Fiona Murray
Associate Dean for Innovation;
William Porter (1967) Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan

Prof. Fiona Murray is the William Porter (1967) Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, and the faculty director at both the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the Legatum Center. She is also the associate dean for Innovation, co-director of the Innovation Initiative, and has most recently been appointed a member of the UK Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology (CST). Fiona is an international expert on the transformation of investments in scientific and technical innovation into innovation-based entrepreneurship that drives jobs, wealth creation, and regional prosperity. She has a special interest in how policies, programs, and relationships between academia and industry can be designed to accelerate the productive role of universities in their local entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Ben Brabyn
Head, Level39

Ben Brabyn is the Head of Level39, Europe's largest technology accelerator for businesses in the finance, retail, cyber-security and future cities technologies sector. Level39 puts entrepreneurs in the same space as some of the world's most influential technology investors, industry experts and organizations, accelerating their traction and access to markets. In his role, Ben amplifies Canary Wharf’s status as a global technology hub at the heart of the UK’s FinTech and smart cities innovation. He brings experience of online payments, cyber and social ecommerce. Previously, Ben worked at UK Trade & Investment, where he led the Government team connecting UK startups with global sources of investment.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji
Co-Founder, Andela
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Flutterwave

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is a Nigerian serial entrepreneur with several years of experience running social ventures in education technology and publishing. When he was 18, he worked as an intern for the World Youth Alliance in the United Nations Headquarters. He went on to run one of Canada’’s largest student-owned publishing houses, Imprint Publications as President of the Board. Iyinoluwa helped found and run Bookneto Inc, a social e-learning platform for university professors to teach online courses. Bookneto Inc. was acquired in 2013. He also co-found talent accelerator Andela and Flutterwave, an end-to-end payments platform that covers all the bases in payments processing.

Antoinette Schoar
Michael M. Koerner (1949) Professor of Entrepreneurship;
Professor of Finance, MIT Sloan

Prof. Antoinette Schoar is the Michael M. Koerner (1949) Professor of Entrepreneurship and a professor of finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the chair of the MIT Sloan finance department. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from the University of Cologne, Germany. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Finance and the co-chair of the NBER Entrepreneurship group. Her research interests span from entrepreneurship and financing of small businesses in emerging markets to household finance and intermediation in retail financial markets. She received several awards including the Brattle Prize for best paper in the Journal of Finance and the Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship in 2009. She has published numerous papers in the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economic, the Quarterly Journal of Economics and others. Her work has been featured in the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She also is the cofounder of ideas42 a non-profit organization that uses insights from behavioral economics and psychology to solve social problems.

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Babtunde "Tunde" Alawode
Co-Founder, dot Learn Inc.

Tunde Alawode is co-founder of dot Learn Inc., an online education platform for emerging markets. Currently finishing his PhD in mechanical engineering, Tunde founded both the Bridge Initiative, which connects Nigerian university students with graduate study opportunities abroad, and Impact Labs, providing Maker-Spaces and promoting hands-on STEM education in Nigeria.

Adetayo Bamiduro
Co-Founder, Metro Africa Xpress

Adetayo Bamiduro is the co-founder of Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), a hyper-local retail and delivery platform that uses mobile apps to connect consumers, retail businesses and independent drivers in real-time. MAX is eliminating the logistics, technology and payments barriers that have prevented retail businesses in Africa from attaining their maximum potential. MAX guarantees 30-minute food delivery and 3-hour package delivery on its high-tech logistics platform, which the founders developed at MIT. Beyond retail and logistics, MAX is using GPS and routing data from deliveries to build a high-performance urban mobility and proprietary addressing platform for Africa.

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Angela Nzioki
Co-Founder and Country Manager, Pluspeople Kenya Limited

Angela Nzioki is co-founder and country manager of Pluspeople Kenya, an IT-company in the financial inclusion sector that focuses on empowering small businesses in East Africa by providing them with IT solutions that enable them to manage and run their businesses more professionally. Angela is a renown Kenyan entrepreneur, IT evangelist and an advocate for women in technology. Previously to Pluspeople, Angela founded Micro-Mobile, a mobile applications company that gave students a detailed summary of their university’s e-learning systems and co-curricular activities. Angela occasionally speaks at FinTech events in the country sharing her experiences co-founding and running a FinTech company in Kenya.

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Ella Peinovich
Founder and CEO, Soko

Ella Peinovich is a venture-backed entrepreneur, working at the intersection of art and technology. Ella has worked within social enterprises in informal economies for the past 7 years. Since graduating from MIT in 2012, Ella relocated to Nairobi to fulfill her role as CEO of Soko, a supply chain innovation that connects mobile-enabled artisans from developing countries directly to brands, retailers, and online customers around the world. Soko, a women-owned and operated social enterprise, has developed the first mobile driven value chain that enables artisans to engage the international marketplace, even if they lack access to the Internet, a computer, or a bank account.

Timothy Barnes
Head of Enterprise (London), Loughborough University

Tim Barnes has managed large and small organizations in the private and public sectors ranging from universities to venture capital firms. He has led startup companies, charities, political campaigns and public bodies. Tim works with the Loughbourgh University London team, offering strategic advice and direction to help connect the university's London campus into the London enterprise ecosystem. His latest project is The Rain Gods, which was founded in February 2016 and launched to the public in Summer 2016.

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Kamal Bhattacharya
CEO, iHub Nairobi

Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya is the CEO of iHub Nairobi. The iHub provides part open community space, part vector for investors and VCs, and part incubator. It is a vibrant and collaborative environment for innovators and startups to think through their ideas, and develop their solutions, lowering the barriers to entry for many young would-be entrepreneurs. As the new and first CEO of Africa's premier tech hub, Kamal's plan takes a three-pronged approach: Connect, Build and Invent. Prior to iHub Nairobi, Kamal worked at IBM for seventeen years in various capacities.


Andrew Horton
Director Digital, Partnerships and Innovation, British Council

Andrew Horton has extensive experience in launching products, digital services and business models in international markets and with strategic partners. In his current role, he has overall responsibility for global partnership strategy, digital strategy and digital product development across the organisation. Both are key to the innovation agenda in leading change and developing capability. Previously, Andrew was Director Content and Brand Licensing for Time Inc. (UK) generating growth from +60 brands, cross-platform and internationally.

Hayaatun Sillem
Deputy CEO and Director of Strategy, Royal Academy of Engineering

Dr. Hayaatun Sillem is formerly the Academy’s director of programmes and fellowship. Her new role as deputy CEO and director of strategy involves overseeing the implementation of the five-year strategic plan and, alongside the CEO, leading cross-Academy change and modernisation projects. Hayaatun continues to lead Academy Fellowship activities, award schemes and research policy and will take on a strategic oversight role across the Academy’s portfolio of programmes. She first joined the Academy in 2002 as an engineering policy advisor, before moving into roles in government and Parliament, including at the Department for International Development and House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.


Philip Budden
Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan

Dr. Phil Budden is a senior lecturer at MIT's Management School, in Sloan's TIES (Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic-management) Group, where he focuses on 'innovation-driven entrepreneurship' (IDE) and innovation ecosystems. He co-teaches in the successful 'Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program' (REAP), an ExecEd program for regional teams from around the globe interested in accelerating 'innovation-driven entrepreneurship'; in the related 15.364 class, known as the 'Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Lab' (REAL), aimed at MBAs and Sloan Fellows; and on similar topics in a variety of degree and ExecEd settings. 

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Deborah Drake
Vice President, Investing in Inclusive Finance (IIF) Program,
Center for Financial Inclusion, Accion

As the vice president of the Center’s Investing in Inclusive Finance (IIF) Program, Deborah Drake leads the Africa Board Fellowship Program, which is dedicated to strengthening governance and improving risk management and strategy for CEOs and board directors of sub-Saharan African financial institutions. She also directs the Financial Inclusion Equity Council (FIEC), a membership organization of private entities making equity investments in financial institutions in the developing world.

Akintunde Oybode
Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund

Akintunde Oyebode is a trained economist. He worked as a research assistant at the Lagos Business School, and spent over a decade in various banking roles with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Stanbic IBTC Bank. Prior to being appointed as Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), he was the Head of SME Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank.

Shanker Singham
Director of Economic Policy and Prosperity Studies, Legatum Institute

Shanker Singham is one of the world's leading trade and competition lawyers, former head of market access at Squire Sanders, managing director of the Competitiveness and Enterprise Cities project at Babson Global, and current CEO of Competere. As director of economic policy and prosperity studies at the Legatum Institute (LI), Shanker is responsible for working on new ideas linked to LI's economic policy programme. This work builds on the Institute's "Morality of Capitalism" programmes, and also examines how countries can become more productive, and how free trade and open, competitive markets can help people of all incomes increase their prosperity.

Georgina Campbell Flatter
Executive Director, The Legatum Center
Lecturer, MIT Sloan

In her role as executive director and lecturer, Georgina Campbell Flatter works to implement educational programming and curricula for MIT students who are building and scaling sustainable impact-ventures across the developing world. Georgina has been emerged in, and an active contributor to, MIT's innovation ecosystem for several years through her roles as executive director of MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), director and lecturer of the XPRIZE Lab @ MIT and, as a student, a researcher at the Langer Lab, and managing director of the MIT Clean Energy Prize. She has also led several innovation projects at the World Bank and worked as a research associate at a renewable fuels spinout from MIT.

Fernanda de Velasco
Co-Founder and CFO, Play Business

Having always lived in Mexico, Fernanda de Velasco realizes that entrepreneurs with great ideas and investors need a platform to connect and share information. She developed Play Business, a space where entrepreneurs and investors could not only meet, but also access and finalize agreements, giving all parties more confidence and security. As a woman and entrepreneur, one of Fernanda's goals is to encourage more women to pursue their business ideas through the Play Business investor platform.


Francesca O'Brien
Head of Private Markets, SyndicateRoom

Fran O'Brien is responsible for managing the private deals listed on SyndicateRoom. SyndicateRoom's unique take on equity investing brings business angels and sophisticated investors together to help close funding rounds faster. Previously, she worked with the legal team responsible for preparing victim and witness statements for the Leveson Inquiry, and within the schools and education department of the London Borough of Ealing Council.

Benjamin Samuels
CRO and Head of Business Development, Homestrings

Ben Samuels brings 18 years of banking experience to Homestrings, where he is the chief revenue officer and head of business development. Ben is leading the expansion of Homestrings from an African-based business to a global investment and crowdfunding platform, with reach and access across emerging and frontier markets. Ben is responsible for sales, marketing, strategy and of course growing revenues. Previously, Ben was global head of equities at Renaissance Capital, where he was responsible for research, trading and sales. He expanded Ren Cap's frontier footprint to include almost 40 markets across emerging Europe, sub-saharan Africa, MENA and frontier Asia. Prior to that, Ben was a managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he spent 15 years helping to build out and run equities businesses across emerging markets and Europe.


Alan McCormick
Managing Director, Legatum Group

Alan McCormick is a managing director of the Legatum Group, a private global investment firm headquartered in Dubai. Alan plays an entrepreneurial role across Legatum’s various divisions with a broad set of responsibilities. The Legatum Group is comprised of a deep-value public equity fund, a private equity fund focused on investing in for-profit enterprises with a social impact, the Legatum Institute, a public policy think tank headquartered in London, and the Legatum Foundation which has impacted almost 40 million lives across 110 countries over the past decade. Alan was formerly part of a special situations team at Sovereign Global Investment, a predecessor organisation to Legatum, and prior to that was a vice president of marketing for J.P. Morgan.

Gayle Peterson
Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director, pfc

Gayle Peterson is co-founder and senior managing director at pfc, a nonprofit consultancy that helps people and organizations with money, time, and vision do good. Its clients are foundations, individuals, impact investors, corporations, governments, and intermediaries at the leading edge of social change. Gayle is also an associate fellow at Oxford University's Saïd Business School, where she is a founder of the Women Transforming Leadership Programme and programme director of Oxford Impact Investing. Gayle has more than 25 years of experience as a strategist, philanthropist, and trusted adviser to social investors worldwide.

Sorin Grama
Entrepreneur in Residence, Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship

Sorin Grama is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship where he brings experience of starting and scaling a hardware business in a developing economy. Sorin co-founded and served as CEO/CTO of Promethean Power Systems, a manufacturer of thermal energy storage systems for refrigeration and cold-storage applications. He was the principal inventor of Promethean’s thermal battery, an energy storage device that provides effective backup in areas with unpredictable grid power. Sorin’s company was also one of the four founding companies of Greentown Labs, a grassroots effort which has grown to become the nation’s largest cleantech incubator.

Chris Cusack
Manager, VilCap Communities Global, Village Capital

Chris Cusack is the manager of VilCap Communities Global. Most recently, he was a Venture for America Fellow with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he worked on special projects for the executive team. Previously, he helped accelerate small community businesses in Northern Ireland with Lisburn People’s Support Project, where he also created an oral history database of individual experiences from The Troubles.


Samer Salty
Founder and CEO, Zouk Capital

Samer Salty is the Founder and CEO of Zouk Capital. He has 28 years experience in private equity, investment banking and technology. Samer oversees both the strategic direction of the firm and the investment process. Zouk's distinctive dual track strategy, consisting of technology growth and renewable energy infrastructure, was designed and implemented by Samer. His vision for sustainability started with his investment in The Carbon Neutral Company in 2000 and his philosophy is to make investments that both create economic value and build on sustainable principles. Prior to Zouk, Samer was at JP Morgan where he led many private equity and advisory transactions in the technology and telecom sector. Samer began his career designing and managing the development of air traffic control computer and telecom systems for a number of Fortune 500 clients and government aviation authorities in the US.