The BlockStart consortium is supported by a pool of external experts, that bring added-value to our startups mentoring during the Prototype and Pilot stages. They are recognized experts in the blockchain and DLT domains and have experience in one or more of the fintech, ICT and retail fields

Aivars Lipenitis | Director International Business Development | ENRIGA

Scaling internationally tech products, including some of Financial Times listed fastest growing European companies. Market Entry Strategy, Market Development. Some 15 countries as of geography of deals made happen. Prior experience and background in media, digital marketing, events, and tech product management. Teach, train, co-develop degree education programs, mentor and coach of tech startups through acceleration programmes and advise directly. Expertise in business models and market validation, go-to-market strategy, international sales & marketing partnerships, and fundraising. Focus on B2B solutions, software, or hardware + software. A self-made blockchain expert of its business application side. Has set up and managed R&D projects internationally to develop products implementing and expanding the technology, and overlooked bringing them to market. Works with founding teams at Blockchain Founders Fund and through European acceleration programmes.

Cristina Gouveia | National Contact Point European Innovation Council | Portuguese National Innovation Agency

Cristina Gouveia has an extensive experience in following and adopting new technologies in research and business contexts. She has a PhD on Environmental Engineering from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and has a Master on City Planning from MIT. Cristina has been researcher, team leader, strategic planner and co-founder of startups. Right now she enjoys giving a simplified map on European research and innovation funding to startups, companies and researchers.

David Chreng-Messembourg | Founding Partner, Early stage investor | LeadBlock Partners

David is a tech investor and entrepreneur, co-founder of LeadBlock Partners, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in B2B data-driven start-ups leveraging Blockchain technology. He started his career as a biophysics research scientist, studying the physical properties of Phospholipids and Triglycerides, and investigating DNA base pairs using quantum mechanics and computational techniques – this is also when he first learned about blockchain technology, a decade ago. His scientist and data background was applied to many industries, including Healthcare, Financial Services, FMCG. Prior to co-founding LeadBlock Partners, he was an Equity and Data analyst at Goldman Sachs, covering Energy and Commodities. He spent the last years working on ESG-related projects, including initiatives and investments Big Energy companies could consider to lower their carbon emissions.

Farzad Pezeshkpour | Founder & CTO | LAB577

Since late 90s, Farzad has served in multiple roles across major tier 1 investment banks, including the platform architect and hands-on technical lead for an FX options platform for NatWest and as a quant building exotic options pricing logic at Deutsche. He has been working with DLT since 2014 – including Ripple, Ethereum and Corda. He is a contributor to the Corda open source project.

Joshua Ellul | Director of Centre for DLT at University of Malta | Chairperson of Malta Digital Innovation Authority

Dr Joshua Ellul is director of the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) and a lecturer in the Computer Science Department, University of Malta. He is also Chairperson of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority which regulates technology aspects of the blockchain sector. The Centre for DLT developed and runs a world-first multidisciplinary Masters in Blockchain which takes in students having backgrounds in computer science, law, finance and economics. The Malta Digital Innovation Authority is the World’s first technology regulator that has put into place a technology assurance regulatory framework for Blockchain, DLT and Smart Contracts. His areas of research focus around the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain domains including: enabling ease of software development; detecting illegal activity; technology regulation; and techniques for reducing mistakes in smart contracts.

Katiuska Da Cruz | Programme Manager Born from Knowledge | Portuguese National Innovation Agency

An economist with 20 years of experience, Katiuska has focused on promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. She works directly with start-ups, enabling entrepreneurs and helping them develop business strategies. Led the implementation of a regional network of 12 business incubators and supported innovative tech start-ups at the University of Aveiro Incubator. Currently at the Portuguese National Innovation Agency, she is responsible for the Born from Knowledge (BfK) programme, which aims to promote, disseminate and award the production of knowledge and innovation. The BfK Idea Competition and BfK Acceleration Program for Technological Teams enable the transformation of scientific knowledge into economic and societal impact. Katiuska also integrates several national and international jury committees for the evaluation of start-ups and innovative business ideas.

Mário Alves | CEO & co-founder | TAIKAI

Economist by trade, technologist by heart. Worked at PwC and as Investment Banker. Helped startups fundraise and blockchain companies to design token incentive models. In 2017 created Blockchain Center Portugal and in 2018 founded TAIKAI, the next generation talent marketplace.

Miguel García González | Innovation Director | Bosonit

BEng Industrial Organisation and BSci Computing at University of Deusto. He has an experience of over 11 years in R&D projects through a number of H2020 and FP7 projects. He has coordinated different EU projects (FIWARE Finodex, IRSUS, Blockchers and Data Market Services) in the last years. All of them oriented to support startups and entrepreneurs working in the fields of data and blockchain. At Bosonit he leads the innovation division of the company in which they provide support in fundraising, creation of new ventures, innovation workshops and activities for all the companies in the group. In charge of a team multidisciplinary innovation experts, they take part in a number of EU, national initiatives related to innovation activities and data.

Paolo Campegiani | Senior Research and Innovation Manager | Bit4id

Paolo Campegiani (M), holds a Ph. D. in Computer Science Engineering. In Bit4id, a digital identity provider, he is responsible for all of the innovation activities inside the company and has focused its efforts on the field of blockchains/DLTs, working on the development of innovative services bringing together digital identity and blockchains. He has coordinated EUCLID, an Italian national research project awarded as the best innovation project in Italy in 2019. He is deeply involved with many SDOs, as the project leader of ISO/TC 307/TR 23249 on digital identity and blockchains, and also as a member of CEN CENELEC JTC 19, that should define technical guidelines for the implementation of blockchains/DLTs compatible with relevant EU legislation. He is company representative for ECSO, EEMA, INATBA (founder of the WG Identity), GAIA-X. He is frequently consulted to evaluate innovation projects combining digital identity and blockchains/DLTs.

Pedro Roseiro | Executive Board Member | TICE.PT

Pedro Roseiro is presently Executive Board Member at TICE.PT (the Portuguese National ICT Cluster) and Senior Investment and Innovation Consultant focused on ICT, working from strategy design till market introduction and partnership management, including project financing. He often acts as Proposal Writer, but he is also an External Expert in several Horizon 2020 ICT and SME Instrument Proposals, as well as in several other organizations (Eureka Network, European Blockchain Observatory and Forum, etc.), and integrates expert panels promoted by the European Digital SME Alliance. He was also Expert and Jury Member in Open Calls launched by several European projects. He is a mentor in Media Motor Europe, Blockpool, R3 and EIT Health. His personal interests are in organizational learning, knowledge and innovation management, semantic web, information retrieval and representation, e-Health, AAL, smart cities and e-Government. He also works as Senior Information Systems Consultant and actively cooperates with Municipalities as a result of his more than 25 years’ field experience. His academic background is in Information Systems and Computer Engineering with specialization in Enterprise Information Systems and Innovation and Knowledge Management.

Rafael Pires | IT Labs Manager | Sonae MC – BIT

Rafael is a software engineer interested in startups, innovation, and product management. Co-founder of Startup X, a non-profit organization aiming to multiply the impact of entrepreneurs and startups all over the world. Startup X was responsible for programs like Startup Pirates, a one-week community-driven pre-acceleration program for aspiring entrepreneurs (40+ cities in 20+ countries), and PortugalStartups.com, an independent news blog with content about the Portuguese Startup Ecosystem (acquired by Espacio). Currently, Rafael manages the IT Labs at Sonae MC (Bit) where he plans and executes experiments with startups.

Richard Crook | Founder & CEO | LAB577

Former Head of Emerging Technology at Royal Bank of Scotland, defining and leading their blockchain, AI and quantum strategy since November 2014. After leading teams to deliver maximum business benefits through tech solutions for the largest financial service institutions, Richard broke cover with a team of innovators to create LAB577.

Sofia Bravo | SMEs support Team to the European Innovation Council |Portuguese National Innovation Agency

Think of Sofia like the one that holds the compass to help you ‘sail the uncharted waters’ of the European innovation funds. And you might also enjoy her insights on the big picture about your business model and the strategy to implement it. With 20 years of experience in research and innovation funds and support schemes, Sofia is currently helping tech-based SMEs to find the best funding opportunities to develop and commercialise high-risk, high-potential new products, services and business models with the  ambition to scale up globally, with a focus on the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European innovation ecosystem.

Next SME Adopters Open Call cut-off March 11th, 5pm CET (Brussels time)

If you are an End-user SME, don’t miss the chance to work with cutting edge blockchain/ DLT developers!

Apply Now

Sign up for updates on the programme