Carolin is a Partner at Plug and Play Ventures. She has been in the Venture industry for over 7 years. Since joining Plug and Play in 2019, she has led over 30 investments for the firm and oversaw 100+ investments since establishing PnP’s EMEA IC. She has a strong thesis on companies that deliver direct business impact in terms of efficiency, cost cutting or driving revenue. Being an advocate for diversity in the ecosystem, she is supporting multiple female-focused initiatives as a mentor and has backed 10+ female founders in 2022 alone.
She has always been passionate about entrepreneurship and supporting founders with a bold vision and willingness to challenge the status quo. During her studies at ESCP Europe, where she graduated as Valedictorian of the MiM class, she specialized in venture capital, mentoring multiple startups and founding a student-led tech conference. Prior to Plug and Play Carolin spent 3 years at Next47 and 2 years as an operator at Siemens.
Over the last decade, Anisah has become a well-respected voice in the tech industry, working at the intersection of technology, impact and capital. She is the founder of 23 Code Street, a coding school for women at 23 Code Street. She is also a reporter at Sifted, where she writes the Startup Life newsletter for Europe’s operators. The common thread in her work has been her steadfast belief that tech can be a force for good if we have a workforce that represents the diversity of our society. She was awarded an MBE in the King’s 2023 New Year’s honors for services to diversity in tech, is a Forbes 30 under 30 honouree and is listed in the Financial Times’ 100 most influential BAME leaders in tech.
Jone Vaituleviciute is a founding partner of FIRSTPICK – an early-stage venture capital fund focusing on Baltic tech founders. Prior to establishing her own fund, Jone was a partner at Startup Wise Guys – one of the largest European accelerators. Jone is also a board member of the Lithuania Venture Capital Association where she is contributing towards female inclusion-focused projects.
Maryam Najafi is a business developer and venture capitalist. She is an active player in the regional and global startup ecosystem and strongly believes that entrepreneurs are the fuel of economic and social growth in all countries. She found angel investment a very powerful platform to foster entrepreneurship and support startups. As the first executive manager of Karaya Angel Investors, she built up all requirements of creating an angel investor group, which led to the formation of the biggest angel network in Iran. She is also the CEO and Board Member at Finnova – a coworking space, accelerator and VC fund based in Tehran, Iran.
Sara Rywe is a partner at byFounders – a €110M early-stage, community-powered, founders-led VC fund. Sara is an entrepreneur at heart with experience from a range of tech startups and has also worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and led the global strategy implementation at Danske Bank.
James Appathurai was appointed to this post in September 2021. As DASG, he works on policy development and implementation in the fields of Emerging and Disruptive Technologies, cyber security, counter-terrorism, the security implications of climate change, and hybrid defence. Mr. Appathurai previously served as DASG for Political Affairs and Security Policy, as well as Special Representative to Central Asia and the Caucasus. He was NATO’s Spokesperson from 2004 to 2010. He served as Deputy Head and Senior Planning Officer in the Policy Planning and Speechwriting Section of NATO’s Political Affairs Division from 1998 to 2004. He served in the Canadian Defence Department from 1994 to 1998.
Philip Lockwood is the Head of the Innovation Unit, Emerging Security Challenges Division, NATO HQ. He led the establishment of DIANA—NATO’s new transatlantic innovation agency—and the NATO Innovation Fund. Philip also leads the team responsible for NATO’s strategies around emerging and disruptive technologies, including the Alliance’s AI Strategy. Philip was previously a tech lawyer with a large international law firm and served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 16 years.
Siim Alatalu is the CEO of Foundation CR14 since March 2022. CR14 is an Estonian cyber defence and security innovation centre, based on more than 11 years of military-grade cyber range experience in cybersecurity training, exercises, testing, experimentation and validation. Siim joined CR14 from the Estonian Information System Authority RIA where he was the founding Director of the European Union Cyber Capacity Building Network – or EU CyberNet. His previous career includes being the Head of International Relations of the NATO CCDCOE, Deputy Director of Policy Planning at the Estonian MOD, a diplomatic tour as Assistant Defence Counsellor at the Estonian Delegation to NATO. During the 2017 Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU Siim acted as the Vice Chair of the Horizontal Working Party for Cyber Issues.
Nicholas is an experienced leader in aerospace, defense, and security. He is a General Partner at Offset Ventures, the first defense and dual-use tech-focused venture investor in Europe, and is also appointed to the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition to his investment and research work, Nicholas serves as the Senior Fellow for Emerging Technology and Policy at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a leading transatlantic think tank. His analysis is regularly featured in aerospace and defense publications, and he is an elected Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Staffan is an outspoken supporter of the European tech ecosystem who has been in the venture industry for more than 20 years. Before founding Creandum in 2003 he was Founder and Managing Partner at Startupfactory, the first venture investor globally exclusively focused on investments in mobile internet, with backing from among others Softbank and Investor AB. In addition, Staffan has extensive management experience from IKEA, Procter & Gamble, and McKinsey & Company. At Creandum, Staffan has a particular focus on enterprise products and services. His early-stage backings include Bolt, Epidemic Sound, and Klaus.
General Partner at 500 Istanbul (istanbul.500.co), a €70m early stage fund investing across CEE and the Baltics and a part of the 500 Global network.
Nikita is a generalist investor at Hummingbird Ventures, where she covers the Nordics, Baltics and Central and Eastern Europe. She joined Hummingbird’s investment team in 2021 from Sandbox & Co. where she evaluated late-stage education, media and gaming investments in Europe and North America. Nikita holds a M.Ed in Technology, Innovation and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Oxford.
Rebecka brings widespread experience from the Nordic tech scene having spent eight years in venture capital. She’s invested in over a dozen companies, for example in high-growth companies such as DbVis, Occtoo, Hopsworks, TrusTrace, and most recently in Jobbatical. She started her career at Ernst & Young and then spent a few years on the operational side as CFO and interim CEO. Today she is responsible for Estonia at Inventure and quite often visits Tallinn. Rebecka loves meeting founders early and does not believe in the need for warm intros. She always tries to find ways to support and add value. She is on the lookout for transformative companies, especially within software, ML and data management. She is also keen to find companies taking on hard and important problems, such as climate change. Besides investing, she’s a true sci-fi nerd and a keen long-distance runner.
Sergio is a partner at Antler. Previously he was the Head of Expansion, leading the firm’s growth to 21 geographies in 6 continents. Before, he was a Principal at Seaya Ventures, the largest Spanish VC fund with operations in Iberia and LatAm. Sergio holds an MBA from INSEAD, a BSc & MSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Instituto Superior Tecnico and Post-graduate studies in Innovation from the Lisbon School of Economics.
Avery Schrader is Co-founder and CEO of Modash.io a startup headquartered in Estonia with the mission to help every creator earn a living. Modash is an Influencer data platform used by more than 600 consumer brands. In 2022, Modash supported more than 500,000 partnerships between brands and creators all over the globe.
Timmu Tõke is Co-founder and CEO of Ready Player Me, a cross-game avatar platform used by 4000+ companies. They’ve raised $72m from a16z and others. Timmu has been building avatar tech for 9 years, starting from hardware 3D scanners to custom-building avatar tech for top gaming companies.
Sten Tamkivi invests in the next legendary tech companies from Europe via Plural Platform. Sten co-founded Teleport (acquired by Topia in 2017) as an EIR at Andreessen Horowitz, after serving at Skype as an early executive for over 8 years from startup to the $8.5B exit to MSFT. Sten started his entrepreneurial career founding the first digital media agency in Estonia in 1996, at the age of 18. Sten values a tolerant, open and creative society, speaks up for entrepreneurship, supports the startup movement, occasionally invests, pushes for better tech education and has advised President Ilves of Estonia on the above. He also holds a number of public, private and non-profit board seats. Sten holds a MS in Management degree from Stanford GSB.
Alar Karis is the President of the Republic of Estonia. Until taking office on 11th October 2021, he was the director of the Estonian National Museum (from 2018). President Karis served as the Auditor-General of the Republic of Estonia from 2013-2018, and before that as the rector of the Estonian University of Life Sciences from 2003-2007 and of the University of Tartu from 2007-2012. Most of President Karis’ scientific career has focused on research and teaching in molecular genetics and developmental biology. He has worked at universities in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and joined the University of Tartu as a professor in 1999. His research has been among the most widely cited internationally of any Estonian scientist of his generation.