In 2008, Michael Oluwagbemi co-founded LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited, a business and project development firm that focuses on start-up and early stage ventures in Lagos, Nigeria. Michael's deep involvement with start-ups have seen him participating in seeding more than half a dozen start-ups in West Africa. He is also co-founder of the Wennovation Hub; a Lagos based accelerator, and chairman of the board for Afrilabs; a pan-African network of 40 technology innovation hubs across 20 African countries. On this episode you'll learn: What role does he believe the Nigerian government should play in promoting innovation. What are common challenges West African entrepreneur face when scaling their startup? In what industries are there big opportunities for entrepreneurs in West Africa? What is the current balance of opportunity vs. talent in Nigeria?
Olatorera Oniru is CEO and Founder of Dressmeoutlet.com, where she leads initiatives to realize a pinnacle in Africa’s history with innovation from natural resources and citizenry capabilities. Dressmeoutlet.com is Nigeria's foremost retailer for high-quality fashion products, health & beauty products and home-goods. Olatorera previously worked for two Fortune Top 5 companies: Bank of America Merrill Lynch and General Electric. On this episode you'll learn: How does DressMeOutlet look to differentiate itself in Africa as a leading fashion retailer? What needs to happen in Lagos to catalyze more entrepreneurship? What does the next 5 years look like for Olatorera and for DressMeOutlet?
Jacob Korenblum is the President & CEO of Souktel where he leads a growing team, building on his past experience as managing economic development and emergency relief projects for the US Agency for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency. He is a frequent panelist on technology and development--with speaking engagements ranging from the GSMA Mobile World Congress to the World Bank Human Development Forum. On this episode you'll learn: What are the biggest challenges in building mobile solutions for the middle east? Does Jacob find consistency in implementation across developing markets or do solutions need to be hyper focused for each country? What’s going well in the Palestine startup scene?
Idriss is cofounder and CEO of Fetchr. Based out of Dubai, Fetchr solves the logistical problem of the lack of physical addresses in the middle east and developing markets. This past year Fetchr closed an $11m round lead by New Enterprise Associates.
On this episode you'll learn:
What made logistics in developing markets so hard? How does Fetchr solve this problem?
What are the biggest challenges in the ecommerce space in Dubai?
How does Idriss address Silicon Valley VC's concerned about the geopolitical climate risk in Fetchr's markets?
How far away is Dubai from becoming a self-sustaining startup ecosystem?
Ryan Broshar is the founder and managing director of Matchstick Ventures, a Minnesota-based venture capital firm, where he focuses on early-stage technology companies. He has also served as Managing Director for Techstar’s Minneapolis-based retail accelerator. In partnership with Target, the accelerator is a three-month intensive startup accelerator focused on bringing new technology, experiences, products, and solutions to retail. On this episode you’ll learn: What should startups be looking for in an early stage VC and how can a founder filter out the ones that are truly early stage? How does Ryan look to differentiate Matchstick in a sea of seed-funds? What are the most important traits Ryan looks for in early-stage teams? Ryan has said that partnerships are incredibly important for startups playing in the retail space, but why? What makes retail so different than other industries?
Amanda Slavin is CEO and Founder of CatalystCreativ an experience studio that helps brands engage millennials through inspirational on and offline experiences, strategy, consulting and implementation. Formed in 2012 in partnership with Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, CatalystCreativ helps individuals, brands, and movements come together to create a ripple of impact. Amanda has also founded Catalyst Week and Creativ Week, a monthly educational immersive experiences of carefully selected influencers that act as a lens into Las Vegas’ Downtown Project for people all over the world. On this episode you’ll learn: Amanda’s first encounter with Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh and what was his interest in investing in Las Vegas? Why are branding and experiences, as opposed to sales, so important to focus on when trying to reach a millennial consumer base? What are some of the most common mistakes brands make when targeting millennials and Gen X?
Jesse Johnson is the Director of the TVA. He co-founded and was CEO of Q Collection, a leading sustainable design company (now a part of Twill Textiles). He has been involved as a mentor and investor in several startup businesses and served on the board of two companies sold to a Fortune 50 company. He serves on the board of 1% For The Planet, Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment, Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment and several others. On this episode you'll learn: What is different about running a social impact fund, how does Jesse go about prioritizing social impact vs. returns for their LP’s? When starting the Telluride Venture Fund, How did Jesse approach the team building aspect? Realistically how big can a company get before they need to open a office outside of Telluride?
Peter is CEO and founder of Hyperscience, a startup leveraging AI to automate enterprise scale data analysis. Hyper science has raised capital from the likes of Slow Ventures, Firstmark capital, and SV angels. Peter’s previous company Instinctive was acquired by Soundcloud in 2012. On this episode we discuss Peter's biggest lesson learned going from Instinctiv’s founding to acquisition What does artificial intelligence encompass? How is it different than machine learning and deep learning? How will AI startups interact with corporation also investing in AI research?
Eduard Emiryan is a cofounder at Amber Lamps, one of Armenia's leading mobile development shops. Amber Lamps products include apps such as Runtime and Lucid Dreams. On this episode you'll learn: how the culture has shifted in Armenia towards entrepreneurship, if entrepreneurship is just a young person's game, and how much capital is available to young startups in Armenia.
Brett Hagler is the CEO and Co-Founder of New Story - an innovative nonprofit that transforms slums into sustainable communities around the world. Brett is a cancer survivor, author, speaker, Y Combinator alum, and 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur. After reviving a lost Christian faith, Brett took a trip to Haiti and met families living in the type of slums that New Story is now on a mission to transform into sustainable communities. On this episode you'll learn: the inspiration and story behind New Story, what it's like to run a nonprofit in Silicon Valley, and how New Story promotes entrepreneurship in communities.
Trafi is the world's smartest public transport journey planner based on machine learning, crowd-sourced data and self-learning algorithms helping to provide the highest quality product across competition. This past year, Trafi closed a $6.5 million Series A round led by Octopus Investments, EBRD Venture Capital Investment Programme and BaltCap. Regimantas Urbanas is Trafi's CMO focused on scaling Trafi outside of Europe. On this episode you'll learn: Trafi's criteria in deciding what countries to expand to, the biggest differences in user acquisition channels across different countries/cultures, and the current state of entrepreneurship in Lithuania.
Hekla joined NSA ventures in 2010 and works with broad range of start-up companies in health tech, education tech and other industries. Before joining NSA ventures Hekla worked ten years at the global medical innovation company Ossur (NASDAQOMX), first in R&D department and later as a product manager for the company in Shanghai where she gained valuable insights into the Asian markets. On this episode you'll learn how NSA ventures looks to differentiate itself as the leading fund for startups in Iceland. Also, how has deal flow evolved in Iceland since Hekla came onboard NSA ventures in 2010? How do Hekla advise Icelandic startups raising Series B and higher rounds in finding capital outside of Iceland?
Erlendur Guðnason is the Founder and Chariman of the Board for Vizido. Based out of Reykjavik, the Vizido app allows you to remember things and organize yourself without typing a single letter. You can learn more and try out the product at www.vizido.com. Erlendur also serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Federation of Icelandic Startup Companys. The goal of the Federation of Icelandic Startup Companys is to promote and establish a framework for start-ups in Iceland that stimulates innovation and growth to the Icelandic economy. Previously Erlendur was CEO of Stiki a large consulting and software company specializing in information systems security.
Inka Mero is an entrepreneur and angel investor based out of Helsinki, Finland. During the course of her career she has Co-founded 7, and invested in 30+ companies in Consumer Internet, Mobile, Analytics / E-commerce space. This includes raising several funding rounds from 50-100kE pre-seed and seed rounds up to 30 M Euros of Series B. She is currently the Co-founder and Chairwoman for Koppicatch, a seed investment firm and accelerator for both startups and corporations. On this episode we discuss corporation innovation, Helsinki deal flow, and what a corporate accelerator is.
Based out of Gothenburg, Sweden, Patrick Arnesson is the CEO and Cofounder of Football Addicts a mobile app development company focused on Football. Patrick and his team bootstrapped their first app, Forza Football, to 7 million total users with 3 million daily active users without ever taking in any outside investment. He is now partnered with some of the biggest brands in football including both Adidas and Nike. On this episode we discuss why not to take investment from VC's, getting millions of users with no funding, and Gothenburg's startup scene.
After 10 years as senior manager in the Telecom & IT industry in Sweden and Norway, Thomas founded his own Ed-tech and e-learning company Edvantage group and ran it as CEO for 12 years. As one of Europe’s leading e-learning companies, it was sold to Lumesse in 2011. During the same period Thomas co-founded two Med Tech Companies and sold them in 2007 and 2014. Thomas has been investing in start-ups for more than 10 years and as Business Angel full time the last two years he holds a portfolio of fifteen companies. His latest project, Angel Challenge, is a hands-on program to empower private investors to co-invest into startups. He also runs a co-working space for Business Angles in Oslo called Oslo House of Innovation or OHOI’.
Marianne is the President and COO of Slush, the biggest technology and startup event in Europe and Asia. She studies Industrial Engineering and has been involved with Slush since 2012.
Slush is the focal point for startups and tech talent to meet with top-tier international investors, executives and media. In 2014, Slush brought together over 14.000 attendees and more than 3500 companies for the two-day event. More than 750 investors came to Helsinki to meet startups in nearly 3.800 pre-booked meetings. Next Slush will take place in Helsinki on November 11-12th, 2015.
Slush is a non-profit event organized by a community of entrepreneurs, investors, students and music festival organizers. Although Slush has grown from a 300-person event to become one of the leading events of its kind in the world, the philosophy behind it has remained the same: to help the next generation of great, world-conquering companies forward.
Meli James is the Head of New Ventures at Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture firm focused on early-stage startups, a Program Director at the award winning XLR8UH, a first of its kind venture accelerator formed in partnership with the University of Hawaii; and the President of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association. Prior to returning to her native Honolulu, Meli lived in Silicon Valley for over 10 years, where she co-founded and contributed to numerous start-ups in the Bay Area and Honolulu, including Nirvino – #1 ranked wine app, an Apple Platform Top 100 App, & Top Ten Lifestyles App. Meli is a founding member of the Startup Paradise initiative helping to build a thriving startup community that nurtures collaboration and innovation in Hawaii. She is committed to establishing resources to grow talent and high-growth ideas.
Hawaiian entrepreneur Mark Quezada has cofounded numerous startups getting accepted into 500 Startups, getting acquired, and working with Pierre Omidyar along the way. He is currently the CTO and Cofounder for Hobnob, a mobile-first event invite and communication service that makes it fun and fast to get people together.
Alan Matthew is an Active Angel Investor, investing in over 24 companies in the past year and a half. He has been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade since 1977 and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for over 30yrs. As a published photographer in the New York Times, Alan has explored over 85 countries in his life and has been a Shamanic Healer for over 17yrs. His company, Tribal Ventures, LLC invests in a vast array of companies and their core values lie within investing in the people of the company, not just the idea.
Rob Cressy is founder of both Cress Media and Bacon Sports where he specializes in creating content and marketing to millennial males, with an emphasis in sports and new media (Snapchat, video, live streaming, podcasting.) On this episode we discuss how startups can use snapchat to grow their business, the ins and outs of Chicago's tech scene and Rob's experience working out of 1871, the lifeblood of the Chicago entrepreneurship community.
Daniel Blomquist is a Partner at Creandum where he focuses on SaaS and game-related stuff with a special passion for analytics. While being based in Stockholm, he also spends much time in Helsinki and San Francisco. Before joining Creandum in 2007, Daniel was a Vice President at Ascade – a VC-backed startup that at the time was one of Europe’s fastest-growing enterprise software companies. Daniel spent his early days at Ascade as a spaghetti-code programmer and eventually ran product and marketing.
Per is Director of Strategy and Communications for Nova, a top talent network for both top talent and organizations in Sweden. He also serves as CMO for Just Arrived. Per has been a leader in the Stockholm startup community for years. Per became involved early on in Stockholm's growth taking on leadership roles through organizations like Startup Grind, Swedish Startup Space, and Gothenburg Startup Hack. In this episode we discuss Stockholm's growth into one of Europe's most prominent tech hubs and what lessons other ecosystems can take from Stockholm.
Andreas König is the CEO and Co-founder of Just Arrived. Just Arrived is a Swedish startup founded to connect new arrivals in Sweden to Swedish companies. Just Arrived has formed partnerships with Universum Group, aglobal leader in employer branding, Antrop - one of Sweden's leading design agencies, and TaskRunner - a startup in the sharing economy space. On this episode we discuss the Stockholm scenes' latest trend towards startups looking to make a big social impact, Andreas' efforts in the Gothenburg startup scene, and the story behind Just Arrived.
Tara Silver is the founder of Silver Strategy, a D.C.-based, full-service PR & Marketing agency with a focus of technology companies. Tara is an award-winning strategist and entrepreneur, with over 15 years of experience and a results-driven track record. On this episode we discuss the importance of a PR strategy for startups, mistakes most startups make, and the rise of the DC tech sector.