Rob Craft, Senior Director, Cloud Strategy, Microsoft

Rob is a 12-year veteran of Microsoft, joining the company at the end of the web bubble in 2000 after two fun startups. Initially focused on scalable application design in Windows, Rob moved on to become an Architect focused on helping customers and partners modernize and re-architect their applications on the latest technologies. He is passionate about the opportunity for companies to build amazing experiences on the Microsoft platform and was asked to lead the technology work with the top 200 ISVs worldwide for Microsoft. Recently, Rob has returned to Redmond from Paris where he led the business operations for Microsoft International—all countries except US and Canada. His current role focuses on shaping Microsoft strategy to deliver the best cloud platform in the world.

Bernard Dallé, Partner, Index Ventures

Bernard is a Partner at Index Ventures, which he joined in 1997. His areas of investment focus currently include enterprise infrastructure, applications and services. Bernard serves as a Director for several companies including Dimdim, Gluster, Mimecast, OpenX, Optier, Pentaho and StorSimple. Prior to joining Index, Bernard spent six years with McKinsey & Company and Procter & Gamble. While with Procter & Gamble, Bernard was responsible for the implementation of financial, accounting and logistics ERP systems.

Bob Dorf, Co-Author of The Startup Owner’s Manual

Bob is often called the “midwife of Customer Development,” helping Steve Blank deploy it when Blank’s eighth startup, E.piphany, opened its doors in 1996. Bob later critiqued the earliest versions of Steve’s Four Steps to the Epiphany mercilessly along the way, and they’ve been friends ever since. This March, along with Steve, Bob published The Startup Owner’s Manual: a step-by-step guide to Building a Great Company. When he’s not writing, Bob runs the Four Steps consultancy, helping major corporations and startups alike effectively deploy Customer Development process through workshops and hands-on consulting.

Bob co-founded Marketing 1to1 (later Peppers&Rogers Group), growing it to 400+ people. Fortune magazine raved about The One to One Fieldbook, he co-authored, saying, "if your company is launching a customer-focused strategy...it sets the agenda." As founding CEO, Dorf spearheaded major strategic customer programs at companies including Ford, HP, Jaguar, NCR, Oracle, and Schwab. Bob has personally founded six companies, including—as he puts it—“two homeruns, two base hits, and two solid tax losses.” He has since invested in and/or advised more than a score of startups on Customer Development and sales and marketing strategy.

Jerome S. Engel, Adjunct Professor, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley

Professor Jerome S. Engel is an internationally recognised expert in innovation, entrepreneurship, and venture capital, lecturing and advising business and government leaders around the world. A leading member of the University of California at Berkeley’s entrepreneurship faculty, Prof. Engel is also a partner at Monitor Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in early stage technology ventures. Prof. Engel began his career in public accounting with KPMG and Ernst & Young, where he was the National Director of Capital Resources, helping finance some of the country’s most exciting high potential startups. At Berkeley’s Haas School of Business he instructs in the School's MBA and Executive Education programs, specializing in Entrepreneurship, Corporate Innovation, New Venture Finance, and Venture Capital.

Stephen Forte, Chief Strategy Officer, Telerik

Stephen is the Chief Strategy Officer of the venture backed company, Telerik, a leading vendor of developer and team productivity tools. Involved in several startups, he was the co-founder of TritonWorks, which was acquired by UBM in 2010 and was the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Corzen, Inc, which was acquired by Wanted Technologies in 2007. Prior to Corzen, Stephen served as the CTO of Zagat Survey in New York City (acquired by Google in 2011) and also was co-founder of the New York-based software consulting firm The Aurora Development Group.

Rob Fraser, Chief Technology Officer for Cloud Services, Microsoft UK

Rob joined Microsoft UK in 2011. Prior to working at Microsoft he worked for British Aerospace, Swiss Bank Corporation and JP Morgan. In 1998, Rob was part of the spin out of RiskMetrics Group from JPMorgan, and stayed with the company through to its’ acquisition in 2010. During that time he was responsible for the company's on-line services business, and launched highly successful Software-as-a-Service offerings for financial risk management in 2001. Starting in 2008, he ran projects to integrate cloud computing capacity for High Performance Computing into the company’s product lines. This led to early adopter work with Microsoft on their Windows Azure cloud computing platform with Rob joining Microsoft’s Cloud Customer Advisory Board.

Neal Gandhi, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor

Having founded numerous companies, two of which were listed in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 and Deloitte Fast 50 and two of which were sold for a total of £80m, Neal now spends most of his time investing in high potential businesses. He also continues to sit on the board of four companies that he has co-founded including Quickstart Global, QuestersGroup, the iPlex and Talent Anywhere. His current investment portfolio focuses mainly on eCommerce (b2b and b2c), SaaS and Social Media companies.

Mark Gillett, Corporate Vice President, Skype Product Engineering & Operations, Microsoft

Mark has served as the Chief Development and Operations Officer at Skype since March 2011 and as a Corporate Vice President of Microsoft since October 2011, previously having worked with Skype as Chief Transformation Officer and interim Chief Development Officer following Skype’s Acquisition by SilverLake Partners in 2009. At Skype, Mark is responsible for all product and program management, engineering, site operations, information security, business operations and customer services. Before joining Skype, from 2009, Mark was a Partner at SilverLake and led Value Creation in Europe, working directly with the CEOs and management teams of portfolio companies to develop their businesses and improve operating performance.

Bindi Karia, VC/Emerging Business Lead, Microsoft

Bindi leads BizSpark and BizSpark One in the UK, where she focuses on how Microsoft can drive success for leading edge and early-stage technology companies. She is also responsible for managing the relationships with the UK Investor Community, including Venture Capitalist, Angels and other Investor Organisations. In addition, Bindi sits on many Advisory Boards, including Seedcamp, Astia, EVCA - Digital Agenda Task Force, The Cambridge Phenomenon and TechMediaInvest. Bindi was named to the Wired UK Top 100 Digital Power Broker lists in both 2011 (#39) and 2010 (#42) and named as one of the Six Most Connected Women in the UK by the IoD in 2011.

Dan’l Lewin, Corporate Vice President, Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft

Dan’l Lewin leads Microsoft’s global engagement with startups, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, and business relationships with strategic industry partners. His team focuses on supporting the startup ecosystem developing on the Microsoft platform while fostering local software economies worldwide through the Microsoft BizSpark and Microsoft Innovation Center programs. Lewin also has executive responsibility for the company’s operations in Silicon Valley based in Mountain View, CA.

Max Niederhofer, VP, Accel Partners

Max has been working in the European technology industry for ten years. Since joining Accel, Max has been focusing on consumer internet, mobile, gaming and SaaS investments. Prior to joining Accel, he founded, ran and sold Qwerly, a consumer data marketing business. Before Qwerly, Max was an investment professional at Atlas Venture in London, where he worked with portfolio companies Seatwave, DailyMotion, Zoopla and MOO. He began his entrepreneurial career by co-founding Myblog.de, Germany’s largest blogging community. Max is an active angel investor in companies such as OneFineStay, Boticca, Skimlinks and Last.fm (acquired by CBS).

Renate Nyborg, Digital Director & Head of Mobile, Edelman

Renate is Digital Director and Head of Mobile at Edelman where she leads on social media, mobile and digital for consumer brands including Xbox, PayPal, Motorola and Swarovski. Renate was previously Head of Mobile business for A&N Media, owner of the Daily Mail, MailOnline.co.uk and Metro. In her time there the group published 70 mobile apps and she also set up dedicated mobile games and apps publishing brand ‘Metro Apps’. Prior to this Renate ran global marketing for social hardware company Poken in San Francisco. She was also a founding member of Twestival, a global charity project run by volunteers through Twitter.

Alessandro Rizzoli, Founder & CEO, Mopapp

Prior to Mopapp, Alessandro was a senior manager and business intelligence expert for many mid-size and large companies in the financial, retail and telco sectors. He now manages Mopapp's business development, market analysis and partnerships. Mopapp was last year’s winner of the Microsoft BizSpark European Summit Startup Showcase. In 2008, Alessandro founded a software consulting firm in Bologna,Italy, GetConnected.it. Earlier in his career, he served as Senior Consultant in top Italian System Integrator Engineering Ingegneria Informatica Spa.

David Rowan, Editor, Wired UK

David Rowan is editor of the UK edition of WIRED magazine, which won 2009 Launch of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards. He writes a monthly technology column for GQ magazine, and has written tech and trend-watching columns for The Times. He has edited The Guardian’s websites, made TV films for Channel 4 News, and produced long features for The Telegraph Magazine, Sunday Times Magazine and The Observer. Trained at The Times, he edited The Guardian’s op-ed, education, analysis and Saturday features sections. Most recently he edited The Jewish Chronicle.

Nick Thain, CEO, Sports New Media

Nick has been involved with a range of start-ups, the most prominent being IPT, one of Europe's leading online data owners. Co-founded in 1999 he grew it to an AIM listed public company with a marketing cap of £200m+. Nick is currently CEO of Sports New Media where he’s leveraging social media and the draw of the sports star to build the largest sports fanbase in the world.

Keith Varty, Head of Content and Developer Marketing, Western Europe, Nokia

Keith manages Nokia’s applications and services business. He leads a team that builds apps with key brands, runs a comprehensive developer outreach programme, builds products and services for developers and markets and merchandises applications across platforms. His background includes a stretch at Vodafone where he helped launch a mobile marketing division and prior to Nokia, stints with several mobile application/agency start-ups. He has also set up and launched an MVNO.

Andrew Yates, CEO & Co-Founder, Artesian Solutions

Andrew is a serial software entrepreneur and CEO with 23 years’ experience at large Enterprise software companies and start-ups, including Misys, Cognos, Eyretel, Aprimo and now, Artesian Solutions. Artesian’s Social CRM solution is a cloud based sales accelerator, which uses the semantic web to help sales-driven organisations build strong and deep relationships with customers and then translate those relationships into revenue. Artesian is in the Deloitte Fast 500, is a Gartner Cool Vendor and recently graduated from the Microsoft BizSpark One program where it was named a finalist for the BizSpark Partner of the Year. Artesian closed a £2m Series A with Octopus Ventures in December.