Speakers at idealab! 2020
Connect with top-level founders, investors and technology-experts at IdeaLab! 2020
Connect with top-level founders, investors and technology-experts at IdeaLab! 2020
Co-Founder & CCO
Jessica Holzbach is the Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer (CCO) of Penta, the digital banking platform for small and medium-sized enterprises and founders. Before co-founding Penta, she had experience as a founder of a start-up in the foodtech sector and as a management consultant for financial institutions and insurance companies. Jessica holds both a bachelor and master degree in management and business law. In 2020, Jessica has been elected by Forbes Magazine in the 30under30 list.
Rasmus Rothe is the co-founder and CTO of Berlin-based Merantix, the world’s first venture studio for AI, and a renowned deep learning researcher.
He has published over 15 academic papers with more than 1000 citations on deep learning while attending Oxford, Princeton, and ETH Zurich, where he received his Ph.D and launched a face recognition service with 150m+ users.
In 2019, he was featured on Forbes “30 under 30”. Rasmus is a founding board member of the German Association of AI, devising and implementing the national AI strategy in close cooperation with the German government.
Founder of Amorelie, Angel Investor, Advisory Board Memeber
Founder of Amorelie, Europe's most successful love-life brand which was sold to ProSiebenSat.1 in 2015. Lea functioned as CEO of Amorelie until 2019. She is an active angel investor, speaker, influencer, and advisory board member.
Lina joined Target Global in 2018 after having worked in product and monetization at ResearchGate, a company aiming to connect the world of science. Prior to ResearchGate, she was an investor at Hasso Plattner Ventures, a fund backed by the Chairman of SAP. Lina began her career as an entrepreneur operating two startups, one of which was acquired by Living Social.
Lina received her Masters in Law and Business from Bucerius Law School and WHU School of Management in Germany, and a B.A. in Philosophy/ Law and Society from the University of California, Riverside.
Unaffiliated (formerly OpenAI, Google Brain, Bridgewater)
Ludwig is a research engineer working on interpretable machine learning. He started his research career at Google Brain, where he collaborated with a team probably best known for the sometimes psychedelic neural network inspection technique „DeepDream“. Until recently he worked for OpenAI‘s Clarity team. Research he has co-authored was featured in articles by Wired, The Verge, and the New York Times.
Ludwig also helped found and now maintains the web-native machine learning journal Distill, at https://distill.pub
Co-Founder & CEO
Before founding Localyze, Hanna studied engineering, lived in 10 different countries and worked at both BCG & PwC. Her goal is to make international relocation accessible for everyone and build bridges between countries. At Localyze, she is responsible for finance, strategy and growth.
Dr. Florian Heinemann is general partner and co-founded Project A in 2012.
Before co-founding the firm, he was managing director at Rocket Internet (2007-2012). During his time at Rocket, he was mainly involved at Zalando, Global Fashion Group, and Spark Networks (aka eDarling/Affinitas). Prior to Rocket, Florian was co-founder and managing director of JustBooks/AbeBooks (1999-2002, exit to Amazon in 2006), co-heading the digital marketing department of Jamba! and the online dating portal iLove (2003-2005, exit to Verisign) and co-founder of the online marketplace antibodies-online.com (exit to Broadoak).
Florian holds a doctorate’s degree in innovation management/entrepreneurship from RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and a master's degree in business administration from WHU –Otto Beisheim School of Management in Koblenz (Germany).
Florian has been an investor and business angel in more than 80 startups including Trivago (seed investor), Zalando (founding investor), Audibene (seed investor), Home24 (founding investor), CityDeal/Groupon (founding investor), Betreut.de/Care (seed investor), ClassPass (early stage investor), Mimi Hearing (early stage investor), Bitbond (seed investor), Lillydoo (early stage investor), and the Code University (seed stage investor). Moreover, he has been a member of several boards, e.g. of Internet Stores and About You.
Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss is Founder and CEO at Dance. Dance is an e-bike subscription service founded with the purpose of having a positive impact on health, sustainability and livable cities. With Dance, you have a state-of-the-art e-bike at your full disposal, without the hassle of buying and owning. The goal of Dance is to spark a global movement built on a connected community of passionate e-bike riders, ultimately making cities more bike-friendly and livable.
Prior to founding Dance, Quidenus-Wahlforss founded SoundCloud in 2007 and served as its Chief Product Officer for 12 years. SoundCloud is the world’s largest open audio platform with over 200 million tracks from 25 million creators heard in 190 countries; what’s next in music is first on SoundCloud.
Quidenus-Wahlforss holds a Master of Science in Industrial Economics from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and studied business at the Stockholm School of Economics.
In addition to his role at Dance, Quidenus-Wahlforss is a father, husband, music-lover and a table tennis player. In his earlier life, he created and performed music under the artist name Forss.
Judith is a Partner at La Famiglia, a European seed stage venture capital fund investing into B2B technology companies that enable or disrupt large industries. She focuses on the future of work, as well as data and ML-driven business models.
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Dr. Josef Vollmayr is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Limehome, a 2018 founded, radically tech-driven hospitality concept. Based on automated back-end processes and a fully digital customer journey, Limehome is able to offer fully-equipped design apartments at prices of standard hotel rooms. The apartments offer more time, more home and more space to its guests.
Its very lean operations allow Limehome to operate a very wide range of properties starting from 10 to 130 rooms in A and B cities but also to expand into cities that have too little demand for larger hotel chains.
Within less than 2 years the company grew to 100 employees, operates around 50 locations in Germany, Austria and Spain and received more than 25 Mio funding from HV Ventures, Lakestar, Picus and GGC.
Previously, Dr. Josef Vollmayr worked for 5 years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company with a focus on growth strategies for consumer industries and private equity. He is author of research articles, lecturer for statistics, CRM and empirical research methods at several universities and invests as a business angel in tech start-ups.
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Sennder is Europe’s #1 digital freight-forwarder platform for Full Truck Loads. With its in-house-developed platform, sennder provides a new level of automation, transparency and efficiency to the European €300 billion road freight market. Sennder’s digital connection to over 7,500 vehicles in all segments allows for almost unlimited capacities, no matter what time of the day. Sennder digitalizes the truckload-shipping ecosystem by providing mobile apps to drivers, fleet management tools to carrier managers and logistics management solutions to shippers. Real-time booking, a designated contact person always on hand, as well as precise live tracking, bring full transparency to any logistics supply chain. By integrating directly with the shippers’ Transport Management and Freight Management Systems via APIs and by cutting the multiple middlemen, sennder increases efficiency and reduces costs for all stakeholders.
Julius Koehler also worked at many other known companies such as McKinsey, Roland Berger, Hugo Boss and Porsche.
Florian Leibert is General Partner at 468 Capital. Prior to 468, Florian founded Mesosphere (now D2iQ). D2iQ is backed with more than $250M by leading investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Microsoft, T. Rowe Price, Khosla Ventures, KDT and more.
Based in Berlin, Mark Spencer Klimmek is active across Egon Zehnder’s Technology & Communications Practice and in Private Equity. His deep experience in digital, e-commerce, and private equity has made him a trusted advisor to family-owned, publicly traded, and private equity-backed companies on leadership, succession planning, and digital transformation. Prior to joining Egon Zehnder, Mark was a Managing Director at German TV broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 with responsibility for building its e-commerce portfolio. Before that, he served as the Managing Director of Westwing Home & Living, a pan-European online furniture start-up, expanding its activities in Russia. Earlier in his career, Mark held the roles of consultant with McKinsey & Company in Munich and Vice President of the technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Mark earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from the European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, Germany and an MBA from the Katz Graduate School of Business of the University of Pittsburgh. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, traveling, live music and theatre performances, and playing an occasional round of golf.
Richard joined N26 in April 2019 as Managing Director of N26 Bank, and in his role, is responsible for the functions of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO).
With decades of experience in the banking and FinTech industries, Richard has overseen operations and business processes, IT and digitization initiatives, and led the implementation of regulatory frameworks across multiple locations worldwide.
Prior to N26, he held the position of Chief Financial and Operating Officer at DVB Bank for 15 years, where he was also a member of the Group Audit Committee. Before that, he worked as a CPA and Consultant for KPMG as well as a Senior Advisor for Financial Advisory services at several leading consulting firms.
Richard is a Chartered Accountant and Master of Change, as well as a Board Member and Investor in Start-ups focused on business/process automation and new technologies.
Sebastian Schaal is Founder at Luminovo, where he is responsible for Business and Product. Luminovo builds software for the electronics industry, making processes for OEMs and EMS more collaborative, data-driven, and automated. He graduated top of his class with an M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from TU Munich and holds an Honours Degree from the CDTM. He obtained his second M.Sc. from Stanford University where he focused on Management Science and Machine Learning. Sebastian worked for Intel and researched on NILM algorithms for the energy sector before transitioning to building software with AI modules, working for the deep tech startups NavVis and Magazino on Computer Vision problems. Besides his technical experiences, Sebastian also worked as a consultant at McKinsey, focusing on IT and data strategy.
Sven Körner is Founder and acting CEO of thingsTHINKING, a software provider that focuses on comprehension and structuring of human language based on artificial intelligence.
Sven was working for several software companies in different teams across the globe. His focus was on business development, partners, and PreSales. He worked with leading vendors such as Salesforce, Amazon, SAP, Microsoft, Google, etc. Moreover, he holds a Ph.D. in software engineering/requirements engineering at KIT, which he received by Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Germany.
Senior Vice President Bertelsmann Investments, Head of Digital Partners
Minoo Zarbafi is Senior Vice President of Bertelsmann Investments and Head of Digital Partners at Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, where she is responsible for managing the group‘s global venture capital activities. Moreover, Minoo is a mentor at the Global Startup Program at Singularity University, USA and mentor at Founders Academy of Founders Foundation. Minoo holds a Dr. rer. pol. (Ph.D.) (Summa Cum Laude) in Responsible Investment and Social Psychology, which she received from the European Business School, Germany.
Julian Lindinger is the Co-Founder of Electry. Founded in 2019, his digital talent service makes finding dream jobs for workers in the electronics/factory mechanics production industry a lot easier.
Lindinger completed his Bachelor of Science degree from WHU in 2019. Recently, his startup was accepted for the newest batch of Y Combinator.
President, Managing Director EMEA
With 20 years of leadership experience in the digital industry, Martin is passionate and a strong vocal advocate of the start-up ecosystem. He has founded his first company in Tokyo right out of university (WHU) and since then built, scaled, and invested into technology-driven companies of different sizes and sectors.
Most recently Martin lead the restructuring of WeWork across Europe, Middle East and Africa - as its President and Managing Director EMEA.
Prior to that Martin was the Vice President and Managing Director Central Europe at Facebook. There he spent seven years building and leading the company’s business across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp in 34 European countries, as well as Africa, Israel, and the Middle-East at times.
Before joining Facebook in 2012, Martin was the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Skrill Group in London (formerly known as Moneybookers and today part of Paysafe Group) – an early p2p and digital payments pioneer and one of Europe’s fastest growing fintech unicorns at the time. Earlier Martin was the COO of Jamba (sold to NewsCorp in 2007) and built the company’s mobile consumer and content distribution business across EMEA, North America, and APAC.
Martin studied International Business Administration at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar/Germany, the Finance Academy in Moscow and Keio Business School in Tokyo. A father of three girls, Martin is passionate about children’s and women‘s rights and education as well as cultural diversity. He supports the board of trustees of betterplace.org and AfriKids, a London headquartered NGO which supports sustainable development projects in Ghana.
Co-founder & CEO
Veronika is founder and CEO of Demodesk, the first intelligent online meeting platform for remote sales teams. Demodesk was part of Y Combinator and just closed a Series A funding round. Before Demodesk, Veronika was a project leader at Bain & Company. She studied Business and Engineering at the TU Munich, the CDTM and the Columbia University of New York.
Sebastian is Founding Partner of Visionaries Club, an early-stage VC fund backed by leading European digital founders and family business entrepreneurs. Prior, Sebastian co-founded and led AMORELIE, which he successfully grew to > USD 60m revenue, >20% EBITDA and a team of 100 employees. AMORELIE was sold to ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE in 2018.
Prior to AMORELIE, Sebastian worked as a VC for e.ventures in San Francisco and studied at WHU, St. Gallen, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and Northwestern University / Kellogg School of Management.
Sebastian sits on the board of the German Startup Association and Founders Pledge.
Co-Founder & CEO
Mike is a graduate of WHU and University of Southern California. He gathered experience in the startup world at companies like Uber and Stripe before diving into building his own companies. In 2019 he Co-founded Blair, an organization based in Silicon Valley that finances college students through income share agreements.
Tim Rehder joined Earlybird in January 2018, to further build out the fund’s footprint in the Fintech sector, with a particular focus on Blockchain-based early-stage companies. Tim is a Partner in Earlybird’s Digital West Fund.
''Tim is an early Bitcoin adopter and strong Blockchain advocate. He founded a European based Bitcoin exchange and led the company as a CEO for around 4 years. Prior to founding Cubits, Tim worked as a CFO in Asia in a Social Gaming Venture and worked in the Investment Banking Division (M&A) at Jefferies & Company. He further completed various internships in Financial Consultancy and assisted within several consulting projects at Medium-sized German electrical engineering firms. Tim studied International Business at the University of Maastricht and holds an MSc in Finance from the University of St Andrews, where he specialized his studies in Financial Econometrics.''
Max started his career in banking before starting a marketplace business (with a WHU graduate) which he sold after scaling it to 20k monthly active users. He's now investing with Global Founders Capital out of Berlin, both covering DACH & San Francisco. He invested in 5 companies in the last 18 months and sits on investor boards with funds like General Catalyst, Foundation Capital or Storm Ventures.
CEO & Co-Founder
Jochen Engert is CEO and Founder of FlixMobility where he is responsible for the FlixBus Corporate Development & Strategy as well as Human Resources.
Prior to launching FlixMobility with the brand FlixBus, Jochen worked as a Strategy Consultant for Boston Consulting Group in Munich, Germany, where he met André Schwämmlein, future FlixBus Co-Founder. Inspired by the deregulation of the German bus market, Jochen, André and IT specialist Daniel launched FlixBus in 2013; today, FlixBus has become a global mobility provider with 400,000 daily connections across 30 countries.
Jochen was born in 1981 close to Würzburg, Germany. He studied Business Administration with technical and financial orientation at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Ottawa. He currently lives in Munich, home of the FlixBus European headquarters.
Executive Vice President
Alexander von Schirmeister has been SumUp's EVP for Europe since September 2019, in charge of the company's international expansion and business development.
With significant experience in strategic positions, he has acquired a strong expertise in marketing and management. During his career, he worked for 10 years in senior management positions at eBay, including as Vice President EMEA in charge of international expansion and business development and as a member of Facebook's UK customer advisory board. Prior to joining SumUp, he held the position of Head of Digital, Technology and Innovation at electronic retailer RS Components.
Founding Partner & Managing Director
Robin Godenrath is Founding Partner & Managing Director of Picus Capital. Picus Capital is an early-stage technology investment firm with a focus on Real Estate, Finance & Insurance, Human Resources, Renewable Energy, Mobility, and Health. At the core of their business is the empowerment of entrepreneurs with daring yet promising ideas, in order to build global technology firms challenging the status quo and shaping tomorrow. With over 50 investments since being founded in 2015, they have accelerated the growth of numerous businesses with their long-term investment focus. Before building a business of his own, Robin worked as a consultant at McKinsey.