Connect and learn with top-tier entrepreneurs, artists, and scientists at a beautiful location. Experience inspirational storytelling, interactive panels, knowshops, pillowtalks, art installations, live music, and so much more...
Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson is the Founder of RaceYa, an educational technology company that uses programmable radio-controlled cars to excite kids about the power of iteration, experimentation and persistence to achieve their goals. Starting with a race-able science kit and expanding out into an immersive universe of customization, STEM education and collaboration, RaceYa is building a community of fearless kids.
Abigail has a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University where her work centered on pregnancy, drug use and prisons. An expert in communication and human behavior, with more than 10 years of commercial and academic experience of large-scale research projects, she founded RaceYa to teach kids how to turn failure into productive, creative problem-solving. In her spare time, she is a confectionery roboticist making moving, blinking and occasionally exploding cakes.
Alessio studied Business/Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen and San Diego State University. After studying in the US, he dropped out of university to start tellM, an app that provided an anonymous newsfeed for friends. With two fellow students and one lecturer they founded a company and launched the app at various Universities in California. After tellM failed to gain sustainable traction and a following split of the founding team, Alessio eventually hired a new team and iterated tellM into the now known Jodel.
Alessio, now as a single-founder, was responsible for product/tech, marketing, community, financing, and HR in the early days of the company. Being a product guy, he nowadays keeps his focus on product, strategy&vision and HR.
We are over the moon to welcome Alex to the TOA Festival stage this year. As the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at SoundCloud, Alex is an integral part of the Berlin startup ecosystem, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him join us this year. With the recent launch of SoundCloud’s mid-priced subscription plan, SoundCloud Go, and with his finger on the pulse of the music streaming category, Alex is sure to share some serious insights into the startup scene plus give the lowdown on the future of the industry. Welcome to TOA, Alex!
Anne Kjær Riechert is CEO and co-founder ReDI School of Digital Integration. She is a 2006 graduate from KaosPilot in Denmark, a hybrid of a business and a design school. From 2006-2009, she worked as a corporate social responsibility consultant. In that capacity, she developed and implemented Samsung Electronics’ award-winning corporate social responsibility strategy for Scandinavia. In July 2010, Anne moved to Japan, where she spent 2 years researching open social innovation and received the prestigious Rotary Peace Fellowship. In 2012, she moved to Berlin to set up the Berlin Peace Innovation Lab, which is associated with Stanford University. The lab focuses on how technology is facilitating emerging and measurable social change toward global peace. In 2015, in response to the refugee crises, Anne co-founded ReDI School of Digital Integration, a vocational training program teaching programming and tech skills to asylum seekers and refugees. In 2016, Anne was recognized by Capital Magazine as “Young Elite – Top 40 under 40” in Germany.
ReDI School of Digital Integration was founded in 2015 by a team convinced that technology can break down barriers and bring people together to build new solutions to old problems. The idea of ReDI was sparked by the insight that amongst the refugee population there are incredible talents eager to learn and eager to contribute, who could help fill the 51.000 open IT jobs in Germany.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) biomedical research charity that performs and funds laboratory research dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA in computer science and Ph.D. in biology from the University of Cambridge. His research interests encompass the characterisation of all the types of self-inflicted cellular and molecular damage that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organisations.
Cal Fussman is a New York Times bestselling author, writer-at-large for Esquire Magazine, keynote speaker and corporate consultant.
As a highly sought-after speaker, Cal has worked with Pixar, Facebook, Lululemon, Turner Broadcasting, Vans, General Motors and several other companies and has inspired them to take a new look at the fundamental aspects of their business.
As a writer for Esquire, Cal has interviewed some of the most influential individuals of the past half-century of world history, including: Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Quincy Jones, Jeff Bezos, Jack Welch, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Muhammad Ali, and hundreds of others.
Charlotte Slingsby is the founder of Moya Power: London based wind energy harvesting startup, developing a flexible building textile to scavenge from existing infrastructure. Our future relies on farming green energy, therefore their mission is to capture abundant ambient wind energy from wasted urban space; creating energy generating hubs. Working together with CrossRail they have tested the potential in underground train tunnels, and have been recognised by Forbes 30u30 and Shell LiveWIRE.
Cortney Harding is a professor, author, and consultant working at the intersection of music and virtual reality. Harding works with technology companies to partner with music artists and labels to create immersive, groundbreaking virtual reality content. Her knowledge of both the music and technology industries position her to uniquely create experiences that move both industries forward.
Harding is the author of , “How We Listen Now: Essays and Conversations About Music and Technology”, published in January 2016. She is a professor at the Clive Davis School of Music at NYU, and has been a frequent speaker at conferences like SXSW, Further Future, Canadian Music Week, SF Music Tech, and the Right Tech Summit. Harding received an MPA from New York University, and her BA from Wellesley College. She lives in New York City, and is at thirty-two time marathoner and ultra-marathoner!
Damian Bradfield is the President and CMO of WeTransfer, based in Los Angeles. His background combines experience with the some of the world’s leading creative companies (Stella McCartney, J Walter Thompson) with launching and mentoring a range of design and tech start-ups (Kuvva, Present Plus). He brings together the ambitious, international strategic thinking of the former with the quicker, nimbler energy of the start-up world. He first joined WeTransfer as Chief Strategic Officer in 2010 and played a pivotal part in building it into the leading, much-loved creative brand it is today. Nowadays the site has 40 million active users who transfer one billion files every month. In 2015, WeTransfer took its first round of investment (series-A of $25million by HCPE) and Damian moved to LA the following year to spearhead the company’s US operations.
In his dual role heading the American office and leading the brand’s marketing, growth and content departments, Damian personifies WeTransfer’s commitment to supporting and showcasing the best creative talent. To this end he has brought in Gilles Peterson and Troy Carter to work with the company and set up content partnerships with the likes of FKA twigs, Rankin, Sampha and Nelly Ben Hayoun, among many others.
Damian’s professional and cultural interests include moving beyond buzzwords to create genuinely human companies, the role of doubt as part of the creative and commercial processes, and how the ambivert personality type works in a collaborative professional world. He regularly blogs on these topics as well as consulting for a range of businesses, awards schemes and non-profit organizations. Damian has been interviewed and profiled by titles including Fast Company, Designweek, Mr Porter, 33Voices and LA Weekly.
Dan Zakai is Founder and CEO of Mindspace, a rapidly growing global provider of beautiful and inspiring coworking spaces for teams of all sizes. Since starting Mindspace in 2014, the company has opened multiple locations in Israel, established its leadership as an upscale co-working provider in Germany with buildings on Friedrichstraße, Berlin and Rödingsmarkt, Hamburg, and raised over $15M to expand further, with at least 3 new spaces and communities opening up at prime locations in Berlin and Munich this year. Dan is a serial entrepreneur. Prior to Mindspace, he founded in 2008 a solar energy company, which was later acquired. Earlier, Dan worked as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and HSBC. Dan holds a BA in Law & Business Administration from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. Dan is married and a proud father of four children.
David Okuniev is Co-founder and joint CEO of Typeform, a platform that helps you collect data in a conversational way. He’s also a designer working to make the web a little more human. When he’s not playing his ukulele, he’s hanging out with his family and eating lots of hummus.
David is Chief Operations Officer for Stuart, a last mile delivery platform that is transforming the way goods move around a city by enabling any business to deliver any product in less than an hour. Stuart incorporates world class technology into a simple API, allowing game-changing speed, convenience and flexibility while ensuring that retailers retain ownership of their end-customer relationships.
Prior to Stuart, David co-founded Uncover, a mobile platform for restaurant reservations and payments. Named one of the Top 10 Apps of 2015 in the UK by Apple, Uncover disrupted the restaurant industry through a combination of cutting edge technology and expert curation, offering diners access to the best restaurants in London and driving profitability for its restaurant clients. As CEO, David guided the business from inception through fundraising, launch and growth to the leading restaurant app in the UK. On the back of that growth, Uncover was acquired by hospitality company Velocity in November 2015.
Originally a particle physicist who pursued research at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland for 6 years, Elina was one of the leading researchers that discovered the Higgs boson, which lead to a Nobel Prize in physics 2013. After discovering the Higgs, Elina quit her science job to focus on women’s reproductive health. She then developed the algorithm behind Natural Cycles an effective and user friendly natural birth control method. Through analysing women’s body temperature the Natural Cycles mobile app identifies women’s fertile days for the purpose of both preventing and planning a pregnancy. Additionally, pregnant women monitor their temperature in the app to early detect sinking hormonal levels to be able to prevent a possible miscarriage. Elina continues to pursue research through Natural Cycles, and has now published two clinical studies concerning women’s reproductive health in a peer review journal. In January 2017 Natural Cycles became the first approved contraceptive app.
Former German Vice-Chancellor Philipp Rösler commands an impressive CV. His career in politics has seen him serve as Minister for Economics and Technology, Minister of Health, and as Federal Chairman of the Free Democratic Party. He currently serves as a Member of the Managing Board, and Head of Regional and Government Engagement at the World Economic Forum.
Erika Lust is a multi-award winning filmmaker, writer and owner & founder of Erika Lust Films where she offers an alternative to the mainstream porn industry. She is also the creator of XConfessions.com, the first crowdsourced series that brought adult film to cinema screens.
Erika’s philosophy for a new adult cinema is based on 4 main ideas: women’s pleasure matters, adult cinema can have cinematic values, we need more body types, different ages and diverse races and the production process has to be ethical.
Fabian Siegel is a passionate entrepreneur who, prior to launching Marley Spoon in 2014, built a global leader in online food ordering at Delivery Hero, co-founded Europe’s largest online payments brand ClickandBuy International, Germany’s first online auction business Kikin, and a financial services startup Strateer. He is now investing in startups and building Marley Spoon, a global company available in six countries worldwide.
Gadi Amit is a San Francisco based technology designer behind some of the most innovative and lasting products created over the last two decades. Founder of the award-winning NewDealDesign, Gadi leads a multidisciplinary team matchmaking people, culture and technology to build joyful experiences for the world’s top brands and disruptors like Intel, Microsoft, Google, Fitbit, Herman Miller, Deutsche Telekom and Verizon.
With the motto ‘we mix brains, bravery and magic to make people smile,’ Gadi and his team have won over 100 design awards, including the United States National Design Award for an unrelenting commitment to crafting delightful and workable solutions for real people. Gadi was selected by Surface Magazine as one of their ‘Power 100’ in 2016, listed by Fast Company on their ‘1000 Most Creative People’ list, and selected by Fast Company Magazine as the Most Innovative Design firm of 2016.
Hector was born in Mexico City, and has always been fascinated by the tension between technology, art, and design. His major focus is attempting to harness that tension to create products and experiences that make our lives more productive, enjoyable, and inspiring. Uncertain of his direction he graduated with a BS in Computer Science from the UDLAP, and a MA in Interaction Design from the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea in Italy.
Between obtaining his degrees he took on real jobs doing interface design for HP, among others. Next, he joined the MIT Mobile Experience Lab and later found his way to Google, where he’s worked on multiple products (Android, Android TV, Sky Map, Docs, Maps, etc) and led teams on multiple continents. Presently he leads Design for all Google Search and Assist related products. He now resides in California with his wife and daughter, bikes to work every day, and is still trying to answer that fundamental question: How can we make tech + art + design = happiness?
(Picture credits to Toby Peet.)
Henrik Zillmer is CEO of AirHelp, a leading global airline claims management company. Since 2013, AirHelp has assisted more than 1.5 million passengers receive their rightful compensation from the airlines as the result of delayed, canceled or otherwise disrupted flights. Prior to AirHelp, Henrik was Director of Product Management at Rocket Internet. He started more than 10 companies in Europe, Asia and USA within insurance/SaaS, travel and e-commerce.
Founder and CEO of Funderbeam, the global startup stock exchange built on blockchain. Funderbeam combines three stages of investor journey into one: startup analytics, investing, and trading on the secondary market. Powered by blockchain technology, the marketplace delivers capital to growth companies and on-demand liquidity to investors worldwide. Member of Startup Europe Advisory Board at European Commission. Kaidi is a former CEO of Nasdaq Tallinn Stock Exchange and of the Central Securities Depository. Co-Founder of Estonian Service Industry Association. A lawyer by training, she co-authored the Estonian Digital Signatures Act of 2000 — landmark legislation that enables secure digital identities and, in turn, the country’s booming electronic economy.
Magnus Olsson is the Chief Xperience Officer and Co-Founder of Careem Networks. Magnus looks after product and technology. A geek at heart, Magnus started his first company at the age of fifteen. After moving to the Middle East in 2006, Magnus couldn’t wait to ditch his suit and tie and roll his sleeves up. You will often find him picking up a customer phone call, or chatting to a Captain about his day. Careem is his passion and he loves to hear customer feedback at every opportunity.
As founder and CEO Markus has grown Babbel to the world’s most successful language learning app. Babbel employs a team of 450 in Berlin and New York and currently has more than 1 million paying subscribers. Babbel was named the world’s most innovative company in education by Fast Company Magazine.
Before Babbel, Markus worked at Native Instruments. He began his career as a lecturer at New York University, following two years as a lecturer at Humboldt University Berlin. His special interest is communication development and the future of learning. He started programming computers in 1984.
Father of four teenagers, founder of HowStuffWorks.com, Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program at NCSU, author of more than a dozen books and the book “Manna, Two Views of Humanity’s future”, host of the National Geographic show “Factory Floor”, entrepreneur, futurist, speaker, teacher, consultant, mentor.
A curiosity-driven dreamer and always a keen observer, Maurizio, a father of four, likes to discover and understand differences of people’s lifestyles and their cultures. He’s fascinated about how technologies impact our day life and what about their influence in the society and cultures. He gained his early experience at the Rossi Group family business and worked in the 90s on growing the business.
In 2005, Maurizio, along with his partner Riccardo, co-founded H-FARM, an innovative platform that supports the creation of new business models and the digital transformation and training of large international corporations toward the open innovation. Structured as a campus where a young community of over 600 people work and about 300 study, H-FARM is considered a one-of-a-kind company.
H-FARM is the first company in the world to choose a model formed of both incubation and acceleration activities for young businesses and digital transformation services for traditional enterprises. Thanks to the major network of partners and investors established in its first 10 years, every year H-FARM analyses and evaluates over 1000 projects and selects the best ones to enter different programs every season. An academic study program from pre-school to graduate-level studies are part of H-FARM.
While moving positions from London to Berlin, Michael Cassau found the process of acquiring new furniture, like most, wildly inconvenient. Noting that he was able to order a car without owning a car, stream an album without owning a record, and eat a meal of any cuisine without cooking, he began shifting his focus toward items most frequently cycled out of use: electronics. Fascinated by the intersection of ownership and experience, Cassau had an actionable strategy in mind: offer a pay-as- you-go on-demand system that promotes a logical, and more environmentally-friendly approach toward gadget ownership.
Ned co-founded UNITY in 2011, largely because he thought it was “simply the coolest biology” he had ever seen. Before UNITY, Ned co-founded four other biotechnology companies that together raised over $1.5 billion in financing and today employ over 400 scientists, engineers, and business people. Ned builds companies because he sees company creation as a means to create technologies that change the world. Ned is a co-founder of Syrrx (acquired by Takeda), Achaogen (AKAO), Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (KYTH, acquired by Allergan), and Sapphire Energy. Ned holds pending and issued patents in fields such as nanovolume crystallography, antibiotic resistance, aesthetic medicine, and cellular senescence. He has served on the board of directors of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Sapphire Energy, and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and is a member of the board of trustees of the University of California Foundation. Ned was named one of the Top 100 innovators in the world under 35 by the MIT Technology Review. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in Molecular and Cellular Biology and an A.B. in Biology from Harvard University.
Nick Seneca Jankel is the author of best-selling book Switch On: Unleash Your Creativity With the New Science & Spirit of Breakthrough (Watkins, 2015) and a Cambridge-educated scientist, philosopher, purpose-driven entrepreneur and wisdom teacher. He has advised No.10 Downing Street; lectured at many of the world’s most prestigious universities; spoken on his work at Talks At Google, TEDx, The Economist Summit, and the leading academic conferences.
Nick is the chief architect of the Bio-Breakthrough Way, he has been a transformational coach on BBC TV and MTV. He is founder of Switch On Worldwide, a leadership and personal development company that brings the Bio-Breakthrough Way to the world within innovative leadership programs and products to unleash conscious breakthrough creativity.
Nicole Shanahan is an attorney in California and a research fellow at CodeX, the Stanford Center of Legal Informatics, a joint center between Stanford Law School and Computer Science. She is the founder and CEO of ClearAccessIP an integrated patent management technology, and a legal technologist who specializes in the utilization of structured databases, APIs, UI/UX, automation and SaaS.
Her research at Stanford is entitled “Smart Prosecution,” an ongoing, multi-disciplinary project applying data science to the prosecutorial process and involving partnerships with district attorneys and police departments. Apart from the practical applications of legal technology, she is formulating an economic theory, entitled “Coasean Mapping” to predict the pace and nature of society’s adoption of legal artificial intelligence.
Experienced entrepreneur with a strong focus on building brands with great impact. As a Kaospilot graduate, a leadership education that focuses on creativity and learning by doing, Nikolaj has previously worked in South Africa, Richmond, Virginia, Oslo and London, now currently working out of Denmark. He’s been digital director at a creative design agency, where he cooperated with top global brands in building great design and UX. Co-founded Drivr in 2011, a partner company of Spiri that is developing a software platform that powers the future of mobility services and is providing the software engine that runs Spiri.
Based in Washington D.C. Rebecca is a photographer, photo editor and social media specialist, currently working as the Image Coordinator and Social Media Specialist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Rebecca has worked at NASA for nearly 8 years and is charged with sharing images of our universe with the media and public through channels such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Prior to working at NASA, Rebecca worked as a photojournalist and photo editor for outlets including National Geographic Television & Film, Roll Call Newspaper, and USA Weekend Magazine.
Richard Rabbat, Gfycat’s CEO, received his PhD from MIT before taking positions at Fujitsu, Google, Zynga, and Tango. At Google, Richard led the “Make the Web Faster” initiative, which led to the creation of new web standards including HTTP 2.0 and WebP, a new image format for the web.
During his stint at Zynga, he managed the client platform team that developed api.zynga.com. As VP of Platform and Advertising at Tango, he ran business operations for the gaming and ad verticals
Dr. Robin Berzin is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin went to medical school at Columbia University -where she co-founded the physician communication app Cureatr – and later trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.
She is a certified yoga instructor and a meditation teacher, writes for a number of leading wellness sites, and speaks regularly for organizations including Stanford Medicine X, The Clinton Foundation, Health 2.0, Summit at Sea, and Further Future, on how we can reinvent health care.
Rolf Schrömgens is an innovative German entrepreneur, who is best known for his role as Founder and Managing Director for trivago GmbH. Pushing the boundaries of data-driven product development and rethinking the way that tech companies nurture and develop their talents are among his expertise. Parallel to spending his time at trivago, he is also President of the Entrepreneur’s Organization in Germany. Previously, Rolf was head of VP Product & Strategy at Ciao.com. Born and raised in Mönchengladbach, Rolf attended HHL (Leipzig Graduate School of Management).
Ryan has spent the past decade creating identities for companies such as Google, UNICEF, and Vevo. Working in the media space, he has helped communicate food, water, population, and resource issues via Food Inc., the G8 summit, and other organizations. In 2013, he entered the tech world with Avbl to help the freelance world connect in real time. In 2014, he created Isabel, a smart food system for the growth and transportation of deliciously efficient produce. After many years of research, he believes AI/AR to be one of the best solutions to feeding 10 billion. Plant Vision by Huxley augments operations for the scaling of efficient growth systems.
Shaul Olmert is Co-Founder and CEO of Playbuzz, an award-winning storytelling platform that empowers publishers, brands and agencies worldwide to create interactive content for editorial and commercial purposes. Native of Israel, Shaul spent most of his professional career in the United States where he held several executive positions in digital media ventures, with an emphasize on games and entertainment content products. His previous roles include Vice President of Digital Products at MTV Networks, President of SundaySky, Chief Marketing Officer at Conduit, Director of Business Development at I-play and investment professional at STI Ventures.In his free time, Shaul is a Director and Adviser to many digital media ventures. Shaul holds a master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University.
Shermin is the founder of BlockchainHub. What originally started in Berlin has panned out internationally to a decentralized network of autonomous Hubs. Shermin was a curator of theDAO, a bold attempt to run a fully decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO), a company without managers on the Ethereum Blockchain.
Her past work experience ranges from internet start-ups, IT consulting & filmmaking. Among others, her films have screened in Cannes and at dOCUMENTA.
Susan Danziger is the Founder/CEO of Ziggeo, an award-winning cloud-based video technology company. Named a Woman of Influence and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Susan is also a contributor to Forbes on entrepreneurship. She previously founded (and sold) DailyLit, a pioneer in digital serialization.
Raisin GmbH, is a young and quickly growing FinTech company, which builds an online portal with transparent and fair banking products for customers in Europe. Since our foundation in 2013, we were able to raise €60 million from well-known investors. Tamaz graduated with honors in law from the University of Giessen and in International Economics from Tbilisi State University. He also holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Giessen.
Prior to building and scaling Raisin, Tamaz spent 10 years with McKinsey & Company, the last 3 years as Principal also leading the McKinsey Savings and Investment Products Service Line for EMEA countries. He served some of the largest retail, universal, and wholesale banks throughout Europe and in Asia.
Vince Steckler is Chief Executive Officer and board member of Avast, a global leader in digital security products for consumers and businesses. Through Vince’s leadership, Avast has transformed into a dynamic, full service security provider that goes beyond traditional security solutions and detection methods to advance its mission of making the internet safe and accessible for everyone. Vince led Avast’s acquisition of AVG Technologies in 2016 and now oversees more than $700 million in revenue and all global operations for the combined company.
Prior to joining Avast in 2009, Vince was the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Consumer Sales at Symantec Corporation. Vince joined Symantec in 2000 as Vice President of Public Sector Business and started Symantec’s business of serving U.S. local, state, and federal governments. He also held the position of Symantec’s Vice President for Asia/Pacific and Japan and was responsible for all enterprise and consumer business in that region. Prior to joining Symantec, Vince had 20 years experience in software development, systems analysis and engineering, project management, and business development.
Vince holds two B.S.’s from the University of California, Irvine, one in Mathematics and the other in Information and Computer Science.
Yaël is a former CIA analyst, national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, diplomat, CSR strategist for a Fortune 5 company, and head of a global political risk firm. She speaks, writes and consults on topics at the intersection of security, political and humanitarian issues. She has been published in the New York Times, TIME and The Huffington Post and has appeared on CNN, CBS News and C-SPAN. She is the founder of Kilele Global, providing intelligence-based advice to help companies operating in emerging markets do so smartly and with purpose.
Zoe Adamovicz is an entrepreneur and occasional angel investor.
Zoe is passionate about building technology businesses that are impactful, positive and at the same time profitable and powerful. Prior to Neufund, she founded Xyo, a company that re-imagines how people discover apps, Priori Data (app store intelligence), and ConciseSoftware which provides software development and engineering services.
She is also a mentor at the Gaza Sky Geeks, where she supports technology entrepreneurship in the challenging area of the Gaza Strip and helps introducing Blockchain. Zoe is an expert in technology entrepreneurship and venture capital.