15th & 16th of May
Maribor, Slovenia

Keynote Speakers at PODIM 2018

Brian Flynn
FounderPartners, USA Linkedin profile

Brian Flynn is a private investor and serial entrepreneur focused on the software, internet/digital media and mobile sectors. He co-founded and/or invested in 22 private companies. Of that group, 10 exited, 9 are independent and 3 were shut down.

Some of his companies include AdMovate (sold to Yahoo!), IMsecure (sold to Checkpoint), Pixoart Design (sold to 51.com), Ultris (sold to Saba), Fotolog (sold to Hi-Media), Qpod (sold to Groupon) and others which are independent (Wheelhouse, Mixbook, Meltwater, Pinkoi, Chairish, iDentalSoft, Cleanshelf, CFOPlans, Markable). He is also an LP in Infinity Venture Partners, a Japan-China mobile Internet fund.

Earlier in his career, Brian served as Head of Corporate Development at Macromedia where he managed strategy, investments and acquisitions and facilitated the sale of the company to Adobe for $3.9 billion. He also was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley & Co. and Robertson Stephens where he closed more than 40 mergers, acquisitions and financings.

Brian spends his philanthropic time mentoring early stage technology entrepreneurs in Africa. He currently serves on the Board of the Meltwater Foundation which runs MEST (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology).

Shira Abel
Hunter & Bard, USA Linkedin profile

Shira Abel is the CEO of Hunter & Bard, a public relations and design agency that works with established companies on building their brand, establishing awareness with their customers and developing credibility through thought leadership.

Shira works with companies to build and implement smart strategies and build online communities that grow companies. She is also a sought after Corporate Speaker - and has spoken at AdRoll, Axa Tech, Allianz, eToro and more. Shira has experience speaking worldwide at conferences on marketing for startups, judging competitions, teaching marketing to startups, and mentoring at several startup accelerators.



Chuck Goldman
VUI, USA Linkedin profile

Chuck Goldman is an experienced manager and creator of companies that create value. The Boston based investor is a co-founder and CEO of VUI – the first and only voice-driven customer engagement platform, aiming to create meaningful Voice-First experiences for brands. Chuck is also an investment partner at Sky Ventures Group that specializes in health technologies and innovations.

He was a Senior Director at Apple who formed an Enterprise sales team and led the launch of the iPhone into the Enterprise market. Chuck was the founder and CEO of enterprise mobile app management company Apperian as well as several other software and services companies.  Chuck has a proven track record of building successful businesses, both in the startup environment and within multi-billion dollar organizations.

Chuck spends a lot of time working with and mentoring young management teams at MassChallenge in Boston. He is a former semi-pro hockey goalie and still tries to stop hockey pucks every once in a while.



Nuno Conçalves Pedro
Strive Capital, USA Linkedin profile

Nuno Conçalves Pedro is the co-founder, managing partner and CEO of Strive Capital, one of the first quant venture funds in the Bay Area and worldwide. He was also a Partner with Delta Partners Group and has over 21 years experience in the Tech industry. Previously, he was McKinsey & Co's Senior Expert for Telecom, Media & Technology in Asia-Pacific and a member of its Leadership team. Before that, he was GSM Association’s head of Strategy, Corporate & Business Development, where he was responsible, among other things, for shaping the industry agenda with the GSMA Board and managing its Board Strategy Committee; leading core strategic initiatives for the industry – e.g. Personal IM, mobi; leading business development with vendors and other ecosystem players; as well as creating the GSMA’s first ever equity venture.

He started his career in IT as an analyst/coder. Nuno is a frequent speaker at key industry gatherings such as the Mobile World Congress, Mobile Asia Congress, JP Morgan Company Access Days, Deutsche Bank’s Access Asia and Access China, among many others. He has also been a member of the Jury for the Global Mobile Awards since 2007.

Mike Sigal
500 Startups, USA Linkedin profile

Mike Sigal is an early-stage investor, entrepreneur, and strategic advisor specializing in innovation, business development, storytelling and transforming corporate culture. Over the last 8 years he's been specifically focused on innovation in financial services industry. He has founded 7 startups, with 3 exits including an IPO, and advised dozens of corporations and institutions on implementing startup-inspired innovation practices and culture.

Now, he is a Partner at 500 FinTech, which is 500 Startups’ dedicated fund for investing globally in early-stage startups transforming the financial services industry. He is also a speaker, a startup coach, and advises banks and insurance firms on innovation. He has made 33  investments since January 2016.

Henry Hwong
Cunningham Collective, USA Linkedin profile

Henry Hwong is an experienced marketing and product management executive focused on helping companies build and launch disruptive innovations. With over 24 years of experience in technology and consulting for venture-backed startups and public companies, he has strong operational experience in both large enterprises and startup teams.

Henry is currently a Principal at Cunningham Collective, where he has led a number of brand strategy and marketing engagements for clients in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, consumer technology, enterprise solutions, IoT, video, food tech, eCommerce, and semiconductors. He also served as interim marketing leadership for a consumer streaming video company and an enterprise unified communications company. Prior to joining the firm, he led product marketing at Deem, where he built the product marketing and demand generation teams, as well as implemented core product launch and pricing processes. Henry also led product management for Ariba’s cloud and on-premise platforms, as well as drove release readiness and pricing. Before Ariba, he was the Vice President of Marketing at Provade, a contingent workforce management SaaS platform. He also held product management roles at Elance and PeopleSoft, and managed strategic alliances at Moai Technologies.

Henry began his career in the technology and management consulting, where he advised global high-tech and automotive clients on corporate strategy, market entry and product planning.

Henry has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rice University, an MS in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Enis Hulli
500 Startups, Turkey Linkedin profile

Enis Hulli is an associate partner at 500 Startups. Educated as an engineer he has a firm grasp of the technological aspect of the startup world and the ambition and knowledge to see the global potential in the regional startup scene. That is why, rather than venturing on the civil engineer path, he joined firstseed, a network of investors focusing on early stages investements. 


He aims to cultivate and grow the Turkish startup ecosystem, help talented entrepreneurs of the broader region and the diaspora in building explosive businesses that will integrate with Silicon Valley. His goal is to position 500 Startups Istanbul as the leading actor in the region in order to re-shape the future of innovation at EMEA. 500 Istanbul is an early-stage VC fund within the San Francisco based 500 Startups network, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator with over 1,500 investments in more than 50 countries and venture partners in more than 25 countries.



David Prais
Cofound.it, Slovenia Linkedin profile

David Prais is the chairman at Cofound.it, a platform that connects blockchain believers to teams that are building serious blockchain businesses.

David has vast experience in the business world. He’s been through it all - a Founder, Board Director and Chairman. He’s worked in the the VC, Public & Private Equity, digital and Marketing Industries and his skills cover everything from Strategy, Business Planning, Executive Coaching, to Blockchain, Business Tokenization, Fund-raising, Digital & Integrated Marketing, and E-commerce. A strong entrepreneurship professional with an excellent record of delivering exceptional results.

Dan Lupu
Earlybird Venture Capital, Romania Linkedin profile

Dan Lupu is an investor at Earlybird Venture Capital and Partner in the Digital East Fund. Dan is an investor, among others, in UIPath, DCSPlus and Flipps. He calls Bucharest his home.

David Parrish
T-Shirt and Suits, UK Linkedin profile

David Parrish is a renowned international keynote speaker, adviser, trainer and consultant on creative industries, creative entrepreneurship, marketing, the creative economy, international business, cultural industries and creativity in business. He helps creative businesses world-wide to become even more successful - as a speaker, interactive training workshop leader, business advisor, consultant and author. 

He has written two creative industries books: 'T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity'; and 'Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success' and has worked in more than 50 countries. He brings his international experience to his clients, and to his speeches. He is a TEDx speaker.

His clients around the world include the British Council, Swiss EP at Swisscontact, Innovation Norway, World Summit of Creative Industries / Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), Creative Industries Agency (Russia), The Big Idea (New Zealand), SEBRAE (Brazil), plus more - including governments, startups, creative hubs, arts organisations, university business schools and business support agencies.

Florian Kandler
GetFunding.how, Austria Linkedin profile

Florian Kandler is an experienced entrepreneur and 3-time founder from Vienna. He is a fundraising expert who helps European startup founders to build fundable startups and find the right investors.

On GetFunding.how, in his Startup Podcast, and in his Fundraising Masterclass he shares his 10 years of experience of starting 3 companies, two of which closed 3 funding rounds in total of over €3.000.000 of venture capital with VCs and Angels in Europe and the USA.

He recently also helped de-mystify the ICO-hype by hosting the 1st Global Crypto Online Summit.

Letitia Seglah
Startup Manufactory, UK Linkedin profile

Letitia Seglah is an independent consultant providing business management services to clients including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, HSBC, and BlackRock and the European Commission. Specialising in Corporate Innovation, RegTech, FinTech.

Active in devising and executing programmes for corporate innovation through procurement and engagement of innovation into financial institutions and digital transformation. Working with RegTech, and FinTech firms, small-medium enterprises on scale-up programmes and strategic alliance initiatives.

Listed on the Innovate Finance Women in Fintech 2017 Powerlist, Letitia is an advocate for institutional adoption and engagement of FinTech, RegTech, emergent and disruptive innovation. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Letitia spent her career in equity research, credit risk and regulatory compliance. Letitia studied towards an MSc Finance at the London School of Economics.

Matt Kuppers
Startup Manufactory, UK Linkedin profile

Matt Kuppers is the founder and CEO of Startup Manufactory, a consultancy with a focus on startup consulting, entrepreneurship training and startup ecosystem development. Having joined the startup industry in 2008, he launched new businesses, taught entrepreneurship, and advised governmental organisations across the EU.

Matt is also acting an Independent Expert to the European Commission and consults his alumna London School of Economics on entrepreneurship education.  Matt is also a renowned speaker and has been speaking at 50+ conferences and events globally.

He believes that entrepreneurship leads to peace, economic stability, and prosperity and therefore promotes entrepreneurship actively. Matt certified in science entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford and trained at a Military Academy.

Farid Edrisian
Karanobin - Innovation group, Iran Linkedin profile

Farid Edrisian is the Managing Director at Karanobin - Innovation group, a group of global innovation experts and leading companies that enable corporates and startups to accelerate their business ideas in a successful and sustainable way.
Farid’s wide repertoire ranges from managing corporate innovations to business development, which empowers him to see the big picture. Knowing both Corporate and Startup world and thanks to his intercultural awareness, Farid is able to connect the dots and unlock new opportunities.

Previously, he worked amongst others at leading international corporates like GfK, Kapsch and WhatAVenture.


Aleksander Tönnisson
Buildit, EstoniaKaranobin - Innovation group, Iran Linkedin profile

Aleksander Tönnisson is the co-founder and CEO at Buildit Hardware Accelerator, first startup accelerator in Northern and Eastern Europe investing into hardware startups. For 4 years, Aleksander has worked and lived in Munich, the Silicon Valley of Germany, in one of the top engineering houses ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH developing flight simulators for German navy. That was before starting his own engineering company, which led to him becoming an investor and founding partner at Buildit Hardware Accelerator.

Maris Prii
Swisscontact, Switzerland Linkedin profile

Maris Prii is a startup expert, entrepreneur in residence at Swisscontact / Swiss Entrepreneurship programs. She is a former member of Startup Wise Guys team as COO and Management Board Member, handling corporate governance, operations, financials, investments and legal side of portfolio management.

Maris has been hands on involved with 6 acceleration programs for B2B SaaS startups in Tallinn, Estonia, and also in Latvia. She has negotiated and finalised 56 pre-seed investments; advised and signed off a great number of portfolio companies' follow-on investment documents. Experience in managing large-scale EU projects.

She is a proud member of Estonian startup ecosystem and Latitude59 conference management team. Her previous experience involves helping to build up a B2B startup-company, also providing necessary back-office input for 2 acquisition processes.

James Haliburton
Topp Design & Innovation, Sweden Linkedin profile

James Haliburton is the CEO and co-founder at Topp Design & Innovation. James leads a growing team based out of Malmö, Stockholm, and San Francisco, tackling the some of the most wicked problems found in business, technology and life. From Doctors Without Borders to Samsung James is working with international, large scale initiatives to make impact with design. James is also the CEO of Noodl – the UX Design platform for IoT.

James spent the past 15 years leading design and innovation organizations (both industrial and academic), and has a special interest in developing cross-competent / multidisciplinary design & prototyping teams to help shape the best experiences for our digital world.

Philippe Thiltges
WhatAVenture, Austria Linkedin profile

Philippe Thiltges is a co-founder and managing partner of WhatAVenture – the full-service innovation agency launched in 2013 and expert in guiding new business ideas to success. WhatAVenture serves both as a sparring partner for innovation managers, and also as an external implementation team for new and innovative business ideas.

Philippe has a strong sales background and many years of experience as an innovation consultant. He started off in POS (point of sales) communication and established his own open innovation consulting agency after finishing university. He believes that opening up corporate borders during the innovation process leads to more outcome and success.

Daniela Unterholzner
Neunerhaus, Austria Linkedin profile

Daniela Unterholzner brings entrepreneurial strength, economic thinking and pragmatic hands-on mentality to neunerhaus, the social organization working on social inclusion of homeless people in innovative ways. The marketing expert previously worked in the fields of innovation management, cultural management and education. Before starting up the Project Development Department at neunerhaus in 2016, she was Deputy Director of the Institute for Cultural Concepts.

Widely networked, the historian and art historian brings together the areas of culture, economics and social affairs. Empowering people in their lives and actively shaping society has always been her inner motivation. This brought her from art and culture to adult education and finally to neunerhaus.

Chris Out
RockBoost, Netherlands Linkedin profile

Chris Out is a managing partner and lead growth hacker at RockBoost. His passion is to help businesses and people grow exponentially by using the latest growth hacking techniques.

He has worked in international environments, at big corporations and in fast growing startups. He combines this practical experience with 500+ books of theoretical knowledge to find the nuggets to help businesses grow.

Chris is also an international speaker on how to implement growth hacking. Apart from this, he is the creator and primary teacher for the Growth Hacking curriculum of Emerce and guest lecturer on growth hacking at the Beeckestijn Business School.

Bernadine Bröcker Wieder
Vastari, UK Linkedin profile

Bernadine Bröcker Wieder is the co-founder and CEO of Vastari, the largest online platform that facilitates exhibitions of art, science, history, and popular culture worldwide. The platform has facilitated 51 international collaborations between museums between September to November 2017 alone.

Prior to Vastari, she helped set up the Trinity House Gallery in Mayfair specializing in advising sales of Impressionist and Modern works of art. 

She holds a Masters of Letters from University of Glasgow and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in NYC. She is a member of the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars and the Professional Advisors to the International Art Market. 

Neeraj Berry
Sprig, Berlin Linkedin profile

Neeraj Berry is a technology entrepreneur from Silicon Valley currently based in Berlin. In 2016, Neeraj was recognized as Forbes' 30 Under 30 technology entrepreneurs for his work in Consumer Internet.

Most recently, Neeraj was the cofounder and creator of Sprig, a vertically-integrated online restaurant that prepared and delivered ready-to-eat meals on-demand. Sprig raised $57M in venture funding from top Silicon Valley investors, including Greylock Partners, Social Capital, Accel Partners and Battery Ventures, scaled to 1,200 employees, and served over 2 million meals over 3.5 years to customers in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Chicago. Over the course of the business, Neeraj oversaw the operations, expansion, finance, business operations, culinary organizations and the executive team.

Particular areas of his focus include strategic planning, executive management, finance, product creation, on-demand logistics, supply and demand generation, geographic expansion, recruitment, operations, online marketplaces, food innovation and workforce management.

Prior to Sprig, Neeraj led marketing and operations as part of the founding team for 12Society (2012-2013), a celebrity-backed, innovative subscription commerce business. Notably, Neeraj helped scale 12Society from $0 to $1M in run-rate revenue in 4 weeks after launch. Prior to 12Society, Neeraj worked in investment banking on the Leveraged Finance team at Jefferies & Co (2009-2011). He was named one of the top analysts in his class. Neeraj graduated from UCLA with a degree in Economics and Global Studies.



Jonathan Grover
Plantronics, USA Linkedin profile

Jonathan Grover is a seasoned professional and entrepreneur with diverse educational background and global work experience. His primary focus is on business strategy and innovation, where Jonathan has been tapped to consult for start up incubators, start up businesses and major corporations. He currently leads Innovation Business Development at Plantronics, a billion dollar publicly traded company, focused on creating an ecosystem approach to rapidly prototyping and bringing to market new transformational innovations. Previously a Vice President of Strategic Projects at a major global bank, and an Innovation Architect at Cisco, Jonathan also has experience working in the aerospace, biotechnology and software industries.

Innovation in practice is as poignant as it is in theory – Jonathan previously founded a Canadian B-Corporation software start up that combined mobile application with philanthropic giving before exiting the business to work as an Executive in Residence and joining the Canadian Innovation Centre.

As a corporate entrepreneur and innovator, Jonathan focuses on building and executing strategies that drive revenue through product introduction, diversification, market expansion, in addition to driving business process reengineering that decreases costs through creating efficiencies.

Jonathan holds an MBA from HEC Business School in Paris, and a B.Sc. from Johns Hopkins University. He currently lives in the heart of Silicon Valley with his wife and dog.