Judges

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Bill Tai

Angel Investor; Partner Emeritus CRV;

Co-Founder, Extreme Tech Challenge

Bill Tai has been funding startups as a Venture Capitalist since 1991 and has had 22 of his startups become listed companies. He has served as Board Director of 8 publicly listed companies (AWRD EGHT HUT8 IAWK NPIX TMTA TUNE and IMGO) that grew from startups he funded at their formative stages. Originally trained as a chip designer, he holds a BSEE with Honors from University of Illinois and an MBA from Harvard.  He co-founded as Chairman - Treasure Data (acquired by ARM/Softbank), IPInfusion.com (Tokyo TSE:4813) and iAsiaWorks (IPO via Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley) and is Board Chairman of Hut8 Mining (NASDAQ:HUT). He is among the first angel investors in Canva, Color Genomics, Class.com, Dapper Labs (Cryptokitties / NBA Topshot), Safety Culture, Tweetdeck/Twitter, and Zoom Video, where he was the 1st committed backer.  He is co-founder of ACTAI Global a 501(c)3 community of Athletes Conservationists Technologists Artists & Innovators supporting 1) environmental conservation and 2) economic empowerment via entrepreneurship. He is creator or cofounder of the worldwide startup competition www.ExtremeTechChallenge.org, the annual www.NeckerBlockchainSummit.com and the annual www.WestTechFest.com, Western Australia's largest technology festival held annually in Perth where he is an Adjunct Professor at Curtin University.

Young Sohn

Founding Managing Partner, Walden Catalyst Ventures

Former Corporate President and Chief Strategy Officer, Samsung Electronics

Co-Founder, Extreme Tech Challenge

Young Sohn is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose passion is building businesses and fostering emerging technologies that have the potential to transform the world for the better. Currently, he serves as Chairman of the Board of HARMAN and is a Founding Managing Partner at Walden Catalyst Ventures. He most recently was Corporate President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics, where he led strategy for global innovation, investment, new business creation, and spearheaded the company’s $8 billion acquisition of HARMAN.

 

Young served as CEO of two successful, public Silicon Valley companies and on the boards of Arm, Cymer (ASML), and others. Under his leadership as CEO and board member, he took PLX Technologies, Synnex Technologies, and Inphi public. He was also a seed investor in some of the industry’s most innovative companies including Berkeley Lights, Fungible, Zoom, Graphcore, and TTTech Auto.

 

Young co-founded the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), a global startup competition inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He also serves as a senior advisor to the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, is a member of the board of directors at Cadence, and is an advisor for the University of California Innovation Council.

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Courtney Lowrence

Managing Director

Sustainability and Corporate Transitions, Citi

Courtney Lowrance leads Citi’s Sustainability and Corporate Transitions team for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.  The team advises clients on corporate transition mega-trends, technology impacts and opportunities, innovation in business models, and potential M&A opportunities to drive strategic direction. 

She has 20 years of experience in sustainable finance, including a previous role as the global head of Citi’s Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) group. In this capacity, she served as a technical resource for clients in improving their environmental and social management systems.

Recently, Courtney spent two years in Beijing as the Principal Environment Specialist for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).  In this capacity, she oversaw AIIB’s ESG strategy and helped develop the Bank’s first ESG enhanced fixed income fund focused on emerging markets in Asia. 

Marcos Bernat

Entrepreneur for 25 years, sold the family business and have been investing in tech for 15 years.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcosbernat/ 

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Alexandre Kech

Alexandre Kech is Director, Blockchain & Digital Asset at Citi Ventures Innovation. Alex‘s team researches, engages and experiments on emerging use cases for blockchain technologies and digital assets.

 

Over the past 25 years, Alex has constructed a unique career combining finance at BNY Mellon, payments/securities infrastructure and standards (ISO 15022/20222) at SWIFT, and blockchain and digital assets at Onchain Custodian. As CEO of the Singapore-based company he co-founded, he led the building from scratch of a custody and prime brokerage service for crypto and other digital assets. 

 

Alex is also involved in industry initiatives. He is the convenor of the ISO TC68 / SC8 / WG3 which produced the ISO 24165 Digital Token Identifier (DTI). In that capacity, he is a member of the DTI Foundation Product Advisory Committee. He is also the convenor of the ISO TC68/ SC8 / Study Group 5 charged to assess the need for an IBAN-like digital wallet ISO standard. He also recently served as co-chair of the Global Digital Finance (gdf.io) custody working group.

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Dr. Guenter Dobrauz-Saldapenna

VC Investor, Lawyer, Disruption Disciple, Circularity Economy Believer, Exponential Technologies Enthusiast and Author

Guenther holds a Master’s and PhD degree in law from Johannes Kepler University (Austria), an MBA from the University of Strathclyde (Scotland) and has completed Executive Education programs at Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, IMD and Singularity University.

Passionately invested in tomorrow since many years he firmly believes that the future will be decentralised and must be circular!

Guenther is a co-founder of exelixis by way of investment but does not hold any executive role.

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Alisée de Tonnac

Alisée de Tonnac, is the co-founder and co-CEO of Seedstars, a Swiss-based group with the mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship.

Seedstars works in partnership with governments, development agencies, corporate partners, and private donors to develop emerging market entrepreneurship ecosystems, create jobs and fuel income growth. It is now present in over 90 countries and invests in high growth technology companies in impactful sectors in those markets and supports them with capital, knowledge and introductions.

Alisée sits on several boards of companies and foundations and is also a member of the Swiss Innovation Council. She was nominated Social Entrepreneur Forbes 30 under 30, Innovation Fellow of Wired UK, Europe’s most influential women in the startup and venture capital space and one of the 29 Powerful Women by Refinery29.

Vincent Oswald

Hands-on entrepreneur with strong leadership. Worked in various fields of the financial world at a macro and micro level. Vast network in global finance, development finance, multilateral development institutions and NGOs. Inquiring mind, solutions finder and passionate about sustainability and ecology. Investor in a number of early stage startups.

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Virginie Poulin

Virginie’s flexibility and agility might come from a 20-year practice of ballet when she was young. She is a fast-thinker, very down-to-earth and active multi-tasker.

Graduated as an industrial engineer from Ponts & Chaussées in France, she shortly after completed an MBA. She first joined a global bank to work with Latin American corporates, then moved to Switzerland to dive into the exciting and very concrete word of commodity trade finance. Boosted by her own energy and sense of responsibility, she became one of the youngest exco member of the activity at only 38-years old, with 3 young children at home, and a volleyball competition regular practice at the same time. In 2017, she embraced the opportunity of creating a sustainable finance tool dedicated to commodities and decided that her career should now be only purpose-driven.  She left the bank after 17 years, joined a consulting company to develop this field and is today (as her official job) chief of finance and HR in the Swiss public administration and at the same time supporting the development of an NGO, helping raise funds for an observatory, practicing outdoors activities and studying psychology in organizations… amongst others.

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Sitara Merchant

Chief Executive Officer, Swiss Capacity Building Facility, Zurich Switzerland.

Sitara is a seasoned professional with over 30 years’ experience with a longstanding career in international management and development in the private and social development sector across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America. She has also worked for 15 years in the private sector in various roles ranging from marketing for a cosmetic company to consulting and founded her own private sector strategy consulting company in Canada. After which she decided to follow her passion and use her skills/experience in the social development sector. She left the private sector to join the largest private development organisation, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). At AKDN she worked in strategic and technical assistance roles including Director for Market Insights and Analytics at the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance in Geneva. She is currently the CEO of Swiss Capacity Building Facility Sitara. She also serves on various Boards

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Chris Rynning

Chris Rynning is Managing Partner of AMYP Ventures AG. Based in Zurich, AMYP has a global investment mandate, but mainly focused on blockchain, fintech, crypto, mobility, sustainability, and CO2 reduction. Chris has most recently led AMYP investments in Gorillas (food delivery), Tipalti (SaaS), Trace Labs (blockchain), QuantalRF (semiconductors) and Mynaric (satellite communications).   Chris Rynning has deep experience both as an entrepreneur and investor. 

 

Chris is among the first investors in companies like Techbuddy (gig-economy), Scout Drone Inspection (robotics), Soundboks.com (audio tech), Empirical Spirits (food tech), Blueye Robotics (robotics) and Ludenso (augmented reality). Chris is also a crypto/AI specialist having published and invested widely in the sector. 

 

Chris has previously worked in Japan, China, and the US in the finance industry.   Chris is a graduate of the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy (“Luftkrigsskolen”), and holds both a M.Sc. in Economics from ESSEC, Paris, and an MBA in Finance and Economics from the University of Chicago, USA.

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Pablo Gómez-Trénor

Pablo Gómez-Trénor has 25 years of experience in international consulting projects from within Ernst & Young, Deloitte and SAP.  He is co-founder at The Lab Ventures, a startup studio dedicated to the creation of technological startups from seed level.  Board member at ECIV, the company that constitutes the family office of the Gómez-Trénor family, with interests in the consumer business (Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Ebro Foods), agriculture and real estate among other industries.

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Thomas Puschmann

Thomas Puschmann has has been an early internet pioneer who brought the first local government in Germany online in the early 1990s and introduced the internet at Siemens. Thomas has spent more than two decades at the nexus of technology and business in both science and business and is Founder and Director of one of the first fintech research labs worldwide, the Swiss FinTech Innovation Lab at the University of Zurich. In addition, he founded Zurich‘s and Stanford’s Sustainable Digital Finance Research Initiative, is Co-Founder of the Association Swiss FinTech Innovations, Co-Founder of the Swiss Green FinTech Network and Member of the Swiss Innovation Council Innosuisse. He serves as an advisor for many strategic national and international initiatives and is an advisory board member of various institutions to foster innovation and develop an innovation and start-up ecosystem. Before his current position he was heading a financial services research project at the Universities of Leipzig and St. Gallen and was a visiting scholar at MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to this Thomas spent five years in consulting and software development where he was a member of the executive board at ESPRiT Consulting (now Q_Perior) and The Information Management Group.

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Philippe Van Caenegem

"Regenerative by Design"

Philippe has over two decades of experience in design, sustainability, innovation management, mentoring and entrepreneurship.

 

The past 8 years Philippe spearheaded Salesforce's Strategic Innovation team, focused on transformative solutions, grew Salesforce’s reputation and capabilities as trusted advisor to the C-suite and accelerated reaching $20 billion revenue.

 

As Partner at Altran Group and Director at Synectics Philippe specialised in customer insights and 'the creative organisation', successfully accompanying the transformation of some of the most innovative Fortune 500 companies.

 

Inspired by 'autonomous systems' while studying applied computer science at the University of Brussels Philippe co-founded and managed Realactor: an autonomous intelligent agent technology start-up serving prestigious clients such as Microsoft, Philips and the major studios.

 

At the architects and engineers office of Philippe Samyn and Partners, Philippe was in charge of several award winning sustainable architecture projects.

 

Philippe holds a diploma MSc. in Architecture; he is an alumni of the Harvard Innovation In Science program, has taught innovation management in top universities and design schools. twitter: @thinkingarch