Andrew Smith is the Former Head of the £103m Renewable Energy Investment Fund by Scottish Investment Bank - investing debt and equity in a range of marine, low carbon and community owned renewable energy projects - and former Head of Investment for DP Energy - a renewable energy and sustainable development specialist operating in sites across the world. He is now running his own consultancy, Deja Blue Consulting, helping shape projects & businesses and raising finance for them and their projects. He is an Associate of Greenbackers Investment Capital specialising in raising finance for low-carbon, clean tech and climate change businesses.
Mare Straetmans is the managing director of PortXL, the first and only maritime, logistics and energy related accelerator in the world. He has experience in fostering innovation. He had a key role in impacting the maritime and logistics sector as Strategy & Innovation Lead within a large maritime corporation. Furthermore, as a consultant he has developed experience with organisational and strategic challenges.
PortXL is a company scouting, matching and accelerating startups, in close connection with large corporates like Shell, Van Oord, Vopak, Thales and more. Being the 1st and only entrepreneurship hub in maritime in the world, PortXL has established a distinguished approach to increase the speed of development of startups and support corporates in their challenge to create value out of working with startups. With locations in Rotterdam, Singapore and Antwerp, PortXL is covering leading maritime and logistics ecosystems around the world.
Frédéric Michel is a Group Director at Sky plc, Europe’s leading entertainment company, currently heading its newly established impact investment project, Sky Ocean Ventures, which focuses firstly on new technologies and systems innovation designed to help accelerate solutions to ocean plastics. He was Director of The Bigger Picture which launched the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign in 2018. Frederic was formerly Executive Vice President, Corporate Reputation and Special Projects at Sky Italia (2015-2017); Senior Adviser to the CEO of Sky Italia and 21st Century Fox (2015-2016); Global Public Affairs Director at Telefonica (2012-2015) and Senior Vice President, Europe at News Corporation (2099-2012). He is also the Founding Director of the international think-tank Policy Network for the UK Prime Minister’s Office and Founding Partner of the management consultancy Reputation Inc.
Martin Janser is the chairman of the board of Bonafide and responsible for risk management and the structuring and monitoring of internal processes. Since 2005 he has been working as a delegate of the board of directors at the family business Janser Holding AG. Prior to this, he worked in asset management and investment consulting for several Swiss private banks. Martin Janser is a Bachelor of Business Administration and holds an MA in real estate management.
He has extensive experience in portfolio and risk management, design and management of a portfolio of real estate and land, and development of new real estate projects for the Janser group. He is also responsible for the financial assets of the entire Janser group and monitors system processes and risks.
Gilbert Vergères is a member of the board and managing director of Bonafide. He started his own business operations in 1998 and has been managing director and a member of the board of directors at an asset management company until 2013. His main activities include customer relations and managing the in-house mutual fund; he also has primary responsibility for research. He has worked at several Swiss private banks, in stockbroking, arbitrage trading and fund trading. He was also responsible for customer support for securities, Eurex trading and structured products.
He has many years of experience in private equity and portfolio management, as well as extensive expertise in the design and management of investment funds.
Carsten Krome worked as a technical analyst for an aquaculture investment fund before launching Alimentos Ventures. He oversaw equity investments in various aquaculture feed, health, IT and production start-ups.
He holds a PhD in aquaculture nutrition from the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling.
Jean-François Balducchi, 61, is currently CEO of Atlanpole, Technopole, BIC, and academic Incubator of the Greater Nantes Area of Innovation, Western France.
He is also Executive Vice-President of the Atlanpole Biotherapies Bio Cluster, and sits on the Boards of two other Western France clusters : Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique and Pôle Images&Réseaux. From 2012 to 2016 he was the President of IASP (the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation). He has also held the positions of President of EBN (European Business Innovation Centres Network), European Innovation network (2004-2007) and President of Retis, the French Innovation network gathering BICs (Business Innovation Centre), academic and research oriented incubators, Technopoles and Competitiveness clusters (1999-2006). He was the founder and Managing Director of Futura Corse Technopole (1992-1996). Prior this “Innovation period”, Jean-François Balducchi spent 12 years in the Oil and Gas industry and held various executive positions with Total, Oil and Gas Company (Paris Headquarters and Overseas subsidiaries) (1981-1992), mainly in the upstream and gas sectors. From 1979 to 1981, he worked at the Automatic and Computer Sciences Laboratory of Ecole des Mines de Paris.
He holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics - Paris Dauphine (1981) and is an Engineering graduate of Ecole Centrale de Paris (1978).
Paul Finnerty is the Chairman of Yield Lab Europe, an investment firm emerging as a leading early stage investor in European Agtech businesses. Previously Paul was CEO with ABP Food Group, a €3bn turnover European agribusiness and a substantial investor in Agtech and sustainability initiatives. Prior to that he was a partner with KPMG Corporate Finance.
Yield Lab Europe is currently selecting investments for its 2018 programme following its successful launch and investment into four early stage Agtech businesses in 2017, including two investments in the Blue Marine space. Founded in St Louis in 2014 Yield Lab is evolving into a global network of Agtech businesses with operations now established in the USA, Europe, South America and Asia.
Jesús Querol has over 20 years in managing multiple projects including planning, estimation, risk, communication and release management and interfacing with customers. In the last 3 years, he has been in charge of the maritime entrepreneurship project at the Naval Architects Professional Board creating a venue for maritime entrepreneurs, startups and Angel Investors to learn, grow, invest and leap to success.
Moreover, he is in charge of Acceleration Program “Blue Ocean Innovation 4.0” aimed at maritime startups and its transformation into innovative, viable and scalable international companies.
He has a M.S. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and hold a Master in Global Entrepreneurship by Escuela de Organización Industrial (EOI), a Business School sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.
Javier Echarri is the CEO of EBN (European Business Innovation Centers Network).
He has significant experience in running international associations with 11 years as CEO of the Invest Europe (formerly EVCA, European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association). Additionally, he is an expert in early-stage and growth finance investment, an experienced board member of several private companies and non-profit organisations, and has a background in economics and business.
Mark Huang was recently Providence’s Economic Development Director, where he focused on the Innovation ecosystem and developed an Urban Food strategy. Prior to his work in Providence, Mark, as a co-founder, led the formation of Novus Energy Partners, a US-Norwegian cleantech VC fund, which was later followed by Tolero Ventures. Prior to that, Mark was with GE for 10 years and as a Senior Vice President, he co-led the effort to re-start GE’s cleantech venture investing efforts. In the maritime sector, Mark has worked in shipbuilding and as a naval architect. Mark also served for 13 years as an officer in the US Army Reserves. He was mobilized in 2003 to Baghdad where he focused on nation-building. He is currently a US director of Alfanar, the only venture philanthropy non-profit focused on the Arab world, and Tern, a Taiwan-based urban mobility company.
Mark holds an MBA and Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University & a BS in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Webb Institute.
Simon Dent joined Althelia in 2014 as a Partner and has been focused on sustainable marine and natural capital projects. He believes that private finance should play a greater role in the transition to sustainable business models and practises. He is the Principle of the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund.
Previously he was a Managing Director at BNP Paribas where he worked for the bank in both Europe and North America. He led the setup of the bank’s environmental and carbon allowance trading desk and has extensive experience in both physical and financial markets, renewables and sustainable finance.
Simon holds a Masters in Corporate and International Finance from Durham University and a Business and Economics degree from Edinburgh University. Simon’s love of the Ocean has come from growing up by the coast in New Zealand and he is also a qualified diver and yachtsman.
Jean-Pascal Tranie is the president and co-founder of Aloe Private Equity, which has invested since 2003 in numerous environmental and clean companies in Europe and Asia including Greenko a leading renewable energy Group in India, and Aloe Energy (now Sonnedix France).
Ruben Eiras is currently Director General for Maritime Policy of the Ministry of the Sea of Portugal. He was advisor for industry, innovation and energy of the Minister of Sea of Portugal. He was a Science and Technology manager at Galp Energia. He holds a Phd in energy security policy in the area of History, Defense and International Relations, by the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e Empresa – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa and the Military Academy. He also holds a Master Degree in Sustainable Energy Systems from the MIT-Portugal Program. He was a member of the Group of Experts on Natural Gas from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and a SAS Technical Member Energy Security from NATO Science and Technology Organization.
Noémie Wouters is proud Alumni of Ghent University where she graduated in marine biology in 2006. In 2015, she obtained her PhD on the effectiveness of marine resilience assessment tools from the University of Lisbon. She was co-supervised by a Brussels-based biomimicry consulting company. In her research, she developed a cooperation-network in the US, Australia, UK, Portugal, Spain. She is now in charge of two functions:
As Blue-Growth liaison officier on behalf of the University of Ghent, she is their knowledge broker for marine and maritime stakeholders. Indeed, she represents Marine@UGent, a consortium of Ghent University joining over 400 Blue Growth researchers. She has also the CEO ad-interim responsibility of Greenbridge, the University of Ghent incubator at its Ostend campus. GreenBridge has the ambition to become entirely focused on marine and maritime services for start-ups and tech-companies.
Her network reaches also into the marine industry through business developers, including DEME, a marine contractor and engineering company operating worldwide and Energy Port of Ostend's Blue Energy. Last but not least she contributed to marine policy making by cooperation with a European Institution that develops common position on European Marine Science research priorities.
In short Blue Growth is her passion.
Following 15 years of international experience as an innovation executive in successful organisations in FMCG / B2C and B2B, Jorge Fernandes decided to become both a Business Angel and an entrepreneur.
Driving by his passion for the sea, heco-founded Mermaid Investments in 2017 focused on early stage and seed investments to science-driven Portuguese startups targeting the Blue Growth. In parallel, he is establishing a new venture dedicated to the valorisation of marine resources like seaweed for food, cosmetic and nutraceutical applications.
Jorge has built a strong track record in (corporate) entrepreneurship, innovation strategy development and implementation, in innovation management, and more recently in sustainability, successfully developing and commercialising innovative food products and sustainable solutions, and driving improved innovation performance across businesses, geographies and cultures.
Originally from Portugal, Jorge splits his time between Munich, where he lives with his wife and 3 young daughters, and Portugal, where his entrepreneurial ventures often take him. Jorge interests include Sustainability, especially Food & Nutrition Security and Circular Economy, travelling, (slow) food, reading, music, running and scuba diving.
Marc Klaus works on strategy and programme development at Race For The Baltic and is leading the organisation’s effort to develop the "Baltic Sea Accelerator" - a programme that helps cities develop strategies to capture socioeconomic benefits from investing in clean water.
Before Marc joined the team at Race For The Baltic in 2016, he was pursuing entrepreneurial ventures at the nexus of water, energy and food and developing solutions that address current and future stress on these resources and ecosystems. Prior to this, Marc worked in business development and communications at, among others, Mannheimer Swartling and Spray, in Stockholm, and BBDO and Heye/DDB, in New York City and Munich, respectively.
Marc graduated from Williams College (USA) with a double major in Political Economy and German Studies, and a concentration in Environmental Studies. He also is a member of Openlab, a creative centre in Stockholm that seeks solutions to challenges in society by working in co-operation with academic institutions, municipalities, and other actors.
Degree in Business & Administration at Cardiff University (UK) and EMBA by ESADE Business School, Xoán, he starts his career in United Kingdom, and then he moves to India before joining the Kaleido project in Spain in 2000. His career has always been linked to logistics and freight transport, but always with an innovative and pioneering approach in a very conservative field. For the last 15 years he has been heading up corporate restructurings, rebranding process and the international expansion of the firm in countries such as Portugal, Angola, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Morocco, as well as several projects leading to diversify the markets and businesses of the Group, a leader in its sector headquartered in Spain.
For Kaleido, Xoán has been the driving force behind the Innovation strategy that can provide to clients more efficient and sustainable logistic projects, evolving towards an Open Innovation Ecosystem unique in the sector. This strategy has led to the “Logistics Tech Accelerator” and the “Fishing Accelerator, global accelerators of reference focused in logistics and transport the first, ocean and fisheries the second. Both accelerators have been founded by Kaleido.
In addition, Xoán has been a speaker at several conferences and university courses relating to Maritime Law, International Business, Logistic Trends and Innovation. He has written for specialised press and he is co-author of several studies on maritime traffic. As a result, he still gives free rein to his passion for logistics and the power of innovation.
Prior to joining the team founding Evonik Venture Capital, Mark Redshaw held positions within the Nutrition & Care business of Evonik. With over 15 years in international operational roles in a dynamic growing global business. Responsibility for service differentiation and developing environmental, economic and societal sustainability in the business were preceded by five years as head of Evonik Animal Nutrition Services, the global leader in research, analytics and handling of amino acids.
Mark studied agriculture at the University of Reading and received a PhD from the University of Nottingham.
Pierre Menet is in charge of Investment Funds and Projects structuring within the European and International Affairs Department at Caisse Des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC). CDC is investing both in debt and equity products supporting the French economy and focusing on infrastructures.
Matias Torrellas is the Portfolio Manager of InnoEnergy, responsible for managing the portfolio of equity stakes in startups. He has been with InnoEnergy since February 2015. Prior to that, he was Investment Director at CX Capital, managing a portfolio of over 200M€ of private equity positions. Before that he had an extensive career in banking, holding positions at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers in London and New York.
He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, the CFA certification and an Engineering degree from UPC (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya).
Janusz Ogłaza is an Investment Director at Polski Fundusz Rozwoju (Polish Development Fund). He works for two Infrastructure Funds managed by PFR with total of PLN 4,4 bn (c. USD 1.2bn) AUM and is responsible for i.a. energy sector projects. Recently he has been involved in the Jaworzno transaction where PFR joined TAURON Polska Energia in its SPV carrying out a construction of a new power unit with a capacity of 910 MW.
Janusz joined PFR after a 10+-year career as a Polish advocate at CMS Cameron Mckenna and Weil, Gotshal & Manges where he advised key companies involved in energy sector in Poland. He is a graduate of Finance & Banking and Law at the University of Lodz.