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.

Alberto Bonetti | Project Funding Manager | CSMT Gestione scarl

Alberto Bonetti has a M.Sc. University degree in engineering. He covers the role of Project Funding Manager in CSMT, a private/public not-for-profit service and research centre ( devoted mainly to the promotion and management of innovation and national and international industry / academia cooperation. He has over 25 years experience in European cooperative funded projects initiation and management. He has been playing management roles in several European funded projects (e.g. COSMOS-RICE, HEALTHREATS, FITREHAB, CRICORM). He is acting as an independent expert since 1993 for the European Commission and related Agencies and Programmes for the evaluation of research project proposals and the review of funded and running projects.

Alberto Ezcurra | Strategic Innovation Consultant | BERSEY Consulting sl

Passionate, high-achieving consultant with a proven track record of helping businesses getting innovative solutions to market. I excel at recognizing and cultivating potential in my team. Empowered by the design thinking model, my specialties are European programs management, cross-functional coordination in the development of projects and digitalization. When it comes to crypto, I excel at pursuing blockchain projects from their first stages to their introduction in market. Furthermore, due to my strong compliance and regulatory backgrounds, I advises businesses, boards of directors and founders on trends, innovation and strategies for growth and value creation, powered by digitalization strategies.

Alfredo Favenza | Blockchain Team Lead | LINKS Foundation

Alfredo is a blockchain team leader at LINKS Foundation and a technical content creator at OverTheBlock, a strategic Observatory on Blockchain Innovation aimed at to promoting a broader awareness of the opportunities offered by exponential technologies in reshaping the way business is conducted, and society is governed. He is Co-Chairman of the Distributed Ledger Technologies Working Group of AIOTI (The Alliance of the Internet of Things Association) where he is leading activities on exponential technologies convergence (DLT, IoT, AI) and the potential benefits of blockchain-based innovation in cross technology domains. Alfredo has gained about 15 years experience in ICT European projects, gaining relevant experience in fundraising and business development activities, fostering research and innovation in cooperation with academy, industries and SMEs.

Alexia Martinel | Blockchain Strategy & Adoption – Belgium & Luxembourg lead | Nomadic Labs

Alexia is the Strategy and Adoption lead for the BeLux region within the Nomadic Labs teams, the French R&D firm specialized on the development and the implementation of the Tezos Blockchain protocol.

Alexia has an international strategy and product management background, with past experiences held in blockchain, product management and as a VC business analyst. In 2016, while studying a Master’s in Management, Alexia discovered blockchain and hasn’t left the ecosystem since.

Areas of interest/ Where I can help: Business Development/Networking, Business Strategy, Product management, SSI.

Andrea Gaiba | Co-founder & Partner | Italian Brand Factory – IBF Srl

CIO & Advisor & Managing shareholder at Traipler, CO-founder and partner at IBF s.r.l., Partner, business angel and mentor at IAG, Shareholder at ICONIUM S.P.A., Co-founder LoveItaly, Speaker at GEC – Global Entrepreneurship Conference, Jury Member at Pioneers – World Bank and Jury Member at the European ICT Awards (Luxembourg).

Carla Puel | VC Associated | LeadBlock Partners

Carla is a VC Associate at LeadBlock Partners, a blockchain focused venture capital fund investing in B2B Blockchain/Digital Assets solutions. She started her career in a Chinese corporate venture capital fund, helping them to settle an office in the UK and to identify investment opportunities in European tech startups. This is where she first came across blockchain technology, four years ago. Carla joined LeadBlock Partners in 2020 transitioning from Investment Banking at Natixis, to support the team in the sourcing and screening of B2B blockchain startups worldwide.

Carolina Marçalo | Apps Revenue Enablement Lead, IBERIA | Xerox

Carolina Marçalo currently works on disruptive technologies, applying them to the business world and business models. Carolina worked at SIBS for five years, in corporate finance and new product development, defining the strategy of the Portuguese payment system. For six years she helped build the user base of the Android app store, Aptoide, from a platform of 25 million active users to over 250 million active users, closing major partnerships with Android manufacturers such as Xiaomi. Introduced to blockchain technology in 2017 as a coauthor of the AppCoins Protocol white paper, a blockchain protocol for App Store transactions based on Ethereum, she is now an expert on what the technology can bring to economic growth. She currently works at Xerox as a leading app specialist for the Iberian market, aiming to drive the implementation of the company’s app and software solutions strategy. Carolina also advises multiple startups, one of them being Ydata, and (x)Black, a platform to empower the African-American community.

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, VC 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.

David Vatchev | Venture Development Lead | R3

David is Venture Development Lead for R3, helping early stage blockchain start-ups find Product-Market-Fit, get production ready and accelerate their Go-To-Market strategy. Previously David worked in capital markets at Credit Suisse, as well as consultancy roles in asset management and financing on behalf of Family Offices. As a co-founder (Newmont Capital Partners LC), mentor, board advisor and Non-Exec company director, David is actively involved across all parts of the start-up ecosystem.

David can provide help and guidance with:

  • B2B sales strategy & customer engagement
  • Successful fundraising strategies for Seed/Pre-Seed
  • New business growth and development

Demetra Papadopoulou | Chief Information Security Officer | Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf

Demetra has 15 years of international and multicultural experience in the private and public sector, as well as entrepreneur. She holds a magister in Management Science and Technology and a master in Information Systems Management with specialization to mobile engineering and information security. She is specialized and certified as business coach, digital innovator and information security officer. She gained her blockchain experience through her cooperation with European and National Institutions in the public sector and her own entrepreneurial journey. 

In the private sector she was in IT and management consulting in diverse companies and positions in the field of e-banking, smart cities, supply chain, aerospace etc. Since 2015 she started two companies in the field of healthcare and personalized medicine. Both companies used DLT, IoT and AI as core technologies.  

She is familiar in blockchain business planning, modeling, as well blockchain architectures. Demetra is involved in diverse blockchain and innovation working groups all over Europe i.e. EBSI. 

Her vision is to bring inspiration and motivation to startups and her mission is to share knowledge and experience in order to help companies develop sustainable business. Demetra can support in following topics: 

  • Business coaching: defining vision/mission, business plan and canvas, agile working methods, team building and leadership development 
  • Project Management, product design and development, digital business strategies and processes 
  • Information security awareness and best practices in order to develop safe, innovative solutions that conform to norms and standards.  

Dimitar Anastasovski | Co-Founder and CTO | Infidia

Dimitar is a graduate in Computer Science, a full-stack engineer, R3 Corda, and Ethereum certified developer, working on multiple projects for Distributed Ledger Technology for more than four years. Creator of 20+ DLT solutions in Europe, he is recently recognized and listed as Official Blockchain Mentor in the EU, lecturing at various events and writer of dozen articles and scientific papers. Experienced in managing research and outreach efforts in the global FinTech and Blockchain industry also experienced in all phases of Blockchain development life cycle that includes requirement gathering, design, development, and implementation. Recently he became Algorand Developer Ambassador. Born and raised in Macedonia.

Farzad Pezeshkpour | Founder & CTO | DASL

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.

Hadrien Zerah | Managing Director | Nomadic Labs

Hadrien Zerah is one of Nomadic Lab’s General Director and is  responsible for the adoption of Tezos technology  at Nomadic Labs. Nomadic Labs is a research and development company for distributed, decentralized and formally verified software. With its fifty researchers and engineers based in Paris, including a large proportion of PhDs in computer science, Nomadic Labs is currently dedicated to the development of an open source implementation of the Tezos protocol and associated tools.  As an adoption manager, Hadrien supports companies in their discovery of the Tezos protocol and in their projects to implement this technology.

Hadrien is an engineer by training, and after his studies, he spent 7 years in Brazil where he managed a subsidiary of the French Petroleum Institute. In 2019, he obtained a Master’s degree in Financial Mathematics from the Ecole Polytechnique.

Areas of interest/ Where I can help: Business Development/Networking, DeFi, Tokenization.

Hélder Vasconcelos | CTO & co-founder | TAIKAI

CTO & co-founder at TAIKAI, a web3 hackathon platform. 14 years of experience as a Backend Developer and Tech Lead (Euronext, Axway, Airtel ATN & PT Inovação). Involved in blockchain projects since 2018, being able to combine tech, product and business to build a long term vision. Programming book author.

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.

Konstantinos Votis | Senior Researcher and Blockchain Team Leader | CERTH/ITI

Senior Researcher and Blockchain Team leader at CERTH/ITI while he is also a Visiting professor at the University pf Ulster in UK but also a visiting professor in the University of Nicosia regarding Internet of the Future activities. He received an MSc and a Ph.D. degree in computer science and service oriented architectures from Computer Engineering and Informatics department, University of Patras, Greece. In addition, he holds an MBA from the Business School department in the University of Patras. Since 2001, Dr. Votis has participated in more than 40 Research and Development projects in the fields of distributed ledger technologies, HCI, IoT, AI. He is also involved to EU Blockchain observatory and forum while he has contributed to standardization activities like CEN/CENELEC Blockchain technologies, European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) for the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure implementation (EBSI). Actually, regarding EBSI, he is involved as Greek representative.

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 Ángel Pérez | CEO & Co-founder | iCommunity Labs

  • Computer engineer, CEO of iCommunity Labs (a blockchain startup focused on “Enterprise Blockchain-as-a-Service” tools for developers).
  • Blockchain consultant for companies and collaborator at the Blockchain Institute & Technology, the first global center for regulated training in Blockchain. Speaker and entrepreneur in areas such as Blockchain, Fintech, Legaltech and Insurtech. Shape global, regional and industry agendas on systemic transformations driven by advances in technology, including digital identity, cybersecurity, personal data protection, interoperability, governance and ethical deployment of innovation.
  • Winner of “Regtech Awards 2019” and chosen as one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the RegTech and Fintech sector.

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.

Mirko Kikovic | Co-Founder & CEO| Infidia

Mirko Kikovic, IT Entrepreneur for over six years, previously held C-level Management positions over his ten-year corporate career span, which involved oversight of more than 300 employees. Nowadays, Co-founder/CEO of Infidia, President of IT association, and Product Owner in New Product Development.

During his University days, Mirko had his first entrepreneurial endeavor with a PC club back in 2003. However, after graduation, Mirko’s career started in the corporate setting, climbing ranks to positions of General Manager’s Consultant for commercial affairs, Sales Director, and various Manager roles in the retail industry, growing business of international brands Schwarzkopf & Henkel (Fortune 500) and three water production companies.

He entered the Startup world as a member of the first generation of the IT entrepreneurship program of Science and Technology Park in Belgrade, Serbia. One of his Startups is Infidia, a fintech company facilitating invoice financing with blockchain technology.

Mirko desires to contribute to the IT community by helping talented individuals to bring their products to market and reshape the world we live in. He consults on New Business Development for software products and lectures about B2B sales and Startup analysis

Nikolaos Tsoniotis |MEng Product Innovation | Ideas Forward

Nikolaos Tsoniotis holds an MEng in Electronic Engineering & Electronic Communication Eng. and started his engineering career working as a Telecommunications R&D Engineer for over a decade. He has worked as a researcher in academia investigating emerging technologies like Distributed Ledgers, Internet of Things, Data Analytics and how they apply to Transport and Energy Value Chains among other sectors. He is a serial entrepreneur with ICT and Energy sector efforts, startup coach/mentor in major events such as Startup Weekend and NASA Space Apps Challenge and is a resident coach at Next Stage Challenge, and OK!Thess startup accelerators in Thessaloniki, Greece. He is currently a co-founder and managing partner of Ideas Forward PC, where he is focused on the applications of Blockchain technologies, with expertise in Product Innovation Management, and Business Model Innovation.

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 Fernandes | Marketing strategy & Growth & Go-to-market | Sigma Polaris

Pedro has over 15 years of experience marketing tech B2B companies. A full-fledged globetrotter, Pedro has worked with people from +20 different nationalities across the globe, he has successfully launched new products worldwide, and organised events in three different continents.

Pedro’s experience runs across the marketing spectre, having marketed both hardware and software products. His expertise range from product marketing and product growth to account based marketing, content marketing, branding, PR & communications, digital marketing and social media, demand generation and GTM strategies, to name a few

Pedro can provide help and guidance with:

  • Marketing strategy and fundamentals
  • Product growth, traction and implementation of sustainable growth frameworks
  • Go to market strategies

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, 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 | DASL

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.

Sagar Barvaliya | Head of Venture Development | Blockrocket

Sagar Barvaliya is the Head of Venture Development of Blockrocket. He focuses on early-stage Blockchain startups. He also spends time looking at their business plan and team background. He is also managing the startup portfolio of Blockrocket and helping them with product development, strategic plannings & partnerships. Sagar has a deep knowledge about blockchain space and he is actively working with top blockchain projects. He is actively mentoring startups at Techstars & Founder Institute. His academic background is engineering in Civil & Mechanical.

Happy to help startups with:

  • Networking
  • Business Development
  • Fundraising

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.

Thibaut Chessé | Blockchain Strategy & Adoption – France lead | Nomadic Labs

Thibaut Chessé is involved in the blockchain adoption & strategy for the Tezos technology in France at Nomadic Labs.

Thibaut supports companies and institutions in their discovery of the Tezos protocol and in their projects to implement this technology. Having discovered the blockchain in 2016, he was trained at IBM with a background in finance and IT, and proudly works at Nomadic Labs since January 2020.

Areas of interest/ Where I can help: Business Development/Networking, DeFi, Tokenization.

Victoria Gago | Co-CEO & Co-Founder |European Blockchain Convention

Victoria Gago is Co-CEO & Co-Founder of European Blockchain Convention and European Tech School (soon to be launched). Additionally, she is the Director of OBS’ Business School & Three Points’ Master in Blockchain and Founder & President of Accelerate Network. Previously, she worked as an Investment Analyst at Black Toro Capital (Private Equity fund in Spain) and as a M&A Director at Windcorp Translink (Spain). Born and raised in Copenhagen. Currently based in Barcelona, Spain. MSc in Financial Management from Sheffield Hallam University and BA in European Studies from Copenhagen Business School.

Yonah Welker  | Explorer, board member | / . org 

I’ve been working on the intersection of tech and society since 2005 year – when I’ve become a tech explorer and launched a hardware think tank. Over my journey, I worked on tech startups and labs, helped to facilitate tech ecosystems through North America to APAC, MENA, Africa, screened over a few thousand teams, contributed to policies, frameworks, ethics, public and multilateral initiatives.
My current mission is to reshape the future of technology, algorithmic diversity and accessibility, specifically in aspects of ability, neurodiversity, gender/women, youth. I serve public and private innovation ecosystems to screen, evaluate, vet and support emerging technologies related to the future of learning, wellbeing, work, human-centered innovation, participate in co-design of tech products and solutions, work on tech policies, ethics and bottom-up projects to better adopt/democratize it. In 2020/21 I’ve spent over 60 world appearances to bring awareness to the neurodiversity / ability exclusion crisis, ethics and the role of social AI, robotics and tech.

Take a look at our 3-year journey: