4th January 2017

Advisory Board

Mr Cherian Thomas, Managing Director, Aethos Business Solutions Ltd and former CEO, C&C Alpha Group

Cherian Thomas has more than 25 years’ management experience in diversified industries. He is currently Managing Director of Aethos Business Solutions Ltd and served as CEO of C&C Alpha Group for 8 years, a UK based company with worldwide investments in Healthcare, Hospitality, Aviation, Real Estate and Utilities. CCAG was established to serve as a holding company for a group of private investors who have been in the business of venture capital funding for over 30 years. The group’s investments range from £2m – £40m per transaction and typical enterprise value of transactions is £10m – £100m. Prior to CCAG, Cherian was Group General Manager at TATA. He currently sits on the boards of several of C&C ALPHA GROUP’s portfolio businesses. Cherian has a Degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Business Management. In addition, he has a Post Graduate Diploma in Global business from the Said Business School at Oxford University.

Ms Didem Ün Ateş, Business Programmes and Operations Director, EMEA at Microsoft

Didem Ün Ateş is Business Programmes and Operations Director, EMEA, at Microsoft’s Commercial Software Engineering (CSE) team. She is responsible for managing the business operations of the CSE EMEA organization, including budget and resource allocation, people & change management, and operations. CSE team’s mission is to enable high-impact organizations and developer communities; such as corporate, startup, student, and ISV partners; to achieve more and drive the value of Cloud. Didem also supports Wharton Alumni and Columbia Business School Alumni Angel Networks by helping technology startups’ business development and funding efforts.

Ms Rosemarie Truman, Founder and CEO, The Center for Advancing Innovation

Rosemarie Truman is the founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Innovation whose mission is to identify breakthrough inventions and maximize their commercial potential. With over 25 years of experience, Rosemarie’s specialty is growth and venture investment strategy, having led growth strategies for 50 of the global Fortune 100 companies in over 15 countries.  For her clients and CAI, Rosemarie has architected investment strategies and transformations that have served as the platform for more than 190 new products and an unprecedented $25 billion in profits.  Rosemarie is also Director of the DC-metro chapter of the Founder Institute, the world’s largest accelerator program. In partnership with the National Institutes of Health, MedImmune and several other partners, Rosemarie conceived of and launched five “first of a kind” challenges to crowdsource startup teams to advance federally-funded inventions, resulting in 80 new startups. The first challenge was the largest in the world in CAI’s first year running. CAI earned numerous awards and recognition from Health and Human Services, the White House, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium and several others such as the Washington Post, Wired, CBS, the Huffington Post etc. Prior to launching her own firm, Rosemarie spearheaded IBM’s Innovation strategy practice globally when she was awarded IBM’s most laudable honor, the Golden Circle Award; she also has served in leadership in several other prestigious strategy organizations. Rosemarie also served as the VP and head of global strategy at Marsh & McLennan, the world’s largest brokerage firm. Rosemarie started her career at Goldman Sachs. Her core competencies are in strategy consulting, investment banking and entrepreneurship.

Mr Lee Watts, Programme Director and Senior Project Manager, Vizor, Bermuda

Lee is currently Programme Director and Senior Project Manager at Vizor, based in Bermuda (previously at Riyadh and Dubai). Lee is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), with a Cornell BA in Physics & Computer Science, a Stanford MBA and an Oxford Bioinformatics Post-graduation Diploma with over 30 years’ experience in managing the entire lifecycle of IT services and applications. Lee accomplished numerous senior level management roles in driving board level business changes, international teams, and global deployments in mission critical environments within the IT, Internet, Banking and Energy industries. He has also provided Software Development Process Design, Mentoring and Support during his long and illustrious career. The various senior posts that Lee held in IT, banking and energy sectors across the globe, include: Senior Financial Modelling Analyst (Pacific Gas and Electric Co), Senior Programmer Analyst (Saudi Aramco), Project Manager (Sun Microsystems Inc), Project Management Consultant (Ford Motor Company), Project Management Consultant (Compuware Corp), Programme Manager – Misys Solutions for Banking (Misys plc), Senior Consultant (Rule Financial), Senior Consultant (Deutsche Bank), Vice President (JP Morgan), Head of Trade Transformation (Barclays Corporate) and External Consultant (Commerzbank AG). He and his wife Julie live in Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire and are Kennel Club Assured Breeders of working cocker spaniels.

Mr Husayn Kassai, Co-founder and CEO of Onfido Background Checks

Husayn Kassai is the Co-founder and CEO of Onfido Background Checks, a data-driven platform that helps companies make fast and informed decisions on who they can trust by carrying out identity, financial, criminal and other checks via API or online Dashboard. Founded in 2012, Onfido has raised over £40 million in investment and has grown to become the largest provider of background checks to the on-demand and sharing economy. Husayn sets the overall direction and strategy for Onfido, prior to which he served as the President of Oxford Entrepreneurs along with co-founder Eamon Jubbawy. He has a BA in Economics and Management from Keble College, Oxford.

Mr Frank Kelcz, Venture Partner, DNCapital, UK

Frank is currently a Venture Partner at DN Capital, and is an International Media Executive, Investor, Adviser and Coach. Frank started his career as a successful publisher of trade magazines throughout Europe. He was also a Marketing and Sales Director at MIDEM Market in New York and Cannes and President of ESI Street, one of the earliest online services for the Entertainment industry. Frank worked at Bertelsmann-G&J in Hamburg as the assistant to the Chairman and Deputy Director of the International Division and Head of Special Projects in New York. A hands-on entrepreneurial publisher, he spearheaded the Ziff-Davis launch into Europe. In addition to his position as Venture Partner at DN Capital, Frank is currently a Partner at Collider, London’s Media & AdTech Accelerator. Other significant roles include: Advisor to UKTI’s Venture Capital Unit; Head of Media-Technology Investments at SEB Venture Capital; CEO of the Media Technology Advisory Boutique, MCC International and Pitango Venture Capital.

Dr Graeme Doran, Director of Genomics, Abcam, USA

Graeme is Director of Genomics at Abcam PLC where he heads the team developing Firefly Genomics Products. Firefly Bioworks was acquired by Abcam for US$28m in early 2015. Prior to Firefly, Graeme was Chief Scientific Officer at Pathogenica, helping to spin the company out of Harvard Medical School, develop their pathogen sequencing technology and securing EU regulatory approval for the first NGS diagnostic for antimicrobial resistant bacterial infections.  Graeme obtained his postdoctoral training with Professor Philip Sharpe (Nobel Laureate) at the David H. Koch Center for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and at the Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School focused on non-coding RNA biology and identifying novel nucleic acid species by high throughput sequencing. He received his Ph.D. in Genetics and MBiochem from Oxford University, where he worked with Professor Dame Kay Elizabeth Davies, DBE, FRS, FMedSci and Emeritus Professor Sir Edwin Southern, FRS.

Dr Xavier Duportet, Entrepreneur &  Senior Advisor  to French Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy, France

Xavier is a genome architect. He cofounded Eligo Bioscience in 2014, while doing his PhD in Synthetic Biology at MIT and INRIA. He raised $3M to develop a new generation of ultra-precise biotherapeutics to battle antibiotic-resistant bacteria and sculpt our microbiome using genetic engineering. He is an MIT TR35 and was elected French Innovator of the year by the MIT Technology Review. He was recently awarded French PhD-Entrepreneur of the year by the Foundation Norbert Segard, as one of the 40 under 40 Young Leaders in Europe, and French Young Leader by the Leadership Circle. He was recently appointed Senior Advisor on Emerging Technologies to the French Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy.  Xavier is also the founder and president of Hello Tomorrow, a global non-profit organization, operating in 45 countries, which goal is to accelerate the development of deeptech startups that transform disruptive scientific technologies into products or services to solve societal and industrial challenges.

Dr Jonas Vibell, FRSA, Innovator and Entrepreneur, USA

Jonas holds a DPhil in Cognitive Neuroscience from Oxford University and was a Research Fellow between University College London and Harvard University. Jonas has invented and developed cognitive neuroscience based research to improve economic decision making, interface brains and computers and extend human capabilities. He has also been a part of a $30M fund to stimulate innovation in Hawaii and support hi-tech products from idea stage to spin-out venture. He currently heads a company for innovation based on human physiology and teaches at the University of Hawaii. For his efforts in entrepreneurship Jonas was invited as a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London, UK and as a Pacific Century Fellow in Hawaii.

Jonas has explored the North and South Poles and is a proud supporter of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Dr Bhupinder Bhullar, Chair of Basel Life, Switzerland

Dr Bhupinder Bhullar trained in biochemistry, molecular biology, and bioinformatics at the University of Calgary, Canada. He did postdoctoral training in high-throughput proteomics at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.  As a scientist at the Whitehead Institute, MIT, Cambridge, USA, his research focused on elucidating genetic modifiers of disease mechanisms. Dr Bhullar joined Novartis Pharma AG in Basel, Switzerland, where his group worked on developing Precision Medicine strategies for patient stratification. He was awarded the Catalyst Award (Novartis) for the impact of his work on drug discovery.  Over the last 5 years, he has been the Chair of Basel Life, the largest conference on drug discovery, held annually in Switzerland. He is co-founder of BasePort, a technology startup for management of Precision Medicine data.