It all started in 2016

The first Digital Freedom Festival in 2016 attracted 1008 new technology and startup entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors, experts, journalists and students from 25 countries and regions including India, Hong Kong, Brazil and many others, who gathered in Riga, from 27-29 November. It was a convincing start to pave the way for becoming the most influential technology festival in the region till 2018 – a ‘Technology Davos’  where to look for solutions to worldwide problems.

During the festival, the former President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves received the first Digital Freedom Award in recognition for fostering the digital freedom and raising awareness of opportunities and challenges the digital revolution can bring.

Speakers '16


Raimonds Vējonis (LV)

President of Latvia

Raimonds Vējonis


Raimonds Vējonis is the President of Latvia since 8 July 2015. Before that, he was the Minister of Defence of Latvia and the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development for almost nine years, and he was a MP of the Saeima (Latvian Parliament) as well.

Raimonds Vējonis studied at the Institute of Environmental Engineering and Water, Tampere University of Technology in Finland. He obtained a Master degree in biology in 1995.

After the elections of the 8th Saeima in 2002, career of Raimonds Vējonis continued in the position of the Minister of Environmental Protection, which he held for nine consecutive years.

Year 2014 was a turning point in career of Raimonds Vējonis, when he became the Minister of Defence of Latvia. He prioritised strengthening of Latvia’s defence capabilities within the NATO in his work. Under his leadership, implementation of long-term development plan the National Armed Forces and strengthening of cooperation with NATO partners were consistently continued.

On 8 July 2015, Raimonds Vējonis officially became the President of Latvia.

Upon appointment, Raimonds Vējonis outlined that national security would be among his major priorities. It also included international security, by stressing that Latvia should be able to protect itself together with NATO allies. Raimonds Vējonis also committed to facilitation of peaceful coexistence of all the peoples living in Latvia in order to avoid any social unrest.


Toomas Hendrik Ilves (EE)

Former President of Estonia

Toomas Hendrik Ilves


From 1993 to 1996 Toomas Hendrik Ilves served in Washington as the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America and Canada. During this time he initiated with education minister Jaak Aaviksoo the Tiger Leap initiative to computerize and connect all Estonian schools online. From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Ilves was a Member of the Estonian Parliament.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected President of the Republic of Estonia in 2006. He was re-elected for a second term in office in 2011.

During his presidency Toomas Hendrik Ilves has been appointed to serve in several high positions in the field of ICT in the European Union. He served as Chairman of the EU Task Force on eHealth from 2011 to 2012. From 2012 to 2014, at the invitation of the European Commission, he was Chairman of the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board. From 2014 to 2015 president Ilves was the co-chair of the advisory panel of World Bank’s World Development Report 2016 “Digital Dividends” and since June 2014, the chair of World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security.

His interest in computers stems from an early age – he learned to program at the age of 13, and he has been promoting Estonia’s IT-development since the country restored its independence. During recent years, president Ilves has spoken and written extensively at integration, trans-atlantic relations, e-government, cyber security and other related topics


Marvin Liao (US)

Partner at 500 Startups

Marvin Liao


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.


Stephanie Alys (UK)

Co-Founder of MysteryVibe

Stephanie Alys


Stephanie is the Co-Founder and Chief Pleasure Officer at MysteryVibe.

MysteryVibe is a British health & lifestyle brand that designs, develops and manufactures luxury pleasure products in the UK. While less than 2 years old, MV now has customers in 40+ countries and has been featured at leading conferences and in major publications including Glamour, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The Guardian, FastCompany, TechCrunch, NBC, VentureBeat, Psychologies and Evening Standard.

Ranked by top European investors as #9 of the 100 Slush start-ups in Cofounder Magazine, MysteryVibe has also been named as one of the “Top 100 Europe’s hottest early-stage Founders” by PathFounders, Europas. The company has also been listed at #7 by startups.co.uk in the “12 days of startups: Spectacular businesses set for stardom in 2016”.


Yuri van Geest (NL)

Founder of SingularityU Netherlands

Yuri van Geest


Yuri van Geest is an entrepreneur on strategy, exponential organizations, innovation, Singularity and blockchain. He works for Huawei, P&G, Vodafone Group, Adidas Global, Philips Global, Samsung, MIT and Google within his own company called Trend8.

He is the Founding CEO of Singularity UniversityNetherlands, the Dutch Ambassador and double alumnus of the exclusive Singularity University of NASA and Google HQ in Silicon Valley. Since its inception in 2008, SU has empowered individuals from more than 85 countries to apply exponentially growing technologies, such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence and neuroscience, to address humanity’s grand challenges: education, energy, environment, food, health, poverty, security, space and water. In just six years, its alumni, partners and members have generated more than 100 startups, and numerous patents and ideas to help advance this mission.


He is the author of the book Exponential Organizationstogether with Salim Ismail, Peter Diamandis and Mike Malone – the highest rated business book on Amazon. The book has been translated in 15 languages including Chinese, Japanese, English and Spanish.  He is also the Founder of Yuri Ventures.


Erka Koivunen (FI)

Cyber Security Advisor at F-Secure

Erka Koivunen


Erka is a Cyber Security Advisor at F-Secure. He specializes in studying how governments and businesses can keep their data safe and secure. For 7 years Erka was the Head of Finnish national Computer Security Incident Response Team CERT Finland (CERT-FI). He has experienced first hand both the crazy threats and crazier pressures governments face that encourage them to new demands for new laws.


Nils Ušakovs (LV)

Mayor of Riga

Nils Ušakovs


Nils Ušakovs was elected as a Chairman of Riga City Council in July, 2009, previously having experience in journalism and politics. In 2004 he was awarded the Cicero Award, established by the Latvian Association of Journalists, for his contribution to journalism.

Directly before joining Riga City Council and elected as the Chairman of the Riga City Council, Nils Ušakovs was a member to the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia since 2006. He is a leader of the social democratic  political party „Harmony”.

Since the very first days of the municiplaity`s operation, his priorities declared have been social support to residents, the construction of residental apartments, safety, urban planning and tourism development. Throughout the period of this convocation these priorities have remained unchanged.

Having started his studies in analytical economics at the EuroFaculty of the University of Latvia, Nils Ušakovs obtained a Master`s degree in economics and European Integration from Southern Denmark University in 2002.


Elizabeth Stark (USA)

Co-Founder and CEO of Lightning

Elizabeth Stark


Elizabeth Stark is an entrepreneur and advocate for the future of technology. She is CEO and Cofounder of Lightning, a company building a programmable financial layer for the internet through instant, high volume blockchain transactions. Further, she is an advisor to Comma.ai, 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.


Pēteris Zilgalvis (EU)

Head of Unit for Startups and Innovation in the Digital Single Market

Pēteris Zilgalvis


Pēteris Zilgalvis is the Head of Unit for Startups and Innovation in the Digital Single Market Directorate in DG CONNECT. He was the Visiting EU Fellow at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford for 2013-14, where is a Senior Member and Associate of the Political Economy of Financial Markets Programme. From 1997 to 2005, he was Deputy Head of the Bioethics Department of the Council of Europe, in its Directorate General of Legal Affairs.  In addition, he has held various positions in the Latvian civil service (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Environment). He was Senior Environmental Law Advisor to the World Bank/Russian Federation Environmental Management Project and was Regional Environmental Specialist for the Baltic Countries at the World Bank. A recent publication of his is “The Need for an Innovation Principle in Regulatory Impact Assessment: The Case of Finance and Innovation in Europe” in Policy & Internet.


Jānis Sārts (LV)

Director of the NATO StratCom COE

Jānis Sārts


Jānis Sārts is the Director of the NATO StratCom COE, based in Riga, Latvia. Jānis holds a bachelor degree in history from University of Latvia, but has also graduated from the NATO Defense College and interned at the Swedish Defense Research Agency. He began his career in the Ministry of Defence and was soon promoted as a director of the Defence Policy Department, where he was in charge of development and implementation of Latvia’s annual national plans for membership into NATO. As the state secretary, Sārts has led defense reforms, developed a new state defense concept, and encouraged regional defense cooperation within NATO and the EU. J.Sārts has been the Chair of National Cyber Security Board , body that is responsible for formulating and overseeing the implementation of Latvia’s cyber security policy. In Digital Freedom Festival Jānis will be joining the discussion of cybersecurity.


Kristo Käärmann (EE)

Co-founder, Executive Founder of TransferWise

Kristo Käärmann


Kristo Kaarmann is the co-founder and Executive Founder of TransferWise, the international money transfer platform.TransferWise is the least expensive and fairest way of transferring money internationally. Using peer-to-peer technology and without any hidden fees, it makes sending money abroad up to ten times cheaper compared to using a bank. TransferWise customers send £500m every month using the platform, and it’s attracted $91m from investors such as world’s largest VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, the co-founders of PayPal.

Prior to starting TransferWise, Kristo was a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He worked with European banks and insurers to modernise their processes and systems. Stunned by their inefficiency, he teamed up with Taavet Hinrikus, then Skype’s director of strategy, to develop an entirely new system for moving money across borders. At TransferWise, Kristo is in charge of operations, development, and compliance.


Ilja Laurs (LT)

Founder & Chairman at Nextury Ventures

Ilja Laurs


Ilja is a serial entrepreneur & venture investor with a track record of building nine-figure companies from scratch and multiple exits. Currently chairs Nextury Ventures and invests in multiple high-tech areas such as 3D printing, fin tech, sharing economy, mobile and smart sports.

Nextury Ventures is a Venture Capital Fund established by a prominent International Entrepreneur Ilja Laurs. Nextury Ventures invests in early stage startups and new fast growth and high potential value ideas.

Ilja was named “European Manager of the Year” by European Business Press Association, included in lists such as: “25 European Tech Leaders” by Wall Street Journal, “Top 40 People in Mobile” by Informa Telecoms and Media, “20 Brightest Business Minds” by Baltic Business Forum, “10 Start-ups That Will Change Your Life” by TIME magazine and “Technology Pioneer” by World Economic Forum. As a recognized thought leader, Ilja speaks on all major ICT conferences and is regularly quoted in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, CNBC, BBC, Bloomberg and many other news services.


Jo Bertram (UK)

Regional General Manager, Northern Europe at Uber

Jo Bertram


Jo leads Uber’s Northern Europe operations, covering UK, Ireland, Nordics, Baltics and Benelux. In three years at Uber, Jo has grown the organisation from a small London team of 3 to more than 150 people based across the region. She has overseen the launch of Uber more than 20 cities and towns beyond London, grown the existing Swedish business, and managed Uber’s entry into Ireland, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

Jo joined Uber with more than eight years of management consultancy experience, having worked for both McKinsey and Accenture. She holds an MBA from INSEAD and a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.


Dan Taylor (US)

Photographer at Heisenberg Media

Dan Taylor


Dan is a Founder and principle photographer at Heisenberg Media and Contributor at Getty Images. He specialises in dramatic event photography and has photographed almost all major tech events – Slush, TED, Pirate Summit, Pioneers Festival and TechCrunch Disrupt to name a few. His photos have been picked up by many international publications including The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Business Insider, Wired, and many others.

Dan started as a journalist who could never find the perfect photos for his articles. So he took matters in his own hands and started taking his own photos at conferences and events. Now Dan has become a tech rockstar himself having attended and doceumented the biggest tech conferences and photographed startup superstars all around the world.


Arvils Aseradens (LV)

Minister for Economics of the Republic of Latvia

Arvils Aseradens


Since February 2016, Arvils Aseradens is the Minister for Economics of the Republic of Latvia and the Deputy Prime Minister. He has been involved in the politics since 2010, when he started his political activities as a Board Member of political party “Pilsoniskā savienība” (Civil Union). Since 2011, he is a Member and a Board Member of political party “Vienotība” (Unity). Arvils Aseradens was the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Welfare.

From 1990 to 2009, he worked as the Director of the leading Latvian daily newspaper “Diena” and the Chairman of the Board of JSC “Diena”. He also was the Chairman of the Board of the leading Latvian business newspaper “Dienas bizness”. For 19 years (until 2010), he worked as a Member and the Chairman of the Board, as well as the Vice President of Latvian Press Publishers Association. Arvils Aseradens also was a Board Member of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

Aseradens has a Master’s Degree in Economic Geography from the University of Latvia. In addition, he has mastered various kinds of top-level business manager training programmes, focused on corporate strategic planning and management.In his free time, Arvils Aseradens is engaged in sailing and is a Board Member of the Yachting Union of Latvia.

In 2007, the 5th Class Order of Three Stars was awarded to Arvils Aseradens.


Ragnar Sass (EE)

Co-Founder of Pipedrive and Garage48

Ragnar Sass


Ragnar Sass is a serial startup entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Europe best b2b startup Pipedrive & nonprofit foundation Garage48. Pipedrive was voted as best private employer of Estonia in 2016. His latest project is a Clanbeat, what is HR tool, what helps manage & grow talent inside the company through 1-on-1s. Ragnar also has organized more than 50+ hack-a-thons in Eastern Europe, West and East Africa and Middle East.

He also loves to help early stage startups entrepreneurs. Besides mentoring Ragnar regularly share practicals lessons in different conferences and startup events.

He specializes in marketing, startup-events, lean startup, accelerators/incubators, funding, hiring, getting traction and more.


Tristan Pollock (US)

Venture Partner at 500 Startups

Tristan Pollock


Tristan Pollock is an Entrepreneur in Residence and Venture Partner at 500 Startups, the world’s most active seed fund and startup accelerator.

Tristan is also empowering the most creative people in the world as co-founder of Storefront. Hailed as ‘Airbnb for Retail‘ by The New York Times, Storefront is backed by leading Silicon Valley investors, hip-hop artist Nas, author Gary Vaynerchuk, and former Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter.

His last company, SocialEarth, the Huffington Post for social entrepreneurship won multiple awards for impact journalism and was acquired by 3BL Media in 2012.


Tristan has also been named to the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, exhibited his street art in a TEDx talk on creative cities, cameoed in NBC Universal’s Bazillion Dollar Club, and crafted the most read BestBuy.com email of all time reaching over 23 million customers.

A Minnesota native from a family of makers, Tristan now lives and creates in San Francisco, California.


Christoph Auer-Welsbach (NL)

Partner Innovation IBM Watson

Christoph Auer-Welsbach


Christoph is an AI expert focusing on the Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing space as the leader of IBM Watson Partner Innovation in Europe. He is also the initiator of the global applied AI community City.AI, and founder of the applied AI summits Berlin.AI and Amsterdam.AI.

He is an Advisor to startups such as Asset Mapping, Cupenya, Undeveloped, editor of the Startup Digest Amsterdam, and mentor at various startup accelerators in Europe such as Rockstart, Startup Wise Guys, Startupbootcamp, Wayra, and other technology programs.

Spent time in San Francisco @GSVlabs, London @Enitq (@Level39), and Amsterdam @Rockstart creating & running successful startup accelerators and other innovation programs (education/training, incubation, technology initiatives, ideathons/hackathons, demo days) in areas like communication & collaboration technologies, crypto currencies, data analytics, e-commerce, IoT/smart city solutions, machine learning, marketplaces, wearables, SaaS, often in partnerships with Global 1000 corporations and leading venture firms. Christoph has been advising startups on going-to-market, have been founding team member of the NFC-based loyalty & payment system SPOONITY, co-founder of the interactive investment platform INISMO, and investment manager of an Austrian private family office focusing on late stage technology & industrial companies.


Tal Catran (IL)

Accelerators Guru & Seasoned Startups Builder

Tal Catran


Tal Catran is an Accelerators Guru & Seasoned Start-Ups Builder, Startup Nation & TEDx Speaker and motivator. For years Tal has explored and mastered first hand entrepreneurship, marketing, business development and mostly about the people that excel in delivering them. Through this process he has become a renowned expert on motivating and inspiring entrepreneurs to face reality head-on and fulfil their potential to the fullest .

Tal founded 7 accelerators, while mentoring many others, including some in Baltic & Nordic states, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania as well as in India and Russia. Tal was a speaker on Techchill 2016 in Latvia, Login 2016 in Lithuania, Start TLV 2016 in Finland & Estonia.


Nina Martin (DE)

Co-Founder of Bazaar

Nina Martin


With a background in Digital Film, New Media and Design Management Nina employs creative methods to support start ups and NGOs alike in the fields of team management, conceptualisation, user experience, social impact metrics and prototyping pilots. Her experience comes from leading, documenting and consulting on projects empowering marginal groups of society in Finland, Lebanon, Germany, Mexico and South Africa among others.As a certified EU fundraiser she now supports organisations looking to further develop their innovative potential in both research and implementation phases through cross-country and interdisciplinary collaboration.Nina has lived in various countries and cultures and acquired an international network of clients, supporters and project partners alike.Challenge Nina, the self-proclaimed ping-pong queen, for a duel to get a free consultation!


Bernard Huang (US)

Distribution hacker at 500 Startups

Bernard Huang


Bernard is a data driven entrepreneur, who helps startups with growth and marketing. Bernard is a Partner at Mushi Labs, a San-Francisco based SEO company that designs, implements, and tracks SEO strategies that produce organic traffic for large websites. Their past clients include high growth startups like Teespring, DoorDash, Flexport, Compass, HealthSherpa, UpCounsel and more.Bernard is also a Distribution Hacker-in-Residence at 500 Startups, where he puts in practice his own entrepreneurial experience and wisdom and a certified yoga instructor. In the past, he co-owned a Dickey’s BBQ Pit restaurant, founded several companies (Food by People, Mosec, CTTY Restaurant Holdings LLC), and was a professional poker player. Bernard holds multiple awards and honors from around the world in engineering and science sector. https://youtu.be/lfZvZYrvMh


Louna Sbou (DE)

Startup Coach, EU-Fundraiser

Louna Sbou


As a serial entrepreneur herself she does not only understand the start up world but has also gathered in-depth knowledge of all phases from ideation through launching and exit strategies.She is a certified EU Fundraiser and focuses on identifying funding programmes for start ups from all industries, beginning in the pre-launch phases.

Apart from consulting, her own businesses focused on event management and artist booking in Germany and the Middle East, where she lived and worked for five years and built up a vast network of business partners. Her background in economic law also allows her to easily understand legal opportunities and constraints any organisation might face. Want a trial session? You might get it if you manage to beat Louna in chess!


Mike Reiner (NL)

VCl business development at Amazon Web Services

Mike Reiner


Mike works with venture capital firms and startups across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to identify high potential startup companies in order to grow our AWS services, or to identify potential partnership, M&A and investment opportunities at Amazon Web Services currently.Mike has co-founded the StartUpWiseGuys and CCC StartUps, through his carrer he has been an advisor for different IT startup companies and mentor for startup networks in Europe such as: Techstars, Startup Bootcamp, IBM SmartCamp, Tehnopol Startup Incubator, European Innovation Academy, BEL.BIZ Belarus, YES Foundation, Estonian National Startup Competition Ajujaht, Summer of Startups, Startup Garage, GameFounders Accelerator, Etohum, Startup Highway Accelerator.https://youtu.be/h7CKz4sTmwM


Juris Gulbis (LV)

CEO of Lattelecom

Juris Gulbis


Juris Gulbis is the Chairman of Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lattelecom (the largest ICT provider in Latvia).He was appointed to the Board of Lattelecom on January 1, 2007, when he joined the company as Chief Financial Officer.  Juris Gulbis began his career in 1994 as a junior accountant at Coopers & Lybrand in Riga, Latvia and continued in London UK, where he obtained qualification of certified accountant. On return to Latvia he held several finance and management positions in various FMCG companies.

His first important executive appointment was in 2001 as a Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the largest bottler and distributor of alcoholic beverages in the Baltic States – Latvijas Balzams. After that, Gulbis served as executive director of the S.P.I. Group SA, a producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages headquartered in Switzerland and Cyprus. Gulbis holds degrees in Civil Engineering (Road, Bridge and Airport design and construction) and Production logistics management from the Riga Technical University.

He has attended Advanced Executive Management Program at INSEAD in France and Singapore.Gulbis is a member of Council of Employers’ Confederation of Latvia. He is also a board member of Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association. He also serves as a member of Advisory Panel of Riga Technical University and Riga Banking School. He is also a member of the National Economic Council and the Chairman of the Competitiveness Committee


Kerli Gabriloviča (LV)

Member of Management Board at Lattelecom

Kerli Gabriloviča


Kerli is a Member of Management Board and Chief Development and marketing officer at Lattelecom.Kerli joined Lattelecom in 2004. She was Marketing and Brand Manager as well as Director of Customer Services and Retail. Previously she has been Head of Marketing Department in a/s Rīgas Miesnieks, as well as Management Consultant in Ernst&Young Baltic and Regional Representative in Hoiubank Investments. K.Gabriloviča has specialised in business administration and economics at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. She holds a MSc degree in business administration and economics specialising in Product Management and CRM from Karlstad Universitet (Karlstad, Sweden).In summer of 2013, Kerli has received two Global Executive MBA degrees awarded by LondonBusinessSchool and ColumbiaBusinessSchool.


Rune Theill (NL)

CEO and co-founder of Rockstart

Rune Theill



Rune Theill is an entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of Rockstart – a global startup machine providing resources and programs to develop and empower entrepreneurs.

Through Rockstart’s Accelerators, Impact Programs and Rockstart Answers, Rockstart is reaching entrepreneurs throughout the world including Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.As an active investor and supporter of startups Rockstart won the Dutch Startup Award as the “Best Investor” in 2012 and 2013.Rune serves as an advisor to many Startups, such as 3D Hubs, Crowdyhouse, CoffeeStrap, Bomberbot and NuGames Studios Sweden AB. He is also a board member at coding and app buliding startup Codeplace and a jury member at Venture Cup.His skills include design thinking, lean methodologies, business development fundraising, go-to-market strategies and team leadership.


Anna Andersone (LV)

Founder of The Mill and FROONT

Anna Andersone


Anna Andersone started off her career in the advertising agency McCann-Erickson Riga after graduating Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. In 2008 she started a graphic design studio HungryLab and together with Sandijs they co-founded a website engine berta.me that became a successful web builder internationally. In 2012, the web design market had changed and partners decided to found FROONT, a web design tool for professional designers, to ease the process of communication between designers and developers and website building.FROONT went through acceleration in Startup Sauna, pitched twice on SLUSH and was one of the top 4 finalists pitching on the big stage in 2013. FROONT raised 3 rounds of investment and is currently a global company with most users in the US. Anna is TechHub Riga board member since 2013. In 2014 Anna founded and ran THE MILL – co-working space for designers and developers in the heart of Riga – and in 2015 Anna initiated and is part of the core team at Riga TechGirls – an NGO focusing on inspiring and educating girls and women in the tech field. Anna is devoting a significant amount of time and energy to sharing her experience and mentoring, she is guest lecturing at SSE Riga, active member of the Mentor Club and talking on her experience on multiple seminars, workshops and events for new business creators and students.


Līga Letiņa (LV)

UX Lead & Researcher, Service & Product designer

Līga Letiņa


Līga Letiņa is one of the few (and the most experienced) User Experience professionals in Latvia, UX Riga conference founder and curator.

For last 5 years she has been building digital products and solutions, based on extensive user research, for market leaders in FinTech (insurance & banking & fin-tech startups), telco as well as for government institutions as a consultant as well as in inhouse.

As a local User Experience design evangelist Liga loves to spread the idea of the great added value and business benefit user experience design approach gives to any product or business. Currently Liga is exploring service experience design and digital product design as she believes UX is an umbrella mindset for a product design / strategy and design&dev teams not a single title or responsibility.


Sartaj Anand (IN)

Founder of Egomonk, Ambassador at TED

Sartaj Anand


Sartaj is a Parallel Entrepreneur with a life-long dream to create a positive impact on 1 billion human lives. Some of the networks he is involved in include TED, Ashoka, Sandbox, Social Good, UN Foundation, Kairos Society, Pearson Foundation, SIETAR, etc. So far he has traveled, worked and co-created in more than 40 countries spread over 4 continents, and now is focusing on creating life changing experiences through providing authentic thought leadership and driving empathic conversations.Egomonk is a boutique consultancy operating in the verticals of Innovation, Strategy, Digital Media and Intercultural Relations. They use a combination of “moonshot” techniques such as Gamification, Activated Marketing, Six Sigma, Lean & Agile Development,Empathic Insight. and  own models to help their clients grow a 100x in terms of revenue, net margin, impact footprint, volume.


Eric Baczuk (CA)

Founding member of SideWalk Labs

Eric Baczuk


As a founding member of Alphabet’s urban innovation company, Sidewalk Labs, Eric’s work explores the relationship between digital technologies and building-scale fabrication.

Through computer simulation and physical prototypes, his work posits radically alternative materials and methods for shaping the built environment. He believes that rethinking construction practices is fundamental to unlocking systemic shifts in urban material and energy use.

A former product designer at Google, Interaction Designer at Frog, and Research Fellow at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, Eric’s work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and SXSW, and featured in the Atlantic, BBC, Wired, Vogue, and Domus magazine. Originally trained as an architect, Eric received a Masters degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor degree in Environmental Science.


Mark White (US)

Founding partner of White Summers Caffee & James LLP

Mark White


Mark White is a founding partner of White Summers Caffee & James LLP (formerly White & Lee), and leads the firm’s international practice.

Mark represents emerging growth, mid-stage and mezzanine stage companies and investment funds on all matters relating to the formation, financing, growth and liquidity of technology-based enterprises. Over the span of 20 years Mark has represented companies in well over 500+ financings and over 200+ acquisitions.

He represents and advises companies on a wide variety of transactional matters, including business and legal issues as they pertain to complex strategic and venture financings, acquisitions, and licensing and distribution arrangements. Mark’s practice principally covers corporate, technology, financing and corporate partnering matters for a wide variety of private and public company clients. He regularly advises companies on strategic positioning, business model and revenue generation issues, the preparation of investment materials and presentations, and the structure of complex corporate reorganizations, joint ventures, divestitures, consolidations and commercial partnerships.

Mark also represents investment funds on formation issues and regularly represents investors in making portfolio investments.Mark is a founder and a Managing Director of Wampumm LLC– which is a business consulting affiliate of White Summers.

He has written numerous papers on matters affecting pre-public companies and investors and has spoken on these topics in seminars and conferences organized by IE Business School (Madrid), Technologico de Monterrey (Mexico), Spain Tech Center, the SV Forum, the Northern California Association of Harvard Business School, the International Angels Institute, the Asian Business Association, the EDA Consortium and other groups. Mark has also spoken on these topics in Spain, Hungary, Mexico, Singapore, the People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, Australia, and Canada.

Mark is also regularly invited to be a judge in technology company competitions globally and in the United States.Mark started his legal career as an attorney in the Silicon Valley offices of Cooley Godward and Fenwick & West. Prior to his legal career, Mark founded and worked as the Managing Director of the International Trade division of the Harper Group, a Fortune 500 company – and was the founder and Int’l President of Campamericana, a global travel operator based in Brussels, Belgium.

Mark is an avid golfer, runner and oarsman….and an aspiring fly fisherman.


Anna Lithagen (SE)

Founder and CEO of Talent Tribe

Anna Lithagen


Anna Lithagen is the Founder and CEO of Talent Tribe – an international community and growing circle of influencers in the business of convening, connecting and catalyzing exceptional global talent, trailblazers, change makers and leaders.

Mrs. Lithagen is a member of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s ‘International Council on Women’s Business Leadership’ (ICWBL), as a subject matter expert on entrepreneurship and leadership.

Anna Lithagen has a background in international relations from the U.S. State Department, the Swedish Ministry for Enterprise, Energy and Communications, as well as government agencies promoting leadership and entrepreneurship, and global corporations and organizations.

Anna serves as an advisor, acting as a liaison and catalyst to change maker youth, business and the public sector. She is a member of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee, with the Swedish Government Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investigation.

She is also the Co-Founder of the global ‘Women Leaders Up’ program. Anna is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and -together with the tribe- an avid adventure seeker, digital nomad, constant admirer and frequent explorer of the globe, being creative from wherever we set up camp, calling many places home.


Mikus Opelts (LV)

Founder of Giraffe360

Mikus Opelts



Mikus is the Founder of companies Giraffe360, and skatskat.lv, which both develop and deliver worlds best virtual tour technologies.For the last 5 years Mikus has been building products and businesses that provide remote immersive experience, from content tools as 360 virtual tours, 3D visuals and presentation tools like large scale interactive surfaces, now stepping in one of this decade’s most promising technology Virtual Reality to set standards in the first fully immersive multimedia technology.


Marcelo Garcia (BR)

Strategy Execution Consultant

Marcelo Garcia


Marcelo Garcia has a distinguished career of more than twenty years in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) industry – from being a member of the core team which helped build one of the largest TV studios in the world back in 1995 to participating in several pioneering Digital TV and Broadband deployments worldwide.

Currently he works as a Strategy Execution Consultant in the areas of Smart Cities and Telecom; sought after by corporations and governments to ensure the successful and timely delivery of critical projects. Leveraging that strong base he began focusing on the Technological Transformation of Cities, associated with the United Nations as a Smart Cities Expert of the UNECE International PPP Centre of Excellence – established in partnership with the IESE Business School of Barcelona.

Marcelo’s family has been closely involved in the TMT sector for almost a century – starting with his grandfather, who was a Wireless Telegraphist with the Brazilian Navy in the 1920’s, built the first news radio station in the country in the 1930’s and remained its Technical Director until his retirement. That tradition continued with Marcelo’s father, who was an Analogue TV pioneer and owner of a broadcasting equipment company in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970’s.

Marcelo’s latest and by far most ambitious endeavour is an homage to this family TMT tradition: he wants to leverage his professional background and extensive global network to bring affordable WiFi access to the “Last Billion” – the most vulnerable people in the world when it comes to Digital Divide connectivity gaps.This group is mainly comprised of individuals living in poorly connected communities such as native tribes, refugee camps and in many of the 92 member countries of the OHRLLS UN agency – which encompasses the Least Developed, Landlocked Developing and Small Island Developing Nations.

Having visited 115 countries so far and lived in ten of those, Marcelo was fortunate to learn nine languages along the way with varying degrees of fluency and consequently being in a position to connect at a deeper level with their native speakers through a better understanding of their unique cultural heritage.Marcelo is a frequent public speaker and moderator on topics related to Smart Cities and the use of ICT for development and humanitarian purposes.

He is always delighted to connect with like-minded souls in person or remotely via his LinkedIn profile.https://youtu.be/9fU7qE3ky0E


Aija Perta (LV)

Co-Founder and Partner at RubyLight

Aija Perta



Aija is an internet entrepreneur, investor and financial advisor. She leads finance, operations and relationship management at Rubylight. Aija is very much involved in liaisons with portfolio startups, provides significant input in structuring and finalizing the deals and follow-up rounds.


Andrey Ivashin (LV)

Co-founder and Partner at RubyLight

Andrey Ivashin



Andrey is an internet entrepreneur, investor and technical advisor. At Rubylight he leads all technical and infrastructure operations. He and his team are focused on developing and building high performance solutions for fast growing mobile and internet startups.


Helmuts Bems (LV)

Co-Founder/CEO of Sonarworks

Helmuts Bems


Helmuts is very passionate about music and has for a long time been geeky about sound quality. Playing music instruments and various sound quality experiments is a hobby for him.

This passion lead him to co-found Sonarworks, a music technology startup changing how music is produced and listened by eliminating sound distortion in speakers and headphones.

The company is now pioneering the first authentic music standard that enables music being experienced exactly as recorded in studio irrespective of the playback device used. Sonarworks uses software to make all headphones sound great.

The company has already become a global leader in professional sound calibration products. Over 6000 recording studios are using the technology, including world’s top grammy winning engineers and producers. Recently Sonarworks technology was used for 2016 Rio Olympic games.Helmuts founded his first company while still being a student.

He sold that company 4 years later and is currently CEO of Sonarworks, one of the most successful Latvia based startups. Helmuts is a very diverse personality with passion for mountaineering, kiteboarding, yoga and music.

Before founding Sonarworks Helmuts joined ZGI, one of the first venture capital funds Riga.


Kristjan Laanemaa (EE)

Founding Partner at Karma Ventures

Kristjan Laanemaa



Kristjan is a founding partner at Karma Ventures – an early-stage venture capital firm, specialised in late seed and A round investments in Europe’s most promising tech startups.

He is also actively contributing to early stage companies ecosystem by mentoring teams in accelerator and incubator programs.

In his past career Kristjan worked as an investment manager of a global early stage technology investment portfolio at Ambient Sound Investments – an investment company founded by the founding engineers of Skype.

He is still involved with a few companies left in Ambient Sound Investments portfolio.


Manuel Koelman (DE)

Chairman at EXEC & Pirate Summit

Manuel Koelman


Manuel is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and chairman of Pirate.global. He is building companies since more than 14 years and has experienced the entrepreneurial rollercoaster first-hand.

Pirate.global connects the startup ecosystem and organizes e.g. the Pirate Summit, the “craziest startup conference in Europe”.

It is known for its curated, authentic and somewhat unusual startup events and parties. In 2016 Pirate.global organized more than 80 events globally with more than 10.000 attendees.

Because of his vast startup experience Manuel is a sought-after advisor to corporates. He helps them understand technological disruption and startup dna and supports them in preparing for digital transformation.Manuel also invests as an angel investor in startups. His main investment focus is in tech-focused very early stage companies in the AI space.


Espree Devora (US)

Producer & Host of WeAreLATech podcast & "Hello Customer"

Espree Devora


Moderator Espree Devora known as “the Girl who Gets it Done” is the Producer and Host of WeAreLATech podcast and “Hello Customer”.

Both hit top 5 on iTunes New & Noteworthy across all categories. She is currently producing the #womenintech Podcast. WeAreLATech (wearelatech.com) unites the LA tech community via the podcast, a calendar of all tech events happening in the city and an offline ‘Experience’ Club.

The Club provides people working in tech curated activities to step away from the computer like horseback riding, escape rooms, food tours, movie screenings, clay pigeon shooting, archery and more.

She has given talks on entrepreneurship to many organizations including USC Business School, CBS, South by Southwest and Georgetown MBA.


Borys Musielak (PL)

Co-Founder at Startup Poland & ReaktorWarsaw

Borys Musielak


Borys co-founded Filmaster, a personalization service acquired in 2015 by Samba TV where he is currently building the European branch.He also runs ReaktorWarsaw, a hub for startups to work, collaborate and network, and co-founded Startup Poland, a foundation that became a voice of Polish startups.

Prior to founding his own projects, Borys worked as a consultant, programmer and team lead for both for startups and large corporations in Poland (empolis, eo Networks), Germany (CoCoNet) and United Kingdom (Rule Financial, Deutsche Bank).

He graduated with distinction at Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology with a degree in software engineering.Listed as one of 50 most creative Polish entrepreneurs by BRIEF.

Mentor at Founder Institute Warsaw. Film buff. Chicago Bulls fanboy. Blogs at borys.musielak.eu, tweets as @michuk.


Jānis Kiršteins (LV)

Co-Founder of Notakey

Jānis Kiršteins


Jānis is the co-founder of Notakey – a security startup providing 2-factor authentication and identity management solutions to enterprises.

Currently Notakey is working with many different companies in 5 countries, including such known brands as Credit Suisse.

Before starting Notakey, Jānis was a senior software engineer at Autentica, working on Latvian digital signature infrastructure projects for the Latvian Radio and Television Center.

He has worked on the Latvian remote signing solution www.eparaksts.lv, as well as the Latvian eID card issuing infrastructure, and the original e-ME digital signature initiative led by Latvian Post.


Oliver Bramwell (LV)

Chief Executive Officer at JSC NORVIK BANKA

Oliver Bramwell


Oliver Ronald Bramwell has considerable experience in the banking sector, financial management, credit risk control and lending area.

Previously, Oliver Ronald Bramwell held executive posts in a number of banks in the United Kingdom and Russia, in particular, Barclays Bank and Citibank.

Prior to joining the Norvik Banka’s team Mr. Bramwell acted as Managing Director of the Russian Vyatka Bank (Вятка-банк). His duties included risk management, management of strategic IT projects and development of financial projects.

Oliver has earned Master’s Degree in Mathematics at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. In 2012 Oliver obtained the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) qualification.

From December 2013 – Chairman of the Board at Norvik Banka.


Carman Chan (HK)

Founder and Managing Partner of Click Ventures

Carman Chan


Carman Chan started her entrepreneurship endeavor when she was in University.

After obtaining her Master degree in Probabilities and Statistics, she was offered a PhD in Financial Mathematics from Imperial College and sponsored by a European company.

In order to pursue her passion for internet, she gave up the offer and becomea serial internet entrepreneur for more than twenty years.

On top, she is a best-selling book author for several accelerated learning books. Being a columnist in IT magazines for eight years, her focus will be on internet business model, online marketing and mobile application.

Carman’s first internet venture, Englishstreet.comwas adopted as a business case and stored in Harvard Business Review database. Englishstreet waslater been acquired by Hong Kong Economic Times, a listed media group in Hong Kong.

By 2008, she foundedClick Limitedin China. Click launched a few projects which waslater merged withHiiir, the leading mobile marketing solution provider in Taiwan, which was thenacquired by Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET).

Through these exposures, Carman gained extensive exposure and network in global internet market.Leveraging the above experiences,Carman become a angel investor in 2013 and later founded her venture capital firm, Click Ventures.

Click Ventures focus ontechnology startup from seed stage to later stages. Click Ventureprovides both funding and mentorship to share the pain and gain through her twenty years of technology entrepreneurship experience.

The current portfolio includes Spotify.com, Palantir.com,Wefunder.com, Testlio, Eventxtra.com… In light of her experiences in the said line of business she has been invites as a speaker or member of panel in a couple of prestigious events. To name some are Web Summit in Dublin,Visionaries Connected- Entrepreneurship Conference, AVCJ China Forum: Roundtable in Beijing and Silicon Dragon in Taiwan, Silicon Dragon Hong Kong, HK Launchpad, Female Entrepreneur, 121 Tech Investment Hong Kong, HKTDC Entrepreneur Day, InnoVEX @ COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2016, Latitude59 -Estonia panel discussion, Arctic 15 speaker- main event (Finland), Angelfest Speaker (Montreal) and Sogal- HER STARTUP GLOBAL FINALS VENTURE CAPITALIST JUDGES (San Francisco).


Pauls Raudseps (LV)

Editor of IR, IR Nauda

Pauls Raudseps


Pauls Raudseps is a Latvian journalist and Editor at IR, IR Nauda.

Pauls will be the moderator of DFF Forum: The Future od Collaborative Economy.


Filomena Chirico (BE)

Member of Cabinet at European Commission

Filomena Chirico


Filomena is a Member of the Cabinet of Commission’s Vice President Jyrki Katainen

Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

She will join the DFF Forum “The Future of Collaborative economy”.


Anke Schmidt-Felzmann (DE)

Researcher at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs

Anke Schmidt-Felzmann


Anke Schmidt-Felzmann is a Researcher at the Swedish Institute of

International Affairs in Stockholm. Her research is concerned with security challenges in the Baltic-Sea region and the range of issues arising in the European countries’ relations with Russia.

In recent years, Anke Schmidt-Felzmann has developed a keen interest in security threats and political challenges in cyberspace and measures to increase societal resilience and the robustness of the state as an intrinsic part of the national defence developments in the EU and NATO frameworks.

She is also part of a team following the implementation of Sweden’s “total defence” (totalförsvar) concept Totalforsvar. Her most recent work and publications focus on strategic energy and information infrastructure protection and the Russian state’s public (dis)information operations directed at the countries of Northern Europe.


Enn Metsar (EE)

General Manager at Uber

Enn Metsar


Enn Metsar is a US educated executive with extensive prior experience in investment management and business development.

He has over ten years of experience in managing equity funds, technology driven venture capital, management consulting, trading, business development, sales and investor relations from both sides of the Atlantic. Enn holds an MSc degree from Carnegie Mellon University.


Alex Petrov

CIO at Bitfury.com

Alex Petrov


Alex is Bitfury is lthe CIO at Bitfury.com – the leading full service Blockchain technology company.

Alex has 30+ year experience in IT as a System Analyst, optimization expert, Business stack auditor,  IT Security expert,  IT trainer, Network & communications security expert, crisis manager, risk manager, Fin-tech specialist, block-chain expert and analyst.


Tam Le (US)

Chatbots expert

Tam Le


Tam has 8+ years of ad measurement, marketing budget and planning support in various roles: ad agency, analytics vendor, data modeler, and in-house customer;

She is specialized in marketing mix models, media effectiveness (both online and offline channels), and multi-touch attribution and is comfortable presenting to upper management and supervising analysts.

She is also a contributor to Chatbots Magazine.


Krists Avots (Latvia)

Director of Business Development at Lattelecom

Krists Avots


Director of Business Development; at Lattelecom Krists is working to bring new IoT services to the market as well as exploring synergies between telcos and startups. He is an active startup community member as an organizer, facilitator and mentor at Garage48 hackathons, various bootcamps and accelerator programs.