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Judging panel 2021.

To select our 20 Under 20 in 2021, we’ve brought together some of the most experienced and well-connected entrepreneurs, investors and experts in Europe.
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Taavet Hinrikus

Chairman and co-founder of Wise

Wise is a global technology company that’s building the best way to move money around the world. Taavet acted as CEO of Wise until 2017, and since then has stepped into the role of Chairman overseeing the business’ bigger picture direction and supporting the product teams. Prior to starting Wise, Taavet was Skype’s director of strategy, starting as its first-ever employee.

One of the World Economic Forum's Tech Pioneers, Taavet has acted as adviser to the former Prime Minister of Estonia on the digital agenda. He’s also a mentor for the next generation of talent and an active angel investor; his investments include Tweetdeck, Mendeley, OMGPOP, Property Partner, Sunrise, Improbable and Cleo.

Taavet Hinrikus

Sir Richard Branson

Founder of the Virgin Group

Sir Richard Branson is Founder of the Virgin Group. Conceived in 1970, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment, health and wellness and space. Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands.

Since starting youth culture magazine Student aged 15, Richard has found entrepreneurial ways to drive positive change in the world. In 2004 Richard established Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which unites people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. Most of his time is now spent building businesses that will make a positive difference in the world and working with Virgin Unite and organisations it has incubated, such as The Elders, The B Team and Ocean Unite.

Photo by Owen Billcliffe

Sir Richard Branson

Rikke Rosenlund

Founder and CEO of BorrowMyDoggy

Rikke Rosenlund is the Founder & CEO of BorrowMyDoggy, which launched at the end of 2012. BorrowMyDoggy connects dog owners with local dog lovers for walks, sitting, and holiday care. Prior to BorrowMyDoggy, Rikke worked across different industries including set-up an automobile company in Central America, and spent 7 years working in Financial Services in London. She was born in Denmark, has lived across the world and holds an MBA from INSEAD.

Rikke Rosenlund

Verena Pausder

Founder, Author, Young Global Leader of the WEF

Verena Pausder is one of the most well-known faces of the German startup scene. She is an expert in digital education, founder of the App Developer ‘Fox & Sheep’ and the HABA Digitalwerkstätten and author of ‘Das Neue Land’. In 2016 she was named ‘Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and Author’, in 2018 she was included in Forbes Europe’s Top 50 Women In Tech list. She is a supervisory board member at comdirect and a member of the ’Innovation Council of the German State Minister for Digitization. Born in Hamburg in 1979, she lives in Berlin with her husband and three children.

Verena Pausder

Roxanne Varza

Director of STATION F, co-founder of StarHer and Tech.eu

Roxanne Varza is Director of STATION F, the biggest startup campus in the world with more than 1.000 startups, located in Paris. Before joining STATION F, she led Microsoft Ventures Paris and TechCrunch France. She also worked for several London-based startups and cofounded StarHer, Tech.eu and Failcon France.

Prior to her current role, Roxanne was the lead for Microsoft’s start-up activities in France, running both Bizspark and Microsoft Ventures programs for 3 years. She was also Editor of TechCrunch France from 2010-2011 and has written for several publications including Business Insider and The Telegraph. In April 2013, Business Insider listed her as one of the top 30 women under 30 in tech. She has also been listed in additional rankings by Business Insider, Vanity Fair and Le Figaro, The Evening Standard and more.

Roxanne has also worked for the French government’s foreign direct investment agency helping fast-growing startups develop their activities in France. Roxanne has spoken, moderated, mentored and judged numerous startup events and programs throughout Europe and also helps European startups with content and communications. Roxanne is trilingual and holds degrees from UCLA, Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics. She is also an epilepsy advocate.

Roxanne Varza

Dr Patricia Scanlon

Founder and Executive Chair of SoapBox Labs

Dr. Patricia Scanlon is the founder and CEO of SoapBox Labs, the world’s leading provider of proprietary voice technology for children. Dr. Scanlon holds a PhD and has over 20 years experience working in Speech Recognition and Artificial Intelligence technology, including at Bell Labs and IBM Research. An acclaimed TEDx speaker, in 2018 Dr. Scanlon was named one of Forbes “Top 50 Women in Tech” globally. In 2020, she was ranked 6th of 17 global “Visionaries in Voice” by industry leading publication Voicebot.ai. Inspired by her oldest child, and her background as a speech engineer, Dr. Scanlon founded SoapBox Labs in 2013 to redefine how children interact with technology using their voices.

SoapBox Labs proprietary voice engine is now the leading voice solution for kids ages 2-12 years across the education and entertainment industries globally.

Patricia Scanlon

Ondřej Kovařík

Member of the European Parliament

Ondřej studied international trade, international politics and diplomacy at the University of Economics in Prague and later completed an international program in public administration, regional development and EU programmes at the prestigious school for civil servants, the École nationale d'administration (ENA), in Strasbourg and Paris.

His career to date has been dedicated to public service, primarily in various roles within the Czech civil service, but also in European public administration, where he worked in the European Parliament. Specifically, he has worked at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Government, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ottawa, the Czech Ministry of Defence and the European Parliament.

In 2019 he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament by the people of the Czech Republic. He is Chairman of the European Parliament's working group on access to finance for SMEs and a board member of SME Connect. His legislative work in the Parliament focuses primarily on EU economic and monetary policy such as SME funding, digital finance, funding the recovery from the pandemic, tourism, transport as well as the use and development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Ondřej Kovařík

Paola Bonomo

Non-executive Director, advisor, and business angel

Paola Bonomo is a non-executive Director, business angel, and digital innovation advisor. She has worked in leadership roles at multinational companies such as Facebook, Vodafone, eBay and McKinsey & Company. Paola serves on the Boards of Directors at TIM S.p.A., AXA Assicurazioni S.p.A., and other companies, and on the Investment Committee of VC fund Neva First. She is a Vice Chair at Italian Angels for Growth, Italy’s leading business angel group. Paola holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Paola Bonomo