Meet the Judges

Giles Andrews

Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Zopa

Giles is a co-founder and executive chairman of Zopa, the world’s oldest peer-to-peer lending platform. For over ten years Giles has successfully attracted lenders to the new model of finance and brought it to the mainstream consumer market. Zopa celebrated its £1 billion transaction milestone in August last year.

Claire Braithwaite

Former Head, Tech North

Claire is the inaugural head of the Tech North initiative that was launched in March 2015. She has been tasked with advancing the debate around decentralisation and economic growth in north England as part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative. She has a proven entrepreneurial record and grassroots understanding of the technology sector, serving previously as chief financial and operations officer at Clearly So, the corporate finance advisory firm for social enterprise.

Gi Fernando

Founder, Freeformers

Gi founded Freeformers in 2012 with a mission to use accelerated learning techniques to improve the way young minds are taught, and to enable 100,000 of the UK’s unemployed youngsters to join the workforce by 2015. Prior to Freeformers, Gi co-founded social media agency Techlightenment in 2007, and digital CRM service Western Consulting in 2009.

Eric van der Kleij

Managing Director, ENTIQ

Eric is the managing director of ENTIQ, a specialist innovation company that designs and creates custom innovation or economic cluster growth programmes for a range of major corporates. He is the former head of Level39, Europe’s largest accelerator space focusing on finance, retail and future city technologies.

Saul Klein

Founding Partner, Localglobe

Saul has over 15 years of experience successfully building and exiting companies in both the US and Europe as an entrepreneur, operator and seed investor. He is the founding partner of Localglobe, a new seed fund focussed on helping London’s most ambitious founders build game-changing businesses. Most recently Saul co-founded Kano and Seedcamp and was part of the original executive team at Skype (acquired by eBay). Previously, he was a Partner at Index Ventures from 2007 until May 2015.

Manish Madhvani

Co-founder and Managing Partner, GP Bullhound

Manish is a co-founder and managing partner at award-winning tech investment bank GP Bullhound. Manish oversees the firm’s London operations and leads capital raising transactions with some of the best-known global internet, software and media companies, including Spotify, Newscorp and King.com.

Rohan Silva

Founder, Second Home

Rohan is a founder of Second Home, an innovative working environment for creative companies. He previously worked as a senior policy adviser at Downing Street, a role which saw him collaborate with the government to develop the Seed EIS tax break and the Entrepreneur Visas scheme. Rohan has also advised on strategy for the government’s Tech City initiative and was named ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum in 2014.

Sam Smith

Founder and CEO, finnCap

Sam founded finnCap in 2007 as the youngest and only female chief executive of a City broker firm. Her leadership has positioned the firm as one of the leading and fastest-growing independent City brokers in 2015. Sam is also a patron for the Modern Muse project, which inspires young girls throughout the UK to embark on business careers and entrepreneurship.

Lisa Smosarski

Founder and Editor, Stylist

Lisa is the founder and editor of Stylist magazine, a leading UK-based lifestyle publication. Having launched the magazine in 2009, Lisa has successfully established a large readership and created Stylist Live, a four-day festival attracting the biggest names in fashion and culture.

Matthew Taylor

Chief Executive, Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Matthew is the chief executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, where he develops innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. A former Downing Street adviser to Tony Blair and a contributor to several national newspapers, Matthew is a regular commenter on issues including public service reform, social trends and education policy.

Adam Freeman

Former Managing Director EMEA, Bloomberg Media

Adam Freeman is the first managing director of Bloomberg Media for EMEA, responsible for leading Bloomberg’s multi-platform media operation across the regions. He formerly founded and ran Mutual Media, a digital advertising start-up, and also worked at the Guardian for 13 years – most recently as Executive Director of Guardian News and Media – where he helped drive the digital transformation of its print brands and spearheaded the expansion of its global commercial operations.

Caroline Hyde

European Business Correspondent, Bloomberg Television

Caroline Hyde is the London-based, European business correspondent for Bloomberg Television. She regularly interviews chief executives, finance officers, politicians and research analysts across the region. She previously covered the European debt markets for Bloomberg News as a corporate finance reporter, and has worked as a debt market specialist in public relations firm Moorgate Group.

Nate Lanxon

Head of European Technology News, Bloomberg News

Nate Lanxon is Head of European Technology News at Bloomberg. He was previously the launch editor for Bloomberg.com/Europe, before that holding roles as Editor of WIRED.co.uk, Editor-in-Chief of Ars Technica UK and Senior Editor at CNET.com. He’s passionate about emerging technologies, the podcast industry and the future interplanetary inhabitation by humans.


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