Top-tier entrepreneurs, innovators and investors

 Have a look at the IL! 2016 speakers lineup:

Klaus Hommels

Founder & CEO of Lakestar

Klaus is one of the leading European investors and has been involved in numerous successful internet investments including Skype, Facebook, Xing, Spotify and Airbnb. Klaus invests in promising start-ups that have the potential to become major players in the internet space. He was named first among European investors on Forbes Midas list in 2013.

Frank Thelen

Founding Partner of e42

Frank Thelen is a European founder, tech investor and TV personality from ”Die Höhle der Löwen”. He is the founder and CEO of venture capitalist e42 which focuses on seed and early- stage investments. Frank invested in many successful start- ups like Wunderlist, kaufda and Outbank and has been awarded with the Innovate4Society award which was presented to him by Angela Merkel.

Ryan Bubinski

Founder of Codecademy

Ryan has been working on Codecademy since 2011, back when he was a student at Columbia. Codecademy is a free education website, teaching coding interactively to millions of users worldwide. Ryan started building web applications at age 13 and hasn't stopped since, except for an occasional break to practice cooking or enjoy a drink or two with team members and friends.

Boris Wertz

Founder of version one ventures & Board Member at Andreessen Horowitz

Boris Wertz is one of the top early-stage tech investors in North-America and the founding partner of version one ventures. Boris is also a board partner with Andreessen Horowitz. Before becoming an investor, Boris was the Chief Operating Officer of, the world’s largest marketplace for new, used and rare and out-of print books which got sold to Amazon in 2008. Boris joined the company in 2002 after JustBooks, the German company he co-founded in 1999, was acquired by AbeBooks.

Elli Sharef

Co-Founder , HireArt

Elli Sharef, co-founder of the resume-killing jobs marketplace HireArt will share her story this October in Vallendar with us! The Yale-alumni decided to make her childhood ambition come true and founded HireArt with her best friends from university. "The best place to find startup jobs" is Y Combinator-backed and used by tons of business customers including Airbnb, Cisco, eBay, Gap and Facebook.

Shehzad Daredia


Being one of the most successful internet investors and founders, Oliver, together with his brothers, is associated with a number of big names:, Jamba!, Zalando and many more. He is co-founder of...

Pia Poppenreiter

Co-Founder & CEO of

Pia Poppenreiter is CEO and Co-Founder of Ohlala. With her background in finance and business ethics, she feels well-equipped to have a take on the paid dating industry. Ohlala is Pia’s rebellion come to life. She makes it her business to reconsider the world daily, and invites others to do the same.

Azeem Azhar

Vice President of Schibsted Media & Chief of The Exponential View

Azeem Azhar is a pioneer product entrepreneur and tech writer from London, UK who graduated from the Oxford University. In the early part of his career he covered technology at major newspapers such as The Guardian and The Economist. Furthermore, he took a leading part at the BBC and Thomson Reuters in the product, strategy and innovation departments. Most recently he founded PeerIndex, an innovative venture-backed start-up which applied machine learning to large-scale social graphs to make predictions about social web users. Additionally, his current blog “the Exponential View” finds worldwide appreciation amongst top class investors. Also, business insider named him the number 1 person to follow in UK Tech in November 2015.

Kegan Schouwenburg

CEO and Co-Founder of SOLS

Kegan co-founded SOLS in 2013, five years after graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City with a Bachelor in Industrial Design and Manufacturing. At SOLS Kegan developed a software that enables the 3D printing of orthotic customized footwear. Her aim is to revolutionize the market of digital manufacturing providing affordable, accessible mass customization. She was most recently recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2015.

Saygin Yalcin

Founder & CEO of

Saygin is the Founder & CEO of the Middle East’s (ME) first & largest car buying service,, Founder of the first & largest online private shopping club in the ME,, Partner at Jabbar Internet & Group, the largest ecommerce company in the Arab world, with 2500+ employees. He is also Advisory Board Member & Academic Lecturer of Entrepreneurship at the Canadian University of Dubai and has been selected as a UBS Industry Leader, a network of Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals.

Han Jin

Founder & CEO Lucid VR

Han is a serial entrepreneur in the Bay Area of the United States who graduated from UC Berkeley. His passion for startups lead him from his first web-based startup directly out of Berkeley to his first IoT hardware startup on Kickstarter to his first non-profit startup in Y Combinator 2014, and finally to his current endeavor in the Virtual Reality space - Lucid VR. He advised several startups, spoke at multiple conferences and judged Stanford's startup competitions.

Oliver Samwer

Founder & CEO of Rocket Internet

Oliver Samwer is founder and CEO of Rocket Internet and has launched more than 75 companies that operate in more than 110 countries. Inspired by the dot-com boom in the U.S. in the late ‘90s, the Samwer brothers created the German auction site Alando which they sold to eBay after only a few months of operation. That success story was followed by numerous game changing start-ups including Jamba!, Zalando, HelloFresh, Home24 and many more.

Shehzad Daredia


The Wharton graduate is the Co-founder of, a music technology company that creates a home for every song on the internet. Building up a modest team that is collectively motivated to revolutionize the way we discover and share music, his startup is backed by renowned Y-Combinator, SV Angel and LeWeb Founder Loic Le Meur. Shehzad Daredia is a Mentor at The Peter Thiel Foundation and was an early employee at KAYAK and Rho Ventures.

Shehzad Daredia

Founder & CEO -

Shehzad Daredia is the Co-founder of, a music technology company that creates a home for every song on the internet. The company aggregates several popular music services such as Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube and Beats Music into one interface. Building up a modest team that is collectively motivated to revolutionize the way we discover and share music, his startup is backed by renowned Y Combinator, SV Angel and LeWeb Founder Loic Le Meur. The Wharton graduate is also mentor at The Peter Thiel Foundation and was an early employee at KAYAK and Rho Ventures.

Mahesh Ramasubramanian

Founder & CEO of LoomAi

Mahesh has more than 15 years of experience leading visual effects and technology teams in crafting some of the top films of all time, including the Shrek and Madagascar franchises at DreamWorks Animation. Now at LoomAi, he wants to create 3D avatars of every consumer to bring visual identity back into virtual conversations in chat and VR. He holds a Masters in Computer Graphics from Cornell and an MBA from UCLA-Anderson.

Kevin Petrovic

Founder of FlightCar

Kevin is the co-founder of FlightCar, a peer to peer car sharing company built for airport travelers. An entrepreneur since age 13, Kevin dropped out of Princeton University to launch FlightCar, which is now disrupting the car rental market throughout the US. Prior to FlightCar, Kevin ran a successful import/export business that generated over half a million dollars in annual revenue and cofounded a clean water NGO which built over 50 wells in remote villages in India. Kevin was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2015.

Christian Rast

Chief Solutions Officer of KPMG

Christian Rast is KPMGs Chief Solutions Officer and currently leading the Data and Analytics department. Before joining KPMG he worked in various consulting positions as for example Roland Berger. He then founded his own company BrainNet, a consulting firm focussed on purchasing and supply chain management. In his current position he is mainly responsible for the strategical developmentof KPMGs service business.

Fintech Panel

Maximilian Tayenthal

Co-founder & CFO of N26

The Berlin startup N26 aims to revolutionize the traditional banking industry and how people spend, save and send money. After studying law at the university of Vienna he co founded the company in early 2013. After 10 months they reached over 70.000 customers and were backed by Valar Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Axel Springer Plug&Play.

Jörg Rheinboldt

CEO of Axel Springer Plug & Play

Jörg Rheinboldt, CEO Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator Jörg is leading the Accelerator since it started 2013 with Axel Springer and Plug and Play Tech Center, one of the top investor and accelerator in Silicon Valley. They recently announced a partnership with Deutsche Bank to invest in the best fintech and insurtech companys in Europe. Before that he founded his first company “denkwerk” 1994  and was one of the co-founders of Alando which got acquired by eBay where he was responsible for eBay Germany.

Arne Zeising

Co-founder & Head of Engineering of Liqid

During his studies in Hamburg (Nordakademie) and Boston (Harvard and MIT), Arne quickly discovered the huge impact modern technology will have on financial services. Before founding Liqid, he started a digital investment platform called Owlhub. LIQID was established in February 2015 by an internationally experienced five-member founding team. At the core of LIQID is an intuitive digital platform. The company quickly rose to now over 30 employees. As Head of Engineering, Arne is responsible for the development and improvements of technologies at LIQID.We are pleased to welcome Arne at the IdeaLab! and look forward to his participation during our Fintech Panel.

A few of our former speakers

These speakers already shared their story with us!

Kevin Hale

Y Combinator

Robert Gentz & the whole Management Board


Martin Ott


Nazanin Daneshvar

Andy Goldstein

German Accelerator

Maximilian Tayenthal


Rene Reinsberg


Frédéric Mazzella


Stefan Glaenzer

Passion Capital

Dr. Christian Illek


Abhijit De

Global Business Incubation SAP

Rene Obermann

Deutsche Telekom

Omid Scheybani


Josh Miller


Ryan Leslie

Next Selection

Morten Lund


Adora Cheung


Colette Ballou

Ballou PR

Jörg Rheinboldt

Axel Springer Plug & Play

Andreas Wiele

Axel Springer

Sahil Lavingia


Christian Gaiser


Jens Begemann


Christophe Maire


Christian Vollmann


Yali Saar

Tailor Brands

Alexander Ljung


Efe Cakarel

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