I have been active in the tech industry from 2000 and cover various angles: I have been and am acting as a founder, senior executive, angel investor, advisor and mentor to companies and entrepreneurs large and small, first in mobile in various sub-sectors, from games, education, music and video to value-added services, marketing and SMS and, increasingly, in EdTech, IoT and AI and their related verticals.
I am currently an active (if small) angel investor, a Venture Partner in Emerge Venture Labs‘ EdTech accelerator. I also serve as Chairman for a very exciting start-up building a smart knowledge graph for education, namely Bibblio. I am also a co-founder of the game and app studio Blue Beck as well as the non-profit initiative Tech North Advocates, which seeks to promote and support tech ecosystems in the North of England. Finally, I am a mentor at the Microsoft Accelerator in London.
Over the years, I have also become a regular speaker on technology, education, and the startup ecosystem. I have spoken to audiences around the world, including at SXSW, the Mobile World Congress and TEDx.
Previously, I served as the Global Head of Business Development – Games at BlackBerry). I arrived there via their acquisition of social infrastructure leaders Scoreloop; I was the company’s Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel and helped to craft that transaction. I also served on the EMEA Board of MEF (I resigned from this position as it is tied to corporate memberships, BlackBerry’s in this case).
Earlier, I was responsible for business and corporate affairs (including licensing, etc) for mobile games publisher Hands-On Mobile (then one of the largest in the world) and, following a buy-out of the non-US business, headed corporate and business affairs at Connect 2 Media (I co-founded this company, raised money, added via the acquisition of Rayfusion and rebuilt their product portfolio). Prior to all that, in 2002, I helped launch some of the world’s first mobile artist channels for their fans; artists we worked with included Britney Spears, Duran Duran, Eve, DJ Bobo, and Nena. By (original) profession, I am a lawyer and I have worked with Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund (now part of Freshfields) in Brussels and Luther & Partner in Hamburg. My focus there was corporate, corporate transactional (M&A, restructurings, IPOs, etc) and media and telecommunications. Check my LinkedIn profile for a full run-down of my bio.
Despite law school, I had my first e-mail address as early as 1991 (though there weren’t many to communicate with which made it less thrilling), and the passion for new technological frontiers never left me since… It was not only e-mail (and of course studies – focus on corporate, commercial, European and international law as well as arbitration) though: I was also a member of the International Board of ELSA – the European Law Students Organisation – where we obtained consultative status with the UNESCO and the UN as well as a special relationship with UNHCR. We also lobbied hard for the establishment of the International Criminal Court and ran more than 40 conferences per year.
My focus on education and working with young people is also shown in some voluntary activities: I am a Governor of the Fallibroome Academy, one of the best-performing comprehensives in England and was a member of the steering committee of TEDx Youth @ Manchester, which, in 2009, was the world’s first TEDx event specifically addressing young people. I am an expert in the excellent Apps for Good programme and have also been a co-curator of the MLOVE Teen Camp. I have been inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (better known as The RSA) in recognition of my contributions to technology, social media and education. The RSA calls itself “an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges”, and this is something I wholeheartedly embrace!
Boring but necessary disclaimer: The opinions posted on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the ones of any company I am affiliated with.