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Join world-class founders and funders in an exploration of the frontier markets from Eastern Europe through Central Asia. Hosted at the ancient Silk Road destination Tbilisi, it will showcase Georgia's legendary hospitality and creativity & will provide a welcoming and exciting environment to mingle with brilliant founders and investors and inspiring visionaries in a variety of fields.
With visa-free entry for almost 100 countries Georgia offers a welcoming environment for diverse founders who often do not participate in US and UK events.
This event will draw 1500+ persons and will include highly conducive networking opportunities, extensive exhibits, and talks by some of the hottest and most insightful founders.
Pegasus Tech Ventures
500 Startups Fintech Fund
Parliament of Georgia
Director of Business Development
Founder & CEO
Game Groove Capital
Go Beyond Investing
Founder & CEO
Wave Edge Capital
Head of Corporate Affairs
UC Berkeley Center for Entrepreneurship
Head of Strategic Partnerships
Maslow Capital Partners
Founder & Managing Director
Founder & CEO
Head of Cooperation
Synergy China Funds
Head of Cooperation
EU Delegation to Georgia
The British Embassy in Tbilisi
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia
Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency
Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency
Member of the Supervisory Board
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.
Archil Talakvadze (born January 16, 1983) is a Georgian politician serving as the Chairman of Parliament of Georgia. A member of the Georgian Dream Party, Talakvadze was elected to the Parliament in 2016 through the majoritarian vote from the Western District, Ozurgeti and was a Majority leader until June 25th, 2019 when he was elected as the Chairman of Parliament of Georgia. During the 2012 and 2016 election cycles, Talakvadze served two different positions in the Government - the Vice-Minister of Corrections (Justice) and the Vice-Minister of Interior. Talakvadze is known as a reformist, visionary leader. Behind the Speaker Kobakhidze, he worked on constitutional reform and amendments (2018) changing the governance model and strengthening the institutional democracy of Georgia. Talakvadze led adoption of the new Road Safety Legislation resulting in the 14% decrease of traffic accidents and casualty in a year. Talakvadze led majority owned initiatives on poverty reduction, tax reform, environment and emissions control. Talakvadze endorsed Kakha Kaladze in the 2017 elections and served as the campaign manager for his race for Mayor of Tbilisi. Talakvadze worked on a bipartisan resolution with the opposition condemning the human rights violations taking place on Russian occupied territories of Georgia. Talakvadze is married, with two children
Amrit Dhir leads operations and expansion for Google's global network of physical spaces for entrepreneurs (campus.co). He works with technology startups drawing from his experience in new business development for some of Alphabet's most innovative products and groundbreaking technologies: projects in Google Research (i.e. machine learning, natural language processing, etc.), the Cultural Institute (e.g. Google Art Project), Google[x] (now X), and Google Life Sciences (now Verily). He's also learned from some spectacular failures and a background in law (itself a kind of a failure). Amrit is additionally an angel investor, a regular volunteer, an aimless writer, a dabbler in languages, the Hakeem Olajuwon of Fantasy Basketball, and effectively homeless.
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.
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).
English entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the online sector in Spain and an extensive experience in creating successful companies. In 1997, Michaud founded the company LatinRed, one of the largest providers of internet services in Spanish, and then sold it to StarMedia two years later. During his career, he has founded several companies, including Inlander, which was sold in 2000; Binaria, a successful digital communication agency; and Transword, an online translation company. After 9 years leading the Betfair Iberia team, at the end of 2014 he joined-up with Oscar Pierre to create Glovo.
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.
Brigitte Baumann has been named an angel investor of the year in Europe, served as president of the European Business Angels Network, personally invested in almost 100 companies, and was named one of the Top 50 Women in Startup and VC in Europe. Now she leads Go Beyond, an online angel investing platform.
Zoltan Varga is described in Wikipedia as one of the most significant investors in Hungary. At the beginning of his career he was the Chief Executive Officer of the First Hungarian Venture Capital Fund Management Company and Centech New Hungary Venture Capital Fund.
He is CEO of Central Médiacsoport Zrt., one of the largest media group in Hungary. He founded, together with private and institutional investors, the venture capital company Central-Fund Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt., which now owns HSBC Credit Zrt., has/had a shareholding in Wizz-Air, EME Zrt. and Eispro Kft. from May 2014. Consolidated revenues of the group reached HUF 70 billion in 2014, with a staff of almost 2,000 people. He is founder and CEO of Centrál group which has been operating since 2004 on the Hungarian market. Established as a factoring company, the group has expanded its activities and now is involved also in receivables and property management and financial consulting.
He graduated from the University of Pécs at the Faculty of Economics. During his studies he worked for the Dresdner Bank and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In 1990 he joined the Budapest Stock exchange board and in 1991 the Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), where he first worked in the London and later in the New York office of the company and in Budapest he managed the sales and commercial departments as deputy manager until 2001.
Varga believes wealth also means responsibility, therefore it is important for one to invest into society. He founded a successful mathematics foundation in his home town, Bonyhád and is a devoted supporter of several foundations like Bátor Tábor (Bravery Camp) and Mosoly Alapítvány (Smile Foundation), but he also sponsors Budapesti Fesztiválzenekar (Budapest Festival Orchestra) and Vígszínház (Theatre). At present, he works on a project supporting the talented at mathematics. He is building a mathematics empire on his property near Zirc.
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.
Gail Christine Gannon, Managing Director of Wave Edge Capital and Founder & CEO of Ensanté.
Gail advises entrepreneurs on how to turn their great idea into market success or translate their success into new markets while leaping regulatory hurdles. Her work in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas spans a wide range of products and services, from healthcare improvements to innovative technologies. In 2019, she traveled to advise DTC companies in Sardinia, U.S. angel investors in Bari (Italy), biotech firms in Tokyo, young entrepreneurs in Kuwait, and digital health innovators in Tbilisi (Georgia).
In the U.S., Gail mentors entrepreneurs in market and financing strategies throughout the Silicon Valley ecosystem, e.g. Stanford University’s SPARK and University of California-San Francisco’s Lean Launchpad. Gail routinely presents at major conferences on international biotechnology and digital health, and at investor forums (Health 2.0/HIMSS, BIO International, Keiretsu Forum/Wilson Family Office). Her past work includes helping governments and NGOs (e.g., Gates Foundation projects in India), allocate health dollars to the most promising innovations. Gail earned her master’s degree in public health at Harvard University and was a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow.
Madlene Minassian is a California native who earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) and Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles, making her a proud UCLA Bruin.
She then embarked on an adventure to NYC and eventually landed in Yerevan, Armenia. In 2014 she joined PicsArt, a leading photo editor and social network with over 130 million monthly users.
At PicsArt, she was instrumental in the early years of community development and content programming. As Director of Global Content, she led the Content team, set on creating a relevant experience based on over 1 billion images created each month on the platform. In her current role as Head of Corporate Affairs, her goal is to turn every person she meets into at PicsArt evangelist.
Madlene sits on a number of non-profit boards dedicated to improving health, education, and social conditions for Armenia’s population. She is also an instructor at the American University of Armenia (AUA). Along with her husband, two sons and dog Happy- she spends her time hiking, practicing healthy living, and reveling in service to society.
Ken Singer is a serial entrepreneur, technology executive, university lecturer and investor/advisor to numerous startups. He has been the Managing Director of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley since 2012 and Chief Learning Officer of the Center since 2019. Ken is the co-creator of the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship pedagogy and is the inventor of the game-based Challenge Lab course now taught in several universities around the world. Challenge Lab courses engage local industry leaders and corporations in spinning out student-led startups such as Eko (a medical device for underserved markets). Ken is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has been a guest lecturer at universities in Latin America, Asia and EMEA. He works with governments and universities to foster entrepreneurship education and consults with corporations on product and innovation management. Ken is the Academic Chair of the European Innovation Academy and also the co-founder of the Applied Innovation Institute, a nonprofit that sponsors student competitions and innovation projects around the world.
Yevgen Lisnyak is the Head of Strategic Partnerships, Fintech & Ventures in CIS & South-East Europe (17 markets). His main areas of responsibilities include identifying, support and development high potential partners for Visa in new robustly growing fintech business environment driving cashless economy.
Yevgen joined Visa in 2017 as a Director of Digital Solutions team. In this role at Visa Yevgen successfully managed and launched implementation of transit and smart city solutions in Ukrainian and CIS cities from the scratch. Now Yevgen concentrates on support of neo banks and all types of disruptive fintech companies and fintech ecosystem development in multiple markets.
Yevgen Lisnyak brings to Visa Strategic Partnerships team over 10 years of international experience in IT and consulting gained with leading international companies.
Mr. Lisnyak holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Physics and Mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).
Yann Le Floch is a heterodox investment banker, developer of financial products and business especially in the Blockchain ecosystem. He has worked for BNP Paribas investment banking for more than 10 years, in the derivatives trading floor, in corporate restructuring, strategy and consulting, and in the Blockchain Lab. He evolves today for a financial boutique in the token economy, by advising and financing some startups in the sector, and large companies (banks, funds, industries) and governments (Europe, Asia, Venezuela). In addition, he has been advocating for more than 10 years for the development of the programmable economy and smart money to create new macroeconomic models for democratic, environmental & societal purposes.
Yann is a graduate from Lycée Louis Le Grand and an engineer from Mines Paris PSL, certified Blockchain from MIT, and Sustainable Business from Harvard Business School.
Founder of Borderless Ventures focused on FrenchTech, CEE, and ASEAN startups. Former Managing Partner, Nest Venture Capital. Director at The CryptoAssets Institute, evangelizing the blockchain economy across Europe and Southeast Asia, advising government administrations, corporations, and funds on tokenization.
Serial entrepreneur in digital and ecommerce in the US and Western Europe. 20+ years digital marketing strategy advising Coca-Cola, HP, BP, large banks, airlines and governments. Ethan connects and enables cross-border startup investment and business development between the US, France, Central and Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia…
Steve Adelman has been advising and investing in early stage companies for over two decades.
As the founder and Managing Director of Nexus Partners, a Silicon Valley consultancy, he works
with early stage companies on accelerating revenue and value growth and with Global 500
companies on innovation. Steve has worked with hundreds of startups in dozens of countries.
In addition, he has managed the corporate venture capital investment funds at Reuters, Novell,
and Palm, Inc., has been an individual angel investor and was one of the founding members of
the Wharton Alumni Angels of Silicon Valley and its initial Chair of the Selection Committee.
Steve has been an invited judge for startup pitch competitions in Silicon Valley and in other
Some of the investments he has made include Verisign, Intertrust, and Infoseek at Reuters;
IMLogic as an individual angel (acquired by Symantec, 2006); and he was responsible for
managing the relationship for Novell with Kleiner Perkin’s JAVA Fund.
Steve is responsible for the Venture Initiation Program-SF – the accelerator program at
University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business San Francisco campus, was a mentor in
Steve Blank’s Lean Launch Pad classes at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley,
and led the Lean Startup program at Citrix’s Startup Accelerator.
Other incubators and accelerators where he has been an advisor include Alchemist Accelerator
(San Francisco), US Market Access (Silicon Valley), Plug & Play (Silicon Valley), Yodlee|Envestnet
Incubator (San Francisco), Spain Tech Center (San Francisco), Innovation Next (Cracow, Poland),
and Sirdab Lab (Kuwait).
In addition, Steve is a Director of the Alliance of CEOs, a Bay area membership organization of
top executives. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Greenvolt, an early stage
nanomaterials battery company, and is the Executive Director of the Applied Innovation
Foundation. Steve has a BS from Columbia University (Computer Science) and an MBA from the
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (Marketing and Entrepreneurship); he started his
career at AT&T Bell Labs. Steve served a full tour of duty in the IDF paratroopers.
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.
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.
Founder, CEO Crumbiz & Country Manager Startup Grind Israel - Father, business culture catalyst, Startup ecosystem builder & connector
Experienced Entrepreneur. Shahar has over 20 years of Global startup ecosystem experience. Shahar is the person responsible for putting Israel on the Global Startup Grind map. Today Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting more than 3,500,000 entrepreneurs in over 600 chapters. SG nurture startup ecosystems in 125+ countries through events, media, and partnerships with organizations like Google for Startups.
Crumbiz came about as Shahar realized that networking, emails and forums were not always effective tools to build, manage and leverage Glogal Business Relationships; he has invented a professional platform to both build and leverage global business relationships; thus changing the way we work and live - more coming soon!
Skilled in strategy, management, investor relations. Globally connected professional with a can-do attitude.
Mammad Karim is a serial entrepreneur and investor as well as the founder of the first investment funds for early-stage startups in Azerbaijan, Khazar Ventures and first startup accelerator, SUP Accelerator.
His current portfolio covers start-ups from a number of countries including Ireland, Turkey, Jordan, USA, UK and Belgium. Besides his current investments Mr Karim launched two online media channels and Digital Marketing Institute in Azerbaijan
Moukabary is founder and CEO of Bonify (bonify.de) a Berlin fintech startup helping people benefit from their own financial history and data. They are "a creditworthiness start-up with a vision". The central hypothesis is that customers can use their own credit data to have sellers compete for their business. Early customers are attracted by free credit checks and financial optimization tools.
He has a diverse background including previously serving as CEO at Regis24, Consultant at McKinsey, and helping build peer networks of chief executives through involvement with Young Presidents Organization.
Mr Vincent Rey joined the EU Delegation to Georgia in May 2016 as Head of Cooperation overseeing the entire aid programme.
Mr Vincent Rey graduated from Sciences-Po Paris and holds a Masters from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium as well as an LLM from the University of Strasbourg, France.
Mr Rey joined the EU Delegation from the European Commission where he was Deputy Head
of Unit for Neighbourhood East.
Mr Rey has served in the Commission since 1993 and held positions in Brussels as deputy
head of unit and policy coordinator in the directorate-General for Enlargement and in the
Secretariat- General, as well as in Turkey where he was posted as Head of the Institution
Building and Civil Society section in the EU Delegation.
Eran Lasser is a Senior Advisor for Israeli hi-tech investments at Synergy China Funds.He is focusing on the fund's investments in software companies in various areas such as: Big Data, Enterprise software, Mobile Applications, BI, IoT, Fintech, and more. He is Executive Chairman of Extreme Group and Co-Founder of DAN.IT education. He is Israeli Hi-Tech professional Angel Investor for Start Ups.
Vincent Rey joined the EU Delegation to Georgia in May 2016 as Head of Cooperation overseeing the entire aid programme. He graduated from Sciences-Po Paris and holds a Masters from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium as well as an LLM from the University of Strasbourg, France.
Vincent joined the EU Delegation from the European Commission where he was Deputy Head of Unit for Neighbourhood East. He has served in the Commission since 1993 and held positions in Brussels as deputy head of unit and policy coordinator in the directorate-General for Enlargement and in the Secretariat-General, as well as in Turkey where he was posted as Head of the Institution Building and Civil Society section in the EU Delegation.
Mr Justin McKenzie Smith took up the appointment of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Georgia in August 2016. Previous to this, Justin was Deputy Head of Mission and Director for Trade and Investment at the British Embassy in Mexico City from 2011-2015.
Justin was Deputy Director responsible for the UK’s relations with Russia, the South Caucasus and Central Asia in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2008-2011. From 2004-2008, Justin was the Spokesperson for the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York and a member of the UK’s Security Council team. He also served in the British Embassy in Moscow in the second half of the 1990s.
In London, Justin has also worked on European Union, human rights and press issues. Justin McKenzie Smith joined Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service in 1994 and is a graduate of Oxford and Edinburgh Universities.
Andrew Thornhill, Spotcoin- Andrew is an American businessman who has been working in Georgia since 2007, here full-time since January 2016. He speaks Russian and is actively learning Georgian. His company, Spotcoin, promises to be the future platform for digital currency transactions around the world.
Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.
Nikoloz supervises the following directions at the Ministry: Georgia’s Innovation and technology Agency, Communications, Information and Modern Technologies direction; Investment Policy and Support Schemes.
Nikoloz is a qualified, experienced and responsible professional with more than 20-years of experience in Banking, Finance, International Trade Finance, Consulting, Management and Coordination.
He joined the Ministry team with the 19 years’ experience in the private sector, therefore he used to be called: “voice of the private sector in the government”. He worked for the largest Georgian and International Banks like Bank Republic – Societe Genarale Group, TBC Bank and Bank of Georgia, as Head of Corporate Banking Division and head of Regional Corporate Banking.
Nika is an entrepreneur and futurist himself. He has been involved in numerous private initiatives, mostly as an angel investor oriented on Social Impact Investments; in 2016, together with two friends, initiated and founded LLC Altitude (most daring and ambitious project - Altihut 3014) that is an innovative, Social Impact Investment, executed solely by private investments and with the assistance of forces of universe.
He holds Master Degree form Tbilisi state University in International Economics (2000) and Master Degree in Innovations management form Grenoble Graduate School of Management (GGSB), Grenoble, France (2015). He is married and have three children.
He is enthusiast nature lover, trekker and mountain biker; fan of reading and inspirational toastmaker who manages not to drink.
Avtandil Kasradze, Chairman of the Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency.
Having more than 8 years’ experience in legal field, Avtandil in parallel of all the Agency activities, he has committed in formalizing legal framework of the Agency. Before joining GITA, he was Senior Adviser of the Legal Department at the Chancellery of the Government of Georgia in 2014 and for 2 years Avtandil was Senior Adviser of the Department of Legal Drafting at Ministry of Justice of Georgia.
As for the international experience, Avtandil was an intern in the Council of Europe (Venice Commission) in Strasbourg, France. For one year he was a research assistant at the Academic Department of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University Sweden.
Avtandil Kasradze has a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law at Lund University, Sweden and Bachelor’s Degree of Law at Tbilisi State University, Georgia.
Mariam is a Deputy Chairperson at Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) with 13 years of working experience in public, private sectors, IFI and civil society organizations.
Mariam was awarded as a Woman Leader in Government for her efforts in the process of building innovation ecosystem in the country.
Before joining GITA, she was working at the World Bank in private sector development direction. At the State Ministry for EU and NATO Integration, Mariam contributed in the process of elaborating Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with EU.
She is Phd candidate, working on the topic: Digital Silk Road and the Role of IFIs. She is holding the Master’s Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy and Bachelor’s Degree in IT and Engineering. At the same time obtained the diplomas and certificates from various international institutions (Georgetown University, USA; Charles University, Czech Republic; R. Karl’s University, Heidelberg Germany, DAAD).
Boris Zeleny, a serial entrepreneur and investor in over 70 companies. Before he helped AVG grow into a unicorn, be sold his first business twice. First to Scandinavia online, then to Europe's largest telecom operator, Deutsche Telekom. At AVG he was the key person behind its success. First they bought out all existing investors and then they started its growth journey, using a business model that was revolutionary at the time: 'freemium'. AVG eventually got acquired for $1.4 billion by AVAST. The combined company is today the world's largest consumer security company. He is Chairman of NKB Group. He is a member of several investment committees and holds Board positions in numerous technology companies. Boris is also active in philanthropy and is the founder and Chairman of the non-profit organisation Green Foundation.
Peter Kulloi is an investor and philanthropist.
Péter Küllői began working as an investment banker in Budapest, then in London. In his forties, he retired and returned to his homeland, where he went on to serve as the head of various non-profit and business organizations. Among others, he is currently Chairman of the Bátor Tábor (a recreational program for children with life-threatening illnesses), board member of the Common Purpose Charitable Trust and member of the Tate Foundation's Russian and Eastern European Committee.
CyberSmart is transforming the way that SME's secure themselves and achieve compliance. We're taking away the pain of compliance through intelligent technology that automates and streamlines cyber security management.
The result? The process of meeting requirements and achieving certification to standards such as Cyber Essentials, GDPR and ISO 27001 is faster, cheaper and easier. That's CyberSmart.
Director at Startup Grind London. Founding Partner at IPM Growth, a VC company investing in top tech companies from Central & Eastern Europe. Board member at Matsuko.com, Advisory board at Tachyum.com, Acquisition Committee at Tate (REEAC).
Founder of BrainTrust, a think-tank helping top tech CEOs and founders in Central Europe scale globally. Ex-Orange, ex-Reebok. Marian was featured in New Europe 100 (organised by Financial Times, Google, Respublica and Visegrad Fund), the list of outstanding challengers who are leading world class innovation from Central and Eastern Europe.
Business DevelopmentSee Bio
Startup Grind Tbilisi
Tamar Menteshashvili is a PhD candidate at Shanghai Jiao Tong University with main focus on Blockchain technology and Fintech industry.
She started researching Distributed Technologies in 2014 and since has been an active member of the Blockchain and Crypto industry. She obtained the University of Edinburgh LLM degree in Banking Law and Finance and Free University of Tbilisi bachelor degree in Law. She has been advising number of governmental institutions, including the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan and the National Agency of Public Registry in Georgia, on implementation of Blockchain technology in public services (mainly business and property registration, notary services).
After moving to Asia Tamar founded Blockchain Hub in Shanghai, which is bringing together students, scholars and practitioners in Blockchain and innovation sectors. She is author of publications in academia and media, including Forbes, Ibtimes and Yahoo Finance. In 2018 she was named among 200 Thought Leaders in Crypto and Blockchain Industry.
In 20117 along with her 2 Chinese partners, Tamar founded project EXPREAD, which is an infrastructural solution for operating exchanges on a global scale with common order book and liquidity pool. The project is already supporting the exchanges in their operations and has received VC seed round funding for further development of the product.
Tamar is also very passionate about the education sector. With her colleagues from Georgia, Pakistan and Senegal, she founded organisation Global Education Union with an aim to support young generations in developing countries in receiving education.
She is a member of Global Shapers Community under the World Economic Forum and Asia Operations Manager at lawless.tech.
Vinocorn & Georgian Wine Finder
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Startup Grind Tbilsi
Startup Grind (Beijing / Tbilisi)
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