To select our 20 Under 20, we’ve brought together some of the most experienced and well-connected entrepreneurs, investors and experts in Europe.
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.
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.
Nico Rosberg raced in Formula One for eleven years, claiming the title of World Champion in 2016. Since his retirement from Formula One, Nico has embarked on a career as sustainability entrepreneur and investor in green technologies and mobility start-ups. Based in Monaco, he currently employs a permanent workforce of seventeen people who manage a large number of projects with the support of a dedicated team of international experts in Monaco, Great Britain and Germany.
Nico Rosberg’s drive as an entrepreneur is fuelled by bringing a positive change to society. In 2018, he was recognized for his commitment to sustainable innovation with the “GreenTec Entrepreneur of the Year” environmental award. In 2019, he founded the Greentech Festival. Nico Rosberg is also an investor and shareholder of the all-electric racing series Formula E.
Eva Maydell (born Paunova) is the President of the largest organisation of associations and civil societies in Europe - European Movement International, Vice-president of SME Europe as well as initiator and co-founder of Education Bulgaria 2030. Maydell's priorities focus on enhancing skills-creation and the use of innovation and technologies, supporting entrepreneurs and sustainable investments in Europe. In the European Parliament, she is a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy as well as the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
Eva's work has been recognised by the Financial Times, which included her in the "New Europe 100", the ranking of CEE's brightest and best people that are changing the status quo through their ideas and innovative solutions. She is also part of the European Forbes 30 under 30 list, featuring the change agents in 20 different sectors. Politico defined her as one of "the most eye-catching 28 people from 28 countries who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe". She was named among the 20 World's Most Influential Young People in Government 2018 by Apolitical. Eva Maydell was awarded the MEP of the Year Award twice.
The UK’s largest green energy supplier, Bulb is making energy simpler, cheaper, greener for 1.7 million members. After reading mathematics at Cambridge University, Amit spent 8 years trading European gas and electricity for Barclays. It was here that Amit discovered the need for a new type of energy supplier that would have a positive environmental and social impact. In 2014 he decided to leave Barclays and apply his in-depth knowledge of wholesale energy markets to set up Bulb, alongside old friend and Co-founder Hayden Wood.
Zanny Minton Beddoes is the Editor-in-Chief of The Economist. Previously she was the business affairs editor, responsible for the newspaper’s coverage of business, finance and science.
Prior to this role, she was The Economist’s economics editor, overseeing the newspaper’s global economics coverage from her base in Washington DC. Before moving to Washington in April 1996, Ms. Minton Beddoes was The Economist’s emerging-markets correspondent based in London. She travelled extensively in Latin America and Eastern Europe, writing editorials and country analyses. She has written surveys of the World Economy, Latin American finance, global finance and Central Asia.
Niklas Zennström is CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico. He is an experienced technology investor and entrepreneur, having previously co-founded and managed globally successful technology companies including Skype, Kazaa and Joltid.
In 2006, Niklas founded the venture capital firm, Atomico, to help entrepreneurs, primarily from Europe, to scale their businesses globally. Atomico has partnered with and supported a growing number of highly successful technology companies, including Supercell, Klarna, Rovio, and many more. It raised its fourth fund in 2016, which was the largest independent venture capital fund ever raised in Europe. In addition to overseeing Atomico’s strategy, he works closely with a number of founders of portfolio companies and sits on the boards of Rovio, Mapillary, Pipedrive, Lilium and Farmdrop. Niklas is most excited about founders that are solving major world problems using digital technology.
Balázs Vinnai is a visionaire and a dedicated business leader, serial entrepreneur, investor, and mentor for growth-stage companies. Dreaming about entrepreneurship since childhood, he founded his first company IND Group back in high school. This became one of the biggest successful exit in CEE region in 2014 with Balázs as CEO. Excellent communicator, one of his main strengths is the ability to inspire his team and convince partners to believe in the wildest ideas.
Balázs has received several commendations throughout his career, being named EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, 30under30 by Forbes.
Aimee started her business, Books By Stellas CIC in June 2018 when her brother was diagnosed with autism. She didn't find any resources to educate herself about what her brother was going through, and wanting to break the stigma surrounding autism, she wrote a book ‘No Two Stars are the Same’. Aimee is donating the book copies to primary school through Buy 1, Give 1 scheme, and in addition to raising awareness, this also helps to improve the mental wellbeing and journey through school of those with autism.
Winning the Wise 20 Under 20 2019 enabled Aimee to take her business to the next level, quadrupling her revenue, elevating her brand to a much larger audience and helping to publish a second book 'No Two Stars are the Same: A Day in Town'.