Ari focuses on enterprise software, SaaS, Internet of Things and cybersecurity investments. He is a former entrepreneur with operational experience in London and New York. Prior to Dawn, Ari founded SaaS sales and workflow management system World on a Hanger and ecommerce clothing marketplace Fabricly.
Ari is an alumnus of the Y Combinator startup accelerator and he regularly visits Silicon Valley and New York where he has extensive relationships.
Ari holds a B.Sc. in International Relations (first class) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Bas Boris Visser
Global Head of Innovation and Business Change
Bas Boris Visser is Clifford Chance’s Global Head of Innovation and Business Change and a Partner in its Amsterdam Finance & Capital Markets practice, where he was managing partner from 2009 until 2015. In recent years Bas Boris was involved as legal advisor to the Dutch Central Bank on various interventions of the Dutch state in respect to financial institutions of systematic reliance. Bas Boris focuses on the financial institutions sector and financing of private equity transactions.
Head of Advanced Technology and Business Innovation
Che Smith was appointed Head of Advanced Technology and Business Innovation for Virgin Media Business in July 2014. Che is responsible for looking at how innovative technologies can transform the way we live, work and play. Che first joined Virgin Media Business some 18 years ago and has held a number of roles during that time. Most recently Che was responsible for designing network solutions for the Public Sector including Technical Design Authority for HPSN2, CambridgeshirePSN and the London Grid for Learning. Che has also designed solutions that have transformed many organisations from the 3rd sector (RNLI) to the private sector (Yorkshire Water). Che is also responsible for how new technologies can change the way Virgin Media Business interact with their customers, most recently this has led him on a cognitive journey.
Dr Jochen Leidner
Director of Research
Head of Strategy & Innovation
Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Royal Holloway
University of London
Chris Watkins is a professor of artificial intelligence at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is known for his research on reinforcement learning (Q-learning) and on kernel methods. Before rejoining academe, he spent five years in industrial research, and five years as a quant analyst for three hedge funds. His recent research interests are in data visualisation, evolutionary methods, and on reddit.com as a source of medical advice.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Christian Hernandez Gallardo is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of White Star Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm helping exceptional entrepreneurs across the Atlantic to build great technology companies and supporting them to scale globally. White Star’s investments include leading companies such as Betaworks (US), Summly (UK – Bought by Yahoo!), Bloglovin’ (Sweden), Dollar Shave Club (US) and Ludia (Canada – Bought by Fremantle).
Christian was previously an early international employee at Facebook where he led the expansion of the company’s Business Development, Platform and Gaming groups. In this capacity he worked closely with hundreds of entrepreneurs across Europe, the Middle East and Africa helping them scale through the Facebook platform.
He previously held leadership roles at Google where he helped drive distribution Google’s mobile products, the Android Platform and the Chrome browser. Christian has also worked at Microsoft where he was the Global Marketing Manager for the first generation of branded Windows Mobile smartphones and he started his career in technology as a Product Manager for MicroStrategy, a software start-up he joined prior to its 1999 IPO.
Christian has been recognized by WIRED magazine as one of the top 100 Digital Influencers in 2011 and 2012. He holds a degree in Economics from Duke University and an MBA from The Wharton School. He currently serves on the Executive Board for EMEA of the Wharton School, the Board of Advisors at Seedcamp and the Board of Directors of eLife, a new scientific journal. Born in El Salvador and having grown up across Latin America, the US and Europe, Christian now resides in London with his family.
Process Improvement Director
Clive is and experience leader in innovation within customer experience, and has delivered strategies for organisations in many different sectors. He is an evangelist for the customer inside the corporate environment and forever looking for new technologies to enhance customer experience. Noel heads up Barclay’s digital design team and is responsible for the digital experience of millions of customers.
Director of Business Analytics MSc at UCL and CEO at Satalia
Daniel is the CEO of Satalia that provides AI inspired solutions to solve industries hardest problems. He’s the co-founder of the Advanced Skills Initiative that transitions scientists into industry as data-scientists.
Daniel has a Masters and Doctorate in AI from UCL, and is Director of UCL’s Business Analytics MSc; applying AI to solve business/social problems. He lectures in Computer Science and Management Science at UCL and PCL.
Daniel has Advisory and Executive positions in many companies, he holds an international Kauffman Global Entrepreneur Scholarship and actively promotes entrepreneurship and technology innovation across the globe.
Customer Insights Analyst
Dr VR Benjamins
Group Director BI & Big Data
Dr. V.R. (Richard) Benjamins is Group Director BI & Big Data responsible for internal exploitation across Telefonica. Before joining Telefonica, he was director and board member at iSOCO, which he co-founded in 1999. Dr. Benjamins has held positions at the Universities in Madrid, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, Barcelona and Paris. He is one of the founding members of a European Incubator for Open Data start-ups (http://opendataincubator.eu/). He has published over 100 scientific articles (http://www.researchgate.net/profile/V_Richard_Benjamins/) about artificial intelligence, knowledge-based systems, and semantic web, and he is a member of the editorial board of IEEE Intelligent Systems. Dr. Benjamins received his Ph.D. (1993) in Cognitive Science/Artificial Intelligence from the University of Amsterdam.
Chief Analytics Officer
Mike has spent his career as a researcher and a practitioner using mathematics, data and behavioral economics to drive business value and innovation. He works as an independent consultant with organisations to help them understand how they can realise value from data science, build data science teams and ensure the success of their data science projects.
A few years ago he embarked on one of his toughest challenges. Using data science to unlock generosity! Justgiving built a machine that uses data science to crack this problem and Mike shared a bit about it at the Microsoft Build Conference. Mike’s work in this space also got him recognition as one of the UK’s top digital masters.
Mike is currently working on a book with O’Reilly on how organisations can generate true value from data science. The book is based on a methodology that he has created and tested successfully with several organisations. Mike has provided a sneak peak to the methodology as a contributing author in the book, Big Data and Predictive Analytics edited by Jay Liebowitz.
BI /Data Science Manager
JJ Food Service
Mohammad S Islam is working as a Data Science Manager for JJ Food Service Limited since 2013 and responsible for designing predictive analytics roadmap and algorithm frameworks. Under his supervision company won the Visionary Award for the category Big data and Insights for Microsoft Convergence 2015 EMEA region. He has around one decade of experience in Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Science arena. Mohammad received his Bachelor of Science in Computing and Information Systems at London Metropolitan University and a Masters in Data Warehousing and Data Mining at the University of Greenwich. He has international research journal publications as well.
Nathan Benaich is a Partner at Playfair Capital, an early stage venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs building technology to rethink the way we live, work and play. Nathan focuses on businesses solving complex problems using data and engineering as core competencies, as well as those which craft compelling user experiences that quickly become habitual behaviours. He has led, originated or participated in seed through Series B investments including Mapillary, Appear Here, Dojo and Festicket. Nathan also organises the annual Playfair AI Summit on research and applied artificial intelligence as well as the London.ai meetup community.
Prior to Playfair, Nathan earned an M.Phil and Ph.D in oncology as a Gates and Dr. Herchel Smith Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and a BA in biology from Williams College. Nathan published research focused on technologies to halt the fatal spread of cancer around the body.
Head of Customer Insight & Futures
Dr Nicola Millard heads up Customer Insight & Futures in BT’s Global Services Innovation Team. Despite working for a technology company, Nicola isn’t a technologist and combines psychology with futurology to try and anticipate what might be lying around the corner for both customers and organisations (sadly, her crystal ball is broken).
Nicola recently celebrated her 25th year in BT. She has done a number of jobs around the BT business, including user interface design, customer service and business consulting. She was involved with a number of BT “firsts”, including the first application of intelligent systems into BT’s call centres and BT’s initial experimentation with home working.
Nicola got her PhD from Lancaster University in 2005 on motivational technologies in contact centres, published her first book in 2009 and now spends most of her time doing research, writing blogs, articles and white papers.
Parry is a self-described digital anarchist. He set up Phrasee in 2015 and has already worked with major consumer facing clients such as
Euromoney, Virgin Holidays, House of Fraser and Nectar Card
VP International Contact Centres
Phil Jennings, Vice President of Contact Centres for Ticketmaster International
Phil Jennings is the Vice President of Contact Centres for Ticketmaster International and has executive responsibility for Ticketmaster’s 14 Contact Centres internationally (outside of the US).
Prior to joining Ticketmaster worked at Centrica PLC, the largest UK Utility Business trading as British Gas, and later headed up the National Relay Service, a not-for-profit organisation established to facilitate real-time telephone calls between hearing and non-hearing people over the public telephone system.
Phil has an extensive background in customer services and in his 12 years at Ticketmaster has primarily focussed on improving the customer experience (CX) and reducing customer effort. He believes that customer self-service is not only a great CX, but also the most cost-effective solution to helping a diverse multi-lingual customer base. Phil’s key achievements are leading the project to implement Inbenta natural language search as Ticketmaster’s online customer service solution, and he is currently introducing Intelligent Assistants to supplement this service.
Phil has a degree in Business Studies from Birmingham University and a MBA and MSc in Human Resource Development from Wolverhampton Business School. Phil is married with two grown up children.
Director of Digital Design
VP Watson Europe and Cognitive Solutions UK & Ireland
Cognitive Solutions Leader in UKI
Rob has led teams in services, hardware and software in the major markets and growth markets spanning South Africa, the United Kingdom and Europe. Having started his career as a programmer in small software companies, he joined IBM in South Africa and moved through the management ranks in the Information Technology division.
His passion for working with customers in Financial Services was a key driver in him moving into sales and then into leadership roles. Prior to moving to the UK in 2000 he led the IBM Financial Services business in South Africa.
His experience and client skills made him a natural candidate to participate in the integration of Price Waterhouse Coopers Consulting and subsequently was a partner in the IBM consulting business. He also led the development of the strategy for IBM UK and Ireland.
In 2011 Rob started the IBM Industry Solutions software business in the UK and Ireland and integrated 14 acquisitions in building this business. He subsequently led the formation of the Commerce business unit in Europe.
Rob is now leading the IBM Cognitive Solutions business in the UK and Ireland.
Simon joined the team at the beginning of 2012 and focuses on early stage deal flow, screening investment opportunities and performing preliminary due diligence. He has an active interest in businesses focussing on EdTech, IoT and Machine Learning. Within the Octopus portfolio, Simon works closely with Surrey NanoSystems, Origami Energy, Trafi, WaveOptics and SmartKem.
Before joining Octopus, Simon was a research scientist investigating novel materials for photovoltaic applications at Imperial College in London. Simon holds an MA and MSc in Physics and a Ph.D. in Molecular Electronics.
Octopus Ventures is a venture capital investor who backs talented people with the potential to build big businesses. Our focus is on identifying entrepreneurs and fast growth companies that can scale explosively to create, transform or dominate an industry. Octopus Ventures has a proven track record of helping build exceptional global businesses, including: Secret Escapes, SwiftKey, and graze.com. You can find out more at http://www.octopusventures.com/.
Assoc Professor IS
London School of Economics
Dr Will Venters is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems within the Department of Management at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. His research focuses on the distributed development of widely distributed computing systems. His recent research has focused on Grid, Cloud Computing and Knowledge Management systems. He has researched the organisation of distributed work and systems in various organisations including government-related organisations, the construction industry, financial services, health, and most recently among particle physicists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He has undertaken consultancy for a wide range of companies, and has published articles in journals including the Journal of Management Studies, MISQuarterly Information Systems Journal, Journal of Information Technology, Information Technology and People (where he is also an associate editor) and the Journal of Knowledge Management Research & Practice. Until recently he was a member of the board of Youthnet, the UK’s first online charity, and was the former chair of a national volunteering charity. He writes a blog on Cloud Computing http://utilitycomputing.wordpress.com and his website is http://personal.lse.ac.uk/venters
Head of Strategic Development
Will Mace is responsible for helping Unibet to develop its long term vision and to identify and develop key strategic options and opportunities.
Will has several years strategy and product experience in the customer facing digital and mobile space. Prior to joining Unibet, he worked for Barclays Bank and the British Army. He lives with his family in London.