View. The major mission of this office is to contribute to fostering innovation inside Renault for all technology-related applications, with a particular focus on three fields: ‘Life on Board’, ‘Electric Vehicle’, and ‘New Services’. 

Maire’s professional history encompasses 20+ years of experience in many fields of automotive engineering in Renault, including appointments in manufacturing engineering, advanced architecture design, design tools and methodology, and customer performances deployment and development. He has held various positions as a vehicle project leader, and managed several departments in development engineering. His previous appointment was Renault Group Global Deputy Director of Customer Performance Engineering, in charge of Perceived Quality, Ergonomics, HMI, Multimedia, and Embedded Systems. 

Frederic holds an Engineering diploma from Ecole Centrale de Paris, an Ergonomics degree from Arts et Metiers, Paris, and a General Management Program degree from Cedep-Insead in Fontainebleau.

February 6

Dietmar Harhoff, LMU/German Silicon Valley Accelerator (Germany)

Dietmar Harhoff - Chair, German Silicon Valley Accelerator; Professor, Ludwig-Maximilians University

Prof. Dietmar Harhoff is Professor of Business Administration at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich (LMU). He also chairs the Institute for Innovation Research, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (INNO-tec), and is Academic Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the LMU. 

Since February 2007 Prof. Harhoff has also served as chairman of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation thru an appointment from the Federal Government of Germany.

Stephan Gutzeit, Stiftung Charite (Germany)

Stephan Gutzeit - Executive Director, Stiftung Charite

Stephan Gutzeit has been working as a knowledge entrepreneur in Berlin for a number of years. Currently he is Executive Director at Stiftung Charité, a foundation endowed by German entrepreneur Johanna Quandt to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in medicine. He holds several other directorships, among them at Arcadia Berlin Stiftung, and is a trustee at Astia. 

Stephan is a member of the investment committee at Charité Biomedical Fund, a venture capital fund focussing on investments in medical device companies, and serves as a consultant for universities and foundations. Earlier, he worked for a global consultancy firm, started up the first German liberal arts college, and co-founded the second German school of governance. He was educated at Stanford and Harvard, where he studied philosophy and chemistry.

February 13

Ilja Laurs, GetJar (Lithuania)

Ilja Laurs - CEO & Founder, GetJar (LT)

Ilja Laurs is the Founder and CEO of GetJar, world’s largest open mobile application store. “European Manager of the Year 2011” by European Business Press Association, “25 European Tech Leaders” by Wall Street Journal, “Top 40 most influential people in mobile communications” by Informa Telecoms and Media, “10 Start-ups That Will Change Your Life” by TIME magazine and “Technology Pioneer 2011” by World Economic Forum are only a few of his numerous industry achievements. As a recognized thought leader, Ilja speaks on all major telecommunication conferences and is regularly quoted in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, BBC, Bloomberg and many other news sources. In February 2010, Ilja made the cover of the America's leading entrepreneurship magazine "Entrepreneur". 

Since 2005, pioneering in the app store concept, GetJar provides app distribution to 350,000 developers, from one-man shops to brands like Google, Microsoft and Facebook. As of September 2011, GetJar distributes 200,000 mobile applications and has served over 2 billion downloads. 

Serial entrepreneur since 1999, Ilja has launched over 10 successful projects prior to GetJar, as diverse as Lithuania's largest hotel reservation system, mobile payments service MicroPay and mobile games studio Midas Mobile. Passionate about 3D photography, Ilja is also famous for his photoblog

Ville Miettinen, Microtask (Finland)

Ville Miettinen - CEO & Founder, Microtask (FI)

Ville Miettinen (aka “Wili”) is the CEO and founder of Microtask, a company commercializing technology for distributed digital labor. He is also a partner at Lots, a Nordic boutique VC and accelerator in the field of media technology. Wili concurrently serves as an investor and a board member in several high-tech, social media, and games companies in Finland and Silicon Valley. He coaches startups at Aalto Venture Garage and is a referrer for HackFwd. 

Wili is a serial entrepreneur and investor from Finland. The last couple of years he's been particularly interested in crowdsourcing, cloud labor, and human computation -- disruptive technologies that are transforming the way people work all over the world. 

A hacker at heart, Wili has spent way too many years banging out code in assembler, C, and other languages used by real cowboys. He's got a long background in computer graphics, and he was one of the founders of Hybrid Graphics, a pioneer in real-time 3D graphics technologies. Hybrid implemented some of the very first commercial 3D engines back in mid-90's, and licensed them to major games studios. Later on, Hybrid created the first implementations of OpenGL ES, OpenVG, JSR-184 and other mobile graphics standards, and licensed them to hundreds of millions of mobile phones. Hybrid was acquired by NVIDIA in 2006. Some parts of Hybrid were spun off and exist nowadays as Fake Graphics - the leading CGI house in Finland, and Umbra Software - a middleware company creating products for the games industry. 

In his free time, Wili travels around the planet (so far he has visited 70 countries on all seven continents), and has become a semi-professional photographer.

February 27

Eirikur Hrafnsson, GreenQloud (Iceland)

Eirikur Hrafnsson - CEO & Co-Founder, GreenQloud (IS)

Eirikur Hrafnsson is CEO of GreenQloud, the world’s first 100% green computing cloud service, headquartered in Iceland. A serial entrepreneur, he brings almost two decades of software development experience in leadership roles and product design and execution to GreenQloud. 

Eirikur is also a professional singer, occasional public speaker and technology advocate for the betterment of society.

Jan Rezab, Socialbakers (Czech Republic)

Jan Rezab - CEO, Socialbakers (CZ)

Jan Rezab is the CEO & Co-founder of Socialbakers, a Prague-based company focused on social media marketing and measurement. Jan`s role is to actively push Socialbakers`s global strategy. Socialbakers is one of the largest social media statistics resources worldwide, and its goal is to provide the best social profile monitoring, and measure every social object there is in the world, in the context where it belongs. Socialbakers is also one of the Facebook Preferred Developer Consultants. 

Prior to joining the social media marketing world, Jan Rezab was CEO / Founder of a mobile company called Redboss for 8 years in mobile content / games / services business.

March 5

Reshma Sohoni, Seedcamp (UK)

Reshma Sohoni - Partner, Seedcamp (UK)

As Partner, Reshma co-manages Seedcamp. Her investment focus is on B2B, Fashion, Gaming, Travel, and Financial Services. Reshma helped found Seedcamp in 2007. During her tenure, she has managed companies like Mobclix (acquired by Velti), Zemanta, and Ubervu. Reshma was also on the board of Zoombu before it was acquired by Skyscanner and advises Launch48. 

Reshma joined Seedcamp from the Venture team at 3i. Prior to 3i, Reshma spent over 3 years at Vodafone in their Commercial Strategy team, working across the Europe and Japan footprints in marketing strategy and pricing functions. Her venture capital career started with eVentures India.

Michel Wendell, Nexit Ventures (Finland)

Michel Wendell - General Partner, Nexit Ventures

Michel Wendell is co-founder and General Partner of Nexit Ventures, a venture capital firm with a focus on game changing companies in the mobile and communications business. The firm has offices in Finland, Sweden and Silicon Valley, and invests predominantly in these areas and actively help their portfolio companies in building a global business. 

Prior to founding Nexit in 1999, Mr. Wendell had a long career in general and biz dev/sales/marketing management in high tech companies, both start-ups and large corporations, having started and run companies in four different countries. Mr. Wendell also serves as the Honorary Consul for Finland in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

March 12

Paul Bragiel, i/o ventures

Paul Bragiel - Managing Partner, i/o ventures

Paul Bragiel is a Co-founder and Managing Partner at i/o ventures, an early stage startup accelerator in San Francisco. Previously, he has founded and served as the CEO of 3 companies including: Lefora, a product bringing forums into the 21st century, proudly hosting over 100,000+ unique communities; Meetro, the first location based social network; and Paragon Five, a game development studio specializing in console and mobile content with offices in Chicago and Krakow, Poland. 

He often advises governments on entrepreneurship and policy that encourages startup ecosystems including Tanzania, Brazil & Malaysia. 

Outside of work, he has toured Russia by train (starting in Siberia), bicycled across the United States (riding over 5,000 km), canoed the entire Mississippi River (paddling over 2,300 miles) and visited 75+ countries including the birth of a nation.

Adeo Ressi, Founder Institute (USA)

Adeo Ressi - Founding Member, Founder Institute

Adeo Ressi is Founding Member of the Founder Institute, a mentoring program that helps entrepreneurs launch hundreds of world-class companies each year. Adeo also runs, an online community of 12,000 CEOs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide. 

The Institute is the eighth start-up that Adeo has founded or built, four of which were acquired and three of which are still operating.

Duncan Logan, Rocketspace (UK/USA)

Duncan Logan - CEO, Rocketspace

Duncan Logan is the founder of RocketSpace Inc, a Techcelerator in San Francisco. RocketSpace started in 2011 and currently contains over 100 seed funded technology startups. RocketSpace is widely regarded as one of the leading co-working spaces in America based in San Francisco and heavily integrated with the Silicon Valley community. 

From a Scottish farming background Duncan started his career working in derivatives at Swiss Bank Corporation, London. At 24 he started his first company CITYPRO which over three years he built to $8m revenue before selling in 2000 . Duncan then joined a tech startup MessageLabs, one of the early SAAS Security Companies which later sold to Symantec in 2008 for $700m. Arriving in San Francisco in 2008, Duncan founded NationalBLS Inc an ambitious money burning concept which he hastily extinguished to start RocketSpace.

Zarko Maletin, Plug and Play Tech Center (Serbia)

Zarko Maletin - VP, Plug and Play Tech Center

Zarko Maletin is Vice President at Plug and Play Tech Center, where he is responsible for managing Plug & Play Ventures and currently advises over 80 Plug and Play start-ups. He is responsible for coordinating the co-investment partnerships and fundraising with more than 180 VCs, 400 Angels and 100 high-tech corporations with about 40 corporate venture arms. Zarko also established the M&A Practice at Plug and Play and since 2009 has increased the number of partnerships with Silicon Valley VC firms tenfold (from 17 to 180). He initiated the PwC/PnP Partnership and also drafted the foundations for the investment vehicle to support the expansion of European start-ups to Silicon Valley. 

Prior to joining Plug and Play, Zarko spent over 10 years focused on the Technology sector serving a variety of clients, including global industry leaders. Zarko founded VIP Investment Fund, ICT Incubator, and the Centre for Strategic Economic Research following 7 years in management consulting with GTZ GmbH. During his career in management consulting he mentored over 200 investors and 500 SMEs, generating approximately US$72Mn in investments. 

Zarko is an officially registered expert with the European Commission’s Sixth and Seventh Research Framework Programmes (FP6, FP7) and co-author of more than 15 Project Proposals to CBC, Interreg and FP. 

Originally from Serbia and the Province of Vojvodina, Zarko graduated in Economics from University of Novi Sad. He holds an MBA Degree from the University of Cambridge (UK) that he completed through an exchange program with the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Alfredo Coppola, US Market Access Center (USA)

Alfredo Coppola - President, US Market Access Center

Alfredo Coppola is the President and Executive Director of the US Market Access Center, the longest-standing high-tech business incubator in Silicon Valley for foreign companies seeking to successfully enter the Silicon Valley and the greater US Markets. Alfredo joined US MAC in 2004 as a management consultant and then joined the management team in 2008 as Director of Business Development, where he expanded US MAC’s partner programs and introduced the “Go Global” Silicon Valley market accelerator program. 

Alfredo has over 20 years of business development and management consulting experience in the information technology sector. He has advised over 150 early-stage technology companies in his career and he also worked with large multinationals such as Adobe, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. 

Prior to US MAC, Alfredo was president and co-founder of two Canadian digital media companies, where he established offices in Ottawa, Toronto, and San Francisco, California. 

Alfredo is a certified Kauffman FastTrac instructor and teaches the “Tech Venture” and “GrowthVenture” curricula to foreign entrepreneurs and economic development groups worldwide.

Burton Lee

Dr. Burton Lee - Lecturer, Stanford School of Engineering

Dr. Burton Lee PhD MBA, Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Lee's professional credentials span over 15 years of senior executive leadership and advisory positions with venture-backed startups, global technology corporations, venture capital and private equity firms, federal S&T agencies, state economic development offices, leading research universities, foreign governments and industry associations. His 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. Burton's research interests include Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), diagnostics, prognostics, maintenance and customer support for complex industrial systems; product design and development, including DfX, design-for-sustainability and -environment methodologies; artificial intelligence (Bayesian networks, ontologies, knowledge representation); aerospace systems; unmanned vehicles, robotics, electric transportation systems; open innovation in mechatronic systems; and innovation policy.

Dr. Lee is Managing Partner of Innovarium Ventures, a strategic, financial and technical advisory services firm based in Silicon Valley. He also served as Principal and co-founder of Space Angels Network, a professionally managed national network of accredited investors focused on seed- and early-stage aerospace-related ventures. 

Dr. Lee's European experience includes 10+ years of professional and academic assignments in Dublin (Member, National Innovation Taskforce, Office of the Prime Minister, Govt of Ireland - 2009/2010), Stuttgart (DaimlerChrysler Research Labs), Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), Vienna (Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen), Geneva (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations - IUF), Prague (Univerzita Karlova v Praze), Barcelona and London. 

Burton holds a PhD in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (minor) from Stanford University (2002), and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship (Cornell, 2004). He speaks German and Spanish.

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