About Us

Meet the Mentors

of the Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship

Our world-class mentors set us apart from the competition. The team has proven entrepreneurial track records and aren’t afraid to show corporate start-up teams tough love in order to transfer the entrepreneurial mindset and skills to develop intrapreneurs. AfCE mentors have created over 35 billion dollars worth of innovation projects and have magnitudes of industry experience to share.

[ Click on the images below to find out more ]

Claudia Bacco

Germany

Andrea Schmitt

Germany

Markus Ernsten

Germany

Joshua Cohen

USA / Germany

Stephan Klaschka

USA

Adam Berk

USA

Nick Norena

USA

Benson Garner

USA

Christie Nicholson

USA

Rossanna Wang

USA

Boris Grinkot

USA

Trisha Rassatt

UK

Chris Autry

UK

Marie Emma Vigeveno

Netherlands

Caroline Hooft-Slootweg

Netherlands

Lassi Kurkijärvi

Finland

Oriol Bes

Spain

Muriel Moscardini

Spain

Valerie Coulton

Spain

Urs Rothmayr

Spain

Elie Abou Saleh

United Arab Emirates

Oliver Durrer

USA / Switzerland

Dominique Van Deth

France

Fred Moreira

Brazil / France

Gui Sarkis

Brazil

Yi Hoo Ong

Hong Kong

Joeri Schilders

Singapore

Our world-class mentors set us apart from the competition. The team has proven entrepreneurial track records and aren’t afraid to show corporate start-up teams tough love in order to transfer the entrepreneurial mindset and skills to develop intrapreneurs. AfCE mentors have created over 35 billion dollars worth of innovation projects and have magnitudes of industry experience to share.

Urs Rothmayr

Location: Barcelona
Speaks: German, English, Spanish
Specialty: Entrepreneurial mindset
Fact: Brought the Founder Institute to Barcelona and coaches other European chapter directors

Urs helps companies adopt an entrepreneurial and digital mindset within their organisation. He also shows them how to transform startups into engines of corporate innovation.

In the past he set up, managed and made profitable the jobpilot startup branch in Spain, before it was sold for 73M € to Adecco. Afterwards, as Digital Business Manager at RACC Automobile Club, he first made profitable their mobility startup portal, before he converted it into a service portal for their more than 1,2M club members.

He is very passionate about entrepreneurship and lean startup, has set-up and invested in several startups and brought the Founder Institute, the leading business accelerator, from the Silicon Valley to Barcelona. He furthermore started a social initiative called “Barcelona loves entrepreneurs”, with the goal to attract international talent and investors to Barcelona.

Oriol Bes

Location: Barcelona
Speaks: Spanish, English, Catalan, Italian
Specialty: Corporations working with startups
Fact: Started Founder Institute in Barcelona

Oriol helps corporations find, select and implement innovation opportunities within startups and new technologies. From optimizing a process, to new business models and digital transformation. He has recently been involved in developing the Food Tech sector in Spain.

He also helps entrepreneurs to work with corporations bridging the gap between different mindsets. He has a background in engineering and IT but devoted most of his career to business development, marketing and strategy.

Oriol is a Program Director as well as a mentor for AfCE and especially likes to work with Spanish speaking teams. He is also a long-standing Director at the Founder Institute, the world’s largest startup launch program.

Andrea Schmitt

Location: Frankfurt
Speaks: German, English
Specialty: Business Models
Fact: Worked for Deutsche Telekom for 14 years

Andrea is a certified business model canvas trainer by Strategyzer Academy and professional for Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile Working. She leads teams to product and business model innovation, and towards a company culture, which fosters innovation.

She has a background in electrical engineering and business economics. Paired with her experience in senior positions in the telecoms and Internet service industry, she has acquired a sound knowledge in technology and economics. Her recent focus has been in a coaching and training role, where she has guided more than 250 team members and executives in agile, design thinking, lean startup and business model design techniques.

Andrea believes in an interactive face-to-face coaching, where she helps teams to reduce business risks, while navigating through uncertain terrain of innovation.

Caroline Slootweg

Location: Amsterdam
Speaks: English, Dutch
Specialty: Marketing and Customer Experience
Fact: Was at Mark Zuckerberg’s first ever client dinner. We were with the 6 of us

Caroline is a Dutch / American recently relocated to Amsterdam from Singapore and has resided and worked in New York, London and Bangkok. Caroline is currently CMO/CXO and Director Client Strategy for a tech start-up specialising in retention and loyalty marketing.

Caroline has been working in and around (digital) marketing strategy her whole career. She was Unilever’s first ever global head of digital marketing and new media where she helped some of the world’s biggest brands (Knorr, Dove, Becel, Lux, Ponds) make sense of the digital space. Later she became Director for Global Communication Planning in London and in Bangkok/Singapore before taking a career break to sail around the world. Caroline also worked at WPP and JWT (the largest communication holding company and largest agency in the world). In her free time she’s been mentoring startups and launching her own startup ventures. With AfCE Caroline has been leading teams through sales and marketing topics as well as the incubation stage.

Boris Grinkot

Location: New York
Speaks: English, Russian

Boris helps enterprises succeed faster by turning visionary innovation ideas into human-centered, evidence-driven strategy and execution.

With a unique combination of creative and quantitative experience, he has brought customer centricity, discovery mindset, and outcome-focused organizational alignment to large enterprises in North America and Europe including Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, and Humana.

In addition to consulting and speaking, Boris teaches in the Strategic Design and Management graduate program at the Parsons School of Design. He authored and contributed to industry publications on digital messaging, user experience design, and management of experiments. He also has mentored hundreds of startups through public workshops and accelerators like Google Developers Launchpad.

Trisha Rassatt

Location: London
Speaks: English
Specialty: Cust Dev. & Marketing
Fact: One of the first Intuit employees to go through the Innovation Catalyst program in 2009 and led the eventual expansion to the UK and France

Trisha is a certified Innovation Catalyst and Lean Start-up Coach at Intuit, one of the world’s most innovative organisations which produces leading Fintech cloud software such as QuickBooks and TurboTax.  Intuit is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and known as the ‘30 year old startup’ for its focus on innovation. She allocates 10% of her time coaching internal teams across multiple functions and regions through Intuit’s world famous Lean StartIN program. The program was featured in Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup.

As a Senior Marketing Manager based in the London office, Trisha leads a team responsible for acquiring accountant firms onto the QuickBooks platform and motivating them to refer all of their small business clients onto QuickBooks.  She looks after above-the-line advertising, promotions, product marketing and loyalty program. She enjoys using the AfCE curriculum to help teams with either their first 3 weeks or marketing related challenges.

Claudia Bacco

Location: Munich
Speaks: English
Specialty: Marketing – Messaging, positioning and differentiation

Claudia has a wealth of corporate marketing, branding & positioning experience within technology companies such as Verizon, Juniper Networks and Nokia. She is a loved start-up at the Founder Institute and Telefonica’s incubator Wayra.

Having spent her career working with tech companies globally she is quick to get to the point of helping organizations determine who they are, how they can be different and the best way to get that information across in their marketing materials.  Having been on both the development side – corporate and the receiving side – editor and industry analysts, this helps to refine what topics will get you noticed.

Currently she leads the marketing organization for a communications company with a focus on security and safety-critical applications.

Chris Autry

Location: London
Speaks: English, French, Dutch
Specialty: Investor Pitching
Fact: Built and sold his first startup for $63M

Chris is currently the CEO of Iothic, an Oxford University joint venture, focussed on cybersecurity in large enterprise IoT systems. He has built and sold 3 startups over a career spanning more than 20 years and has won several awards for innovation in technology. He has worked in over 50 countries, and lived in 7, and has in-depth knowledge of the Asian, European and North American markets. He is keen on technology and business in Asia and has lived both Kobe Japan and Sydney Australia for many years. Prior to assuming his role as CEO of Iothic, Chris worked with various VC and PE funds in the EU, Asia and the US on due diligence and the assessment of innovative technologies for investment purposes. He is also a BCG (Boston Consulting Group) alum.

Chris is a UK citizen and grew up in the US and France and currently lives in central London. He is passionate about getting involved in the early discovery & incubation stages of AfCE projects from a financial and logistics standpoint. While he believes (disruptive) technology is crucial, he also believes that the right framework, team and market understanding, make or break the success of a company. He likes to focus on what really matters–getting your idea funded, off the ground and successfully up and running.

Stephan Klaschka

Location: New York
Speaks: English, German
Specialty: Healthcare & Pharma
Fact: Established School for Intrapreneurs within Boehringer Ingelheim

Stephan recently served as CEO of the German Institute for Telemedicine and Health Promotion (DITG), and was previously Director, Global Innovation Management and Strategy at Boehringer Ingelheim, responsible for developing and executing the corporate innovation agenda to drive growth.

As part of broader agenda, key growth initiatives include maturing capabilities in areas of Digital Health (clinical and commercial applications), Co-creation through Customer Collaborations, Open Innovation, and Patient as Consumer.

Within Boehringer Ingelheim Stephan also collaborated with Gifford Pinchot (who coined “intrapreneurship” to set up a “School for Intrapreneurs”. As a result, he is extremely passionate about helping corporates to benefit from the AfCE program.

Nick Norena

Location: San Francisco
Speaks: English
Specialty: Product Features

Nick brings some Silicon Valley flair to AfCE. He works with startups, product teams, large organizations, and governments helping them design and implement innovation programs according to Lean Start-up principles. He specializes in teaching Lean Startup techniques, especially to early stage companies, focusing on methodologies like Customer Discovery Interviews, Rapid Prototyping, and Channel Discovery for Marketing.

Lassi Kurkijärvi

Location: Helsinki
Speaks: English, Finish
Specialty: Lean Product Features
Fact: Manages 192 product development staff and previously founded and sold a vet related business

At the SanomaLab, Lassi was responsible for putting innovation into everyone’s job title. He was tasked to create new business lines for Sanoma using intrapreneurship and lean innovation as its main tools. In addition to launching new internal ventures, the SanomaLab educated over a thousand Sanoma employees in new ways of business development through the Sanoma Accelerator programs.

Now Lassi enables a 192 strong new product development team at Solita, Finland’s largest digital services company with EUR 85 million in revenues. Agile methods, smart strategies and inspirational leadership are his keys to success. A specialist in project management, all things digital & service innovation, Lassi also understands the dynamics of online communities, professional and user-created content, and has strong experience in motivating teams to work towards a common goal.

Andy Cars

Location: Stockholm
Speaks: English, Swedish, German
Specialty: Innovation Strategy & Lean Startup
Fact: Has founded four companies and sold three

Andy Cars is the founder of Lean Ventures and a serial entrepreneur turned advisor.

Andy works with established companies to build their innovation capabilities. Focus is on innovation strategy, lean startup, business modeling and creating strong connections with the startup community.

By drawing on the experience from working with hundreds of startup teams on lean startup, business modeling, go-to-market strategy and fundraising, Andy provides unique insights into what it takes to successfully innovate.

Andy has also been involved in designing startup accelerator programs and advising on how to create and grow startup ecosystems both locally and internationally.

Adam Berk

Location: New York
Speaks: English
Specialty: Customer Development
Fact: Is funding startups at $1,000,000 valuation if they submit 100 customer interviews within 50 days 

Adam is a lean entrepreneur, lean teacher, and Serial Entrepreneur. He is one of the more intrepid experimenters. He was until recently an Implementation Coach at Pearson and Entrepreneur-In-Residence at The Entrepreneurial Science Foundation.

In the past, he has founded or cofounded Neighborrow, Fotogether, and the MilValChal, which funds all startups at a $1,000,000 valuation if they conduct + submit 100 customer interviews within 50 days and use the funding to test a hypothesis (or multiple hypotheses). He holds a BA in Economics from Emory University. With AfCE, Adam loves to get teams off to a flying start and push them hard to learn the context around who their customer is and what problems their customers have.

Oliver Durrer

Location: Zürich & San Diego
Speaks: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
Specialty: Strategy, Intrapreneurship, Growth
Fact: Growth-hacked Nestlé’s Nescafé Dolce Gusto Business and co-launched Nestlé Myanmar Ltd.

A Swiss (corporate) entrepreneur, innovation coach and business mentor, Oliver is passionate about enabling large companies and startups/SMEs to:

  • find and use their “why” to inspire and engage their teams
  • be more entrepreneurial and innovative, effective and efficient
  • sustainably scale their ventures, accelerating growth
  • create shared-value with purpose and impact

Oliver enjoyed a corporate career in marketing, commercial and business leadership positions, acting as an intrapreneur within Nestlé in Switzerland and Asia, building and leading multicultural teams to award-winning performance. He also acted as a non executive director of a Swiss high-tech startup for traffic security. Oliver is an early supporter of the AfCE.

A lean startup enthusiast and life-long learner, Oliver is currently scaling Online Academy, after launching this corporate startup for blended online learning at Migros Club School – Switzerland’s biggest further education institution – in 2016. Oliver is also a member of the board of directors at the food-tech startup DigiMeals and an angel investor in several tech startups.

Benson Garner

Location: Arizona
Speaks: English
Specialty: Strategy, Business Models
Fact: Created curriculum w/ Alexander Osterwalder

Benson is a strategist, innovator, and entrepreneur. Aside from his other business ventures and consulting he also worked closely with Alexander Osterwalder and his team at Strategyzer for several years. He produced numerous pieces of content and was part of the core team that produced their second book, Value Proposition Design.

Benson has traveled the world facilitating Business Model Generation and Lean Startup inside large organizations such as Intel, J&J, Mastercard and Medtronic. His passion for corporate intrapreneurship as well as traditional entrepreneurship and startups is unrivaled.

Bjorn Uhss

Location: Berlin
Speaks: English, German, Spanish
Specialty: Validation, Digital Marketing
Fact: One of the first people to be coached by Eric Ries (author The Lean Startup) at Intuit

Bjorn is a certified Innovation Catalyst and Lean Start-up Coach from within Intuit, one of the world’s most innovative organisations which produces leading Fintech cloud software and shares their campus with Google. He was hired by Intuit due to his entrepreneurial background in order to work as part of a small agile sprint scout team to launch QuickBooks Online in 150+ countries following the Lean Startup approach, quickly testing market traction and adapting the solution to local market needs. During this time his team was coached by Eric Ries and was later based in Singapore & Australia as Global Social Media Manager. He has leveraged various online & social media strategies to help Intuit expand its global footprint as Senior Marketing Manager.

Since, Bjorn has become a serial entrepreneur founding his own digital agency and other online businesses. Bjorn is a lead mentor at AfCE having mentored teams in Asia, Europe and the US, always getting his hands dirty with experiment design and pushing prototypes forward. He’s no stranger to corporate startup teams with a Healthcare or Insurance background.

Joshua Cohen

Location: New York & Germany
Speaks: English, German, French
Specialty: Innovation Mindset Development
Fact: Started learning German at age 30 and now holds speeches and make television appearances

Joshua Cohen leverages his years of experience as an entrepreneur, investor, and adviser to give large organizations the tools and know-how they need to move and act with speed, agility, and creativity.

Joshua has deep roots in technology-intensive sectors, having founded and built startups in both Europe and the U.S., including Germany-based iPharro, a spinoff of Germany’s world-renowned Fraunhofer Organization, and NYC-based Ganxy. He is the former co-head of US investments for SevenVentures, the venture capital division of one of Germany’s largest media companies.

Through many years of international work and living, he’s developed a deep global network and continues to advise startups and companies all over the world. He is as an adjunct professor at the European School of Management and Technology. Joshua is a graduate of Princeton University with an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and additional studies at the University of Cologne.

Gui Sarkis

Location: Florianópolis, Brazil
Speaks: Portuguese, English, Spanish
Specialty: Creativity, Design Thinking, HCD
Fact:  Has cycled and camped in the Atacama Desert, Iguazu Falls and Cabo Polonio

Gui is an educator and entrepreneur who believes in the power of creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship to change the people who can change the world.

He facilitates educational journeys harnessing several tools and techniques within frameworks such as Creative Problem-Solving, Design Thinking, Outdoor Leadership Education and Polarity Management. As a mentor, Gui has worked with large corporations and small teams of entrepreneurs in the design and implementation of innovation programs, creative leadership and entrepreneurial educational. He was the coordinator and helped develop Social Good Brasil Lab, a program that supports the development of startups that tackle major social problems through the use of technology, digital media and innovative thinking, that supported over 300 social entrepreneurs in Brazil.

Gui has founded several startups such as Global Sapiens, that works in the field of educational travel and aims at facilitating the learning of empathy as a universal language.

Valerie Coulton

Location: Barcelona
Speaks: English, Spanish
Specialty: Lean Startup, Design Thinking
Fact: Was the first Global Innovation Catalyst at Schibsted Media Group

Valerie created and led Schibsted Classified Media’s global  innovation program for 1.5 years. In this role, she delivered training in 15 countries to over 400 people and founded the Innovation Catalyst group. She was a thought leader in changing Schibsted’s approach to experimentation and innovation accounting. Her program was a launchpad for numerous initiatives, some of which went  on to create new value for the company. Many program participants have become innovative leaders within Schibsted while others have caught the fever and gone on to found their own businesses or to lead existing startups.

Valerie’s areas of expertise include Lean Startup and Design Thinking;

she is also an experienced user research and design leader with a passion for creating new value for customers and companies.

“Valerie is one of those very few people you meet during your career that profoundly shakes the way you see the world and truly helps you grow… Visionary, passionate, she is a Maximizer with a unique ability to bring out the best in everyone.” – Cecile Barbaroux, Insight Director, Schibsted Media Group