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 Women in VC Briefing


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Cecile Blilious

Head of Impact & Sustainability at Pitango Venture Capital

Cecile is the Head of Impact & Sustainability at Pitango Venture Capital, Israel’s largest VC, where she is responsible for adapting the worlds of ESG and the SDGs to the framework of mainstream venture capital. Cecile has extensive experience in the combination between the impact and technology worlds for almost 20 years. Previously, Cecile was the Founder and Managing Partner of Impact First Investments, Israel's first impact investing company.

Gosia Karas
Investment Vice President at SoftBank Group

Dr. Gosia Karas is an Investment Vice President at SoftBank Group, where she leads investments into Memphis Meats , Fetch, Konfio, AlphaCredit, and Loggi. Prior to joining SoftBank, Gosia was a Senior Associate at a large cap private equity firm Onex in New York. She started her career at Bain & Company. Gosia graduated summa cum laude from Warsaw School of Economics as a valedictorian of her class. She holds a Ph.D. in Finance from the same institution, as well as an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

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Leesa Soulodre
General Partner at R3i Ventures

Leesa Soulodre is a General Partner at R3i Ventures living in Singapore, supporting many of the world's most promising early-stage deep tech companies in accelerating their growth is actively engaged in pioneering artificial intelligence, robotics, Healthtech, cybersecurity, fintech, cleantech smart city, and IoT technologies. She advises as an Entrepreneur in Residence/Mentor for Government High Commissions and Accelerators soft landing high growth deep tech and MedTech companies into the Asia Pacific and European Union. And most of all she is a champion for responsible investment.

About women in venture capital, VC business ran just by women and taking a stage as the top Nordic VC promoting diversity investment. How to connect the Nordics with Central and Easter Europe all in the conversation between Jenny Ruth Hrafnsdottir, founding partner of Crowberry Capital and Kinga Stanisławska from Experior Venture Fund.

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Laura González-Estéfanii - the founder and CEO of TheVentureCity, a venture accelerator designed to make the global entrepreneurial ecosystem more diverse, international and accessible to fair capital. Laura accelerates the growth of promising, early-stage startups in need of advice and support, empowers high-growth companies raising capital, and helps established companies reset to a more dynamic mindset. Her work extends across European, Latin, American and U.S. innovation hubs. Since founding TheVentureCity in 2017, Laura has supported 37 companies through its Growth Program and an additional 20 companies through its first fund. She’s grown the reach of TheVentureCity to campuses in Miami and Madrid, as well as offices in San Francisco and Sao Paulo! Advocate of impact investment, equal rights and diversity, Laura was recently appointed to the European Commission’s Innovation Council (EICC) by the European Union.

Myrto Papathanou
Founding Partner at

We have a great pleasure to invite all female founders and fellow colleagues from VC to our next Briefing with Myrto Papathanou, a Founding Partner at, a venture capital fund investing in early stage technology companies stemming from Greece. Be with us on Monday, Aug,17 at 1:00 pm CET. She has 15 years of experience in the fields of finance and entreprenurship and serves in the Board of Ferryhopper, Better Origin, Advantis Medical Imaging and Racecheck. Before co-founding Metavallon VC, she served as Group CFO and Head of Corporate Development at EFA Ventures, a group active Aerospace&Defense and high-tech verticals. Besides the amazing entrepreneurial experience Myrto has been active in supporting non-profit initiatives around entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment and volunteering, co-founding Ethelon and fundraising for Action Finance Initiative. Since 2019 she is part of the Advisory Board of womenontop top promoting women’s inclusion and representation in business.

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Elina Halatcheva
Co-founder and Managing Partner at BrightCap Ventures

Elina is a co-founder and Managing Partner at BrightCap Ventures with a background in investment banking, private equity and new business ventures in New York, London and Sofia. Prior to establishing BrightCap, she was part of the early management team of a B2B procurement platform where she drove the expansion into more than 50 industry sectors. Earlier, she was an investor at Citigroup’s private equity funds in New York ($600 m) and London (€1.1 bn) and a research analyst at Wit Soundview, New York, the first online platform for investment banking and research of emerging technology and e-commerce companies. She started her career as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney, Citigroup on Wall Street.

"The difference in investing in the Balkans than in other regions" - Tatjana Zabasu Mikuž, Managing Partner at South Central Ventures

Tatjana Zabasu Mikuž, a Managing Partner in South Central Ventures, early stage VC fund primarily active in the Balkans. She has been a venture capital investor since 2007 and has been actively involved in over 40 investments. After some years of working in the public sector and then in corporate finance in Deloitte, Tatjana co-founded the Slovenia-first venture capital fund in 2008. She then actively managed part of the fund’s portfolio and in 2015 co-founded South Central Ventures. As a managing partner she oversees the investor relations and fund operations, and is managing the portfolio of companies including Cognism and InPlayer.

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We are happy to announce that European Women in VC has joined forces with WStartupC,  building the next generation of female-founded tech startups vc. Since 2016, WStartupC has been developing the entrepreneurial and innovation potential of female founders through an open, collaborative and transparent approach. In their network, they have more than 4,500 global executives from the corporate and investment world, in addition to female founders (from early to growth stage startups), who seek to reduce the digital gender gap. Hear more about this initiative and the collaboration between our communities during 4th of September Women in VC Briefing with PhD TERESA MARÍA ALARCOS TAMAYO , the founder of W Startup Community.  Teresa is passionate about creating long-lasting and sustainable corporate value in tech companies.

Evgenia Plotnikova
Partner at Down Capital: “Dawn has just closed its 4th and largest ever fund – 400 m dollars”

This time Kinga Stanislawska (Experior VC) hosted Evgenia Plotnikova from Dawn Capital. As a Partner Evgenia covers exciting B2B companies in software and fintech across Europe. Since joining Dawn, Evgenia has led investments into BRYTER, Soldo, Dataiku, ZIVVER and ReachFive. Evgenia has spent multiple years in venture and private equity. Prior to joining Dawn, she was a VC at Atomico, where she spearheaded the firm's entry into France and worked with a number of pan-European and global businesses, including the likes of Ontruck and Memphis Meats. Before joining the world of VC, Evgenia was an investor at TPG Capital, where she executed numerous deals in telecommunications, retail, transportation and mining. She started her career at J.P. Morgan, where she advised businesses on potential M&A transactions as well as equity and debt financing.

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Janneke Niessen,  is a co-founder of CapitalT, a VC fund that invests in technology companies using proprietary technology to evaluate entrepreneurial teams, with a focus on Northern Europe and UK.

In the past she has started and exited 2 international tech companies. She is co-initiator of InspiringFifty, an initiative that aims to increase diversity in tech by making female role models more visible. As part of the InspiringFifty initiative, Janneke has published The New Girl Code, a novel for young girls. The goal of the project is to encourage young girls, inspiring them to pursue a career in technology and invest in an educational #foundation focusing on math and computer science.

Janneke was named Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year in 2019, most prominent angel investor in 2018, Most Innovative Leader in 2016 and 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year, a few of many in a long list of honours for Janneke.

In 2016 Veronika won the Central European Startup Awards Most Influential Woman category. In 2019 she was listed in Forbes Hungary among the 50 Most Influential Women. With an educational background in television directing (DLA), visual and cultural anthropology, and international relations, she has also produced television programs, run a communications agency, and worked in marketing. She is a communication expert with skills to build bridges between the mainstream and hardly understandable issues of the society. She has proven to inspire the youth who wants to leave the country and show them options, meaningful, globally opened, and connected work environment from Hungary, going global.

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Beatrice Aliprandi: “What is needed from more investment to go to femtech?” (Talis Capital)

Beatrice Aliprandi is a Principal at Talis Capital. She joined Talis in 2018 after spending three years working at Jefferies in their Investment Banking division, where she has been involved in several transactions primarily in the Technology, Media and Telecoms space with a combined value of c.$4 billion. Beatrice holds a MSc in Risk and Finance from The London School of Economics and a BSc in Business Administration from Università Bocconi.

Remember, every Women in VC Briefing is another opportunity to learn about venture capital investing, get hints on how to approach the funds in your region and globally. That is why you shouldn’t miss this one. Kinga Stanislawska (Experior VC) invited Amelia Townsend, Principal in London Burda Principal Investments.

Amelia has spent six years in consumer venture capital investing at Burda Principal Investments and Unilever Ventures (prior to VC; 4 years in M&A consulting and founder of a non-profit women in business organisation in the UK). BPI is a global growth fund investing in consumer facing businesses like Etsy, Vinted / Kleiderkreisel, Zilingo, Skillshare, Rockets of Awesome, Bloom & Wild.

Did you know that Burda was founded in 2015 and already has 3x unicorn size businesses within their portfolio across 3 region!

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An engineer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Itxaso del Palacio, PhD a Partner at Notion Capital - a leading European B2B SaaS focused VC which has invested in companies such as GoCardless, Currencycloud, Tradeshift and Unbabel among others. Prior to that, Itxaso was the Investment Partner for M12 - Microsoft's Venture Fund in Europe.

On the academic side, Itxaso is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Entrepreneurship at UCL School of Management. For the past nine years, Itxaso has taught entrepreneurship at UCL, Imperial College and the Royal College of Arts in London.

She is also a Kauffman Fellows and she is very well connected to the global #network of fellow investors.

Rebecca joined the Ventures team in 2012, and focuses on the assessment of investment opportunities, deal origination and ongoing portfolio management within the Consumer pod. Rebecca has experience of working with a number of early stage businesses across a range of different sectors and has led investments into and served on the boards of a number of investee companies including Elliptic, Trouva, Uniplaces, Outfittery, and AppearHere amongst others. Prior to joining Octopus, Rebecca spent five years working in the Corporate Finance department at Deloitte, firstly in the Transaction Services department and later in the Corporate Finance Advisory division, where she was involved in a diverse range of M&A and capital market deals across a range of sectors. Rebecca is a qualified chartered accountant, and has a first class honours degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Southampton.

Carmen Alfonso Rico Partner at Blossom Capital, prior to Blossom launched and led the pan-European strategy of Samaipata VC, a €100m AUM seed fund investing in digital platforms and marketplaces with offices in London, Paris and Madrid. Carmen is also the co-founder of two startups, an online fashion brand for pregnant women selling into the UK & US market and she previously co-founded a crowdsourcing journalism marketplace. Passionate about empowering early-stage entrepreneurs, she is a mentor at Techstars and co-chairs LMS (the largest community of marketplace founders in the UK). Carmen is a firm believer that diversity leads to better business decisions, she is also a founding member of the Fairer Funding Now campaign and was a mentor at Backstage Capital Accelerator.

About the idea of equitable venture based on the example of Kindred Capital VC - Kinga Stanislawska (Experior VC) in an interview with Leila Rastegar Zegna the Founding Partner at Kindred from London. Leila is on the board of companies including Pollen and LabGenius, and serves as senior advisory board member to Entrepreneur First. She is both an investor and an entrepreneur, with two decades of experience building and funding technology businesses, including cofounding her own genomics business in Silicon Valley. Leila is a mathematician by training with a first class degree from Yale University and a Harvard MBA.

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Thea Messel
Founder and Managing Partner of Unconventional Ventures

“The key ingredient in creating and building groundbreaking innovations is the people. Research has again and again proven that diversity, particularly gender diversity, is directly linked to innovation as well as financial performance.”  Talk about the report on Gender Diversity in the Nordic Startup Ecosystem with Thea Messel - founder of Unconventional Ventures investing in purpose driven early stage tech startups founded by underrepresented founders in the Nordics. UV believes that underrepresented founders represent one of the biggest market opportunities in the Nordics today. Thea has co-founded and developed digital platforms supporting tech and impact startups, The HUB and +Impact , was the Partner Lead on a China-Nordic Accelerator as well as co-founder of an accelerator for early stage impact startups, +Impact. Thea has worked with developing and launching concepts for supporting underrepresented founders in the Nordics as well as driving research on diversity in investments.

A great interview with an amazing "Woman in VC" who brought her entrepreneurial experience into the VC ecosystem. Sonia Fernandez is currently a Partner at Kibo Ventures, a digital technology early stage venture capital firm from Madrid, if you wish to know how does Kibo invest having Sonia on board you must watch this podcast. You will learn what is the new normal for Sonia as an investor and how her experience with shaped her approach to investment projects. Highly recommended and definitely a MUST SEE interview run by Kinga Stanisławska from Experior VC.

We have great pleasure to introduce you to another amazing podcast in our series - Woman in VC Briefing led by Kinga Stanislawska from Experior VC. This time we are hosted June Angelides MBE Angelides, from Samos Investments. VC investor, founder of first child-friendly coding school for mums in the UK and mentor at Oxford University this are only few roles in which June is involved. If you want to get to know more about her, her work background and Samos Investments this interview is must watch for you! This podcast is a great opportunity to learn a lot from June- 6th Most Influential Tech Leader called by the Financial Times! About the Believe It, Achieve It? An inspirational project that she started. And of course on her ideas on how can female investors can support female founders thought projects like that?

Ekaterina Almasque  
General Partner at OpenOcean

Katya is a General Partner at OpenOcean, early-stage venture capital firm operating across Europe. Beside this she is also on board of IQM, the European leader for superconducting quantum computers, as well as several other companies. Her passion to tech industry started when she was very young.  Katya became an entrepreneur at the age of 17, setting her first software business. She was a software architect with focus on emerging distributed architectures, she also launched new products, and led standardisation of Java. Then her work path cross VC’s path. She was starting her investment career from working for corporate and independent venture capital funds in Silicon Valley and Europe. Soon she became a Managing Director of Samsung Catalyst Fund - Samsung’s Electronics $500M venture capital. Currently she is focused on investing in unique technologies enabling our future data-driven economy like artificial intelligence, data infrastructure and quantum computing.

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We are happy to invite you to watch our latest Women in VC Briefing led by Kinga Stanisławska (Experior VC) with Irina Haivas! Irina is a Partner  at Atomico, which invests in ambitious tech founders at Series A and beyond with a particular focus on Europe. Based in London, she which leads on investments in Frontier technologies, with the focus on the intersection of biology and engineering, and in Enterprise businesses, with an interest in Enterprise SaaS, Data stack infrastructure and tools, applied AI/ML, and Productivity/Collaboration. If you want to learn more about Atomico’s recently released report “The State of European Tech 2020” and its approach to presenting the problem of the gender gap, as well as recent investments let by Irina such as LabGenius, and current trends in tech industry with the COVID-19 impact, we strongly recommend to listed to that podcast and use the knowledge Irina shared with us!

Fatou Diagne
Managing Partner at Bootstrap Europe

Fatou Diagne is a Managing Partner and co-founder at Bootstrap Europe, technology fund with a focus on life sciences sectors from Zurich, a Founding Partner of The Real Economy Effect (TREE), an inevitably inspirational female investor in tech sector. Kinga Stanislawska from Experior VC this time in conversation about venture debt, latest European venture debt deals and the current trends for companies seeking VD. Without a doubt those two amazing female investors had to touch on the topic of how female fund managers perform, what is the current stage of female investing and would need to happen from the LPs relationship perspective for funds lead by females and minorities.


We are so thrilled to introduce you to another inspiring podcast in our Women in VC Briefing series, led by Kinga Stanislawska from Experior VC. This time we are hosting Francesca Werner. She is a Founding Partner in Ada Ventures, focused on discovering and building the possibility of bold Investment for overlooked founders and markets. Above of that, Francesca is a founder and CEO of Diversity VC, a non-profit organization with a mission of increase awareness of the women inequality and gender gap in the VC industry. What you can learn from this podcast? Latest Ada’s Venture investments and how COVID-19 forced them to rethink their long-term investing plans. Francesca talks more about Diversity VC report which revealed visible gender gap on VC market as well as other issues related to it like female inclusion. This podcast is full of useful advises so if you want you get to know how to be successful in VC industry, especially as a female investor this is a must watch for you!

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