20 Jan 2017   |   News

Investors and entrepreneurs form EU’s new innovation advisory body

The European Commission announced the names of 15 well-known business people who will form a new High Level Group of Innovators to advise on innovation policy. This is the list.

EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas today announced a star line-up of investors and entrepreneurs to advise him on the new European Innovation Council. 

The panel includes:

Nicklas Bergman, entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Quid Tu Vides and Intergalactic Industries, co-founder of Nirab Parts 

Bergman is a Swedish entrepreneur and technology investor, participating in 15 companies in web services, nanotechnology, computing, new materials, and new media art. Apart from his businesses, he is a popular speaker and has published several books on the future of technology. He is also strategic advisor to the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture and Sport Tibor Navracsics and to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology on issues related to science, innovation and the commercialisation of technology. 

Martin Bruncko, founder and managing partner of Steam Capital

Bruncko is a Slovak technology entrepreneur, investor, and former public policy leader. He’s the founder and managing partner of Steam Capital, a venture fund that invests in transformational, deep tech companies in Europe. He is chief strategy officer of AeroMobil, a company that sells a ‘flying car’, which claims to transform in seconds from a car to a plane. Previously, he was the head of Europe for the World Economic Forum and held several senior positions in the government of Slovakia.

Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of Web Summit and f.ounders

Cosgrave set up Web Summit, the biggest Internet conference in Europe, in 2009. Last year it hosted more than 50,000 participants in Lisbon – its first time out of Dublin, which it quit partly because there weren’t enough hotel rooms at the right prices. He also created f.ounders, an annual private gathering of 200 CEOs of the world's leading technology companies which happens alongside Web Summit, described by Bloomberg as "Davos for Geeks".

Gráinne Dwyer, CEO of Ludgate Hub 

Dwyer is a 26-years-old entrepreneur. She started Ludgate Hub, a co-working space with one of the fastest internet connections in Ireland. It is located in Skibbereen, a small village in a rural coastal area of the country. Ludgate Hub seeks to be an example of how to help less populated areas compete with cities in a connected world. She is also the CEO of the Irish National Digital Week, a conference which explores opportunities for digital in rural areas. Its second edition attracted 1,600 digital entrepreneurs and other geeks to Skibbereen last November.

Hermann Maria Hauser, entrepreneur, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners

Hauser co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners in 1997, a company that claims to have supported more than 90 young firms in its nearly 20 years of life. His first company, Acorn Computer, was in the 1980s the biggest European competitor to a then-young Apple Computer, but eventually failed. He went on to co-found ARM Holdings, the world’s biggest designer of microchips for smartphones, which was purchased last year for £24 billion by Japan’s Softbank. His other successes, through Amadeus, include CSR, a wireless connectivity company that was acquired by giant Qualcomm in 2015 for €2.15 billion; Solexa, a DNA-analytics firm, sold for €460 million in 2006; and Icera, a company that built phone processors, bought by Nvidia for €260 million in 2011. (NB: Hauser is a shareholder of Science|Business.)

Marjolein Helder, founder and CEO of Plant-e

In 2012, Helder established Plant-e, a company that generates electricity from living plants. She holds a PhD in environmental technology, which she combines with a minor in business management to run her five-person firm in Wageningen, southern Netherlands. She claims algae could be the next energy revolution.

Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder and CEO of TransferWise

Along with his colleague Kristo Käärman, Hinrikus started a war against hidden costs on international money transfers. To do so, in 2011 these Estonians created TransferWise, an app for sending money using its “real exchange rate”. Today, they employ more than 600 in their headquarters in London and process more than €690 million euro every month, according to Bloomberg. Hinrikus is also well known for having been the first employee of Skype in 2003. 

Ingmar Hoerr, co-founder and CEO of CureVac

Hoerr started CureVac in 2000, after he discovered a new way of administering RNA-based vaccines, together with his colleagues Florian von der Muelbe and Steve Pascolo, during his PhD studies. Today, this German company employs around 290 and has raised €350 million in equity; investors include the Bill & Belinda Gates Foundation. 

Bindi Karia, start-up expert and advisor

Karia is known among UK geeks as “queen of the startups”. She started at Microsoft, but has since then seen the venture capital market from all perspectives: she was an employee in a startup herself, worked for a consultancy and had roles as a startup banker, connector and advisor.

Jana Kolar, CEO of CERIC-ERIC and governing board member of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology 

Kolar is the executive director of CERIC-ERIC, a distributed research infrastructure for characterisation of materials, located in seven Central and East European countries. She advises the Austrian science minister and is a member of another Commission advisory group on innovation in SMEs. In 2004, she founded her own company, Morana ltd, a firm that develops applications for material identification. Previously, she held technology policy positions in the Slovenian government. 

Carlos Oliveira, entrepreneur, founder of Skyuber, CEO of ebankIT, NED of ASAP54, Codevision, CardMobili, PepFeed, President of InvestBraga and Startup Braga

Oliveira established Skyuber, an app that allows you to find empty seats in private planes. Skyuber connects pilots and passengers, who share the costs of the trip. There is no connection to the taxi-hailing Uber app, despite its similar-sounding name and business model. He is also the CEO of ebankIT, a software firm providing banking software. And he created InvestBraga, an agency to attract investments and promote entrepreneurship in his Portuguese homeland. 

Jim Hagemann Snabe, Board of Trustees member, World Economic Forum, and adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School

Snabe will bring in-depth knowledge of high-level management to the panel. He sits on the board of the World Economic Forum, as well as at some of the biggest firms in Europe: the world-leading maritime cargo Maersk, software developer SAP, insurance company Allianz and tech companies Siemens and Bang & Olufsen. He is also the only (part) academic in the group, as an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School.

Kinga Stanisławska, managing partner and founder of Experior Venture Fund

Stanisławska has worked in startup finance for more than fifteen years. She is responsible for the Experior Venture Fund’s operations, including deal sourcing, mentoring and supervision of exits from investments and obtaining debt financing for her portfolio companies. She is also a member of the management board of the Polish Private Equity and Venture Capital association.

Constantijn Van Oranje-Nassau, special envoy of StartupDelta

Besides being prince of the Netherlands, he is enthusiastic for the startup environment. He leads StartupDelta, an entity that supports the Dutch startup ecosystem. He also established Startup Fest Europe, a week-long event gathering companies, investors and entrepreneurs in Amsterdam. He is currently an advisor on digital technologies to the European Commission, where he has held several roles, including head of cabinet of former Digital Agenda EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes. He is the younger brother of the current Dutch king.

Roxanne Varza, CEO of StationF

Varza is one of the youngest names on the list at 31, a co-founder of tech.eu online news site and head of StationF, an incubator in Paris with the ambition of becoming the biggest in the world when it opens this year. Previously she worked for Microsoft Ventures in France as ‘startup lover’ (as she defines her position there). 

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