Join the DFF and celebrate digital culture! Get your tickets right now!

Here’s what’s coming up

The Digital Freedom Festival is a boutique, yet influential signature event. Around a thousand participants will discuss the latest trends and discoveries in digital technologies, as well as their impact on startups and corporations, policymaking, and modern lifestyles.

Our event is more than just a startup conference. It is a multi-event meeting platform, which takes a special interest in uniting the world of technology. We encourage debate on how technologies can truly “make the world a better place”, creating greater digital dividends for everyone.

The Festival offers inspirational speeches, challenging discussions, workshops and networking opportunities for everyone: startups pitch their ideas and showcase their products; investors matchmake with startups and corporates; policymakers look for gains from digital transformations; corporates seek synergies and spinoffs with startups; students and teachers thrive on inspiration.

Join the DFF to challenge the status quo, to co-create and to celebrate digital culture.

First speakers ’17


Stephanie Alys (UK)

Co-Founder at MysteryVibe


Stephanie is a Co-Founder and Chief Pleasure Officer (CPO) of MysteryVibe, an award-winning British pleasure brand. As CPO, Stephanie is focused on changing perceptions around pleasure in a positive and empowering way.

A strong advocate that pleasure is a beautiful part of the human experience, and fundamental to our happiness, Stephanie is MysteryVibe’s spokesperson on the role of technology within sex and relationships.

She has been featured in major publications such as the BBC, The Times, Guardian, Economist, CNBC, TechCrunch and WIRED and regularly appears as a keynote speaker on international stages.


Paul Bragiel (USA)

Founder of Bragiel Brothers


Paul Bragiel is a 3 time entrepreneur that is the founder of Bragiel Brothers, an early stage fund in Silicon Valley. He also sits on the advisory board of the car-sharing service Uber.

Collectively he’s invested in the seed rounds of 200+ companies which includes holdings in other billion dollar companies like Unity & Zappos.

In addition to his work in US he has started regional funds in Africa (savannah fund) & Asia (golden gate ventures) and vertical funds in gaming (game founders) & VR (presence).

Outside of work, he skis for the Colombia National Cross-Country Ski Team where he just recently competed in the 2017 World Championships in Finland.


Eamonn Carey (UK)

Managing Director at Techstars New York


Eamonn Carey an early stage investor, advisor and board member. Most recently, Eamonn was the MD at Techstars Connection in partnership with AB InBev program in New York, and is currently a board member and advisor at Lingvist and a managing director at Techstars New York.

Eamonn is a regular speaker at conferences around the world – including SXSW, Mobile World Congress, Slush, Pioneers, Tech Open Air, the Pirate Summit, Arabnet, GITEX, the Global Apps Summit, the Mobile Games Forum, National Digital Media Summit, CultureTech, Liverpool Sound City and many others.


Scott Cohen (USA)

Co-Founder of the Cyborg Nest


Scott Cohen Co-Founded the Cyborg Nest with Liviu Babitz in early 2016.  On December 14, 2016, they became the first people to permanently attach the North Sense by inserting two titanium rods in their chests and attaching a circuit board, compass, vibrating mechanism and battery encased in water proof silicone.

Scott Cohen is the co-founder of digital distribution pioneer The Orchard.  The Orchard is the world’s leading distributor of music, film and video with operations in 30 global territories.  As a well-recognized public speaker and lecturer, Scott travels the world evangelizing new business models for the digital age.

Scott is a human rights activist and strict vegan.  No meat, fish, cheese, milk, honey, leather, wool or anything else derived from an animal.



Raph Crouan (UK)

Managing Director & Founder at Startupbootcamp IoT London


Raphael is a Senior Adviser, Investor (Undagrid / Beasts of Balance) & International Speaker with a background in Sales, Marketing & Strategic Business Development (Telecom, Apple).

He’s now the Founder & CEO of the Startupbootcamp IoT Program based in London.

He’s also a Founding Board Member & Chair for the SMEs in the AIOTI (Alliance for IoT Innovation) at the European Commission, an adviser to MakerWharf, a Founding Board Member of the French IoT Think Tank & a Founding & Advisory Board member of the UK French Tech Hub.


Flora Coleman (UK)

Government Relations at TransferWise


Experienced government relations specialist with a demonstrated history of working in technology and financial services.

Strong political communications professional skilled in crisis management, public affairs, elections, regulatory change and corporate social responsibility.

In addition, Flora has experience in UK politics, having worked as a political adviser in Parliament.


Joséphine Goube (FRA)

CEO of Techfugees


By the age of 23, Joséphine Goube was director of strategic partnerships at Migreat – an online platform supporting two million individuals through each step of the immigration process.

Less than four years later, she’s been named Expert On Immigration for the European Commission. But that’s just her day job. She’s also co-directing manager at Girls In Tech London – helping women to launch careers in technology.

Moved by the plight of refugees in Europe, Josephine and a number of technology industry people have formed a voluntary team to create Techfugees – an international nonprofit coordinating the technology industry answer to the refugee situation.

Techfugees organises conferences and hackathons around the world, curates a database of innovative projects and work with a global network of collaborators to support the creation of tech innovation for the refugees and NGOs.


Paula Gould (IS)

Principal at Frumtak Ventures


Paula Gould is Principal at Frumtak Ventures in Reykjavik, Iceland, leading international growth, brand and marketing initiatives across the Frumtak Ventures portfolio.

She has extensive experience working with startup and growth companies from the US, Israel and Iceland on brand, business development, marketing and public relations strategies internationally.

Prior to joining Frumtak Ventures, Paula was CMO of Greenqloud, which was acquired by NetApp in 2017.

She served on the Board of Directors of Icelandic company CLARA when it was acquired by Jive Software in 2013. In addition to serving companies as a Board Director, CEO and CMO, Paulaowned PEG PR, a boutique PR firm at the intersection of IT and entertainment, where she advised and nurtured the growth of clients ranging from social media, video and gaming platforms to a fuel cell manufacturer and notable award-winning artists.


Carl Honoré (CAN)

Author, In Praise of Slow and Under Pressure


Carl Honoré is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and TED speaker.

The Wall Street Journal hailed him as “an in-demand spokesman on slowness.” CBC Sunday Edition called him “inarguably, the world’s leading evangelist for the Slow Movement.” The Huffington Post described him as “the unofficial godfather of a growing cultural shift toward slowing down.”

After working with street children in Brazil, Carl covered Europe and South America for the Economist, Observer, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Time, National Post and other publications.

His first book, In Praise of Slow, examines our compulsion to hurry and chronicles a global trend toward putting on the brakes. The Financial Times said it is “to the Slow Movement what Das Kapital is to communism.”

His second book, Under Pressure, explores the good, the bad and the ugly of modern childrearing – and offers a blueprint for change. It was hailed by Time as a “gospel of the Slow Parenting movement.”

Carl’s latest book, The Slow Fix, explores how to tackle complex problems in every walk of life, from health and relationships to business and politics, without falling for superficial, short-term quick fixes.

Translated into 35 languages, his books have landed on bestseller lists in many countries. In Praise of Slow was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and the inaugural choice for the Huffington Post Book Club. It also featured in a British TV sitcom, Argentina’s version of Big Brother and a TV commercial for the Motorola tablet. Under Pressure was shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust Award, the top prize for non-fiction in Canada.

Carl featured in a series for BBC Radio 4 called The Slow Coach in which he helped frazzled, over-scheduled Britons slow down. He presented a TV show called Frantic Family Rescue on Australia’s ABC. He also hosts a podcast called The Slow Revolution.
His TED talk on slowness has been viewed 2.4 million times.

On top of writing, broadcasting and researching the benefits of deceleration, Carl rushes (slowly, of course) around the world to deliver speeches and workshops. He recently joined the Advisory Board of Jack Media, which makes a Slow messaging app. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of Hewitt School in New York City.

Carl lives in London with his wife and two children. In his spare time, he plays ‘slow’ sports like hockey and squash.


Dean Johnson (UK)

Head of Innovation at Brandwidth



Dean is an accomplished design leader, writer, presenter and tech pundit and his team at Brandwidth is shaping the future for the Automotive, Publishing, Music, Film, Education and Leisure sectors.

Dean is a Fellow and the former VP of The Chartered Society of designers and a mentor for the fashion tech incubator Front Row I/O. Brandwidth has been responsible for designing and creating some of the world’s most dynamic mobile experiences, from ‘The Doors’, ‘Doctor Who Encyclopedia’ and ’Star Wars Scene Maker’ apps, to ‘Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury’, ‘Saving Mr Banks’ and ‘Maleficent’ multi touch books. Mobile is also wearable and this provides the next interactive playground. With many of Brandwidth’s SmartWatch, VR and AR projects still behind closed doors, it’s time to unleash a few.

Dean was a finalist in the 2014 Shorty Awards, presents the ‘Gadgetarium’ on the Dadsaster podcast, is Inspector Gadget on Nikki Bedi’s BBC London 94.9 show, writes for Computer Arts, iCreate, Apps Magazine and his own blog and wrote the number 1 Multi-Touch book ‘Digital Publishing: The Next Steps’.


Marvin Liao (US)

Partner at 500 Startups


Marvin is a Partner at Micro Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups, running the SF based accelerator program as well as investing in Seed stage start ups. He Invests in Digital Media, Enterprise SAAS, Marketplace, Mobile, AdTech/MarketingTech, Digital Health, Internet of Things & Fintech startups.

Formerly an experienced client-facing senior executive in the media and technology space in both large and start up growth companies, having managing large multifunctional teams across multiple countries.

He has P&L management experience and most recently responsible for 100% YoY revenue growth while running a business unit and building new sales channels in EMEA & the Emerging Markets regions for the last ~4 years at Yahoo!.

A 10.5 year veteran of Yahoo! Inc., Marvin has held roles in the various departments of Sales, Business Development, Ad Operations and Marketing. Most of his roles were regional or global management roles giving him extensive experience across Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States in his career at the company.

Marvin presently serves on the boards/advisory boards of several internet advertising and ad technology companies across the globe.

A longtime fan, participant, and an observer of the digital revolution occurring for the last 15+ years across the world, he is interested in opportunities with top growth companies large and small with a focus on driving monetization and expanding into new international markets.


Sheel Mohnot (USA)

Partner at 500 Startups (focus on FinTech)


Sheel leads fintech investments for 500 Startups, which is great because his startup experience includes founding 2 fintech companies with successful exits. He also runs a podcast called The Pitch ( where founders pitch investors.


Kathryn Myronuk (USA)

Founding Team Member of Singularity University


Named by CNN as one of The Top 7 Tech Heroes to Watch in 2015, Kathryn Myronuk is a leading expert on exponentially growing technologies and the synthesis of the broad set of related fields of the Singularity movement.

As a founding staff member at Singularity University (SU) at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, Kathryn participated in the early formation of SU’s groundbreaking approach to experiential learning encouraging participants to shift from one field to another, sometimes on an hour-by-hour basis, creating connections to build solutions to solve global grand challenges.

She designed curriculum and worked closely with interdisciplinary and international participants and teams in all eight of SU’s 10-week programs and within SU’s many shorter programs.


Ayelet Noff (IL)

Founder and CEO of Blonde 2.0


Ayelet Noff is the Founder and CEO of award-winning PR Firm Blonde 2.0 with offices in Tel Aviv and Boston. Founded in 2006, the firm specializes in publicizing the hottest technology startups, enterprises, VCs, and lifestyle brands globally.

They also have a special dedicated unit called BlondeChain, that is designed to serve the PR needs of crypto companies. Blonde 2.0 has 25 employees and helps its clients such as Google, Microsoft, Viber, and many others, receive coverage in major publications, engage with consumers and influencers, and create a consistent buzz on the Web and beyond.

In 2017, Ayelet was named by Business Insider as one of the best public relations people in the tech industry.

She also has been named one of the Startup Nation’s “Movers and Shakers” on Forbes.

She is the host of Startups Around the World on the i24 News Channel, and a regular contributor at publications such as The Next Web, VentureBeat and Forbes.

Since founding Blonde 2.0, she has led successful PR activities for hundreds of companies, and has lectured on the topic in conferences around the world.


Vasco Pedro (PT)

CEO and Co Founder at Unbabel


Vasco Pedro is the co-founder and CEO of Unbabel. He has a PhD in Language Technologies from Carnegie Mellon and is passionate about creating extraordinary products with the help of talented individuals at Unbabel.

Previously he was co-founder and CEO of Bueda, co-founder of Dezine, and has served as a mentor at The Founder Institute and Beta-i, where he helps startups navigate the early stages of development, focusing on team building, technology challenges and building testable MVPs.

Vasco was also a Research Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon and an Invited Researcher and Research Assistant at the Carnegie Mellon University.


Jeff Pulver (USA)

Entrepreneur and Investor


Jeff Pulver is committed to the future of the Internet and is featured often in the media as an expert in his field. In addition to having invested in over 350 startups since 1998, Pulver organizes a conference series focusing on Twitter activities and strategy called 140 Characters Conference that is held in various locations around the world.

Considered one of the leading experts in the field of streaming audio and video technologies, Pulver has been called a pioneer in VoIP telephony.

He was profiled in 2006 by The Wall Street Journal, discussing his visions about both voice and video communications via the Internet.

Jeff is known as a globally renowned thought leader. In 1995 he coined the abbreviation ‘VON’ to stand for Voice/Video on the Net. From 1997 to 2008 he hosted/produced the VON Conferences.

His work in Washington is the reason services like: FaceTime, Messenger and Skype are free. Has influenced the creation of numerous other startups.

Friends know him as ‘the Forrest Gump’ of the communications industry.


Marjel Quekel (NL)

AI Program Director at Rockstart


Marjel is a Stanford University Ignite graduate and has studied Business Analytics, Economics and Financial Accounting at Harvard Business School (HBX).

Before joining Rockstart, she was COO of an AI-driven digital media company with €2M+ in seed funding and worked on a wine technology project, which applied machine learning to predict wine consumer interests.

In addition to that, she’s built a data-driven international consulting company for Alexandre de Rothschild (deputy chairman of Rothschild & Co.) in a COO capacity.


Helen Sildna (EE)

Founder of Tallinn Music Week


Helen Sildna, based in Estonia, has been a music promoter and events producer for 15 years. Having worked at Baltics’ biggest concert agency BDG (currently LiveNation) as an international talent booker, she established her own music promotion company Musiccase in 2008, which has promoted Morrissey, Sigur Ros, Patti Smith, Feist and Regina Spektor to mention a few.

Helen is the founder and owner of Tallinn Music Week. Having started out as a music industry conference and showcase festival in 2009, TMW has broadened its concept further into an all-encompassing city festival, covering arts, design, technology, city space and food culture, and discussing various societal issues within its talks sessions, presentations and conference panels.

In 2016 Tallinn Music Week hosted over 1,000 conference delegates and 35,000 festival visitors, around 2000 of them international guests.

She is a board member of Music Estonia, previously also a member of former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ Think Tank.

In 2014 Helen was awarded with the Tampere Music Award at Music & Media Finland’s industry gala for Exceptional Achievements in Music Business, in 2015 she was nominated the Citizen of the Year by Estonian Ministry of Culture and in 2016 Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves awarded her the Order of White Star of IV Class for her contribution to Estonian music life and civil society.

Helen is an outspoken member of the creative community, vocal on equal rights, diversity and internationalization. In 2016 she was voted the most influential woman in Estonian culture.

Photo credit: Laura Kallasvee


Tanya Soman (USA)

Venture Partner at 500 Startups


Tanya Soman is a native New Yorker and Venture Partner at 500 Startups.

She focuses on investment opportunities in the consumer space with an emphasis on retail, beauty, and fashion.

Tanya leads a beauty specialty track in 500’s Mountain View Accelerator and spends the rest of her time scouting companies globally.

Her startup experience includes operational marketing roles at AdTech startups in NYC before moving to Silicon Valley.

She holds a BS in business management from Babson College.


Alise Semjonova (LV)

Co-Founder of


Alise Semjonova is the Co-Founder and Product Designer at Infogram, a data visualization platform with a mission to create and deliver tools for people to tell and understand the stories behind data.

Infogram is used by more than two million journalists, NGO activists, marketers, and educators worldwide. On May 2017 Infogram and Prezi, the visual presentation giant, joined forces to deliver most powerful tools for visual communications.

Alise has witnessed Infogram’s growth from day one while working on continuous improvements and studying overall user reaction, which spiked interest in technology acceptance and human digital product design.

Alise has background is in Graphic Design, but after her passion had grown in digital product development, she pursued attaining her Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction.

Alise’s passion for startups, entrepreneurship, technology and digital design led to co-initiating Riga TechGirls, the first community in Latvia dedicated to educating and inspiring women about technology.

Alise has been selected by Forbes as 30 Under 30 in Europe – Media (2017).


Elizabeth Stark (USA)

Co-Founder and CEO of Lightning


Elizabeth is CEO and Co-Founder of Lightning, a company building a programmable financial layer for the internet through instant, high volume blockchain transactions.

Further, she is an advisor to, a startup building autonomous driving technology using AI and machine learning, and a fellow at Coin Center, the leading digital currency policy organization. Stark previously taught at Stanford and Yale University about the internet’s impact on society, the economy, and the law, and was a visiting fellow at Yale’s Information Society Project.

Elizabeth has worked on tech policy issues for over a decade, and played an instrumental role in the Internet freedom effort that defeated SOPA/PIPA, engaging 18 million people worldwide.

Stark was a longtime researcher at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society, covering issues such as Internet censorship, digital copyright, and privacy. She also cofounded the Open Video Alliance, which promotes innovation and free expression in online video, and has collaborated with industry leaders such as Mozilla and Google.

Stark served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Stanford’s StartX and has advised numerous companies in the blockchain and decentralized technology space.

She holds a J.D from Harvard Law School.


Raimonds Vējonis (LV)

President of Latvia



Ryan Williams (USA)

Entrepreneur in Residence at 500 Startups


Ryan Williams has been fired up about what makes B2B sales work at startups for 9 years.

Ryan’s a speaker, trainer and thought leader, but he has also personally closed tens of millions in deals and as a sales leader he’s hired over 200 reps across the 5 different startups he’s been a part of (which include: AdRoll, LeadGenius and InVisionApp).

Ryan joined 500 Startups as an EIR & Sales Coach in 2017 with the goal to help our founders go to market quickly when they are selling to other businesses.

He’s a master of testing markets, building customer profiles, coaching deals and sales hiring.

When not at 500, he is working on his own startup, SalesCollider, to bring founders together with top tier sales leaders through events and advisory.



Stage programme (Nov 27/28)
Free Workshops
Startup Expo access
Official afterparties

Early Bird discount ends October 27. After that the regular ticket price will be 149.00 € (last minute price 199.00 €)


Stage programme (Nov 27/28)
Free Workshops
Startup Expo access
Demo Booth (separate application)
Matchmaking with Investors
Pitch competitions (separate applications)
Official afterparties

Early Bird discount ends October 27. After that the regular ticket price will be 99.00 € (last minute price 119.00 €)


Stage programme (Nov 27/28)
Free Workshops
Startup Expo access
Matchmaking with Startups
Access to VIP meeting area
VIP Reception invite
Official afterparties

Early Bird discount ends October 27. After that the regular ticket price will be 299.00 € (last minute price 399.00 €)


Stage programme (Nov 27/28)
Free Workshops
Startup Expo access
Official afterparties

*Applicable to Students, Teachers, Professors, University & High School Academic staff members.

Early Bird discount ends October 27. After that the regular ticket price will be 59.00 € (last minute price 69.00 €)



Uldis Leiterts

Co-Founder and Strategy


Uldis is someone who doesn’t believe it until he’s seen it. A passionate photographer, Uldis has traveled to over 50 countries around the world, which included trekking across Iran (twice), and reaching the summit of Asia’s largest volcano the Damavand.

Uldis is an experienced and awarded entrepreneur, designer, and co-founder of distinguished startups such as, a conversational interfaces for marketing automation, and, an interactive data visualization tool. He’s mentored startups in several regions as part of the Pirate Summit and Pioneer Festival.


Dagnija Lejiņa

Co-Founder and CEO


Dagnija is a passionate communications professional with a special interest in technologies, startups and community engagement. In addition to creating the Digital Freedom Festival, she is a Co-Founder of the boutique reputation management company “Lejiņa and Šleiers”, and is a co-founder of “Riga Venture Summit” and the Latvian Startup Association.

In the past, Dagnija has led communications at the largest Nordic bank in Latvia – Nordea, also coordinating communications in Poland and the Baltic countries. She has gained experience in public affairs while serving as Press Secretary and Communications Advisor to the Latvian Foreign Minister.

Whether it’s hiking in the Himalayas or exploring the thick jungles of southeast Asia, Dagnija has never denied a challenge and aims to push herself to unknown horizons. At the same time she looks for ways that she can help others to achieve their goals by connecting people and building purpose driven communities.


Juris Šleiers

Co-Founder and Lifestyle


An experienced journalist, editor and columnist, Juris is a Co-Founder of “Riga Venture Summit”, the Latvian Startup association and Co-Founder of the NGO Nordic Reputation Hub and flagship event “ReputationTime” conference. In addition to organizing events, Juris actively attends tech conventions and never misses opportunity to dive into the after parties.

Juris was Editor in Chief at Klubs, the largest men’s lifestyle magazine in Latvia for 10 years. He has experience in premium corporate publishing as the Editor for Audi Magazine and contributed to Mercedes Benz corporate publications. Juris has been published in local lifestyle magazines such as Klubs, Santa, Pastaiga, Deko, as well as international brands: Cosmopolitan, FHM, Shape, AutoBild, SNOB, Robb Report.

Wine, cats and writing. That’s Juris, if you had to describe him in three words. Juris enjoys long-distance running, and every now and then conquers mountain summits, such as Kilimanjaro. Juris believes in balance – if you drink fine wines and eat good food, then you have to stay in shape. He’s adopted the ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude in both his personal and professional life.

If you’ll be joining us at our after-parties, you’re guaranteed to see Juris in the spotlight orchestrating all the fun.

Advisory board


Robin Wauters

Founding Editor of


Robin Wauters is a seasoned European technology journalist and Founding Editor of, the premier source of European technology news, data analysis and market intelligence. He was formerly the European Editor of The Next Web, and before that a senior editor at TechCrunch.


Ieva Ilves

Cybersecurity Policy Expert


Ieva is the First Lady of Estonia, wife of President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. She is dedicated to her work in the domain of cybersecurity at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, commuting between Riga and Tallinn.


Abdelhameed Sharara

Founder and CEO of RiseUp Summit


The RiseUp Summit is the biggest entrepreneurship summit in Egypt and the Middle East to date, with an attendance of more than 3000. The summit is known for bringing together the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt and MENA for the first time. Before founding RiseUp, Abdelhameed worked at Injaz-Egypt where he helped create the first start-ups pipeline in all Junior Achievement countries. He is also a Global Shaper, which is a network of young people under the age of 30 from all over the world who are selected by the World Economic Forum for their exceptional potential and achievements.


Bogdan Iordache

Board Manager at How to Web


Bogdan’s work is based on a simple yet powerful vision – to create a positive impact by understanding technology and human nature. He is the organiser of the How to Web Conference, the Start-up Spotlight mentoring program and start-up contest, and the MVP pre-acceleration program. He is also currently running TechHub Bucharest, the most important tech co-working space in Bucharest.


Muzaffar Khan

Founder of Alchemy Ventures


Muzaffar is the Founder of Alchemy Ventures, Lecturer at SSE Riga, Co-Founder of Startup Wise Guys Riga and author of the book ‘Racing Towards Excellence’.

He completed his BSc in Industrial and Business Economics at the LSE in 1991, received an MA in English Literature from King’s College in 1992 and his MSc in Development Studies from the LSE in 2007. In 1998, Khan joined Moore Capital Management (a 75 billion dollar hedge fund), quickly becoming the Moore Emerging Market (MEM) fund’s senior strategist. Over Khan’s five-year tenure, the team enjoyed double-digit returns every year, with assets under management growing from $250 million to $1 billion. Khan retired from Moore Capital Management in 2003, becoming the Vice Chairman of ACOPS, an international environmental charity and consultant to the Man Environmental Capital Opportunities (Man ECO) division of Man Group. The main focus of his current work is Alchemy Ventures, a social enterprise he founded in 2004. Alchemy’s mission is to increase social mobility and reduce aspirational poverty in the world’s youth. Now Khan spends majority of his time investing in startups and mentoring students for free. Khan’s mentorship philosophy and techniques are encapsulated by ‘Racing Towards Excellence’, a book he co-authored with one of his mentees, Jan Sramek.


Joanna Kirk

Co-Founder Startup Sesame


Joanna is a communications & PR strategist for international ecosystem builders, fast growth companies and startups in tech and creative industries. Currently based in Paris, she is Managing Director at StartHer, a non-profit organization that supports women in technology and entrepreneurship, and chapter lead for Techfugees France. Joanna co-founded the European Tech event programme Startup Sesame and music project Tales & Remedies. Previously in charge of communications & PR for global entertainment and tech events Midem, MIPTV, MIPCOM and LeWeb, Joanna holds an MBA in Cultural Management in Europe from Paris 8 and a BA in European Studies from Reading University.


Kayvan Nikjou

Main Guy at Challengers


Kayvan has over 12 years of international experience in event organisation, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing and relationship management. Passionate about building communities and connecting people, he is constantly finding ways how to reach people through start-ups, scale-ups, tech organisations (VC’s, governmental organisations, investors etc.) corporates, NGO’s and the media. Kayvan is the founder and CEO of (premium tech & innovation event) and one of the ambassadors of the Slush start-up conference and 4YFN, Spain’s largest start-up event. He is also a passionate Spanish guitar player and a car aficionado.


Sean Percival

Operating Partner at ‎Katapult Accelerator, ex Partner at 500 Startups


Sean is an American investor and entrepreneur from California. He has invested in over 120 startups and founded several of his own. Previously Sean was a Partner at 500 Startups, a venture fund and globally acclaimed accelerator program. He is also formerly the Founder and CEO of Wittlebee, the kids clothing club and Vice President, Online Marketing of Myspace. Sean is currently based in Oslo, Norway but spends a fair amount of time in both Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.


Alise Semjonova

Co-Founder of Infogram



Till Ohrmann

CEO and Co-Founder of Pirate Summit


Till is the Co-Founder/CEO of the Pirate Summit + the EXEC series and is very passionate about entrepreneurship. He and his team organize more than 100 events a year, some of them invitation-only, some of them public and free of charge, all of them focused on helping start-ups to succeed. He is the ambassador of Digital Economy in his home state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, and an active Global Shaper.


Tim Röhrich

Managing Director at


Tim is the Managing Director of Pioneers Festival. He has founded three companies and studied industrial/mechanical engineering and management in Germany and Austria. Tim is an entrepreneur and tech & innovation addict driven by an inexhaustible curiosity about the future. Based on his interdisciplinary education (engineering, mathematics, social science, economics and IT), he is able to model, simulate and design systems from different perspectives. During 2012-2015 Tim was not only responsible for start-ups & investors relations and products at Pioneers, but also became MD of the Pioneers Festival in 2013.


Kiran Maverick

Impact Entrepreneur


Kiran, 76 countries and 290 cities old is an Impact Entrepreneur and is on a mission to make the world a better place one piece at a time.

Passionate about building initiatives for Entrepreneurs, Women, and Young People he founded The August Fest in India which is now one of the largest Startup Festivals in Asia. August Fest turned five in 2017 and brings together fifteen thousand participants including Entrepreneurs, Creative folks and the Global Startup Ecosystems to celebrate arts and entrepreneurship every August. I Am Tomorrow is his latest initiative that discovers women role models across the world.

Kiran was also the brain behind India’s first social network during the pre-facebook era and over the last decade he launched and scaled up several tech and impact initiatives. Apart from creating brands and scaling up companies, Kiran loves to live on the edge and traveled to over 70 countries. The best way to catch up with him is while cruising through the Amazon Forest in South America or running with the Bulls in Spain.

Some of our awesome partners