As you all know, Startup Grind is all about giving startups universally the education, opportunities,
and access they need to build, grow, and scale their companies.
For this purpose, we are partnering with Startup Grind Tbilisi, Georgia chapter to organize an
international conference that, due to safety concerns, is held 100% online! Europe-Asia Connect is a unique opportunity for startups to:
* Hear from top global speakers and meet other founders from over 35 countries;
* Participate in networking sessions, including regional founders, investors, and corporates;
* Participate in the largest startup competition in the world and receive training from Silicon Valley mentors.
100+ speakers, dozens of them direct from Silicon Valley,
will partner for an unforgettable event. It’s been already announced that one of the speakers at
the event will be the marketing guru, entrepreneur, technical evangelist, and author of numerous
books - Guy Kawasaki.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the early bird tickets and follow the event Facebook page for more updates.
Venture Capitalist, Co-founder and Chairman
VP of Content and Marketing Data Science & Engineering
HP Tech Ventures
Head of Commerce Innovations & General Manager
Google for Startups Accelerator
Director, New Generation Technologie
U First Capital, ex-Intel Capital
Co-founder and Chairman
IBM Venture Capital Group
500 Startups Fintech Fund
Bevy / Startup Grind
Co-founder & CEO
Director of Investments
Game Groove Capital
Pegasus Tech Ventures
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
Botsvadze Marketing Solutions
CEO and Founder
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Guy worked with Steve Jobs growing the most valuable company in the world. He co-founded the Venture Capital firm Garage Ventures with Bill Reichert (now on its 5th fund).
Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva and the creator of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast. He is an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley), and adjunct professor of the University of New South Wales. He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Guy did not invent secular evangelism, but he popularized it. This goes back to 1983 and his work with the Macintosh Division of Apple. He is currently the chief evangelist of Canva, an online, graphics-design company from Australia.
Guy is the author of fifteen books. These books are textbooks for the finest academic institutions in the world and have been both New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. His writing focuses on the tactical and practical in order to empower and inspire.
Guy gives over fifty keynote speeches per year. His clients include Apple, Nike, Gartner, Audi, Google, Microsoft, and Breitling as well as dozens of trade associations. His topics include innovation, enchantment, social media, evangelism, and entrepreneurship.
Bill Tai has been funding companies as a Venture Capitalist since 1991 and has had 22 companies he backed at the early stage grow to become listed companies. He has served on 8 public company boards from his portfolio.
He is Founding Chairman of Treasure Data (acq by ARM / Softbank), Founding Chairman of IPInfusion (Tokyo:48130) and is a lead seed investor in Canva, Wish and Zoom Video where he was 1st to commit as a backer. He was founding CEO of Internet Data Center company iAsiaWorks (IPO via Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley) and Founder of Tradebeam a leader in SaaS based Global Trade Management.
After earning a BSEE with Honors from University of Illinois, he joined LSI Logic, a startup formed by the CEO of Fairchild Semiconductor. He then earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, He established the semiconductor practice for Alex.Brown & Sons, driving IPOs of Atmel, Adaptec, Cirrus Logic, Dallas Semi, Exar, and Zilog before becoming a venture capitalist. He was granted a PhD from Curtin University where he is an Adjunct Professor focused on "Innovation and Economic Development" and Chairman of ACTAI Global - a 501(c)3 uniting Athletes, Conservationists, Technologists, Artists & Innovators supporting 'active conservation' of our environment as partners to 2030Vision, Ocean Elders and Mission Blue, and economic empowerment via entrepreneurship through projects such as the Extreme Tech Challenge.
Kelly is the Director of Content and Marketing Data Science (aka “Hollywood Data Science”) at Netflix, focused on using causal inference and machine learning to grow the Netflix member base and audiences for its titles worldwide. Kelly started at Netflix almost 7 years ago as a statistician working on the initial research around to best promote Netflix Originals within the Netflix service.
Prior to her time at Netflix, built predictive models to understand customer retention at GEICO. She also served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia, where she helped women entrepreneurs start and manage small businesses.
Angelo is a founding partner at HP Tech Ventures, where he leads investments and partnerships in AR/VR, Gaming/eSports, and AI. He is on a number of boards, including at AdHawk Microsystems, Mobalytics, Mojo Vision, and Parsec Gaming. He also advises numerous startups and is a frequent speaker and judge at industry conferences, including Augmented World Expo, NASA, StartX, StartupGrind, SXSW, Web Summit, etc.
Previously Angelo was with HP’s corporate strategy group where he focused on M&A and growth strategies. Before joining HP, Angelo was VP Business Development and Strategy at Couchsurfing, where he helped raise $23M. Angelo previously ran a tech sector focused management consulting company for 8 years and consulted to numerous startups, including Groupon and YouSendIt, as well as Fortune 500 companies, including Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, and Oracle. He has conducted over 4,000 interviews and managed 100+ strategy and market research projects.
He has lived in the Bay Area for 20 years and helped companies in boom and bust times. He has taught graduate business classes around the world, including at Wharton and Haas, and earned degrees from Northwestern and Wharton.
Justin heads up eBay Commerce Innovations is an innovation studio focused on building new platforms, products, and businesses that augment and enhance the shopping experience on- and off-eBay.One such project is catch.app which carried the mission of finding a way to help eBay address the millennial customer group
Some of my most important responsibilities leading Commerce Innovations have been to set the vision and to establish this new function and team. Now, we are an end-to-end, agile team encompassing product development, design, retail & merchandising, marketing, and analytics & business insights. My team is fully responsible to conduct user research, identify customer needs, ideate solutions, validate product-market-fit, and build, launch, and iterate on the minimally viable products (MVPs). Furthermore, we also own, operate, and scale the new innovations, or at times, spin them out as new ventures.
Of our numerous projects, we have launched a few notable ones to date:
eBay BlitzDeals: https://blitzdeals.ebay.de/
- A gamified, short-form auction shopping format where everything starts at 1 euro; the platform goes live as scheduled events
NHS PPE Portal: https://nhs-ppe.co.uk/
- An invitation-only portal for personal protective equipment, created pro bono for the UK National Health Service to distribute PPE to their network of smaller healthcare providers
Gideon mentors globally for Google Launchpad and is himself a serial entrepreneurs with 3 successful exits via public listings on NASDAQ and 4 others via successful M&A transactions. He has been involved in building numerous companies, growth initiatives, funding from Venture funds and the public.
Gideon Marks brings a unique perspective from his long and successful track record leading technology companies in financial, business and corporate development roles.
Gideon brings more than 30 years of experience. During his career he took three companies public on NASDAQ and led four other companies to successful acquisition. He has also been involved in building numerous companies from scratch to various stages of maturity.
Gideon has also worked with growth initiatives, achieved funding from venture capital funds and the public.
Currently a mentor at Google Launchpad, Plug and Play, US MAC, 10X Innovation Lab, Mind the Bridge and other organizations.
His topics on startups cover:
1. Leadership and team building
2. Pitching your story
3. Funding options
4. Traction and competition
5. Business models
7. Ethics and values
8. Silicon Valley and Israel ecosystem
In his spare time Gideon helps his children run an app for dog owners called DogLog.
Zaza Pachulia is 2- time NBA champion, Angel Investor and now serves on the business team for the Golden State Warriors. He has made extensive contributions to Georgia in developing the country's basketball coaching and camps, such as: Zaza Pachulia Basketball Academy and Basketball Club Dinamo Tbilisi; investing in business projects such as Archi, Snap Fitness, and partnering with Crosty shoes, a Georgian-founded company.
Carolina helps scale adoption of new technologies across this 300,000 person organization. The challenge is to accelerate going from concepts to end-to-end digital products supporting Nestlé use cases. Strategy + Delivery + Customer focus + Team work. Among other things she heads acceleration of use cases for Artificial Intelligence within the company.
Can you imagine your life without the Internet? Hell, no! That's why I help businesses build awesome digital products that improve the way we live. And these days, it’s more and more about AI.
Back in Barcelona after multi-year stints in Madrid, London and New York, I joined Nestlé in June 2017 to scale up emerging technologies. The challenge is to accelerate going from concepts to end-to-end digital products supporting Nestlé use cases. Strategy + Delivery + Customer focus + Team work.
Mix of analytical thinker, creative soul, techie and communicator, my background is strategy, development and delivery of technology products and services, both B2B and B2C. I've worked for telco & networks, healthcare, automotive, mobility, and consumer packaged goods industries.
I've also worked in large and small companies, including startups, and have built and led high-performing teams.
In a past life I did a lot of applied research in tech, publishing 70+ papers and 1 patent and pitching in many international conferences and events. I love the thrill of pitching and how on-the-fly questions make you think on your feet, and fast.
As one of the first 30 employees of Airbnb he led international expansion, opening 12 offices globally in 6 months. He similarly was VP for international expansion with Fiverr. He has taken leadership in other roles in the sharing economy, and is now collaborator, Consultant, Speaker, Investor, Actor, Advisor to Heart-First Leaders, Ceremony Creator, Comedian and Perfumemaker!
Sanjit has been a successful Venture Capitalist, Corporate Executive, Board Member, Speaker and Writer in Silicon Valley for almost two decades. He is currently the Co-Founder and Chairman of U First Capital which provides Venture Capital as a Service to Corporations. Prior to that, he was at Intel Capital where he had an excellent track record of driving 1 Exit every year: DocuSign (IPO 2018), Body Labs (Acquired by Amazon in 2017), VokeVR (Acquired by Intel in 2016), Maginatics (Acquired by EMC in 2015) and Basis Science (Acquired by Intel in 2014). He has been an Investor and Board Member of several companies, including True Fit (AI for eCommerce, raised $100M), Reflektion (AI recommendation for eCommerce, raised $42M), Helpshift (AI-driven Customer Service, raised $39M) and Enlighted (IoT, Acquired by Siemens in 2018). He is also an investor in Mirantis (Cloud Computing), GoodData (SaaS BI) and Arcadia Data (Big Data 2.0).
Sanjit has experience investing in Consumer and Enterprise sectors across several areas: Transportation, Artificial Intelligence, Security, Big Data, IoT, Virtual Reality, eCommerce, etc.
Sanjit has been an Advisor to Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge and Google Launchpad. Sanjit has been on US Govt Innovation Policy Advisory team. He is on Advisory Council of UN’s World Artificial Intelligence Organization. He has also been on University of California President's Innovation Council. Sanjit has the fastest Eng PhD from University of Illinois (2yrs 9mo after undergrad), which he received in 2000 with top research awards. He also attended the VC Executive program at Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. He’s an invited Speaker at several top conferences, eg SURGE/WebSummit, TiECon, ShopTalk, McKinsey Leadership Summit, Silicon Valley Open Doors, Global AI conference, etc. He’s a mentor at Stanford and Berkeley’s Entrepreneurship programs.
Deborah Magid represents IBM’s $25B software business in the company’s Venture Capital Group. Deborah is responsible for sharing insights about emerging markets, technologies, and business models with venture firms and entrepreneurs around the world. She scouts for emerging business opportunities, and shares views on innovation and growth areas of the market. As a director of strategy in IBM Software Group, she also brings insight from the venture community to the development of IBM’s growth strategies. Deborah is responsible for fueling the ecosystem pipeline in strategic areas related to building a “smarter planet” and contributes to filling out the IBM product portfolio through M&A. Deborah’s relationships are global and extend into emerging geographies.
Deborah is a frequent spokes-person on topics of relevance to entrepreneurs and investors. She is Chairman of the Board of SVForum, the Silicon Valley emerging technology network; on the advisory board of White Bull, serving the European entrepreneurial and venture communities; and on the Steering Committee of the California Sustainability Alliance. Previously, Deborah held positions in product management, marketing, and user-centered design at Taligent, GE Information Services and AT&T. Deborah holds degrees in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Connecticut.
Sheel is the founding partner of the 500 startups FinTech Fund. His own startup experience includes 2 successful FinTech exits – a payments company (FeeFighters) and a high-stakes auction company (Innovative Auctions). He's invested into over 80 companies in the past 6 years, mostly in the fintech space. He formerly worked as a financial services consultant at BCG and started his FinTech career at the non-profit p2p lender Kiva.
Helping to design, build, and improve human ecosystems through technology, as a creator or an investor/partner. Particularly interested in technology businesses that disrupt financial institutions or enable them to act more efficiently. He has a soft spot for companies that help those who feel abandoned by the current financial system, but invests across the fintech/insuretech/Real estate tech spectrum. Has been quoted in a number of publications. Additionally, his works have been featured in The Atlantic, Mashable, The New York Times, GigaOm, Techcrunch and others. Has been a regular public speaker on topics of Financial Innovation, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and the revolution taking place in payments/point of sale.
Aside from fintech, Sheel has co-founded the podcast "The Pitch" which was acquired by Gimlet Media (reaches ~100k weekly listeners), and a food company called Thistle that serves 10's of thousands of customers every week. He lives in San Francisco and enjoys travel.
Trae Stephens is a Partner at Founders Fund, where he invests across sectors with a particular interest in startups operating in the government space. He is also Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Anduril Industries, a defense technology company focused on autonomy and artificial intelligence.
Previously, Trae was an early employee at Palantir Technologies, where he led teams focused on growth in the intelligence/defense space as well as international expansion, helping large organizations solve their hardest data analysis problems. He was also an integral part of the product team, leading the design and strategy for new product offerings. While at Palantir, Trae also served as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University.
Prior to Palantir, Trae worked as a computational linguist building enterprise solutions to Arabic/Persian name matching and data enrichment within the United States Intelligence community. He began his career working in the office of then Congressman Rob Portman and in the Political Affairs Office at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. immediately following the installation of Hamid Karzai’s transitional government. Trae graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
With the 10+years of cross-functional, cross-border, and cross-domain experience Tim is able to turbocharge Fortune 500 companies and governments for the future. He specializes in making innovations tangible, valuable and scalable. Wagner thrives in ambiguous, rapidly evolving areas and seeks out opportunities at the intersection of things.
Zach is an in-demand speaker internationally, sharing deep insights on what makes startups succeed. He is an early stage technology investor and advisor. His notable investments include Cruise Automation (led the first billion dollar exit for Angel List, bought by GM for $1B+), Branch Metrics, SkySafe and a dozen other startups. He is an advisor to twenty companies including Hellosign, Swarm (bought by Integral Ad Sciences), Balanced Payments (Stripe) and many others. Mr. Coelius is also four-time entrepreneur
In his last company he was the co-founder and CEO of Triggit, an advertising technology company that was one of the first Demand Side Platforms, where he raised over $25m in venture capital and exited in 2015 to Linkedin and another financial buyer. He ran Triggit from 2005 to 2015, growing it from 4 to 60 employees and over $30m in revenue. Zachery attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate where he was named by the USA Today as one of the top 20 college students in the nation in 2004. He was also the recipient of the George Mitchell scholarship where he received a master’s degree in International studies at the University of Limerick.
Peter Komornik is the co-founder and CEO of Slido, an audience interaction platform that is transforming the world of meetings and conferences. Since its foundation in 2012, Slido has been used at over 1.2 million events including customers such as Asana, BBC, Oracle, and renowned conferences such as SXSW and Web Summit. Before starting Slido, Peter worked for Google Slovakia and Samsung. He also holds an MBA degree from a joint program of SKK GSB and Kellogg School of Management.
Fang Yuan is the Director of investments at Baidu Ventures (based in SF), focusing on AI & Robotics at the seed and Series A stages. We are the non-strategic investment arm of Baidu, launched in early 2017 with a $200MM first fund. Our particular focus is on AI and robotics applied to specific industry verticals such as healthcare, transportation, agriculture, retail, etc. We've made ~50 investments in North America.
Ted was the Futurist at 20th Century Fox, where he worked on the evolving art, science and technology of advanced interactive visual storytelling. He was part of the creation team for the Martian VR and Wild VR experiences, Ted is one of the founders and creators of the G-Tech product line of advanced hard drive storage products.
Ted spends his time in a unique role in the motion picture entertainment industry. As the Futurist at Paramount pictures, Ted works with studio leadership and the technology teams at Paramount / Viacom, exploring forms of new and emerging technologies, with an emphasis on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. He was part of the creation team for the Martian VR and Wild VR experiences, which premiered at CES and Sundance as groundbreaking projects that pushed the envelope of Virtual Reality storytelling. Ted was an integral part of the product development team at RED Digital Cinema as a founding member and the company’s first employee. The Red One and Epic cameras have made a significant impact on the Motion Picture Industry, with many of the world’s biggest movies now being shot with these ultra-high-resolution digital movie cameras. Ted is one of the founders and creators of the G-Tech product line of advanced hard drive storage products.
Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the international trade and development industry. Skilled in Business Process, Business Planning, International Business, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Go-to-market Strategy. Strong business development professional with a BA focused in Political Science from Swarthmore College.
Chris is a serial entrepreneur with global experience. He has played a role in founding eight companies and worked in more than 30 countries. Since 2010, he has focused on bringing the lessons of Silicon Valley to entrepreneurs around the world. He is the co-founder of the US Market Access Center and the A3 Global Collider. Through USMAC, Chris has trained and mentored more than 1,000 startups from 25+ countries.
In addition to his work with USMAC and the A3 Collider, Chris is an Industry Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. He is a frequent speaker and panelist at entrepreneurship conferences and events around the world and has been part of the faculty of the European Innovation Academy.
Chris is a member of US MAC’s management team. Prior to that he was a founding member of Avanade, a joint venture between Microsoft and Andersen Consulting. Founded in 2000, Today, Avanade employees over 30,000 people and has annual revenue of more than $3B USD. At Avanade, he was the Global Practice Director for Infrastructure and Security and a Technology Fellow.
Prior to Avanade, Chris was a senior executive at Andersen Consulting and a senior technology consultant at EDS. In these roles, he oversaw numerous large-scale projects for clients in the energy, financial services, healthcare and government sectors. He has experience working in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia.
Chris was also a columnist on operating systems and infrastructure for ComputerWorld magazine and an adviser to the research division of IDC (publisher of a number of technology magazines) on cloud computing and the future of technology. He was also a regular speaker at industry conferences for Microsoft and IDC. Chris has an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College in Political Science (with honors). He lives in Emerald Hills, California.
After 20+ years in software startups, Scott is creating innovation partnerships between great startups in ecommerce, logistics, and content and the incumbents across the world, to ensure the success of independent brands.
After 20 years running software startups, Scott Rafer is focusing on being the sidekick to a few great founders in marketing automation, marketplace seller services, and e-commerce delivery. There is a business plan at the intersection of those three burning in his brain, but he’s got that under control for now.
Startup-wise, rafer was most recently SVP Corporate Development at Nanigans, which is pioneering the SaaS evolution of media buying with its predictive lifetime value SaaS platform. Until its 2013 acquisition by Nanigans, Rafer ran Lumatic, where the team believed that cities are humanity’s future — so they’d better get a lot easier to love. We made smartphone maps for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. Lumatic was preceded by Lookery, one of the first ad networks on Facebook, portions of which were sold to Adknowledge in 2008; and MyBlogLog, a social network of bloggers, which Yahoo! acquired in 2007. The list goes downhill from there for a decade. Before most of the startup work, Rafer headed-up the Internet products group at Kodak Hollywood, worked in investment banking at Needham & Company, and graduated from the management of technology program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Before most of the startup work, Scott headed-up the Internet products group at Kodak Hollywood, worked in investment banking at Needham & Company.
Scott is also Co-Founder and a Member of the Board of Directors at Mashery (acquired by Intel), ShopPad, Boomset, Boostable, Delivr and Zemanta.
Scott graduated from the Management of Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Stewart Rogers is a journalist, analyst, public speaker, author, startup founder, musician, and "digital nomad."
Rogers is best known for his speeches and work on mental health in the tech industry. He helps to shine a light on a serious issue and provides those that need it with the help and support required to stay alive and at their best. Other than his mental health keynote - which he delivers to audiences across the globe - every speech he gives is new and unique. A former analyst for VentureBeat, Rogers uses the latest research and data to explain what is happening both now and next.
As the Editor-in-Chief at Badass Times, he writes authentically on digital nomad life, and helps to manage the team behind the world's first combined nomad publication and social network. As the Managing Editor at Grit Daily, he checks the pulse of marketing technology, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and blockchain technologies, as well as the video game industry and the future of daily life. And his work with Dataconomy informs the data science community and AI community, in addition to helping create and host Europes biggest data expert conference, Data Natives. And as co-founder of Badass Empire, he helps digital professionals become badass at business, marketing, and in life.
Marvin is a free agent roaming the world, doing good, looking for great potential companies. He was a Partner at Micro Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups, running the SF-based accelerator program as well as investing in Seed stage startups. He Invests in Digital Media, Enterprise SaaS, Marketplace, Mobile, AdTech/MarketingTech, Digital Health, Internet of Things, and Fintech startups.
Formerly an experienced client-facing senior executive in the media and technology space in both large and startup growth companies, having managed large multifunctional teams across multiple countries.
He has P&L management experience and was most recently responsible for 100% YoY revenue growth while running a business unit and building new sales channels in EMEA and 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. He is a frequent speaker at many digital marketing and startup conferences.
A longtime fan, participant, and 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.
Author of upcoming "Blockchain is the New Black" Amy is a visionary who speaks to the future of AR/VR and other technologies while working with corporations to adopt today's cutting edge technologies. She lives and breathes Virtual & Augmented Reality, particularly for enterprise, education & entertainment. From healthcare, education, retail, hospitality and entertainment to government and industrial use cases, her goal is to bridge the gap between the leading edge tech and clients ready to adopt solutions in the AR/VR stratosphere.
Amy Peck is the founder & CEO of EndeavorVR, a leading global VR/AR (XR) strategy & consulting firm. Amy is a recognized thought-leader in the space and speaks globally on the future of XR. She has deep connections within the industry and works with Fortune 500 companies, digital media/production companies and tech startups on XR strategy, content, development, product and GTM.
Amy holds several Advisory Board roles:
* Geo.Network, a volumetric geospatial control platform
* VantagePoint, VR Sexual Harassment Training
* XR Marin Leadership Council
* Virtual World Society Ambassador
* AREA (Augmented Reality
Amy is a venture partner at the Capital Region AR/VR Accelerator, a member of the VR/AR Association’s (VRARA) Digital Healthcare Committee and Co-chairs the VRARA Enterprise Committee. She is an active mentor to XR entrepreneurs and member of several Women in Tech & STEM Education organizations.
Amy's true passion for this technology emerged at Leap Motion where she launched the Enterprise division working with clients across every major vertical including healthcare, entertainment, retail, hospitality, education and government.
It became clear that there was a need to help foster XR development in the commercial arena and more importantly, shepherd these critical early wins. EndeavorVR was conceived for this very purpose.
Amy continues her work with Fortune 500 clients, helping them adopt XR for both internal process and consumer-facing initiatives, including marketing, customer experience, productivity and training. She engages the top content creators, designers, developers and platform partners to bring these solutions to fruition.
Amy’s forte is distilling complex technologies into meaningful solutions across many verticals and business lines, delivering strategy and resources at scale.
Her own personal mission is to see XR accessible to all - fundamentally improving every aspect of our lives and changing the way we work, learn, communicate and play.
George Arison co-founded Shift in 2013, when he saw an opportunity to use technology, machine learning, and operational excellence to create a transformative way for how cars are sold built around an exceptional customer experience.
George is passionate about building companies and technology products because they allow him to prove out his strongly held view that impossible things are actually possible. In addition to Shift, George co-founded Taxi Magic (now known as Curb), which invented the use of mobile devices for on-demand services. He is an investor and mentor to numerous startups and founders, including Zero, Shipper, Carrot, TravelBank, Eden, Fathom, and Pulsar AI. He has twice been named to Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and has worked at Google and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Born in Georgia, a republic in the Soviet Union, at the height of Communism, George came to the United States on his own in 1992, fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend a prep school in Maine. Afterwards, he studied political philosophy at Middlebury College. In addition to entrepreneurship, George has a deep interest in politics and policy-making. He has started a think tank and ran a political campaign in his native Georgia, and authored a book about Georgia’s democratic transition.
"Luke Kowalski is recognized for his loyalty and pragmatism, but he also excels in his ability to work across disciplines. He has executed projects involving legal issues (antitrust, IP, audits, litigation), acquisitions (due diligence, integration, or divestitures), technical standards (document formats), government affairs (EU/USA trade, IP reform, repatriation), and even managed functions like physical security, user interface design and accessibility.
He currently serves as a vp in the corporate architecture group at Oracle reporting to one of Larry Ellison’s EVPs. Before coming to Oracle, he worked for various startups in technical, design, and business roles, as well as for Netscape's Server and E commerce divisions. He holds several patents and professional certifications, serves as an ISO representative for US through ANSI and lectures frequently at conferences and universities. His educational background includes advanced degrees from UTA, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University. He is currently teaching a blockchain challenge lab at UC Berkeley's Engineering School on Mondays and pursuing a distance learning PhD at University of Leicester in his free time. "
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Vladimer advises Fortune 500 brands on digital marketing, social media, AI, robotics, retail, AR/VR and analytics. He is frequently invited to the world's top business schools, conferences, corporate meetings and podcast episodes to deliver his inspiring talks. He is the first international thought leader to achieve ''The Sevenfold Crown'' No. 1 Marketing, Management, Digital Transformation, Retail, Supply Chain, Social Media and Innovation Thought Leadership Ranking by Thinkers 360.
Vladimer is represented as a speakers by the world's top speakers bureaus including Speakers Academy International, Champions Speakers UK, and Las Vegas Speakers bureau. He authored 14 books and achieved bestseller status in Europe. Vladimer has inspired 40 million individuals in 1185 cities and 140 countries. He is followed by more than 125,000 individuals across his social media platforms. Vladimer transforms brands and builds businesses.
Vladimer is a member of CMO Council, IoT Council, IoT Premier League, Global Entrepreneurship Network, XR4ALL, Amsterdam Economic Board - Amsterdam Smart City, Sydney Startup Hub, Smart City World, ResearchGate and D&AD. Vladimer is ranked among Top 400 professionals by Crunchbase. He helps brands, executives, and entrepreneurs see the future differently. He inspires audiences to think outside the box and sets a new standard on how brands maximize their success online. He is a renowned influencer and a frequent visitor to all continents where he is on a mission to make a difference and impact as many business owners as possible.
Mintos is a global marketplace for investing in loans. They work to make investing in loans as common as investing in stocks, ETFs, real estate, or any other major asset class. They are revolutionizing financial services and contributing to financial inclusion on a global scale.The company has raised a total of € 7 million to date from founding four angel investors
As CEO he leads Raisin and takes in particular care of partner bank acquisition, business development, legal and regional expansion efforts. Prior to building and scaling Raisin, Tamaz has spent 10 years with McKinsey & Company, the last 3 years as Principal leading also McKinsey Savings and Investment products Service Line for EMEA countries. He served some of the very largest retail, universal and wholesale banks throughout Europe and in Asia. Tamaz holds a PhD in agricultural economics, graduated with honors in law (both from University of Giessen) and international economics (from Tbilisi State University).
Paul is a 3 time entrepreneur turned global VC. Through the multiple funds he has helped create, he has participated as an investor or advisor in the seed/series A rounds of 200+ companies. This includes holdings in billion dollar companies like Uber, Unity & Zappos. He travels around the world to give lectures on startups and is an advisor to governments on their technology and entrepreneurship policy