Nikolaus serves as CEO of ACEG Beteiligungsgesellschaft, a single-family office near Hamburg, Germany. He looks for investments into innovative start-ups in the field of agriculture and food, health care and med tech, mobility and energy as well as education. Prior to ACEG, Nikolaus founded his own consulting business and developed a new approach for flexible energy production from renewable energies. He started his career at an international consulting firm. Nikolaus holds a master’s degree in agriculture and a second master’s degree in economics.
Kristen Brown, Principal Technology Innovation, Exelon Utilities
Kristen is experienced in defining, evaluating, and supporting disruptive technologies. She has experience sourcing technologies across diverse applications in the energy sector, including power generation, chemical storage, and energy efficiency. Areas of current specialization include: peer-to-peer energy trading, transactive energy (including vehicle-to-grid and building-to-grid), battery storage, and blockchain applications. Currently she works with Exelon's 4 regulated utilities to assess emerging technology trends and their impact on the regulated business model.
Prior to Exelon, she was a Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy. She identified new opportunities to reduce the long-term and high-risk technological barriers in the development of transformative energy technologies. Kristen received her PhD in Chemistry from Northwestern University where she was awarded the Northwestern Presidential Fellowship, the top award given to NU graduate students. She has a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Lindsay Clinton, Sr VP, Industry Initiatives, NYCEDC
Lindsay is a business strategist with 12+ years of international experience in a range of advisory, research, forecasting, and start-up roles at the intersection of business and social change. She is based in New York City and is the Senior Vice President of Industry Initiatives at NYCEDC, overseeing the Smart & Sustainable Cities Portfolio with programming in resiliency, urban tech, and advanced manufacturing.
Previously, Lindsay worked with the Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group, a leading impact investing firm focused on supporting entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa that serve low-income markets. She established a US presence for the group and developed their relationships with key corporate and multi-lateral stakeholders.
Prior to that, Lindsay spent 5 years working for the think tank and consulting firm, SustainAbility, where she ran the New York office. Her portfolio included finance, technology, pharmaceutical, and food companies, including Barclays, BMW, GE, Nestle, Nike, and UBS.
Over the last decade, Lindsay’s research and writing has focused on the potential of business to create social benefit. In 2014, she launched Model Behavior, a research initiative focused on mapping the landscape of and building the case for business model shifts that bring positive societal, economic and environmental benefit. Lindsay has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, GOOD Magazine and the Guardian Sustainable Business. She is a speaker on sustainable business innovation and has recently spoken about blended finance, women’s entrepreneurship, and circular economy. She also teaches a graduate course at Parsons in New York on sustainable business models.
Meka Egwuekwe, Executive Director, Code Crew
Meka Egwuekwe is co-founder and Executive Director of CodeCrew, a Memphis-based non-profit that specializes in youth computer science education. Prior to founding CodeCrew, Meka had been a professional software developer for more than nineteen years, building software systems for governments and Fortune 500 companies around the world, most recently as Director of Software Development at Lokion Interactive. Meka is also a longtime mentor in StartCo’s business and technology accelerators, where he has mentored various companies in tech.
Meka has a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Morehouse College and Duke University, respectively.
Andre Fowlkes, President, Start Co.
Andre Fowlkes is the President of Start Co. bringing seven years of startup building experience and over 15 years of investment and portfolio management experience to the team. He spends his time at Start Co. providing programming and guidance to startups, with corporate innovation clients, raising and managing capital with limited partners, and brokering civic growth opportunities that leverage entrepreneurship. Working in wealth and money management, startups & entrepreneurship, government, journalism, civic entrepreneurship, and economic & community development has allowed for Andre to accumulate a unique set of skills to build social, political, and financial capital for growing entrepreneurial ecosystems.
John du pre Gauntt, Host & Curator, The Augmented City
John du Pre Gauntt is betting on a multi-trillion node network of sensors and cognitive technologies in the world’s cities by 2035. This won't be urban infrastructure. It will be environmental habitat for humanity’s next stage of development. By 2035, cities and mega-cities will shelter:
Most of the world’s people
Most of the world’s economy
Most of the world’s problems
Most of the world’s innovations
The Augmented City podcast explores the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Urban Life. Through a combination of interviews with some of the smartest people in the business, as well as original, though-provoking analysis, The Augmented City podcast wrestles with AI’s transformation of urban infrastructures like transportation, healthcare, education – institutions thrust suddenly onto the fast lane of change and evolution.
John holds a Master of Science in Information Systems from the London School of Economics and completed courses in Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Blockchain from MIT. His analysis of the impact of technology on business and public policy has been featured in The Economist, Oxford Economics, eMarketer and GigaOm.
Daniel Giblett, Director, Valen Energy
Nancy Giordano, Founder | Strategic Futurist + Speaker + Gatherer, Play Big Inc
Described as endlessly optimistic, Nancy is a strategic futurist with a drive to help enterprise organizations and visionary leaders transform to meet the escalating expectations ahead. Recognized as one of the world’s top female futurists, she has spent her career building, shaping and guiding a portfolio of $50 billion worth of major global brands. With growing conviction of what will (and needs to) shift, executives value her unique abilities to sense and synthesize the terrain ahead and guide those ready to build more relevant and sustainable solutions.
Candice Hahn, SVP, Managing Director, R/GA Austin
As SVP, Managing Director of R/GA Austin, Candice is responsible for the office’s growth, operations, new business development, and partnering with clients and staff to create full-service, award-winning work. Prior to R/GA, Candice spent eight years at Modem Media (now part of Publicis Groupe) in a strategy capacity, where she helped to drive client business via digital programs.
While at Modem, Candice worked with clients such as Amgen, Wyeth, Sprint, Intel, and Microsoft. Her other experience has included several roles at iCrossing, where she headed up its national healthcare and retail verticals. While there, she served as VP, Managing Director, of its San Francisco office, where she secured new clients such as Cancer Treatment Centers of America, PetSmart, Charles Schwab, and Robert Half International. Candice was also instrumental in the success of record-breaking online sales days for clients such as Williams-Sonoma. Candice holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and economics from Bucknell University, and a master’s degree in international management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. A New Hampshire native, she has quickly adapted to the Austin lifestyle, and enjoys exploring the many outdoor activities the city offers with her husband and daughter.
Dustin Haisler is the Chief Innovation Officer for e.Republic - the nation's leading state and local government media and research company - and the parent company of Government Technology, Governing, and the Center for Digital Government. Dustin also serves as an Eisenhower Fellow (2019 Zhi-Xing Program) and Program Faculty for the Texas State Certified Public Management Program (CPM).
As the former Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Assistant City Manager for the City of Manor, Texas, a city outside Austin, Dustin quickly built a track record and reputation as an early innovator in civic tech. Dustin pioneered government use of commercial technologies not before used in the public sector – including Quick-Response (QR) barcodes, crowdsourcing, and gamification. Named a Government Technology Top 25 Doer, Dreamer and Driver in 2009, his work over the years has been featured in Wired, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, the Today Show on NBC, and Citizenville by California Governor, Gavin Newsom.
Dustin graduated Magna Cum Laude from LeTourneau University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and has worked universities around the globe on incubating next-generation technologies in government including the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University and the University of Trento, Italy. Dustin continues to work with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, academia, gov tech startups, and non-profits across the globe on innovation, go-to-market, and citizen engagement strategies. Dustin is also a frequent speaker on public-sector innovation and also serves on numerous public and private boards throughout the world.
Gregg Hansen, CIO - Maven, GM
An experienced leader with a proven track record within the technology industry for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 50, Gregg possess expertise in building and leading effective, high performance teams and unique experience building and managing large-scale globally distributed software teams.
He has been successful by applying project management, metric analysis and process management skills to deliver scalable enterprise integrated applications for aggressive business units. Gregg has had the rare opportunity to apply his skills in the most exciting areas of the industry: distributed and cloud software development, personalization, Service Oriented Architecture, e-Commerce, globalization, product configuration, pricing optimization, call center operations and advanced client development.
Adam Lupu, Co-Founder/Co-Creator, Limitless Harmony
Adam has spent the last 25 years discovering how people learn from each other and the world around them. He has applied his discoveries as a classroom teacher, filmmaker, academic researcher, and most recently as an entrepreneur in startups focusing on human development. Having started, worked with and/or invested in 12 startups in the last 7 years, Adam is an experienced practitioner at turning money into meaning and individual creativity into team collaboration.
He's the Co-Founder and Co-Creator of Limitless Harmony, a gaming platform for teams of people to come together around their shared dreams for the future and then build those dreams through purposeful, collaborative play. Prior to this work he was Vice President of Learning at African Tech Training startup Andela, and helped design and launch the first Nanodegrees at Udacity. Adam also works in the Non-Profit Education sector on projects like Global Playground and Reskill America.
Laurence Anne Mittelbronn, National Restaurant Association, Copia
Carey Ann Nadeau, Founder & CEO, ODN
Carey Anne Nadeau is a MIT-trained entrepreneur, focused on modernizing the measurement of risk. Formerly a Researcher at the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute, Carey Anne went on to found ODN (ODNsure.com), which uses location-based driving data and open data to predict where car crashes are likely and help auto insurance carriers and city Vision Zero Initiatives prevent crashes and save lives. She is the host of Profiles in Risk, a podcast featuring influential drivers of transformation in the insurance industry.
Freya founded her first company in 2013 as a graduate. spottster was a European shopping app analyzing and matching prices of >6.000 online shops with roughly 350 million products for more than 250.000 users. After selling the company in 2018, Freya and her team founded 3tausendsassa in order to develop and launch new software products, all strongly related to large scale data analytics.
Mark Oshima, Co Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Aero Farms
Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of AeroFarms, a leading clean-technology company that builds and operates responsible, state-of-the-art indoor vertical farms around the world, enabling local production and transforming agriculture. A Certified B Corporation, AeroFarms has been recognized by Fast Company two years in a row as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in the Food & Data Science categories, and by Inc. as one of the Top 25 Disruptive Companies.
An award-winning marketer with an extensive background in retail, branding, and media, Marc is also passionate about increasing access to healthy food and has led the marketing for major food retailers. Marc has been recognized by Eating Well magazine as one of the 2018 American Food Heroes. With his B.A. from Columbia College and M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, Marc is also Board Co-Chair of Chefs Collaborative, a 25 year old non-profit improving our sustainable food systems, and a member of the United Fresh Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council and FDA Romaine Advisory Task Force.
Ganesh Padmanabhan, VP Marketing & Business Development, Cognitive Scale
Ganesh Padmanabhan is the Vice President & Head of Global Business Development and Worldwide Marketing at CognitiveScale. He is passionate about bringing disruptive technologies to market and has established a track record of driving growth through corporate strategy, product and business development as well as marketing and sales for startups and Fortune 500 companies.
Before CognitiveScale, Ganesh spent more than a decade at Dell, later Dell EMC, where he held several leadership roles in corporate strategy, business development, sales, product management and marketing. Most recently, he served as Dell EMC’s General Manager of Worldwide Converged Solutions where he drove the group’s hyper-growth 5x trajectory, building a billion dollar solutions business in less than five years. Prior to Dell EMC, Ganesh held several engineering leadership roles at Intel and Adaptec, in North America and Asia.
Ganesh is a frequent keynote speaker, an evangelist for human machine partnership and an advocate for opportunity. He was recently honored by the Enterprise Management 360 as one of the the top 10 tech experts revolutionizing AI. In addition to his role at CognitiveScale, Ganesh is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Capital Factory in Austin, as well as an advisor to several startups in Austin, Texas.
He holds a Masters in Business Administration from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin as well as a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calicut in India.
Ashley Phillips is the Managing Director at Impact Hub Austin, providing Austin's social impact community with both the physical and social infrastructure to learn, grow and succeed in their aim to positively affect change in Austin and beyond. In this role, Phillips created and launched the first of it's kind issue specific, social impact accelerator. She focused her work on building and sustaining partnerships with corporations, foundations, and government to bring new skills and focus to social impact ventures
Before coming to Impact Hub Austin, Ashley worked at Leadership Austin, a non-profit leadership development organization that increases and improves civic engagement. Ashley's professional career began at the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley in California. At the YWCA, her passion for community work was anchored as she led multiple community initiatives and youth programming around race and gender equity in the city of Pasadena.
She has spent time in South Africa as a researcher and advocate, living and working with the people in a township called Soshanguve which stands as a direct result of Apartheid. Along with her work in South Africa, Ashley has also spent time in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Uganda trying to better understand the role of the west in developing countries.
With her unique experience, passionate heart for justice and work with the poor globally she hopes to continue to grow her passion and expertise by connecting with local and global leaders on issues of equity and justice.
Veronika Reichboth, Director Startup-Unit, HIW Hamburg Invest
Erin Reilly, Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Moody College of Communication, UT Austin
Erin Reilly bridges industry and academia as an innovator, educator and strategist with 20 years of experience inventing new approaches, products, and experiences. Erin is Professor and Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for Moody College of Communication at University of Texas at Austin. She consults on storytelling, engagement and learning through emergent technology, and has been a guest lecturer worldwide at universities and industry conferences. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Interactive Media Peer Group’s Executive Committee, Board President of NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education) and serves on advisory boards, such as Disney Junior and PBS.
Nathaniel (Nate) Robinson, Assistant Vice President, UT El Paso
Nathaniel (Nate) Robinson loves intersections, especially science & art, technology & society, and people & opportunity. He initiates and expands research, education and technology development as Assistant Vice President at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He also co-founded Pick-N-Learn to bring education and career opportunities to challenged populations using art, storytelling and literature.
Nate’s perseverance and good fortune have allowed him to advance initiatives in art, engineering, economics, education, and social impact through sponsors like NASA, Motorola, and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others. He holds degrees in engineering, economics and finance, as well as professional engineering licenses in multiple states.
After working in R&D at Motorola, on electromagnetic projects at the Department of Defense, and on Space Shuttle propulsion systems at NASA, Nate became Director of Operations in Mechanical Engineering at UTEP. He expanded his work to innovation in Saudi Arabia at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) before returning to the USA. Nate is grateful to have worked in the USA, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Oman and China. The 2018 US Spain Council Young Leader, 2016 Eisenhower Fellow and 2008 NASA Tech Fellow, he’s on the lookout for opportunities for innovation systems to address economic and social disparities, and always welcomes a good cup of tea.
As Chief Commercial Officer, Usman Shuja is responsible for SparkCognition’s commercial strategy and business development.
Shuja joined SparkCognition in 2013 as the founding executive and Vice President of Market Development to lead the revenue organization. In this role, Shuja led sales, marketing, partnerships, and customer success teams from the pre-revenue stage, focusing on enterprise clients across energy, aerospace, and manufacturing.
Prior to SparkCognition, Shuja was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and held software development and sales roles at IBM. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the Kellogg School
of Management at Northwestern University and completed executive education program in public leadership from Harvard University.
He serves on the board of directors for USA Cricket, cricket’s national governing body and serves as an advisor to Apergy and HotelKey, a hotel management software company.
Liz Sisson, Urban.Us
Liz oversees all operations at Urban Us, an early stage VC and is a Program Manager at URBAN-X, an urbantech startup accelerator. Throughout her career, she has been most interested in how the public and private sector intersect. Before joining Urban Us and the team at URBAN-X, Liz was at the Roosevelt Institute, an economic think tank in NYC, where she managed hyper local policy campaigns spanning across areas such as economic development, transportation, and the environment.. Liz has also done consulting work on government programs related to transportation and the environment.
Whurley, Founder, Strangeworks
“I’ve been using systems theory and open source to create innovative technologies my entire career. I believe leveraging technology to solve our problems, not just as consumers but as citizens, is the most exciting and noble challenge we face.”
Ruthbea Yesner, VP Government Insights & Smart Cities, IDC
Ruthbea Yesner Clarke is the global VP of the Government and Smart Cities Strategies practice at IDC. In this practice, Ms. Yesner coordinates IDC's government and Smart City research worldwide. Ms. Yesner's research discusses the strategies and execution of relevant emerging technologies and non-technology best practice areas, such as governance, innovation, partnerships and business models essential for Smart City development and government digital transformation.
Ms. Yesner's research includes the Internet of Things, Big data analytics, cloud computing, mobility and social media in public works, transportation, public safety, smart water, community engagement and Open Data initiatives. Ms. Yesner contributes to consulting engagements to support state and local governments' Smart City strategies and IT vendors’ overall Smart City market strategies.