Muuse was awarded the $15K Innovation Grant and Finclude was awarded the $5K Impact Grant.
McKeever “Mac” Conwell II
McKeever “Mac” Conwell II is a software engineer by trade and was a former DOD contractor with a top-secret clearance. He was a two-time founder with an exit and a failure. Next Mac moved on to the venture capital world via the Maryland Technology Development Corporation as part of their Seed Investment Team.
During his four years there, Mac amassed experience leading an initiative to create the Minority Business Pre-seed Fund, the first and only, at the time, state-backed pre-seed fund for women and minorities in the country. The program institutionalized the friends and family round for black-, women-, and minority-led startups and was subsequently funded long-term by the state of Maryland. In September 2020, Mac founded RareBreed VC, a pre-seed fund that invests in exceptional founders outside of large tech ecosystems.
For over 30 years, Robert Garber has invested in, advised and led early-stage healthcare and technology companies, co-managing three venture funds and holding leadership positions with three high-growth companies. Robert is currently a Partner at 7Wire Ventures, a preeminent venture capital firm that invests in early-stage digital health companies supporting an “Informed Connected Health Consumer” - the epicenter of a consumer-first, tech-enabled convergence of the health and wellness markets. Fund successes, such as Livongo Health, are due in large part to the team’s experience as both seasoned operators and investors with extensive industry experience. As highly selective investors, the firm works side-by-side with founders to build companies at scale that change the status quo and empower consumers to be better stewards of their health.
Damilola Thompson is Vice President and Co-Director of EchoVC Partners and has over a decade of experience investing and supporting entrepreneurs improving quality of life and solving frictions in emerging markets.
Dami has core competencies leading Venture Capital and Private Equity transactions and leads the corporate development arm at EchoVC as a director. In her years of experience, she drove seed and early-stage financing transactions in startups across geographies and sectors – TMT sectors, Financial services sector, Healthcare sector, etc.
Ms. Thompson is passionate about startups and venture financing and providing early-stage companies with much needed mentorship required for scaling. She has graduate degrees from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and University of California, Berkeley. She has also completed various post-graduate courses including the Kauffman Fellows Academy course on Venture Capital. She is a co-founder of Ventures Dialogue, a non-profit platform that connects entrepreneurs with investors alongside other resources to help them build sustainable businesses; the Sponsorship and Partnership Lead for Rising Tide Africa; and a part of the leadership team of the SingularityU Lagos Chapter.
Kate Brodock is a Founding Partner of the W Fund and CEO of Women 2.0, a global brand for gender equity and inclusion in the tech industry. Women 2.0 has catalyzed over $91m in funding to women-led startups, provided programming for women at any stage in the industry, and engaged with numerous firms and companies to promote internal diversity and inclusion. Kate is a regular speaker, appearing on stages at SXSW, 15 Seconds, Collision Conference, Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored, and Techstars. She has been featured in the Washington Post, TechCrunch, Al Jazeera, and MSNBC, and she's a contributor for Forbes.com.
Marie Rocha has 20-plus years of experience in business and technology as a software engineer and serial entrepreneur. She is the founder of Realist Ventures, an ACT-based venture fund investing in early-stage SaaS, cloud, mobile and biotech startups with diverse teams solving scalable problems. Before her foray into venture capitalism, she founded and managed IMAK Software, a startup building software and platforms for small businesses and nonprofits.
Marie is a champion of women entrepreneurs and one of HAYVN Hatch/Launch’s founders, a quarterly women-centric incubator and pitch event to support women founders seeking funding, exposure, marketing and growth. In 2020, she co-founded The 99 Problems Super PAC for GenZ and millennials’ civic engagement. She has served on several startups and nonprofit boards (Greenwich Academy, Shipsi, HAYVN, Vest, StamfordNext, James Vick Foundation, Rise2gether, Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich), supporting entrepreneurs and children.
Shannon, CEO at 5GCatalyst Technologies, and the IKIGAI Group, has made her mark in the tech world building businesses [ORAMI/ MOXY, Lazada, PPTVThailand] and driving the ecosystem through tech investments [Currently Advisor at Gobi Partners Venture Capital, Shark Tank Thailand, and SuperAngels network in Thailand] in Southeast Asia. She is no stranger to the business world and global conferences, often seen at notable tech, impact & sustainability, government events and interviews across the world, such as the United Nations, Davos, Techcrunch, Slush, Fortune, and CNN. She was also named Winner in UN Women’s National WEPs Award in the Leadership as part of her work in advancing the economic empowerment as well as increase opportunities and mentorship for women.
From banker to tech entrepreneur, Lehman Brothers to her current role at 5GCT, she strives to drive impact through technology at a global scale, starting with Thailand. 5GCT’s mission is empowering stakeholders: citizens, businesses and governments, in communities through co-creation and engagement, via blockchain with the over-arching goal of furthering economic strength and sustainability. 5GCT was recently showcased in Davos 2022 at the 25 + 5 Cities Program with UNGSII and is an official partner of UN Habitat in UN SDG Goal #11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Mother of twins, she is a mover and a shaker, deeply connected in sectors of Government, Technology, Business, Media, UN SDGs, and Social Development for Equality and Education in Southeast Asia.
Ben has over 20 years of experience advising companies in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors. He has worked with leading pharma, MedTech and diagnostic companies on equity and debt financings, merger, and acquisition transactions. In addition, Ben has advised dozens of smaller life science companies on partnership and licensing agreements with leading global companies.
Prior to pHpartners, Ben held leadership roles as a senior Life Science investment banker for Ernst & Young, BofA Merrill Lynch, and Pacific Growth Equities in San Francisco.
Chinedu Enekwe is the general partner at Passbook Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in US immigrants building tools for the future of commerce for the next generation of internet users.
Prior to Passbook, he was a principal at the top quartile pre-seed & seed fund, Exponential Creativity Ventures and managed AffinitiVC, an investment syndicate & consulting firm deploying over $15M since 2017. He co-founded the first immigrant accelerator, tiphub, in US in 2014 and has invested in startups for 9 years with 5 exits invested in leading companies like Lyft, Koji and Emerge with follow-on and co-investors of Greylock Partners, Andreesen Horowitz, Techstars, Capital G and Vulcan partners.
He is also an executive producer of weekly show, Tea Time, on Black Enterprise the #1 Black media publication, co-producer of Africa’s largest tech conference, AfricaNXT/SMW Lagos. Additionally, he also co-produces the Venture The World podcast and the Future of Money conference. He’s a Moonshot Fellow of the Kravis Lab for Social Impact, founding member of the Forbes Impact Community and serves on the advisory board of Impact Entrepreneur Magazine.
In Chinedu’s previous professional experience, he led emerging market investment manager, Xcellon Capital, serving as investment director, raising and managing $25 Million of assets from institutional and high net worth investors, after holding positions in infrastructure advisory at the World Bank and OPIC, investment banking at Merrill Lynch and fund formation and corporate securities law at Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Danielle D'Agostaro is the Principal Partner at WV Ventures, a $100M VC joint venture between Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn, Johnson Controls, and Northwestern Mutual. Danielle is an experienced operator with a demonstrated history in early stage startup investments.
Sara has over 15 years of investment and credit experience, including fifteen years providing growth capital to technology companies. She is currently responsible for Horizon Technology Finance’s business development efforts in the Southwest and Midwest technology markets.
Previously, Sara was with CIBC where she advised its leadership on growth strategies, established its Innovation Banking Platform in Austin, and sourced credit opportunities in the South. Prior to that, Sara served as a managing director with Wells Fargo Technology Finance, where she led a team that provided financing solutions to sponsor-backed middle-market software companies.
Over her combined career, Sara has supported the growth of hundreds of technology companies by providing tailored debt capital. Sara is an angel investor, mentor, and active member of the startup community. She enjoys hiking, boxing, and really misses traveling.
Igor Nishimura’s Ikigai is to democratize access to learning, creation and self-expression through entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, helping people to understand how business, investment and culture/essence work, interconnect and impact our lives, so that everyone can make better decisions and accomplish their life objectives/purposes.
Igor holds a Bachelor’s degree from EAESP-FGV with major in Corporate Finance & International Management, a CEMS MSc in International Management @ ESADE Barcelona and @ HEC Paris, an Executive Education @ Harvard Business School with focus in Private Equity and Venture Capital and an Executive Education @ Singularity University.
Currently, Igor is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ MAGNET Venture Capital (Proprietary Impact Investment Structure), Co-Founder & Board Member @ Kodo Interactive & Groove.Tech (EdTech), Co-Founder & Board Member @ Academy FW|10 (Venture Builder), Shareholder @ AUDEN Educação (EdTech) and Investor & Board Member @ CBKK (Socio-environmental Impact Investment with initial focus in the Amazon Rainforest).
In terms of Philanthropy, Mr. Nishimura was a Latin America Philanthropy Circle Member @ SYNERGOS and a Founding Member @ NEB (Nikkey Empreendedores do Brasil). He is currently a Board Member @ INSTITUTO BKK.
Now Co-Founder of Venture for Africa, an immersion program and talent community designed to enable experienced local and global non-engineering talent to transition into the African startup ecosystem, Tobi Lafinhan began his career with a pivot from Civil Engineering. He joined a tech startup in Lagos focused on building and scaling community-driven recycling programs.
This led Lafinhan to a four-year stint at MEST Africa, an international non-profit that recruits, trains and invests in aspiring African software entrepreneurs.
At MEST, Lafinhan was brought on as hire #2 to support the launch of a new incubator, then went on to run operations for the Nigeria office, and eventually spearheaded recruitment across the organisation.
Lafinhan led and managed recruitment processes and funnels in 5 key African markets, recruiting founders across 11 companies eventually backed by $1.1M in seed funding.
Lafinhan's most recent leap has been to pursue his passion for finding and recruiting talent by co-founding a startup called Venture for Africa where they're bridging talent gaps for Africa's high-growth tech startups through a fellowship program designed to immerse top global talent in the African startup ecosystem.
Bruce Hamilton is the Co-founder / General Partner of Mech Ventures. He is passionate about using his entrepreneur experience, aesthetics, marketing, and creative background to develop brands and help them scale.
Bruce previously served as the CEO of Wing Zero Apps (formerly known as Doly) and Chief Marketing Officer at House of Glue, an art e-commerce brand, which was acquired in 2020.
Prior to his founding of Mech Ventures, he was the Founder of CrwdBoost, a social media marketing platform with a client roster including Spotify, Hilton Hotels, Reebok, and numerous notable brands. He was also the Founder & CEO of Samurai Entertainment, a talent management firm representing artists, producers and songwriters. Bruce also worked at Epic Records as an A&R where he worked with artists such as Travis Scott, Fifth Harmony, and several others.
Bruce and his work has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Complex, Black Enterprise, Fader, Buzzfeed, Vibe Magazine, The Verge, AfroTech, The Independent, Rolling Out Magazine, and more.
Gaurav works with Advanced Innovation at Philips Healthcare. He is interested in building intelligent systems (Human+AI) in medicine and healthcare. He works on solving problems and challenges during design and development of intelligent HealthTech for patients, provides, and payers.
Gaurav has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from University of Pittsburgh, where his dissertation was on designing interactive methods for Natural Language Processing on Clinical records. He has served a reviewer for several Biomedical Informatics conferences and journals. He is also the founder of the meditation club at Pitt and continues to teach workshops for university students.
Sarah is a former education startup founder with 16+ years of experience scaling innovative education programs/schools, coaching founding teams of EdTech Startups globally, and investing in future-of-learning/future-of-work companies (seed-Series C).
Previously, Sarah was a member of the startup operations teams within organizations dedicated to educational equity such as The KIPP Foundation, GreatSchools.org, and The Fulbright Teaching Fellowship. In 2006, she founded an education company in Shanghai, China and grew that business over four years, eventually exiting. She has since leveraged my experiences in US and East Asian education markets to launch international preK-12 programs, coached Stanford MBA students, and helped grow a network of Montessori schools around the world.
Today, Sarah invests in education/edtech and future-of-work companies with Peak State Ventures and advises early stage startups with EdVentures International Group. She completed her Bachelors of Economics at Mills College and her Masters of International Education Policy at Harvard University and currently resides in Oakland, CA.
Uche Aniche is a tech and business innovation leader, an Angel Investor and an emerging Africa focused Fund Manager with over two decades experience in business communication, process design, Startup & Innovation management, Product development and Community Leadership.
He's arguably the foremost advocate for Startup/Entrepreneurship Ecosystem development in Nigeria with special focus on the South-South/South-East through #StartupSouth has helped founders raise $Millions across Nigeria. He is the CEO of Havilah & Hills Innovative Systems Limited, Convener of #StartupSouth—a Startup & Innovation Community/Project inspiring the next generation of high scale founders in Nigeria’s South-South/South-East regions. He is also a Director at SSE Angel Network, Communications Director at Imo Economic Summit Group, and General Partner at Rebel Seed Capital.
Jane van Dis
Jane van Dis, MD, is an Ob Hospitalist for OB Hospitalist Group and is Assistant Professor at the U of Rochester. She is Co-Founder of Equity Quotient a consultancy for equity analytics in healthcare and beyond. She co-founded OB Best Practice in partnership with OBGProject an online eBook for ObGyn. She is Co-Founder of TIME'S UP Healthcare; she co-admins the non-profit OB Mom Group – a group of 5300+ women ObGyns. She advises multiple health care startups, a health tech incubator in London, and is a Lead for the FemTech Fund II at Portfolia. Dr. van Dis is a national expert and speaker on equity in healthcare and she is a single mom to twins Brooklyn and Miles. Follow her on Twitter: @janevandis.
Kenneth is the CEO/CIO at Ortus Africa Capital where he provides leadership and strategic oversight to harness investment into and finding capital for entrepreneurs and businesses to drive Africa’s growth. Kenneth oversees The 97Fund a venture investment vehicle managed by Ortus Africa Capital.
Prior to founding Ortus Africa Capital, Kenneth was a financial advisor and management consultant at Deloitte, initially in the UK and then in East Africa, based in Uganda where he advised on a number of assignments including the formation and fundraising for an agribusiness private equity fund domiciled in Uganda which achieved a $20m close.
Kenneth has co-founded and invested in companies including ventures in fintech/e-commerce, research and data analytics, transport & logistics, energy & infrastructure. Kenneth likes working with and supporting entrepreneurs and businesses to grow. He is also the Co-Founder of the Kampala Angel Investment Network (KAIN), a platform that prepares and matches early stage entrepreneurs to angel investors locally and globally.
Adriana Tortajada Narváez
Pioneer in the design and launch of public and private programs promoting the entrepreneurial and venture capital ecosystem across Mexico, US, Latin America and Europe, with the purpose of triggering the cross-border opportunity. Recognized as a leading woman in alternative assets and high impact entrepreneurship in LATAM region.
Since January 2022, Adriana is the CEO and Managing Partner of the Twelve Hundred VC ("1200 VC") Fund, an early-stage investment platform that invests in fund managers and founders shaping the future of humanity. Its focus is on seeking transformative technologies and regional value creation, which will accelerate a positive impact on the planet and society.
Adriana is a member of Class 16 of the Kauffman VC Fund Managers Program (Kauffman Fellows Program). KFP's mission is to develop the world's next generation of Venture Capital leaders. She completed his Bachelor's Degree in Finance at the University of Guadalajara (1999), and his Master's Degree in Public Administration at the Ortega y Gasset University Institute in Madrid, Spain (2002). In 2009, he completed the "Open Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship" program at the University of California, Berkeley Hass School of Business. In 2006, she was recognized as one of the 30 professional promises in her 30 years in Mexico, a classification by the EXPANSIÓN business magazine ("30 promises in their 30s") and in 2017 she received the "Successful Trajectory Award" from the AMEXCAP (Mexican Private Equity Association) and was recognized as "The Scholar of the Year" of the MOB Scholarships, an association of recognized excellence that contributes to the development of Mexico through the support of postgraduate higher education and the promotion of its graduates. She has been a mentor, speaker, panelist and jury member on entrepreneurship, innovation, impact and investment initiatives in America, Europe and Asia, for almost two decades.
Macarena Liu has worked with entrepreneurs in roles as mentor, angel investor, and board member for ten years. She led ChileGlobal Ventures’ Accelerator (named top accelerator in Chile in 2020) for four years, in which she managed two seed funds ($2.5M USD), supported more than 45 early stage startups, and 4 exits. Prior experience is in MELI’s fintech Mercado Pago. Currently, Macarena is Partner at Driven VC and actively fundraising for Driven I, a $20M USD fund with focus in LatAm.
Margaret Malone is a Senior Associate at Flare Capital Partners. In this role, she is responsible for sourcing new deals, performing diligence and executing on investments. She is active with the portfolio, providing strategic project support to companies including Cayaba Care, higi and Eden Health.
Prior to joining Flare Capital, Margaret partnered with investors and board leadership to build executive teams and create foundational human capital strategy for early stage healthcare technology and services companies. Margaret also brings experience in healthcare-focused venture capital through her prior roles at 7Wire Ventures and B Capital Group.
Margaret began her career as a clinical transformation consultant with Huron Consulting Group’s healthcare practice. While at Huron, she helped some of the nation’s leading academic medical centers adapt to changes in the industry through performance improvement initiatives resulting in greater interdisciplinary collaboration, higher quality of patient care, and improved reimbursement.
Margaret obtained her BA from Vanderbilt University with a major in Medicine, Health and Society. She earned her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management. At the University of Chicago, she received the Madelon L. & Richard N. Rosett Merit Scholarship and the Hyde Park Angels Venture Capital Award. While completing her MBA, she was a Flare Capital Scholar.
Ashim Egunjobi is the Managing Partner at Octerra Capital, an early-stage sector agnostic VC fund investing in tech and tech enabled startups across Africa. At Octerra Capital, she is responsible for driving the Fund’s ambitions, investments, and day-to-day operations and is especially inspired by audacious, bold, and most importantly impactful ideas that will drive Africa’s growth for a sustainable future.
Ashim has over 15 years of experience across banking, private equity and tech, having helped scale multinational companies in Africa, Germany, Middle East, and Asia, giving her a global perspective as well as local insight into the opportunities in today’s quickly changing and highly disruptive landscape. She is also a strong advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and has championed building a more diverse workforce at Tek Experts as well as Standard Chartered Bank, where she acted as Country Champion for the Diversity and Inclusion committee.
Ashim also led the launch and establishment of Tek Experts Women’s Network in Nigeria and partnered Microsoft to launch the LEAP Apprentice program, the first African all-women’s cohort of Software Engineers. As a member of Rising Tide Africa, an all-female Angel investment network, she leads the mentoring and investment readiness programmes for the Network.
Ashim is an entrepreneur at heart, being one of the founding members the award-winning brand, Always Me by Anne Li, a manufacturer of African inspired baby and children’s accessories and clothing, as well as co-founding the Bake for Change (BFC) Development Foundation, a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of disadvantaged children and youths in Lagos, Nigeria.
Based in Silicon Valley, Bin Zhou serves as a Principal with Goodyear Ventures, responsible for investments in autonomous driving, electric vehicles, connected vehicles and more. Before joining Goodyear, Bin served as an investment partner with TCL Ventures where he led the $100 mm fund for deep tech investments in the U.S. and Asia. Bin has made 20+ deals, with notable exits including Innoviz (Nasdaq: INVZ) and Cambricon Technologies (SHA: 688256).
Andreas is a Partner at Kompas VC, responsible for investments in eastern and southern Europe, as well as the German speaking region. Before joining Kompas VC, he was the Managing Director of an Energy- and Smart-City venture fund in Austria, and the Investment Director for Europe and Israel at the Volvo Cars Tech Fund.
Throughout his career, Andreas has shown his commitment to making the world a better place by supporting innovation that works to reduce the impact our modern lifestyle has on the environment. He is particularly interested in limiting the carbon impact of the built environment and helping people live longer, healthier, and happier lives in their homes.
Rebecca is a Vice President at DRI Capital, a leading life sciences investment firm based in Toronto, where she focuses on sourcing and supporting investments in pharmaceutical royalties. Prior to DRI Capital, Rebecca worked for several biotechnology companies in business development roles and at BMO Capital Markets in biotechnology equity research. She graduated with a B.Sc. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Western University and an MBA from The Richard Ivey School of Business.
Hiba Mrani Alaoui
Hiba has 7 years of experience, including two years in investment banking at Natixis ‘NYC Branch’ where she handles LBO transactions with American Private Equity funds; and 5 years in a strategy consulting firm; first in Paris with Cabinet Stanwell where she mainly contributes to transformation and innovation within CAC 40 companies; but also in Casablanca where she heads the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital BU of the Southbridge firm.
Over the past three years, Hiba has been heavily involved in topics related to startup ecosystems with the public sector;and she also co-founded an investment companyto accelerate 7 supported and handpicked startups.Hiba graduated from HEC Paris class of 2015 and majored in Entrepreneurship in partnership with Telecom Paristech, Ecole 42 and Station F.
Brian Aoaeh is a Founder and Managing General Partner of REFASHIOND Ventures, an emerging venture capital fund manager that invests in early-stage supply chain technology. He is also a Founder of The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation and The New York Supply Chain Meetup, and is an Adjunct Professor of Supply Chain & Operations Management at the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University. He holds a BA in Mathematics and Physics from Connecticut College, an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University, and he is a charter holding member of CFA Institute.
Vanessa Villaverde is an award-winning innovator, activist, mother, and strategic advisor for startup organizations. Known throughout healthcare policy circles, she leveraged her expertise outside of government to structure private public partnerships that created better access, more affordable, and more informed healthcare solutions for vulnerable populations. She is now an angel investor and a Board Advisor to Georgetown University Graduate School of Nursing & Health Systems.
As a first generation Mexican-American immigrant, raised in Dallas Texas, she set out to utilized every professional position across her career to both innovate through collaborations, and extend pathways for others. In her current role as Head of Risk Transfer Strategy at Caresyntax, she was instrumental in building a women’s initiative to support female staff globally and offer curriculum aimed at continued mentorship, skill building, and personal support where needed as many juggled personal and professional responsibilities during school closures.
Her personal work has always centered on mentorship of youth in communities of color. As a federal employee she developed the CMS mentorship program for first generation college students in Dallas. She’s a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster care youth and continues to visit Texas annually for career fairs to discuss broad healthcare careers available to low income youth, including informatics, life science product development and more.
Vanessa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought from Amherst College. In addition, she earned Master’s Degrees from the University of Texas at Dallas and Georgetown University School of Nursing. She is a mother of three boys and stays active in their music and muay thai boxing activities in the New England area.
Stephanie is a Partner at J.P. Morgan Technology Ventures. Having started her career in Venture Capital in Israel in 2011 and relocating to the US in 2018, Stephanie has led venture teams for both strategic and institutional funds such as Porsche Ventures and NFX. She joined the J.P. Morgan Technology Ventures team several months ago to round out the team on the West Coast.
Stephanie has her undergraduate degree in Counter-Terrorism and Security from Reichman University in Israel and a Master's from King’s College London in Terrorism, Security and Society.
Jonah Cool is a cell biologist and geneticist by training, and is currently a Science Program Officer at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where he leads the organization's efforts to support the international Human Cell Atlas consortium. He was an American Heart Association fellow while completing his PhD at Duke Medical Center, with a focus on the role of vascularization during cell differentiation and organ morphogenesis, and was subsequently a Ruth Kirchstein Fellow at the Salk Institute studying nuclear organization during stem cell differentiation.
Dr. Cool previously worked in intellectual property litigation, as well as ran an industry research group working toward therapeutic application of 3D bioprinted human tissue. He has a deep love of cell biology and, in particular, the origins of cellular heterogeneity and how diverse cells assemble into complex tissues.
Sandra Campos is a CEO, entrepreneur, and operating partner within the retail and consumer products sector. She has been building consumer-led global fashion lifestyle brands for more than twenty years. She is the founder of Fashion Launchpad, the only digital masterclass edtech platform specifically for the fashion industry.
Sandra advises startup or small businesses specializing in tech, fashion/beauty, and consumer products such as Katie Kime-home and sleepwear brand, Bubble-clean beauty startup for GenZ, Saavitude-fashion tech startup helping brands through AI, Project Verte-digital platform for ecommerce, and Purple Dot-providing consumers with a smarter way to shop online. In addition, she’s an investor, mentor, and board member.
As the former CEO of Diane Von Furstenberg, Sandra is known as an innovator and evolved a traditional business into one focused on global digital acceleration and the implementation of Omni channel strategies to enhance the consumer experience. Under her leadership, the business turnaround was under way with profitable KPI improvements within each channel, created a Weekly Wrap newsletter with The Newsette, established collaborations with female founded brands such as Lingua Franca and Ashley Longshore, and promoted the “In Charge” mission throughout every consumer touchpoint. The company substantially reduced its losses through improvements in operational efficiencies, product margins, inventory management, and store rationalization.
Prior to DVF, Sandra was instrumental in restructuring Iconic brands such as Juicy Couture, Bebe, and BCBG. An executive with broad skills and experience, Sandra focuses on driving digital innovation, fueling international expansion, and leading youth culture marketing. Her international experience has included brand building focused on the Chinese consumer with hundreds of stores in China and SE Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
Her entrepreneurial ventures include Mobi and Cynosure Holdings-ACH, a celebrity brand management co responsible for launching Selena Gomez’s lifestyle collection.
Ms. Campos is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist, and invited guest on MSNBC and Bloomberg on topics ranging from innovation at retail, leadership, and diversity in the workplace. She has been named one of the top 100 Latina Leaders by Latino Leaders Magazine, was one of 2019 Top Líderes in Business by Hispanic Executive Magazine, named a 2020 Top Woman in Retail.
Sandra lives in NYC and spends her time with her three kids and partner in the Hudson Valley on her rescue horse farm.
Bryony is Managing Partner at Warsaw-based Venture Capital fund Arkley Brinc, investing in early stage startups in Poland. As an international entrepreneur-turned-VC, she co-founded 3 tech companies by age 30, served as CEO of innovation hub IXDS labs in Berlin, and later ran Brinc’s IoT accelerator in Bahrain.
Bryony is an advocate for gender equality and diversity in tech; she’s a regular mentor at FemGems and was featured in the book ‘Dear Female Founder’ – a series of letters to the future generation of women entrepreneurs.
Reena Krishnan is an accomplished finance professional that has been analyzing the operating fundamentals and growth prospects of companies across multiple industries for over 15 years. In her current role, Reena works directly with private equity and venture capital technology investors to source new investment opportunities and monitor their portfolio companies.
Prior to her current role, Reena was a Vice President and Sell-Side Equity Research Analyst, where she covered publicly-traded companies across the Business Services, Industrial and Retail sectors for Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Jefferies.
Reena is also a social justice advocate and believes in supporting women entrepreneurs and promoting women's leadership. She serves on the Board for Fund Her as well as the Leadership Committee for How Women Lead.
Head of True Incube, a tech incubator in Thailand managed under True Group, Jutamard has more than 10 years of experience in various roles ranging from strategical analyst, strategist, product & operational process, investment and partnerships, business development & commercialization across industries and technologies. Jutamard is mostly involved in innovation and technology, entrepreneurial, and new initiatives for startups.
Jutamard's passion is in innovation and technology, as she's been the change agent building True Incube as Thailand's leading incubator and accelerator for the thriving Thai startup ecosystem, and ensuring that True Incube is top-of-mind CVC regionally to accelerate sustainable growth and scale-up for startups as well as stakeholders across communities and countries where True and CP Group have presences. True Incube partners with 500 Startups.
Jutamard graduated with a Bachelor's in Business Administrative with the Banking and Finance major from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. She also received a Royal Scholarship under H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to pursue a MS Management and Engineering degree from Xi’An Jiaotong University, PRC China.
Amaka Okechukwu Opara
Amaka is an investment professional with over 15 years of experience in finance and investments. She is the founding partner of the Women’s Enterprise Acceleration Vehicle (WEAV Capital), a mission driven venture fund that invests in female led companies that are spearheading innovation and solving critical problems. She previously worked at the World Bank on private sector development, directly managing a portfolio of $1.1 billion in projects across Sub Saharan Africa.
Amaka has extensive experience funding and providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs, business incubators and venture capital firms in Sub-Saharan Africa. She sits on the board of several companies and served as the World Bank representative on the board of the Development Bank of Nigeria.
Eastin Rossell is an Investment Associate for HearstLab, which funds female-founded female-led startups in the pre-seed and seed stage with an industry focus on enterprise software, healthcare, media, and transportation. At HearstLab, Eastin focuses primarily on sourcing and evaluating startups.
Samantha is Founding Partner and CEO of ValueXMatch, a strategic advisory boutique based in Italy with business across several countries. Focused on finance and sustainable innovation (impact), boosting startups and SMEs, and bridging the gap between financial needs and sales revenues. Samantha supports fundraising for startups and M&A operations for SMEs, working across phases and industries.
Samantha is constantly involved in the tech scene and sectors (in particular fintech and insurtech), as Advisor for startups, venture capital, private equity, family offices entities, and as business angels and advisory board member. She is engaged in advocacy activities for Gender Parity / Gap / Diversity, as speaker and contributor for articles.
Samantha has a consolidated experience of over 25 years in the capital market, banking, insurance, financial services, and SMEs services sectors. Leading various managerial roles with international responsibility, for national and multinational companies, as financial advisor, investor relations, corporate strategy, institutional relations & PR, partnerships & strategic alliances, business development, ecosystem development, project management, as well as change management & innovation.
Samantha holds the MBA from IUM-International University of Monaco (Monte-Carlo) Business School, and other Masters on VC & private equity management, innovation strategy & digital transportation, and project management.
He is currently building his own venture builder focusing on web3.
Ali Jamal is a Product Leader, Growth Expert, Data Scientist, & Angel Investor. He combines his passions for strategy, analytics, product, data, marketing, and technology in his current role as a Director of Growth and Performance Marketing at PayClip, one of LatAm's largest and fastest growing FinTech startups. He is also the Founder of First Check Ventures, an angel syndicate that invests in early stage startups across the globe. The syndicate has supported and invested in startups all over the world including the US, Pakistan, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia.
Previously, Ali was the Head of Performance Marketing at Rappi, leading 80+ people on 7 teams across 8 international offices and responsible for generating over $1 billion in total transaction value per year globally. Prior to joining Rappi, he was the Head of Marketing Innovation at Agoda, where he led 3 teams across 3 international offices and was responsible for expansion into the China market. Ali also held Product and Analytical leadership roles at RockYou, Zynga, and Maxim Integrated Products. He began his career as an investment banker specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the software and internet sectors. Ali has a Bachelors in Economics and a Masters in Statistics from Stanford University.
Louise helps lead the Institutional Investment team at Seedrs/Republic, one of world’s largest investment platforms, and is responsible for supporting institutional and Angel investors with deal flow organization, co-investment opportunities and LP fundraising.
Prior to joining Seedrs in 2017, Louise worked in Investor Relations at FTI Consulting for 3 years. Outside of work, Louise is a Mentor for The Girl’s Network and volunteers for the Diversity VC initiative, Future VC.
Ilaria has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development & Innovation Management in Multinational companies (Whirlpool Corporation), Innovation Consultancy firms and hi-tech Startups. After 2 years as Senior Partner at Great Product Ventures Inc, a venture development firm that stages European companies for successful funding and commercialization in the United States, she has set up her own consultancy firm and operates as Business Development & Funding Consultant in Europe.
Ilaria has 10 years’ experience in European Grant(s) strategies and submissions with proven successes (H2020, SME Instrument, EIC Accelerator, Horizon Europe), and is a project’s expert evaluator for the European Commission.
She is a Startup’s business developer, mentor, and advisor and has put together an extensive network of relations with major crowdfunding entities, VC players, Accelerators & Incubators, and many valuable startups at international level.
In the last 10 years, Ilaria is also a Lecturer at LIUC University (Italy), teaching Innovation Management at the Faculty of Economics and Innovation & Industrial Design at the Faculty of Engineering.
Aaron is an entrepreneur and early-stage investor/advisor with a give-first mentality to support founders on their vision and dreams. Aaron is currently building Music Everywhere, inspiring people to access and think about creativity and music differently, further helping to advance the areas of emotional health and behavior change.
Aaron’s upcoming lofty projects include composing a musical score for an Amazon Prime film based on Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, and writing a self-help book on creative thinking called ‘The Dreams Inside Us’.
In previous roles, Aaron worked as the CEO of Psocratic, a mental health tech company, and as a data scientist at Gartner. He composed the music for Dan Rather’s podcast, Blinking Red, along with other podcasts and short films.
Aaron holds an engineering degree from the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, has passed multiple actuarial exams, and won an international math award helping to advance brain surgery.
Beatriz Franco is a Managing Partner at Vita Ventures, an early-stage fund supporting innovations across the food industry while reducing demands on our planet. She leads Vita’s investment thesis for Food & Ingredient tech innovation and Next-Gen Materials.
Beatriz is also a Lead Investor at Portfolia’s Food & AgTech fund, Angel Investor, and advisor. In 20+ years of experience, she has held many leadership positions in multinational environments including CEO of an AgTech company, Director of Investments at Plum Alley Investments, Wall Street investment banker at JPMorgan, as well as corporate lawyer at top law firms in Silicon Valley (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati), in New York (Simpson Thacher & Bartlett), and Brazil (Pinheiro Neto Advogados).
Eduardo Gruneisen is a Partner at Pegasus Capital, a broad Latam private equity firm focused on Series A through late stage companies across the region. Prior to that, Eduardo spent over 10 years at UBS, focused on capital raising and executing M&A transactions, based in New York, Zurich and Buenos Aires.
Eduardo also advises multiple regional start ups in their early stages, as it relates to funding, talent acquisition/retention and growth strategies. He has an M.A. in Economics from Universidad Catolica Argentina and an MBA from Columbia University of NY.
Sophie is a Principal at Anthemis' investment team, where she helps discover, evaluate and execute early stage FinTech and InsurTech investments as well as supporting current portfolio companies. Sophie has been recognised on the Innovate Finance Women in FinTech Powerlist in 2020 & 2021 and is a regular on the 11:FS's FinTech and InsurTech Insider podcast.
Sophie also the co-founder of WVC:E, an organisation promoting inclusion, empowerment and integration of VC in Europe. In 2022, WVC:E launched its inaugural one-day Women in Venture Capital Europe Summit at Station F in Paris, bringing together 350+ attendee's and 55+ speakers from across Europe.
Julie Gaudin is an investor at EDF Pulse Ventures, the corporate venture arm of global energy company EDF. EDF Pulse Ventures in solutions enabling to reach carbon neutrality faster, in sectors such as industry decarbonation, agtech, climate resiliency, hydrogen, energy efficiency, proptech. Prior to EDF, Julie worked at Capgemini as a consultant for energy customers. She holds a Msc in Management from ESSEC Business School.
Edwin is Partner at Carao Ventures. He has experience investing in Latin American startups and micro-enterprises for the last 6 years.
Before joining Carao Ventures, he worked in the Corporate Development and Private Equity arms of Cuestamoras, one of Central America’s largest family offices, helping the company analyze and execute investment and divestiture opportunities. Prior to this, he was an external consultant at Invermaster, a regional M&A, PE, and Consulting boutique firm. Edwin is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having spent his service as an Economic Development Facilitator in Costa Rica.
Rona Li is currently a Managing Director at Redesign where she leads New Ventures teams through the ideation, diligence, and launch processes for portfolio concepts. To-date, she has deployed $32M in capital to enable founders and innovative businesses in healthcare.
Before Redesign, Rona spent three years as a Venture Architect at BCG Digital Ventures, the dedicated business building firm of Boston Consulting Group. Previously, Rona spent several years at JPMorgan in their investment banking division across Healthcare Coverage and Natural Resources Equity Capital Markets. Rona started her career at Citi covering municipal entities in the Northeast as part of the Public Finance investment banking team. Rona holds a B.B.A. in Finance
& Economics from Villanova University.
Leire Corral is Investment Manager at Adevinta Ventures. After working as a strategy consultant and developing some operational experience in business development and project management at several marketplaces, she joined Adevinta Ventures, the investment arm of Adevinta group (operator of leading classifieds portals). They look for the best founders that can shape the future of marketplaces, with a strong focus on mobility, proptech, fintech and circular economy. Adevinta Ventures invests in fast-growing startups across Europe, mostly on their late seed, Series A and B rounds, and whenever possible, they act as a door opener to access the Adevinta ecosystem to enable exchanges and collaboration opportunities.
Dapo is an investor at Flourish Ventures, Pierre Omidyar’s global fintech investing fund. Flourish invests in entrepreneurs whose innovations and solutions help people achieve financial health and prosperity. At Flourish, Dapo focuses on sourcing new deals, performing diligence and executing on investments. Dapo is a licensed CPA and previously worked at EY in their strategy and transactions group, executing financial due diligence for M&A transactions.
Karin Tenenboim is an Investment Manager in Newtopia VC, a Venture Capital firm that invests in early-stage startups across Latin America, taking a hands-on mentorship approach and supporting them on “the road to Series A”. She previously worked 6 years in Ab Inbev, holding positions in various areas such as Corporate Affairs, ZX Ventures (Global Investment & Innovation Group), e-Commerce, Brand Experience, and Eklos, where she led the Open Innovation Area and Corporate Venture Capital.
Her educational background includes a BA in International Studies and programs in Harvard Business School and Singularity University.
Fiona is a Director on the Visa Crypto Team who works on new product development, go-to-market, and commercialization. A self-professed payments nerd, she is fascinated by the potential for crypto technology to improve payment capabilities and global accessibility. When not building businesses around new products, she spends her time on key crypto partnership activities, such as Visa’s Masters of Movement charitable NFT auction and on-site activation at the FIFA World Cup, or de novo card issuance for crypto companies. Prior to her time with Visa Crypto, Fiona was a founding member of Visa’s Global Deal team, did Chief of Staff work for Visa’s President, and has worked in Visa’s San Francisco, Hong Kong, and London offices.
Fiona is passionate about the intersection of payments and inclusion. In crypto, she focuses on women in crypto communities, leading Visa’s Women in Crypto monthly group and as a member of several key women in crypto organizations. More broadly, she is on the San Francisco Leadership Council for Upwardly Global, a non-profit organization that helps skilled refugees and immigrants restart their careers in the United States.
Fiona graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with dual degrees in English and Psychology, where she was a Trustee Scholar.
Seb Butt is Global Head of Business Development at a start-up called Craft. In addition, he is an angel investor and a non-executive director. He is also co-chair of the Sustainable Procurement Pledge. He is an advocate for organisations of all forms, types and across all industries, that are making systemic changes which can lead to opportunities for everyone. This interest led him to join Diversity VC back in 2016 as a volunteer which works towards encouraging diversity of thought in the venture capital space. Seb is also the founder of Future VC, a non profit focused on access for people wanting to build a career in venture capital.
Aya Spencer is an investor at Kapor Capital. With a background in big data analytics, Aya has worked for the US Government's Intelligence Community, large banking institutions, and has served as a data advisor to many startups. At Kapor Capital, Aya's vertical lies heavily on concepts surrounding algorithmic fairness, data democracy, and personalization engines. Born in Germany and raised in Japan, Aya brings a global perspective to the venture community. Outside of work, Aya loves boxing and has served as a meal prep chef for a number of her professional athlete friends.
Christine is currently an Investment Associate at focused on the NYC accelerator program. In her past life, she founded two consumer startups - one bootstrapped (a podcast app that later got acquired) & Senpai, a creator network for tech experts featured on Forbes. She also worked in product roles at Tinder (head of trust & safety, then the innovation team) & Yahoo (lifestyle startup team) and software engineering roles (at companies as large as LinkedIn to startups where she was the first developer).
Tamar is an investor at Red Sea Ventures where she spends her time sourcing, diligencing, and supporting pre-seed and seed stage startups across various industries, including consumer health, e-commerce enablement, edtech, and fintech.
Originally from New Jersey, Tamar attended Columbia University and graduated with a degree in political science, focusing on international affairs in her studies. Prior to working at Red Sea Ventures, Tamar interned at various venture capital funds across semesters and worked as a sales and trading summer analyst at Deutsche Bank. Tamar continues to be involved in efforts to promote women in venture through her engagement with students and entrepreneurship clubs at her alma mater.
Lena is an investor with Outsider’s Fund, a venture capital firm based in New York City. There she focuses on early-stage companies developing products aimed at reinventing traditional industries plagued by stale infrastructure.
Prior to her work at Outsider’s Fund, she started her career in the aerospace and defense industry working for Northrop Grumman. She initially worked as a software engineer building simulation models for national security satellites. She then transitioned to space exploration and became a product manager for NASA programs bringing humans back to the lunar surface.Before entering the space industry Lena founded and served as CEO of a company called Soterra. Soterra was a communication company, which built a device to connect isolated women in rural developing countries to assistance in emergency situations. Lena has a B.S. in Computer Science from Lehigh University.
Iynna is an investor at Moxxie Ventures and a Partner at the MBA Fund (a pre-seed fund that invests in companies founded by UPenn, Stanford, and Harvard alumni ). She focuses on enterprise software deals in Vertical SaaS (she's particularly excited by all things unsexy tech ie. industries that have traditionally been overlooked and are now in dire need of innovation including: logistics, mobility, manufacturing, construction, deeptech etc.) Iynna was named a rising star VCs by Business Insider.
Prior to Moxxie, Iynna built the global division of NYC's largest seed fund and tech accelerator, she ran Muhammad Yunus-backed social impact accelerator Yunus & Youth, and she led Operations for the award-winning edtech startup Enza Academy. She started her career at the United Nations. Iynna is a true global citizen, being from Cameroon and Madagascar. She lived and worked in Paris, Durham (UK), London, Moscow, Dakar (Senegal), New York. Iynna is a current MBA Candidate at the Wharton School. She earned a Bachelor's from Durham University, where she majored in International Affairs and a Master's from NYU with a focus on International Development. Her native language is French, and she is fluent in Spanish.
Ayeesha Bala-Wunti, MD
Lexington Blood studied Biochemistry and Physics at the University of Utah, Machine Learning and Financial Engineering at Stanford and Columbia.
Lex is the CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board at RTCore Inc, a publicly traded US Fintech company. He is a partner at the global venture capital fund 7BC, GP of a Quant Hedge Fund, and a founding member and executive advisor at Harvard's Wyss Institute Diagnostics Accelerator for Biologically Inspired Design. He is a passionate humanitarian, a UNESCO Peace Fellow, and Advisor to a Broad Institute Cancer Genomic Data Collective at MIT and Harvard.
Jessie is an investor at CSC Upshot, a female-founded VC fund based in Palo Alto. She invests in seed and early-stage tech-enabled companies, with a strong interest/focus on fintech.Prior to her current role, she worked at an impact fund in Southeast Asia focused on gender lens investing. She drove the impact due diligence processes and built out frameworks to quantify (in $s) the social impact behind investing in the ethical garments and vehicle leasing sectors.Jessie has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from UC Berkeley Haas and a master’s degree in Finance from MIT Sloan. In her spare time, you’ll find her hosting dinner parties, enjoying weekend trips (oftentimes across the country), or checking out a new hiking trail.