21st & 22nd of May
Maribor, Slovenia

Speakers

Sheel Mohnot
500 Startups, USA Linkedin profile
 

A creator and investor, Sheel Mohnot leads the 500 Startups FinTech Fund and accelerator. He founded two startups with successful FinTech exits as well as co-founded a food and health company called Thistle and a startup podcast called The Pitch (sold to Gimlet media). He formerly worked as a financial services consultant at BCG and started his FinTech career at the non-profit P2P lender Kiva. Sheel holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BS in Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon.

Sheel is helping to design, build, and improve human ecosystems through technology. He is particularly interested in "financial services for the rest of us" – financial innovation that helps those who feel abandoned by the current financial system. Sheel has been quoted in a number of publications on both his business and private life, some of his work has been featured in giants such as The Atlantic and The New York Times, and he has been a regular public speaker on topics of financial innovation, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and the revolution taking place in payments/point of sale.

Amrit Dhir
Google, UK Linkedin profile
 

Driven by innovation, ambiguity and adventure, Amrit Dhir leads operations and expansion for Google for Startups Campus, a global network of physical spaces for entrepreneurs. He works with technology startups drawing from his experience in new business development for some of Alphabet's most innovative products and groundbreaking technologies: projects in Google Research (i.e. machine learning, natural language processing, etc.), the Cultural Institute (e.g. Google Art Project), Google[x] (now X), and Google Life Sciences (now Verily). He's also learned from some spectacular failures and a background in law (itself a kind of a failure). Amrit is additionally an angel investor, a regular volunteer, an aimless writer, a dabbler in languages, the Hakeem Olajuwon of Fantasy Basketball, and nomadic. He has a BA in Arts from Emory University, an MA in Media Culture from Maastricht University and obtained the Doctor of Law (JD) distinction from Harvard.
 
He is skilled in launching groundbreaking technology through business development, strategy, and execution. He has contributed to breakthrough products and platforms in machine learning, consumer marketplaces, life sciences, the arts, and the law.

Alexis Kopikis
Alexify.co, USA Linkedin profile
 

Serial founder and investor, we could say. Alexis Kopikis has spent 20+ years founding and investing in technology startups building human-centered products.  He has founded four startups Sync Project (acq. Bose), Krush, Convoq, WorldStreet (acq. Thomson), three creative startup studios Vox Studio, Ubuntu Labs and Propel, two branding agencies Alexify and Frank, and helped create two investment platforms (PureTech (LON:PRTC) and Cambridge Innovations.

In addition, Alexis has helped dozens of companies craft and deploy the strategic stories to launch their brand and products. He received an M.A. from the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. Alexis is a brand storyteller and a product management master who loves startups and entrepreneurship but also has extensive skills in business development. He is also an ardent supporter of efforts to find a cure and treatment for Fragile X and Autism.

Bret Siarkowski
MedScience Ventures, USA Linkedin profile
 

Bret Siarkowski is a founder of MedScience Ventures (MSV) and a Member of the General Partner with a rich background as an investor, (co-)founder, board member and CTO in the entrepreneurial environment, especially healthcare. Bret is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience initiating and leading technology companies in the design and application of innovative market-demanded solutions, as well as creating new markets. His extensive experience spans the mobile, gaming, healthcare, software, semiconductor and electronics industries.

He is also a Limited Partner at Kodiak Venture Partners, an angel investor, and serves on the board of advisors for several technology companies. Mr. Siarkowski holds a BSEE from Northeastern University in Boston, MA and an MSEE from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. He is also the holder of several patents that cover both software and hardware industries. His extensive list of skills includes product management, business development, strategic planning, healthcare information technology and others.

Mariano Kostelec
UniPlaces, Spain Linkedin profile
 

Mariano Kostelec is a young and ambitious entrepreneur and a global citizen who has lived in 10 different countries so far. He is the co-founder and CCO of Uniplaces.com, the international portal for student accommodation that has so far raised over €27M in funding. Over the past few years, Mariano has worked for leading investments banks, including UBS, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and several fast-growing startups. He led the international expansion of Groupon and Wimdu in Asia.

He has a BSc in Computer Science with Management from King’s College London and has recently completed the Oxford Fintech Programme at the Said Business School. He is a member of the Entrepreneur Organization and the Sandbox Network, the global community of hand-picked young achievers and innovators under 30. Mariano’s extensive list of skills includes operations, marketing, international expansion and fintech.

Tristan Pollock
500 Startups, USA Linkedin profile
 

An entrepreneur and investor, Tristan Pollock is a venture partner at 500 Startups, where he has by now awarded $30M in funding to over 220 startups. He recently also cofounded Shisharka Skunk Works to develop new projects. Beforehand, he started and sold two companies, SocialEarth and Storefront. The first he bootstrapped. The second he raised $10M in venture capital for and grew to be the de facto marketplace for retail space. Storefront has since worked with many brands, including Nike and Kanye West, and has been hailed as the Airbnb for Retail by The New York Times.
 
Tristan holds a BSc in business administration, management and operations from North Dakota State University.He has been named Forbes 30 Under 30 for his work, created street art for a TEDx talk on creative cities, cameoed in NBC Universal's Bazillion Dollar Club, and crafted the most read Best Buy email of all time reaching over 23 million customers. Today, he is traveling the world with his wife supporting global accelerator programs and startup ecosystems

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. Henry is currently a Principal at Cunningham Collective, where he has led several brand strategy and marketing engagements for clients in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, consumer technology, enterprise solutions, IoT, video, food tech, eCommerce, and semiconductors. Prior to joining Cunningham Collective, he led product marketing at Deem and Ariba, was the Vice President of Marketing at Provade as well as held product management roles at Elance and PeopleSoft, and managed strategic alliances at Moai Technologies.

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. With now over two decades 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 a thought leader in the constantly evolving nature of product marketing and development, and knows how to leverage the latest tools and technologies to deliver successful products and services.

 

Dr. Guenther Dobrauz
PwC Legal, Switzerland Linkedin profile
 

Passionate about translating legal into business, dr. Guenther Dobrauz is a lawyer, VC investor, disruption disciple, author, and an exponential technologies enthusiast. A Partner at PwC Zurich and Leader of PwC Legal Switzerland, he and his team are building the law firm of the future. Every day. Prior to this he was a successful Venture Capitalist, served as in-house counsel at an international hedge fund and practised in court and with a leading business law firm. Guenther holds a PhD in law from Johannes Kepler University (Austria), an MBA from the University of Strathclyde (Scotland) and has completed an Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School. He is the author of three books on innovation and disruption and of five books on European, Swiss and Liechtenstein regulation. He also wrote 100+ publications in international expert magazines and has to date spoken at more than 200 conferences worldwide.
 
He is one of the leading specialists on European banking, investment, and blockchain/crypto law, specializing in supporting the structuring, authorization and ongoing lifecycle management of financial intermediaries and their products. He strongly focuses on LegalTech, RegTech and the blockchain space. In his free time, Guenther is passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, rock music, custom bratstyle motorcycles, obstacle course racing and vinyl records.

Cristobal Alonso
Startup Wise Guys, Denmark Linkedin profile
 

The ultimate "make-it-happen" person, Cristobal Alonso is a serial entrepreneur and the Global CEO of Startup Wise Guys – Europe’s leading B2B accelerator and one of the most active early-stage investment companies in the Nordics & Baltics. Cristobal’s unique background combines extensive CxO experience in different mobile operators in Europe with advisory and CEO roles in multiple startups. Amongst others, he (co-)founded Mobofree, at the time the leading Africa’s social marketplace, and mmCHANNEL, a mobile application startup that raised a €2M VC round. He sits on the board of more than 10 startups he has invested in since 2010. All this has enabled him to gain insight into team management, corporate innovation, (corporate) accelerators, investability, trends in the CEE startup scene, and the ins and outs of networking. Cristobal has a degree in business administration and an MBA by INSEAD, the world’s leading business school.
 
His wide-ranging list of skills includes corporate planning and strategy, transformation and turnaround efforts across different countries and cultures, mobile operators, and the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sector.

Chuck Goldman
SkyX Systems Corp., USA Linkedin profile
 

Chuck Goldman is an investor, experienced manager and creator of high-growth technology companies that create value. He is the co-founder of VUI – the first and only voice-driven customer engagement platform. Chuck is also an investment partner at Sky Ventures Group, specializing in health technologies and innovations, and the executive advisor in SkyX Systems Corp., where he’s working with the most talented drone team in the industry.

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.  He has a proven track record of building successful businesses, both in large enterprises and in the startup environment. His extensive list of experience includes the development of cloud-enabled mobile, IoT and Voice-AI platforms and investing into med-tech startups from both Slovenia and the US.
 
Chuck spends a lot of time helping people, sharing his knowledge and experience, also by 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.

Nejc Škoberne
Coinbase, UK Linkedin profile
 

An experienced growth lead, Nejc Škoberne leads performance marketing and customer-relationship management at Coinbase, a secure digital currency exchange. He is also the cofounder and CEO of Cone-headed Cat, an ever curious growth agency with a love for all things WordPress, WooCommerce, PerformanceMarketing CRO and Experimentation. Nejc previously headed growth marketing at Uber and Honest Brew as well as was a partnerships and affiliates manager at Transferwise.

He believes in scalability, incrementality, attribution, virality and cannibalisation, and is convinced that every performance/growth marketer should know how to code. He has 25+ product, Scrum and marketing certifications, has held 10+ keynote presentations and was voted as one of the Top 250 Global Growth Hackers. His expertise lies in growth marketing, with a focus on Data Analytics, Performance Marketing (Search, Affiliates, ASO & Mobile) & Product Management. In his free time, he likes to build and manage affiliate websites.

Danyelle Pollock
Freelancer, USA Linkedin profile
 

Danyelle Pollock is a master of company culture. Most recently, she headed up Internal Communications and Events at Lyft, a transportation technology company. She helped lead the Community team, became a founding member of Lyft's internal Culture Board, and assisted the company in navigating 50x employee growth, which rose from 60 to 3,000 employees. Before Lyft, Danyelle was with Fortune 10 company UnitedHealth Group managing their full stack internal communications, from recognition programs to intranet creation. In her career, she has planned various events and ran marketing for startups and nonprofits alike. 
 
Danyelle finished her BSc in mass communication from St. Cloud State University. She is currently on an international tour, visiting tech hubs around the world and providing consultations to startups of all sizes. In her free time, Danyelle enjoys calligraphy, volunteering with dogs, and traveling the world with her husband.

Mela Chu
BLCKSWN, Germany Linkedin profile
 

An innovation evangelist, Mela Chu is the founder and CEO of the Innovation Consulting BLCKSWN, focused on design thinking. She believes that empathy is one of the core resource in business and society, so her work is human-centered, striving to bring more humanity into business. She teaches Design Thinking / Creative Leadership and Digital Transformation at the higher education institutes Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln and Hochschule Fresenius.

She was previously a successful businesswoman in the fashion industry and is to this day the owner of the Chu gallery in Cologne. Her extensive experience lies in innovation and implementing creativity as the key to the future of permanent change.

Daniel Cronin
AustrianStartups, Austria Linkedin profile
 

Daniel Cronin is a marketing enthusiast, speaker and entrepreneur. Since 2013, he has been co-founder and board member of austrianstartups.com, a non-profit independent platform that connects and builds the startup community as well as helps startups become more visible and strengthen their brand. He co-founded the company aaa-allaboutapps gmbh, which developed and launched more than 100 apps with several million users over the past few years.

He is the representative of the 2Minuten, 2Millionen – die PULS4 Startup Show at the broadcasting house Prosiebensat.1 PLUS Gmbh.He has extensive knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship, mobile marketing, finances and risk capital, and has been lecturing at three Vienna uiversities for several years now. He is also the mobile marketing manager in the company pMediaNetwork GmbH. He participated in various startup events as moderator and coach. He obtained his master’s degree at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

More great speakers to be announced
Stay tuned ...