Meet top-level founders, investors and technology-experts at IdeaLab!
Just before his senior year, Josh left Princeton University to build Branch, which Facebook bought in January 2014. At Facebook, Josh oversaw the development of new consumer-facing products and features. He was also a part-time Venture Partner at Betaworks, an early-stage investor in technology companies. Since September 2015, Josh is serving as the White House's first Director of Product. Originally from Santa Monica, CA, he now lives in Washington D.C., after spending four years in New York City and London.
Christian is a German serial-entrepreneur and one of the most active angel investors in Germany. He is also an advisory board member of the Federation of German Startups. He was one of the very first employees and Alando which was acquired by eBay in 1999 and Jamba! which was acquired by Verizon in 2005.
Christian is the founder of MyVideo and iLove, an online dating plattform.
In 2014 Christian invested in ResearchGate, a social network for scientists. Today he's working as the head of sales at Research Gate.
Jörg studied business administration at the University of Cologne. In 1994 he founded together with its partners, the multimedia agency denkwerk new media Holding AG. As Managing Director at denkwerk he oversaw clients such as Henkel, Oppenheim, Ritter Sport and the Chamber of Commerce of Cologne.
In February 1999, he and five friends (including Oliver Samwer and Michael Brehm) founded the alando.de AG. In the summer of 1999, eBay Inc. acquired alando and Jörg devoted himself as managing the construction of eBay Germany.
Today, Jörn is managing director at APX, the Accelerator of Axel Springer and Porsche. Before that he managed the former accelerator of Axel Springer, Plug and Play.
Born in Germany to Iranian parents, Omid is a California resident and in charge of Google's strategic cloud computing partnerships throughout Latin America. Having joined Google in 2009, right after obtaining his Bachelor degree from the European Business School (EBS), Omid has gained a reputation for his inspirational attitude towards life.
He is the co-founder of the lifestyle portal MOSAIC as well as a frequent traveler who has pioneered the art of "World Culture Storytelling" through Instagram. On his blog "The Positude" he regularly publishes thought-provoking essays that are at the intersection of life, leadership and happiness.
Since pioneering the idea of BlaBlaCar in 2004, Fred has led the company to become the world’s largest long-distance carpooling community. As a branding and communications enthusiast, Fred has built a global brand whilst relentlessly spreading the word about the virtues of carpooling. Fred carries BlaBlaCar’s vision of a people-powered travel network enabled by trust and technology, and is passionate about high social impact solutions. As a regular speaker at leading international conferences and in the media, Fred sheds light on the fast changing mobility landscape, entrepreneurship, global marketplaces and building trust in online communities.
Prior to founding BlaBlaCar, Fred held the role of scientific researcher at NASA (USA) and NTT (Japan). He holds an MBA from INSEAD, a Masters in Computer Science from Stanford and a Masters in Physics from Ecole Normale Supérieure (France). Fred is also an accomplished classical pianist.
Philipp is the head of AngelList Europe and advisor for 500 startups. He is an expert in venture capital and works with a wide network of business angels and investors.
Philipp helps startups raise money and, thanks to his extensive network, to connect them with the right people at the right time. Previously, he was principal at famous seed round fund Seedcamp London, where he was responsible for managing the network of investors and mentors. He was also an investment manager at DuMont Venture and co-founded the Pirate Summit, another top-class startup conference.
At Mesosphere, which is based in San Francisco, Florian develops the most advanced operating system for data centers and cloud computing, working together with companies like Google and Amazon.com. Although founded only four years ago, Mesosphere has grown to a multi-billion dollar company raising over 120M$ from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Previous to founding his own startup, Florian worked as a software engineer at Airbnb and Twitter and was substantially responsible for building the technical basis, which enabled the companies' fast growth and scalability.
Cedric is Principal Applied Scientist for Machine Learning and the scientific lead of the EU Core Machine Learning organization at Amazon. His work enables engineering and data science teams across the company to deliver a wide range of machine learning-based products, including customer-facing services part of Amazon AI.
Cedric’s long-term goal is to create machine intelligence, which he is exploring through the lens of Bayesian optimization and meta-learning for deep learning. Furthermore, Cedric holds a visiting position in the Centre for Computational Statistics and Machine Learning at UCL University College London.
Alex co-founded SoundCloud in 2007 and serves as its CEO and Managing Director. He has a background as a post-production sound designer and motion film music producer. In 2017, Soundcloud collected $170 Million from investors which and has a total funding amount of $500 Million. He holds an M.Sc. degree within Media Technology from The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and also studied Marketing & Business Development at the Stockholm School of Economics.
Nazanin is the most highly acclaimed female Iranian internet entrepreneur known to date. She is the founder and CEO of Takhfifan, Iran's first and leading group-buying website. In addition, she is the founder of Tarinan, a popular local reviews website and mobile phone application.
Apart from her professional role, she is an active supporter of the Iranian start-up movement, where she strongly encourages leadership among women. She has been a speaker at numerous conferences, acted as mentor at many prominent start-up and technology events and has been featured in the international media. Prior to Takhfifan, she has worked at numerous e-commerce companies as a software developer in Iran, the UK and Germany.
Maximilian, born in Vienna, studied Business Administration, International Management and Law in Vienna, Rotterdam and Paris. In 2013 he co-founded N26 and serves at it`s CFO. N26 raised $160 Million in 2018 which results in a total funding amount of $213 Million. Now, N26 is one of the most valuable startups in Europe.
Maximilian is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder. Before founding N26, he worked as a strategy consultant with Booz & Company, as assistant to the CFO in an Austria's largest insurance company, and gained experiences in Corporate/M&A in a law firm.
Steli has been an entrepreneur since the age of 17. He grew up in Germany and, from one day to another, he decided to buy a one-way ticket to San Francisco to build a startup in Silicon Valley. Steli is now CEO and co-founder of Close.io, a 7-figure SaaS CRM. The Y-Combinator backed company helps companies boost their sales. At the same time, he became a ‘Sales Master’ who writes books, publishes blog posts, gives lectures and runs courses on the subject.
Kevin is the founder and CEO of Spectacle. He's also a part-time at Y Combinator, which provides seed funding to startups. He works with their portfolio of companies on user experience design, product development and customer support. In 2006, he co-founded Wufoo, which was one of the earliest Y Combinator funded startups. The online form builder was ranked by Jakob Nielson as one of the best application UIs of 2008 and later acquired by SurveyMonkey in 2011.
Adora is currently a partner at Y Combinator. She previously served as the CEO and Co-Founder of Homejoy Inc. and was on the Board of the Homejoy Foundation. Prior to Homejoy, Adora worked at Slide (acquired by Google) as a lead Product Manager where she had the opportunity to learn about startups.
When Adora left Slide to start her own company she joined forces with her brother Aaron Cheung to form Pathjoy, a startup connecting life coaches to clients online. With Pathjoy the duo were accepted to the Y-Combinator, a prestigious incubator in Mountain View. After two years the duo founded Homejoy in July 2012 and since then Adora has successfully grown the Homejoy team from just her and her brother, to a team of over 120 employees and platform that serve hundreds of thousands of households in over 30 cities across the US, Canada, UK, and Germany.
Julian studied business administration at WHU, Georgetown University, as well as in Aix-en-Provence. He started his career in 1994 at OC&C Strategy Consultants. In 1996 he became Head of Finance / Controlling of Steilmann Group. After assignments as Head of M&A / Investor Relations at Pixelpark AG and CFO at Venturepark AG, he returned to Steilmann Group as CFO in 2001. Julian joined Axel Springer in 2004. After serving as CFO of Axel Springer International, he became Head of Group Controlling / Corporate Development.
In January 2014 Julian was appointed as member of the Executive Board of Axel Springer SE and took over as Chief Financial Officer in April 2014.
Ferry is a serial-entrepreneur and investor from Berlin. In December 2009 he and his brother Fabian founded DailyDeal – the first European couponing portal which they sold to Google after 22 months. In early 2013 Fabian and Ferry repurchased their company from Google and used the nucleus of DailyDeal to build Heilemann & Co (Sales, Recruiting, M&A, Marketing Agency for Internet Startups) and conduct a majority investment in pepperbill.com (iOS based POS System for Restaurants). After turning DailyDeal profitable they sold all businesses in 2015 to make room for one new Company, which is FreightHub. Ferry is leading FreightHub, the digital Freight Forwarder for the 21st century, as co-founder and CEO.
Since 2011 Fabian and Ferry Heilemann are also active early stage VC-investors in Europe through their VC Firm Heilemann Ventures. They conducted 25 direct investments until end of 2015 and exited 6 companies. In April 2016, Heilemann Ventures merged with Earlybird Venture Capital. Together, both firms offer a strong value-add to their portfolio companies derived from the combination of a hands-on entrepreneurial track-record with and strong capital supply.
After having graduated from WHU in 1998, Oliver founded several companies together with his brothers Alexander and Marc. The first one was the online auctioning site Alando, which was acquired by eBay only a few months after its start for $50 million. After the sale Oliver served as CEO of eBay Europe before he went on and founded Jamba!, which was acquired by Verisign for $270 million in 2004.
Since 2006, Oliver engaged in numerous investments, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Groupon, Zalando, Funding Circle and Lazada. In 2007, he co-founded Rocket Internet and took the company public in 2014. Rocket Internet incubates and invests in technology companies with proven business models. Rocket’s active portfolio spans more than 100 companies on six continents.
Saygin is the Founder & CEO of the Middle East's (ME) first & largest car buying service, SellAnyCar.com and the Founder of the first & largest online private shopping club in the ME, Sukar.com. Sukar.com has been acquired by Souq.com, making him Partner at the Souq.com and Jabbar Internet Group, becoming the largest ecommerce company in the Arab world, with 3000+ employees. In its largest acquisition outside the US to date, Amazon.com has acquired Souq.com Group.
Fortune magazine (mag) named Saygin in the 40 under 40 list, as one of the most influential young people in business, Entrepreneur mag ME awarded SellAnyCar.com, with Saygin at its helm, as the "Fastest Growing Company in the ME", while the National newspaper sees it among a handful of tech companies to "have the potential to break the $1bn barrier".During the World Government Summit, HH Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed, Minister of Interior of the UAE, presented Saygin as an inspiring story for the country.
Morten is a serial entrepreneur based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has founded or co-invested in more than 100 high-tech startups in the last 15 years. These include Skype, ZYB, Polar Rose (facial recognition), Bullguard, Tradeshift, AirHelp and itembase.
Morten has a particular interest in Financial Tech companies. His most notable venture being Tradeshift and later Capital Aid. After seeing first hand the effects of the economic downturn, Lund sees finance as an industry ripe for disruption.
Tradeshift's most recent round raised $75 million. Lund stays composed and grounded to his startup roots. He works tirelessly on the onlyXO network of companies. His portfolio has an interesting blend of finance, consumer protection, commerce and social companies. The exciting fundXO venture which aims to bring finance to the startup ecosystem is launching soon.
Grammy nominated recording artist, multi-platinum producer, and avid technologist.
Ryan is the architect and ultimate case study for SuperPhone, Disruptive Multimedia (DMM)'s simple CRM for creators. In addition to logging studio time with Madonna, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Beyoncé, he launched the first internet pop star Cassie, who sold over 650K albums fueled by an aggressive pre-Twitter social media campaign on MySpace. Bravely opting to remove his latest album from iTunes, he used an inbound SMS campaign powered by SuperPhone to earn over $560K in D2C revenue from just 15K fans, a 4x multiple of royalties received on his major label debut which sold 180K copies. He holds a BA in Government from Harvard.
Frank is a European business angel, serial founder, investor and TV personality. Since 1994, Frank has founded seven technology companies and his products have reached more than 200 million consumers in over 60 countries.
As of 2010, Frank has invested in a growing number of startups, such as Lilium Aviation, Wunderlist (acquired by Microsoft) or mytaxi (acquired by Daimler AG). He is also a founding member of early-stage-focused venture capital firm Freigeist (formerly e42). Since 2014 Frank also serves as a judge and investor on the famous TV show "Die Höhle der Löwen" - the German equivalent of "Shark Tank".
As Managing Director Central Europe at Facebook, Martin is responsible for the development of Facebook’s business in the region Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux and Eastern Europe.
Prior to joining Facebook in 2012, Martin built one of Europe‘s fastest growing payment unicorns as the Co-Chief Executive Office of Skrill Group in London. With 30M users, Skrill (formerly known as Moneybookers) was an early pioneer in offering global money transfer services. From 2003 to 2007, he was the COO of Jamba.
Martin studied International Business at WHU, the Finance Academy in Moscow and Keio Business School in Tokyo. Martin is passionate about children’s and women‘s rights and education as well as cultural diversity. He supports the board of trustees of AfriKids, a London headquartered NGO which supports sustainable development projects in Ghana.