Our first ever TechCrunch Europe conference for tech startups old and new, Geek ‘n Rolla, is shaping up pretty nicely, even if I do say so myself. Today I’m going to share with you the amazing profiles of just some of our speakers and panelists. And on Monday we’ll continue with even more profiles of those appearing. Geek’n Rolla is sponsored by Viadeo one of the largest professional social networks in the world, and supported by UK Trade and Investment, as well as NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts. And not only will we be having a great day of fantastic content for tech startups, we are planning the mother of all evening networking parties at one of London’s premier venues, Cafe de Paris. Get your ticket today, seriously.
So here are just some of our speakers, and I hope you like the song-titles we’ve attached to their talks. Afterall, it wouldn’t be Geek ‘n Rolla without a little Rock ‘n Roll…
Reshma Sohoni, Seedcamp
Talk: “Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Recession business models for tech startups”
Reshma runs Seedcamp on a day-to-day basis as its CEO. She joined Seedcamp from the Venture team at 3i. Prior to 3i, Reshma spent over 3 years at Vodafone in their Commercial Strategy team, working across the Europe and Japan footprints in marketing strategy and pricing functions. Reshma started her career in the US in investment banking (Broadview) and venture capital (Softbank).
Inma Martinez, Stradbroke Advisors
Talk: “The Final Countdown – Europe: The Good, the Bad and the SuperBaad”
Inma Martinez is one of the world’s leading digital media strategists, described by FORTUNE and TIME as one of Europe’s top talents in Human Factors and Social Engagement through technology. Switching a career in the financial markets at Goldman Sachs and The Institute for Infrastructure Finance, she joined Cable & Wireless in the mid-1990s to form their New Technologies Advisory, specifically focused on the Internet and IP services. Co-founder in 1999 of Escape Velocity, a 3i-funded AI software company in the early days of mobile services and selected by Lehman Brothers as one of the Top 20 Software startups to watch, her work delivering transformational technologies to clients has continued to-date. Leading other technology companies in the UK and Finland, her client work moved towards Executive Advisory and in 2006 she founded Stradbroke Advisors, a digital media and fund raising consultancy working with Venture Capital firms (3i, Index Ventures), large corporations (NOKIA Finland, Blyk, BBC, MTV Networks, HP, IBM) as well as Web 2.0 startups and film and TV production companies. She is also an Advisor to the EU Technology Commission. Working across a wide variety of projects, she considers herlself fortunate and honoured to have been directly involved in the emergence of many of today’s digital technologies (Web 2.0, Mobile, Wifi, Blogs) and to work with some of the best talents in the medium. Her work as industry advisor has also continued, being voted Best Contributor to the Formation of Digital Media Strategy at the 2001 European Leadership Forum, a Fortune 500 CEO and EU Governors summit, and being ranked in 2005 by Red Herring amongst the top 40 most influential women in technology. She speaks and writes in the media about investing in innovation, nurturing leadership, creating closer relationships between companies and their clients via digital environments and transforming “Life-As-We- Know-It” thanks to technology.
Julie Meyer, Ariadne Capital and Entrepreneur Country
Startup Pitch Judge
Julie Meyer has 20 years of investment and advisory experience, helping start-up businesses and industry standards to emerge and establish themselves. As Chief Executive of Ariadne Capital, she has overall general and financial management responsibility for the group which she founded in August 2000. Ariadne is an investment and advisory firm focused on the Software and Services, New Media, Communications and Life Services sectors. Julie is well-known for founding First Tuesday, the largest global network of entrepreneurs, which many credit for igniting the Internet generation in Europe. It was sold for $50 million in cash in and shares in July 2000. Julie has raised hundreds of millions of capital for start-ups in addition to overseeing another $150 million of seed capital found for start-ups through First Tuesday. Named a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and one of the top 30 most powerful women in Europe according to the Wall Street Journal, Julies mission is to back the best entrepreneurs in Europe with global ambitions. She was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year Award in October 2000 by Ernst & Young U.K.
Doug Richard, School for Startups
Startup Pitch Judge
Having appeared in the first and second series of Dragons’ Den, Doug is the Founder of School for Startups (www.schoolforstartups.co.uk ), Chairman and CEO of Trutap (www.trutap.net), Founder and member of the Cambridge Angels, Chairman of the Conservative Party Small Business Task Force and non-exeuctive director of AlertMe (www.alertme.com), VizWoz (www.vizwoz.com), and BeatsDigital (www.beatsdigital.com) Doug is a successful entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience in the development and leadership of technology and software ventures, both in the US and in the UK. Between 1996 and 2000 he was President and CEO of Micrografx, a US publicly quoted software company. Prior to that he also founded and subsequently sold two other companies: Visual Software and ITAL Computers. Doug holds a BA in Psychology from University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor at the school of Law, University of California at Los Angeles. In 2006 Doug was an Honorary Recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. In 2007, Doug became a fellow of the RSA.
Leisa Reichelt, User experience, Disambiguity
Talk: “Hey now, what you doing – Usability / UX / Call it what you like: What startups most often get wrong and what they should do about it’”
Leisa is a London-based freelance User Experience Consultant who works with companies large and small to gather insight from users and apply findings to design. With a background in Information Architecture she eventually decided that being user centred was more than just thinking about users whilst designing, and now incorporates design research into almost every project for a diverse portfolio of clients ranging from large scale public sector to some of the UKs most recent startups. Leisa is a regular conference speaker and blogs at Disambiguity.com and her regular soap box topics include Agile UX, Collaboration, Ambient Intimacy and Ambient Sociability, and Designing with Communities.
Andy McLoughlin, CEO Huddle
Talk: “The Masterplan – How to hire a team of peers”
Defying his mother’s advice that ‘the internet will never take off’, Andy began tinkering with the web in the mid-nineties before starting his career at Fibernet Group plc as the company’s European webmaster in 2001. In 2003 Andy helped found KnowledgeCenter, a knowledge management consultancy focused on the London insurance market. During his time at the company he provided web content and knowledge management consultancy to a number of prominent global clients including QBE, Benfield, Catlin, Arthur J Gallagher and Montpelier Re. With more than 10 years of industry experience, Andy is an expert in field of online collaboration and is heavily involved in the London start-up community. Andy holds a degree in Economics from the University of Sheffield, but has always regretted not studying something more practical like Computer Science. In his spare time he enjoys fencing and skiing (both rather badly) but excels at sitting in sunny beer gardens discussing films, music and cool stuff he recently saw online.
Ian Hogarth, Co-founder, CEO, Songkick.com
Talk: “We Don’t Need No Education – Geek Tools, A Primer”
Ian got a master’s in machine learning at Cambridge and loves dystopian robot takeover narratives. Seven years ago, Ian realized being a choirboy came with no street cred, so he started DJing hip-hop, funk, drum & bass, and grime. Ian quit his job at Bain & Company, Singapore to start Songkick.
Fred Destin, Atlas Venture
Talk: “Taxman – To VC or not to VC – That is the question”
Fred Destin joined Atlas in 2004 and is a Partner in the technology group. He focuses on software and technology-enabled services and digital media infrastructure and applications. He previously co-managed OM Technology Investments, an IP Services and FinTech focused fund backed by Allianz/Dresdner. He served on the board of a number of companies including SGI-spinoff Kasenna, Xerox PARC-spinoff Inxight, Capital IQ (acquired by S&P) and Rainfinity (acquired by EMC). Previously he was a Venture Manager with Speed Ventures, a seed stage fund backed by Permira and Soros Partners. He was also an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs and has further experience with Zurich Capital Markets and J.P. Morgan. Fred authors a widely read blog at http://www.freddestin.com, commenting on European innovation and the digital media space. He currently serves on the boards of Atlas portfolio companies Dailymotion, Inspirational Stores, KDS International, NTRglobal, PriceMinister, RealEyes3D, Seatwave, Sporever and Zoopla. He also serves on the board of Seedcamp, which provides mentoring and seed funding to European start-ups. Fred holds a Masters in Financial Engineering from the University of Brussels (Solvay). He is on the Boards of: Dailymotion, Inspirational Stores, KDS International, PriceMinister, RealEyes3D, Seatwave, Sporever, Zoopla
Joe Drumgoole, CTO and Founder at PutPlace.com
Talk: “Hey you, get off of my cloud – Launching your startup on a cloud computing infrastructure”
Joe Drumgoole is a a software industry veteran of 20 years standing who has been using Amazon’s cloud computing environment since it launched in 2006. He has a track record of technology achievement in Irish software companies including CR2, Cape Clear, LeCayla and PutPlace.com. He is a regular speaker at conferences.