Entry closes 31st December 2020.








The Pandemic Challenge

How are you going to stop this virus damaging global society?

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the cause of COVID-19 disease, threatens all our lives and the global economy.

Open to all.

Scientists are unsure as to how long the virus will remain a threat to us, and until a vaccine or a cure is found we will be forced to live and work in a pandemic economy. Your ideas could help save lives, and to live better lives during this difficult time.

Step up to the Challenge!

We are developing relationships with academia and corporate partners to provide incentives to people with big ideas to abate the pandemic.

The first competition received an amazing number of excellent proposals, with the winner being awarded a place at Singularity University’s Executive Programme in Silicon Valley in California. The Top 5 ideas are available for download here. This time we are seeking purely ideas and can help you match these  with corporates and venture capitalists where they make sense. We can respond to you 24/7.

Deadline for ideas:

Your ideas will be welcome, and will keep this open until 31st December 2020.

"Glad to see that you made such an excellent selection for the program"

Claudia Olsson


"Great contest! Happy to be able to contribute!"

Samantha Ghiotti

"Kudos to Pandemic Challenge for making a difference."

Alex Wong

"Many of the proposals were really impressive. Delighted to have been able to contribute to this meaningful initiative."

Ting Zhang

TOP 5 From The Pilot Competition

Dorothea Koh

Bot MD, Singapore

Trevor Costello

Aqua 21, UK

Asiye Karakullukçu

AKSense, Turkey/ UK

Renan Serrano

Visto Bio, Brazil/ US

Alberto Rizzoli

V7 Labs, Italy/ Sweden/ UK 

Read more about the TOP 5 


Ideas are sought from everybody, and we are able to match these ideas with governments and global corporates and investors. They can be for-profit, or not-for-profit.

The Judges

We have an excellent range of judges, some able to provide more time than others. If you would like to join as a judge please send us your details and we’d be happy to talk.

The Idea

The scope of your idea can be far and wide, anything that abates the pandemic, we do not envisage there being any ‘silver bullets’. 

Examples will come from engineering, business practices, behavioural change, scientific discovery applicable rather soon and frankly whatever else does the job. Perhaps there are really simple abatements we haven’t thought of yet, but you will.


The Incentives

We are able to connect with you with key decision makers, and investors.

If you would like to offer a prize please contact us and we can discuss.

Competitions are idea collectors are consistently effective in helping to solve problems, simple or complex problems. We can help you get your ideas to the right people, and we can introduce you to people who can join your team.


Entry starts 1st May 2020 and ends 31st December 2020.









Remember, your idea can be a product and or service. From past experience, the simpler the better. Please do not submit details that might compromise and unprotected intellectual property, in particular do not submit any trade secrets. See terms and conditions below for further information.

Please simply send an email to 

halsall555 at gmail.com

The Judging Panel

Dr Meng-Han Kuok
Founder of Camtech Management, an incubator of early-stage technology start-ups in the fields of microfluidics, lab on a chip, wireless sensing and biotechnology. Other than mentoring promising companies, he is also passionate about novel lab on chip based solutions for biomedical diagnostics and biotech applications, integrating innovative technology and design in microfluidics, biological sensing and cell manipulation. He received a Ph.D from the University of Cambridge, Institute of Biotechnology, where he worked in Professor Chris Lowe’s lab on integrating holographic biosensors into a lab on chip device. He also developed a patented method for rapid sample concentration within microfluidic devices. These are currently being further developed by into a commercial pathogen detection device. His earlier commercial experience was as business development manager in a Cambridge, UK based consultancy firm specialising in technology commercialisation. He worked on financing of early stage technology companies, and was responsible for obtaining consulting projects with government agencies on development strategy and technology transfer capabilities in micro and nanotechnology. Meng-Han also holds both Bachelor and Masters degrees in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Cambridge.
Klaas De Boer
Klaas De Boer has over 20 years of venture capital experience, mainly in Europe, but also in North America and Israel. He is currently Managing Partner of Entrepreneurs Fund (EF), which he joined in 2006. At Entrepreneurs Fund, Klaas’s responsibilities included inge GmbH (sold to BASF), Technolas Perfect Vision (sold to Bausch & Lomb), Prosonix Ltd (sold to Circassia), Lifeline Scientific Inc (sold to Genext), New Motion (sold to Shell) and Optinose (Nasdaq listing). He currently represents EF on the boards of General Fusion Inc, SmartKem Ltd, vasopharm GmbH and chairs the board of AIM listed Xeros Technologies plc. Outside of EF, Klaas is a member of the investment committee of Dutch Venture Initiative, and from 2014-2016 he chaired the council of the International Venture Club.  Klaas also represents NESTA’s social impact fund on the board of Oomph Wellness Ltd, having been a member of the fund’s investment committee for 3 years. Klaas started his career with McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam. From there he joined Vanenburg Group where established a corporate venturing group led investments in Europe, Israel and the US, which included WebEx. Klaas has an MSc in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology, and an MBA from Insead.
Dr Ferdinando Samaria
Dr Ferdinando Samaria is a computer scientist and investment banker. He has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Trinity College, Cambridge, and is the author of one of the most cited papers in the area of computer face recognition. After working on image processing and multimedia applications at the Olivetti Research Laboratory in the mid 90s, he moved to Credit Suisse Financial Products where he started his career in the City. He was later hired by UniCredit as one of the founders of the Italian bank’s investment banking arm where he covered senior global roles in trading and risk management with particular focus on complex derivatives. Ferdinando has numerous publications in the areas of artificial intelligence and risk management. His current areas of interest include blockchain, machine learning and smart software applications for the financial industry
Dr. Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij
Dr. Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij is Reader in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), and Research Associate at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) at the London School of Economics. His work focuses on self-resolving prediction markets for long-term forecasting, and on counterfactual models of fully informed public attitudes, with a focus on political attitudes.
Darrell Mann
Darrell Mann is an engineer, having spent 15 years working at Rolls-Royce in various R&D related positions, ultimately becoming Chief Engineer responsible for the company’s long term future military engine strategy. He first started using Systematic Innovation in 1992, and by the time he left Rolls-Royce had generated over a dozen patents and patent applications. In 1998 he started teaching systematic innovation methods to both technical and business audiences, and to date has given workshops to over 5,000 delegates across a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines. He continues actively to use and develop the Systematic Innovation methodology, with the help of 30 full-time research staff. With over 600 systematic innovation-related papers and articles to his name, plus the best-selling ‘Hands-On Systematic Innovation’ books, Darrell is now one of the most widely published authors on the innovation subject in the world. For the last 18 years he has helped many of the world’s top companies to create stronger IP, participating in the creation of over 500 inventions. Projects he has been involved in have resulted in the creation of several billion dollars of new value to clients. Darrell is a Visiting Professor at the University of Warwick in the UK, and Taylor’s University in Malaysia.


Eline Van Der Velden
Eline Van Der Velden is a comedian, writer, actress and producer. She was nominated by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for the Lovie Awards and won Best Online Comedy in 2013. She has been working with online video content for the last 8 years in Los Angeles, Amsterdam and London. With successes both on YouTube and other platforms such as Dailymotion or Blip.tv, before becoming managing director of Makerschanne. Currently, she is the founder of a production company, Particle Productions, a full service digital agency focussed on video content. In 2016, she could be seen as the face of Dutch Shampoo Andrelon and is known for her character Miss Holland. Eline has a degree in Physics, and a Masters in Fusion engineering from Imperial.


Steve Leonard
Steve Leonard is a technology-industry leader with a wide range of experience, having played key roles in building several global companies in areas such as Software, Hardware and Services. Although born in the US, Mr Leonard considers himself a member of the larger global community, having lived and worked outside the US for more than 25 years. In his current role as the Founding Chief Executive Officer of SGInnovate – a private limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government – Mr Leonard has been chartered to lead an organisation that builds ‘deep-tech’ companies. Capitalising on the science and technology research for which Singapore has gained a global reputation, Mr Leonard’s team works with local and international partners, including universities, venture capitalists, and major corporations to help technical founders imagine, start and scale globally-relevant early-stage technology companies from Singapore. Prior to his role as the CEO of SGInnovate, Mr Leonard served three years as the Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), a government statutory board under the purview of Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information. In that role, he had executive responsibility at the national level for various aspects of the information technology and telecommunications industries in Singapore. Mr Leonard serves on the advisory boards of a range of universities and organisations in Singapore. Mr Leonard also serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director at Singapore Post Ltd (SingPost), a global leader in e-commerce logistics; and AsiaSat, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed commercial operator of communication spacecraft. Steve was appointed CEO Singularity University in January 2020.


Dr Elizabeth Surkovic
 Before joining the Royal Society in 2016, Elizabeth Surkovic was the Deputy Director for Science at the Government Office for Science. Her responsibilities ranged across the entire Government policy portfolio from bee health to nuclear power. She and her team worked with Government Departments ensuring that science had been well used in any one area, resolving disagreements between Departments and leading on the investigation of issues of scientific merit and producing reports for use in policy development. Prior to this she worked in the Cabinet Office and the Better Regulation Executive where she led a Bill on better regulation, and in Defra where she worked on chemical management. The most notable element of that was negotiation of the REACH Regulation. Prior to becoming a civil servant, she worked in the chemical industry for 15 years. Her core function there was to work on chemical regulation. She is by training a biochemist and graduated from Birmingham. Elizabeth is a Policy Fellow in Cambridge.


Wissam Farah
Wissam Farah is an active Angel Investor and Venturer in early stage high potential disruptive businesses, an advisor to several investment businesses. He is currently accelerating Kroptek, as Executive Director and Managing Partner, a UK based AgriTech solutions business that produces LED grow lighting and indoor farming solutions, including container farms, for scalable urban farming production globally, with its productionplant in Shenzhen, China. He was Managing Director and Head of Global Market Sales EMEA at Nomura. The 10 years prior, Wissam was Managing Director at Citigroup, where he served as Head of Markets and Security Services for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Head of CEEMEA Investor Sales. His teams were responsible for marketing flow and structured products and solutions in rates, credit, FX, commodities, funds and equity derivatives. He began his career in investment banking at Paribas, developing business in Morocco and managing a local portfolio of strategic equity investments. He graduated from EDHEC Business School in France, and more recently attended the Executive Program at Singularity University.
Dominic Hobson
Dominic Hobson is a principal in a consulting business that provides customer research, editing, writing, speaking and event services to investment and custodian banks, financial market infrastructures and technology vendors. He was one of the founders of Asset International, a publishing and events business whose titles include Global Custodian, where he was also editor-in-chief. After Asset International was sold in 2009, Dominic founded COOConnect, a peer group network for fund managers, which was also sold. Dominic has written for Financial News, contributed occasionally to the BBC on financial markets issues, and has three works of non-fiction.


Dr Andre Moreira
Dr Andre Moreira was awarded his doctorate in physics at the Max Plank Institute, where he specialised in charged colloids, salts and their thermodynamic behaviour in solution. Following a post-doc at UCSB, Andre joined BASF Venture Capital in Germany initially as a scientist and later as Investment Manager, responsible for origination and deal-flow. Andre is currently CEO of Novihum Technologies, an industrial startup that produces NOVIHUM, a novel soil-enhancement product based on lignite, showing how to tackle both the stranded asset problem, while improving agricultural yield and soil fertility. 
Stefan Poechhacker

Stefan Poechhacker has an MSc in computational finance from UCL. During Stefan’s time at UC Berkeley, he developed a keen interest in cryptocurrencies and became an active investor in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies leading to him delivering a lecture to UCL’s post-graduates Stefan worked at EY London leading a team of four to develop a blockchain AML transaction monitoring solution to identify and flag cryptocurrency transactions with suspicious activity. He has experience in building and backtesting systematic trading strategies in python which he acquired out of personal interest and at a London based energy hedge fund, before joining Bloomberg as an Account Manager where he specialized in Equity and Commodity markets. He is an advocate for quant driven solutions in the DACH region.

Professor Michael Mainelli

Professor Michael Mainelli co-founded Z/Yen, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank and venture firm, in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. A qualified accountant, securities professional, computer specialist and management consultant, educated at Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin, Michael gained his PhD at London School of Economics where he was also a Visiting Professor. Michael’s early scientific research in aerospace (rocket science) and computer graphics led to him starting Swiss companies in seismology. Michael served as a Director of Europe’s largest R&D organisation (DERA) leading to two privatisations.


Mike Halsall
Mike Halsall is an entrepreneur, and has worked in a number of arenas including construction, real estate investment, software development, and with government. Mike imported a number of overseas organisations to the UK including BravoSolution (McKinsey Milan e-procurement), slowVoice (IARPA collective intelligence) and Singularity University (a think-tank university). Mike is a guest lecturer at UCL on collective intelligence. Career highlights include co-founding and selling an investment business to AXA, building a school for autistic kids in Scotland, running several entrepreneur and intrapreneur competitions for corporations and government, sending winners to Singularity, Oxford and Cambridge universities. Mike has also constructed many buildings for the public and private sectors in the UK and overseas, including tree houses for his four wonderful now grown up children.


Professor Yen Choo
Professor Yen Choo obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology in 1995 from the University of Cambridge, England, researching sequence-specific protein-DNA interactions under Nobel laureate Sir Aaron Klug. He subsequently directed the zinc finger engineering group at the world-renowned MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, before moving to industry. Associate Professor Choo is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of C-level and Board experience in the biotechnology industry. He was the founder and CSO of Gendaq, the biotech company that developed the zinc finger DNA-binding technology now used for gene editing (acquired by Sangamo Therapeutics). He is the founder and Chairman of Plasticell, one of the UK’s pioneering stem cell and regenerative medicine companies. He was also the founder of Progenitor Therapeutics, a drug discovery company established jointly with GSK to discover medicines that regenerate tissues of the human body (acquired by Plasticell). His research, inventions and companies have been recognised by an array of awards and prizes including The Queen’s Award in Enterprise for Innovation, The Scientist Top 10 Innovations and the GE Healthcare and Science Prize for Young Scientists. He sits on the Steering Committee for the UK Stem Cell Bank and for the Use of Stem Cell Lines which oversees UK embryonic stem cell research and the UK Stem Cell Bank.


Ezinne Uzo-Okoro
Ezinne Uzo-Okoro is the founder of Terraformers, an online marketplace that empowers anyone to grow affordable fresh organic food anywhere and donate the excess to local food banks. Terraformers provides an entrepreneurial approach to improved nutrition, and feeding communities. Customers – anyone with at least 100 sq ft of yard or rooftop space – will democratize food access, and improve the economic trajectories of their own communities. During her 13-year NASA career, Ezinne contributed to multifarious missions including a constellation of micro-satellites, and six launched spacecraft missions – Cassini, the Saturn orbiter; ExPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC) sitting atop the International Space Station; Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) observing hurricanes and precipitation on Earth; EFT-1 test mission for human exploration; Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer studying supernovae and neutron stars; and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite continuing the search for exoplanets. She is a technical leader in flight software development, and spacecraft systems engineering, and has made significant contributions in all phases of the NASA mission life-cycle from concept development and design to deployment and operations. She earned Computer Science and Aerospace Systems Engineering degrees and has received numerous NASA awards. Ezinne is a 2018 US Presidential Leadership Scholar.


Claudia Olsson
Claudia Olsson, appointed Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, is an innovation leader and speaker in the field of digital transformation. She is the founder and chairman of Stellar Capacity, a global education company specialized in providing strategic advice, analysis and professional development related to the digital transformation. Claudia is one of the Nordic region’s most sought-after speakers on exponential technologies, future trends, leadership and governance. Her work focuses on the impact of new technologies on citizens, society and global markets. Claudia is passionate about addressing global challenges through smart solutions in governance, technology and business. As a member of the High Level Industrial Roundtable “Industry 2030” at the European Commission, Claudia co-authored the vision for the European Industry until 2030. Claudia is also co-authoring the strategic innovation agenda for the Swedish Steel and Metal industry with a particular focus on the possibilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In 2016, Claudia authored the Sweden 2030 future scenario for the Digitalization Commission at the Government of Sweden, focused on the digital, integrated, smart and competitive society. She also co-authored the acclaimed report “Blockchain-Decentralized Trust” for the Entrepreneurship Forum. Claudia has served as Associate Faculty at Singularity University as well as Senior Advisor to the Office of Strategic Analysis at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Sweden. Claudia previously set up and managed the policy think-tank ACCESS Health International in Singapore following her work for ACCESS in India and her assignment with the United Nations, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In addition to repeatedly being ranked as one of Sweden’s top young business talents, Claudia Olsson has been awarded multiple honors including: The Young Leader of the year in Sweden by 4Potentials, a Leader of the Next Generation by the Stars Foundation in Switzerland and China, a Gifted Citizen by La Ciudad de las Ideas in Mexico and the European David Rockefeller Fellowship at the Trilateral Commission.


Dr Anish Mohammed
Dr Anish Mohammed is a technologist with multidisciplinary background who is passionate about technology. Over the years have been involved in architecting/building micropayments, reinsurance hubs, big data platforms for banking among other things. Have worked as researcher in security/cryptography  both in industry and academia, with deep expertise in Blockchain and Cryptography, and currently focusing on Blockchain and Cryptoeconomics.


Russell Buckley
Russell Buckley is the ‘Godfather of Mobile Marketing’, With over four decades of experience in marketing, start-ups and cross-platform investment, Russell Buckley is an investment veteran. Through the years Buckley held roles such as advisor, chairman, director and partner, before turning his attention to investing.  The industries Buckley concentrates on are mainly digital health, martech, adtech and fintech. Buckley is an avid investment blogger and considered as a thought leader in the industry. Russell has also worked as a UK Government advisor.


Radiana Soh
Working in a Singapore technology transfer office, Radiana has more than 10 years of experience commercialising technologies ranging from ideation, business matching, value chain creation, product development, business model formation, negotiations, partnerships relationship management, process improvement and business development.  New innovations require the need to comprehend complex technical requirements and business needs. She is currently working closely with the research community and articulating them clearly in simple terms in relation for partners from other organizations to comprehend and establish open collaboration platforms and new partnerships. Her projects range from food packaging, personal care, advanced manufacturing in additive manufacturing, advanced materials, sustainability solutions and electrification solutions. Curiousity as a natural desire to learn new concepts and technologies, and to determine how they can fit together to meet or support strategic goals and objectives, allows her, to be better by knowing more and thinking faster than the competition and bringing these traits wherever she is.  
Samantha Ghiotti
Samantha Ghiotti is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Singlife based on Singapore. Sam has over 20 years of international experience as executive, investor and entrepreneur. Prior to joining Singlife, Samantha was a Partner at Anthemis Group, a leading fintech venture investor and held several senior commercial and digital roles in some of the world’s largest financial institutions including American Express, First Data, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.


David Orban

David Orban is the Founder of Network Society Research and Managing Partner at Network Society Ventures. He is a faculty member and advisor at Singularity University, and he served as the Chairman of the Board of Humanity+. Mr. Orban’s past entrepreneurial accomplishments span several companies founded and grown over more than twenty years. He attended University of Milan, and University of Padua and studied Physics.


Stephen Markscheid
Stephen Markscheid is a senior executive and corporate director concentrated in mergers and acquisitions and other financial transactions, corporate governance, and consulting. During his time with GE Capital (1998-2006), Steve led business development activity—primarily acquisitions and direct investments—in China and Asia Pacific. Prior to GE, Steve worked with the Boston Consulting Group throughout Asia. Steve was also a commercial banker for ten years in London, Chicago, New York, Hong Kong and Beijing with Chase Manhattan Bank and First National Bank of Chicago. He began his career with the US-China Business Council, in Washington D.C. and Beijing. Steve holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University, where he was class valedictorian and member of Beta Gamma Sigma. He earned his master’s degree in international affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS and his B.A. in East Asian studies at Princeton University. He is a trustee of Princeton-in-Asia. Besides his native English, Steve is fluent in Chinese and conversant in Japanese and French. Steve lived and worked in Asia for 20 years, including China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand. He now resides with his wife, Veronique, and three children in suburban Chicago.


Leighton Vaughan Williams

Leighton Vaughan Williams is Professor of Economics and Finance. He is Head of Economics Research and Director of the Political Forecasting Unit at Nottingham Business School. Leighton’s main teaching is in the area of money, risk, forecasting, efficiency of markets and financial economics. Prior to joining Nottingham Trent University, Leighton was Lecturer in economics at the University of East Anglia. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Management, Clark University, Massachusetts, USA.


Dave Lim
Dave Lim is polymath, provocateur, possibilist and pioneer.   He delights in bringing people together to design, launch and grow new ventures.  Since 1996, he been of all sides of the entrepreneurial and startup fence: as founder of Innovation X by Coca-Cola, twice a high tech VC including in $1B Pacific Rim fund that had invested in a small startup in 1999 called Alibaba.com, and leadership team of Singularity University chapter. Outside work, he is a global TEDx Ambassador. To date, he has lived in four countries and studied at Singularity U, Stanford, Berkeley, UNSW, and UBC   Dave’s favorite quote is “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


Dr Alex C. Y. Wong
Dr Alex C. Y. Wong is the CEO and Co-Founder of RedBite Solutions, a spin-out from University of Cambridge solving the world’s most challenging asset tracking problems. RedBite’s clients include the United Nations, Boeing, Wilmar, Sony and Rolls-Royce. The founders of RedBite were the original architects of the RFID EPC Network through the Auto-ID Centre, also where the Internet-of-Things (IoT) was first coined. Now, RedBite powers the largest RFID deployment in the world across more than 50 countries and has developed other products that have since been acquired. RedBite has recently launched the world’s first barcode and RFID SaaS asset tracking application called itemit, to allow any users to instantly track their items on iOS, Android and web application. At the University of Cambridge, Dr. Wong graduated with a BA and MEng (with distinction) in Engineering and a PhD In quantitative inventory control modelling. He is still an embedded researcher at the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge. He has lead and been involved in EU and InnovateUK projects such as BRIDGE, CSIC, SoNIA and Digital Twin to push the boundaries of research through innovative asset tracking solutions that are also commercially viable for industries.


Dr Con Keating
Dr Con Keating is Head of Research, ‎BrightonRock Group, and In a career spanning more than forty years, Con has worked as an infrastructure project financier, corporate advisor, investment manager and research analyst in Europe, Asia and the United States. He has published widely on the regulation of financial institutions and pension systems, and also developed new statistical tools for the analysis of financial data, such as Omega functions and metrics. He has served on the boards of a number of educational and charitable foundations and as a trustee of several pension schemes. He is currently Head of Research for the BrightonRock insurance group. Con has published many Long Finance publications on pensions. 


John Sharp
John Sharp is a Partner at Hatcher Plus, the leading data-driven venture capital investment firm. John has extensive commercial experience at the senior management level, having been the Chief Executive Officer of Authentium, Inc. the Managing Director, Asia, of WorldSpace, and CEO of Hatcher, the precursor company to Hatcher+. A tenacious and driven executive with longstanding board-level and C-suite level management experience within high-growth companies, John also brings a strong history of capital raising from an extensive network of investors globally. As Chairman and CEO of cybersecurity pioneer Authentium (acquired by CYREN in 2010), John co-authored three US patents and developed and sold cybersecurity solutions to some the largest organizations in the world, including the US Department of Commerce, NASA, AOL, British Telecom, Comcast, Cox Communications, Google, McAfee, Microsoft, Symantec, and Telstra. As CTO at Hatcher+, DocDoc, Heardable, and ThoughtRiver, John has designed and developed several highly-innovative technology platforms using cutting-edge approaches to data processing, user interface design, and workflow optimization.  John is a frequent blogger and an in-demand speaker at venture events globally, and has extensive experience implementing ESG solutions as Chairman and/or board member of numerous start-ups, including director roles at trade finance provider ASYX and payment aggregator Mozido, and roles as Chairman of MENA-based financial services pioneer Telr, and the leading Cambridge-based legal services technology company, ThoughtRiver.


Julian Durant
Julian Durant has spent over thirty years leading strategy and organisational change for multi-national corporations, with a focus on Financial Services. He has worked extensively at Board and C-Level in both external advisory and in-house roles. He has spent the majority of his career overseas, including twenty years based in Asia. He recently returned to the UK where he is now building a portfolio of consulting and advisory positions. Julian spent the first part of his career in management consulting. He initially joined Bain and Company in London in 1986, then, after gaining his MBA at Stanford, he moved to the Boston Consulting Group where he spent the next thirteen years. After an initial spell in Sydney he transferred to Asia where he was elected to Partner and helped lead the development of BCG’s Asian practice, focusing on Financial Services clients. In 2002 he relocated to Bangkok to become the Head of BCG’s Thailand office. In 2005 Julian joined Standard Chartered in Singapore as the Head of Strategy for the bank’s global Corporate Banking division. He worked on almost every aspect of the business during a period of rapid growth before and through the Global Financial Crisis. In 2013 Julian became the Global Head of Strategy for Standard Chartered Bank overall. This included working with the new CEO and PLC Board to address a major downturn in performance by revamping the strategy, including a $5bn rights issue, a fundamental organisational restructuring and a major programme of digital investments.


Erik Postnieks

Erik Postnieks has been a professional investor since 1993 and has two decades of experience researching unique strategies for, developing, and successfully managing long/short equity, currency, and global macro hedge funds. He managed hedge funds in New York City from 1994 through 2010 and now is an Exempt Reporting Adviser in the State of California with Exolinear Capital Management, LLC. Erik earned a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University in 1988, with Distinction in All Subjects, and an MBA from The Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College in 1993. Erik began his investment career at Bankers Trust Company (1993–1996), where he co-managed a $2 billion derivatives-based structured product portfolio. The unifying theme of Erik’s career has been an ability to identify market inefficiencies that have enabled him to produce average annual returns 22.5% greater than the S&P 500, net of fees. His hedge funds averaged 30% annual risk-adjusted returns (“alpha”) from 1997 to 2003, and roughly 8% average annual alpha from 2005 through 2010. Over his career to date, Erik has made his clients more than $150 million in alpha. He has a 13-year audited track record, of which 10 years were positive, 1 year was flat, and 2 years were negative. From 2011-present, Erik has worked as a Registered Investment Adviser on machine learning applications for stock news sentiment, ETF market anomalies, global macro strategies, and long-short equity based on the Exolinear concept. Erik believes the largest market anomaly in the market today is they underestimate the potential of companies that harness technologies with exponential growth characteristics, earnings surprises, high growth, and high efficiency in the use of assets. He believes investors are systematically overestimating the potential of stocks with “linear” growth characteristics: low tech, asset-heavy businesses that can only make small increases in productivity to drive down costs and who exhibit poor Environmental, Social, and Governance scores. Erik will soon launch a new hedge fund to exploit this market anomaly called “Exponential vs. Linear Partners, LP” and an offshore fund as demand warrants. Erik has been also been an angel investor for 15 years and has seen hundreds of pitches. He has been the founder and CEO of three successful businesses.


Richard Porter

Richard Porter is Director of Technology and Innovation at Zenzic, defining and overseeing a £200m portfolio of investments to make the UK the global centre for testing and development of self-driving technologies, building on existing and delivering new capabilities, both physical and virtual. Previously Richard was Director of Research and Innovation at Highways England, UK Research Liaison to US DoD, Security policy advisor and crisis manager at FCO. Richard is always interested in new technologies and encouraging collaboration to deliver technologies to market quickly and effectively.


Taseer Ahmad

Taseer Ahmad is a trans-disciplinary architect, designer, educator, and gelato-maker. Active in all aspects of practice: private, commercial, entrepreneurial and research. He was born near the Himalayas of Kashmiri origin, raised and educated in London at UCL and the Royal College of Art. Since the 1980s he has practiced in the UK and taught at schools of architecture and design in Oxford, London, Kent as well as in Europe and the USA. He was Director of Interior Architecture and Design at the University of Kent until 2010. His terrestrial architecture, interiors and design experience has been gained mainly in London-based practices and has spanned the mundane and the extraordinary: secret London interiors in Hampstead and Primrose Hill; private members clubs in the West End; international museums and galleries in Edinburgh and Delhi. He also practices as a multi and inter-disciplinary space architect and extreme environments designer and has collaborated in projects with ESA, ALENIA, NASA. From 1991 to 2001 Taseer was director of the Extreme Environments Laboratory, a design, teaching and research unit at Oxford School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University. In 1993 he was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Government of Ukraine for extreme environments design for Chernobyl de-contamination. Current design research and project work is in the field of sensory environments and the human body’s personal architecture and ‘spatialisation’.

Bárbara Silva

Business Woman, CEO of BeST innovation, CEO of Singularity University Chile Summit President of HER GLOBAL IMPACT. Bárbara is a Catalyst of Innovation Ecosystems. She advises business leaders, corporations and governments in their innovation strategy and in the design of new business models to face the economy of disruption and to shape the industries of the future in Latin America and Europe. Bárbara is a business woman and her primary role is helping organizations to prepare to not be disrupted through the design of new business models and the attraction of international investment from developed markets to grow the industries of the future in Latin America through “BeSTinnovation”. She invested in Elibatt a lithium battery system integrated with internet of things and big data. Chile is one of the main producers of lithium of the world. In 2016, Bárbara was the one who introduced the first Singularity University Summit in Latin America a global conversation about exponential technologies and it impacts in companies, public policies and the society that is taking place in countries such as Denmark, Japan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, US, New Zealand and Australia. Recently, she was appointed as the representative for South America of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International), a non profit research center that takes the most advanced R&D from the laboratory to the marketplace. Bárbara is on the Advisory Committee of Sofofa, Association of the main industries of Chile and the productivity commission of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce. She was the Vice-president of the Innovation Committee of Open Beauchef from Universidad de Chile. She loves to democratize the access of innovation tools to women, in 2012 she was the one who started the women in innovation movement in Chile and South America by connecting south american women with the knowledge and the network of successful women in Silicon Valley. After that she created “HER GLOBAL IMPACT”, her non for profit organization focuses on training and the acceleration of female entrepreneurs. She won the Young women innovator Award in the Asia Pacific Economic Forum in 2013 and was the first Latin American Woman invited to attend the G8 Youth Summit in 2013 in London. In 2014 was recognized as one of the 100 young leaders of Chile. A mentor, speaker and advocate in diversity integration and businesses with purpose, Bárbara brings a Latin American perspective in a global world, her work has been featured in CNN several times. Bárbara was born in Valparaíso, Chile, has a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in Business Psychology and was honored by the UAI University with an Excellence Scholarship. She has a Master of Arts in Business Psychology and a Master of Arts in Innovation Management © Bárbara was the first Chilean woman who studied at Singularity University in 2012 and she got a scholarship from Heidi Roizen investor of the DFJ venture fund in Silicon Valley to attend the Draper University in 2014.She is currently an Adjunct Professor at UAI, the most important business school in Chile.

John Kermath

John Kermath has spent over 30 years in fund management, investment banking, and venture advisory; working closely in the last 18 years with emerging technology companies in their development. Previously John served 9 years as President of a multi-strategy hedge fund that had peaked at $4 billion in assets under his management. He joined the organization to address problems arising from heavy investor redemption requests and ultimately led the team that restructured the firm’s main funds in multiple steps, raising approximately $240 million to facilitate the effort. He subsequently took over management of the organization and fund portfolios with over $1 billion in residual holdings, largely private equity & venture in nature. He has served as a board member of a dozen portfolio companies and created over $260 million in new value for fund investors in settling long-standing litigation. Prior to this, John was advisor and investment banker to several technology ventures where he assisted in raising a $65 million private equity fund and co-managed a $250 million portfolio of fund interests for a major family office. Early in his career, he advised several NFL investor groups on acquisitions and financing. He also served as a board member and President of the Houston Private Equity Association. Mr. Kermath began his career at Citibank and Deutsche Bank and previously served in the U.S. Army. He is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Economics.

Irakli Beridze

Head, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, United Nations, UNICRI. More than 20 years of experience in leading multilateral negotiations, developing stakeholder engagement programmes with governments, UN agencies, international organisations, think tanks, civil society, foundations, academia, private industry and other partners on an international level. Since 2014, Initiated and managed one of the first United Nations Programmes on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Initiating and organizing number of high-level events at the United Nations General Assembly, and other international organizations. Finding synergies with traditional threats and risks as well as identifying solutions that AI can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Mr Beridze is advising governments and international organizations on numerous issues related to international security, scientific and technological developments, emerging technologies, innovation and disruptive potential of new technologies, particularly on the issue on crime prevention, criminal justice and security. He is a member of various of international task forces, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Artificial Intelligence Council, and the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence of the European Commission. He is frequently lecturing and speaking on the subjects related to technological development, exponential technologies, artificial intelligence and robotics and international security. He has numerous publications in international journals and magazines and frequently quoted in media on the issues related to artificial intelligence. Irakli Beridze is an International Gender Champion supporting the IGC Panel Parity Pledge. He is also recipient of recognition on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW in 2013.

Leila Pinto

Leila Pinto’s professional career developed in the Financial/Banking Industry at different Financial Institutions in Spain, the United States, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia and Ecuador. For more than fourteen years she led Private Banking teams and managed wealth management portfolios for top International banks such as Deutsche Bank, Banco Sabadell, Lloyds TSB Bank and Grupo IF (US Group Bank) where she was the Head of the International Area. She currently owns a financial advisory boutique firm whose main objective is to advise high net worth families in Latin America. Leila’s academic career started in 2010 when she began teaching Corporate Finance and Advanced Financial Management at IE Business School. Leila is a full-time teaching Fellow UCL School of Management. In addition she is the Programme Director for the MSc Finance at the School of Management. Leila holds a Degree in Business Administration, an MBA and a Masters in International Relations Degree.

Tongxiang Fan

Professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University is very interested in the researches on Functional Metal Matrix Composites, Smart Meta-materials and Superstructures, Bio-inspired and Biomimetic Materials. Dr. Tongxiang Fan was born in Shandong, china and graduated from Shandong University with a bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering in 1993 and 1996, respectively. He later received a Ph.D. degree in State Key Lab of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiaotong University in 1999. From 1998 to 2001, he worked in Osaka University as a visiting scholar and Japan Science and Technology Agency as STA Fellowship award winner, respectively. After returning to School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University, he became an associate professor in 2001 and a full professor in 2006. His research currently includes Functional Metal Matrix Composites, Bio-inspired and Biomimetic Materials, Smart Meta-materials and Superstructures. Tongxiang Fan received many awards for his contributions to the development of new materials, including STA Fellowship( Japan, 2000), Excellent Young Teachers Program (Ministry of Education, 2002), Fok Ying Tung Foundation (Hongkong, 2003), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (Ministry of Education, 2004), Shanghai Rising-Star Program (Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, 2005), First Class Prize in Natural Science (Shanghai Municipality, 2014 and 2007), Dawn Scholar (Shanghai Education Committee, 2008), Distinguished Young Scholars (NSFC, 2014), National Natural Science Award (CPG, 2015), Leading scientists, engineers and innovators( National Ten Thousands Plan, 2017) and National Millions of Leading Engineering Talents (MOHRSS, 2017). His works were featured as cover stories in many international journals such as Advanced Materials, Journal of Materials Chemistry, and also selected as HOT Papers by Progress in Materials Science, Chemistry of Materials, Nanotechnology, and also highlighted in NPG Asia Materials, Nature China, ACS News, New Scientist, BBC Knowledge Magazine, Photonics Spectrum Magazine, Nanowerk, Biomass Journal, Science Daily, Physorg.com, Discovery Channel News and more.

Stefano Fontana

Innovation & Change at Fontana Group, a world leading company which operates in the automotive industry’s luxury segment with R&D, engineering, dies construction, stamping and assembly super-cars lightweight materials bodies. Before joining Fontana Group, Stefano (born in Italy and adopted by the USA) was immerse among successful and unsuccessful projects in a variety of industry; entertainment, tech, pet health/food to cite some. Stefano literally possess a bright vision of the future, he is a tech-savvy innovator, endless learner, and passionate entrepreneur and intrapreneur.

Lotte Schou-Zibell

Lotte Schou-Zibell Regional Director Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office Asian Development Bank

Lotte is focusing on expanding and further developing the private and finance sectors in the Pacific sub-region as well as improving the quality, reliability, and availability of critical infrastructure in both rural and urban areas to boost economic growth, create jobs, and provide access to public services.

Prior to her current position, Lotte was Chief of Finance Sector Group of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department. She provided technical leadership on inclusive finance, finance sector development, and infrastructure finance; and in developing sector policies, strategies, operational plans, and directional papers. She leads innovative pilot projects using digital technologies. Prior to joining ADB, she was Director for International Economic Policy at the Swedish Ministry of Finance, a financial supervision and regulation expert at the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and central bank, and an IMF consultant.

Dennis M. Bushnell

Dennis M. Bushnell is a NASA scientist and lecturer. As chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, he is responsible for technical oversight and advanced program formulation. His work is focused mainly on new approaches to environmental issues, in particular to climate issues. Bushnell has received numerous awards for his work. Bushnell has promoted research at NASA into LENR. Bushnell obtained his M.E. degree from the University of Connecticut in 1963 and his M.S.degree from the University of Virginia in 1967, both in the field of Mechanical Engineering.

Dinesh Singh

With over 20 years of marketing, business development and channel sales experience; Dinesh has established himself as a marketer with a penchant for both quantitative and qualitative aspects of the profession.

A University of Oregon graduate with majors in Finance and Marketing, in 2017 he received Certificate New Media Marketing for the Hospitality Professional from Cornell University.

As the Membership Director of The National University of Singapore Society – Singapore’s Premier Graduate Club, his core responsibilities, include overseeing both the subscription revenue and membership growth of by constantly developing greater membership value and driving membership campaigns.

Beryl Chavez Li

Beryl Chavez Li is currently a Business Owner at Unionbank of the Philippines’ innovation arm, UBX, where she product owns Biddit.ph. She is also the Innovation officer at Studex, an animal conservation platform, that aims to clone and preserve endangered species like Sudan, the last male white rhino.

Beryl was the founding CEO of asset token platform, CapchainX. She was a founding team member and Entrepreneur In Residence at Coins.ph, a leading crypto exchange and blockchain payments startup in Asia that has recently been acquired by GoJEk. Her experiences include backtesting trading algorithms at BlackRock London as an FX Quants Consultant as part of her GCP at Cambridge and authoring the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups, a framework in building the Philippine startup ecosystem, as Senior Consultant at the Department of ICT. She started her career in early stage Venture Capital in Shanghai in 2012.

Beryl holds a Master of Finance degree from Cambridge University where she sat as President of the Cambridge University Cryptocurrency Society. She attended Stanford University earning an International Management Certificate during the summer quarter and earned her bachelors in International Business, Finance and Economics at Manchester University.

Derwen Hinds

Derwen Hinds is an independent Strategic Technical Advisor in Future and Emerging Technologies, having recently spent 17 years in the National Security Sector of Government as initially a Senior Information Assurance Consultant across HMG and the last 10 years in the impact analysis of future and emerging technologies. Derwen has participated in 5 Government Chief Scientific Advisor’s Blackett Reviews, advise on behalf of National Security several programmes including the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme and represented National Security on several Public Sector and Academic committees and boards. Prior to joining the Civil Service, Derwen spent 28 years in Industry including the computing capability for a large aerospace engineering group and the Nuclear side of the UK Electricity Generation industry as an intra/inter network designer and Technology Strategist. Derwen originally qualified as a Mechanical and Production engineer, specialising in feedback Control Systems and Metallurgy before moving into commercial computer programming, engineering systems design and Production Control Systems design and implementation. His varied and multi-disciplinary experiences bring a wealth of perspectives. Derwen is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), an Honorary Professor at STEaPP, UCL and an Honorary Principal Research Fellow at ISST, Imperial College.

Charles Delingpole

Charles Delingpole is CEO of ComplyAdvantage, a technology company focused on wiping out financial crime using Machine Learning. As CEO, Charles leads the product development and growth of the company. His passion for the issue came from his time as the MLRO of a previous startup he founded when he realized the ubiquitous inefficiency concerning money laundering processes. Over 99% of money laundering is successful, ComplyAdvantage is working to stop it completely. Founded in 2014, ComplyAdvantage works with over 500 enterprise clients across 75 countries. Backed by Index Ventures and Balderton Capital, ComplyAdvantage has four global hubs in London, New York, Cluj-Napoca, and Singapore. Charles set up his first company, The Student Room Group, now the world’s largest student discussion forum when he was 16. After completing his MA in Politics at Trinity College Cambridge, and then an MSc in Management, Strategy, and Finance from the LSE, he became an associate at J.P. Morgan Cazenove.

Ting Zhang

Ting Zhang has 25+ years experience of international business, trade and investment with a China focus. Ting first came to Cambridge to study, and then in 2001 Ting left her career as a banker to set up a China specialist consultancy, advising hi-tech SMEs, FTSE100 corporates, universities, government agencies, European VC Funds, and financial institutions in Wall Street.

In 2017, Ting launched Crayfish.io, the first online platform dedicated to cross-border collaborations with China, and in September 2019 she went on to launch Crayfish Accelerator, a programme providing access to early stage equity funding and business support services to enter the Chinese market. Ting has mentored many budding entrepreneurs and helped them to better prepare for the business challenges ahead.

Dr Louise Beaumont

Dr Louise Beaumont works with legislators and regulators to create disruption, with corporates to cope with disruption, and with start-ups to exploit disruption – with open and accessible data as the guiding principle.

Dr Rolf Nagel

Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Munich Venture Partners
Dr Rolf P. Nagel is a German citizen. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Economics from the University of Cologne and a Master’s Degree (Diplom-Kfm.) from the WHU Koblenz, Germany. While completing his Ph.D., he was awarded a research scholarship at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, USA.
Munich Venture Partners, which he co-founded in 2004 is a leading high-technology, research-to-business-transfer venture fund investing in innovative start-up companies, mainly in the European Union, with a focus on IT and Energy-Clean Tech. Munich Venture Partners has secured financial commitments from a wide range of institutional, private and philanthropic investors in the EU and the USA. MVP has recently achieved notable exits of Sonnen Battery (acquired by Shell Oil), Relayr IoT-Software (MunichRE) or Cobi (Bosch).
Currently, Dr Nagel is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Novihum Technologies GmbH, a Director of Silicon Line GmbH, in addition to serving as Managing Partner of Munich Venture Partners. Furthermore he is on the Governing Board of the EIT European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a body of the EU Commission.
Prior to founding Munich Venture Partners, he was an Investment Manager and Partner of SVM Star Ventures Management from 1994 to 2004 in the Munich office. He managed international investments in IT (e.g. Ciena, RF Micro Devices), energy (e.g. Capstone) and medical companies (e.g. Medigene), which were successfully taken public on the NASDAQ New York or on the Stock Exchange Frankfurt.

Marco Gualtieri

Marco Gualtieri is an entrepreneur born in Milan in October 1970. He has a degree from the University of Pavia in Economics and Business Administration.

He is the Founder and Chairman of Seeds&Chips that includes the world-renowned go-to event on Food Innovation and sustainable development The Global Food Innovation Summit.

Since 2015, Seeds&Chips’s mission has been to bring innovators from around the world together to find practical solutions through collaboration and cooperation. The event in fact brings together hundreds of startups, companies, universities, institutions, investors, accelerators and incubators, opinion leaders and policy makers and students from all over the world.

In 2017, the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama delivered inspiring remarks at the The Global Innovation Summit in his first speech after the end of his mandate.

During its 5th edition in 2019 the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte participated as a keynote speaker.

Launching this September its new flagship event in Melbourne, Australia, Seeds&Chips is expanding also in Africa, with another signature event in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2020.

Seeds&Chips continues to unite thought leadership to concrete solutions in an open platform that has revolutionized the way companies discuss our food system. Furthermore, Gualtieri’s vision and approach to food has appointed him several awards throughout the years.

He is an internationally recognized expert and speaker, participant and key player of several worldwide Food Tanks, Italy’s Food Ambassador and board member of several companies and associations that focus on the future of food and sustainability.

Since 2004, Marco is co-founder and board member of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in Europe.

In 2019 he founded Sustain&Ability, a sister company of Seeds&Chips. Also, he created the project Goals on Tour, a promotional campaign to create awareness around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in partnership with several UN Agencies such as UNIDO, FAO, UNECE, IFAD and WFP.

Recently together with the Director General of the UN Food and Agricolture Organization, José Graziano da Silva, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Seeds&Chips and FAO, to promote food innovation and education, with the objective to strengthen youth engagement and awareness-raising initiatives in order to fight hunger and malnutrition and achieve sustainable development.

He is International Affairs Delegate for sustainability for the Agency for the Economic Development of the Republic of San Marino.

He is also known as the founder of TicketOne in 1996, the first and leading e-commerce ticketing platform in Italy as well as co-founder of Netcomm, Italy’s largest e-commerce association.

Marco Gualtieri has been awarded in 2018 the “Sustainable Development and Innovation Award” by the French and Italian Chamber of Commerce.

Furthermore, he has won the Food Community Award as “Best Entrepreneur in the Food Area”.

Chiara Giovenzana

Chiara Giovenzana is a scientist (PhD in Biotech), an entrepreneur and an investor. She co-founded and led a biotech startup and different companies and organizations focused on innovation. She’s a a TEDx speaker, a Fulbright fellow and a Singularity university alumna. She is also a partner of two VC funds, a business angel and a mentor at Endeavor.

The Prize as issued to BotMD.io

Executive Programme

How you can help

Submissions from the first Pandemic Challenge varied widely, from simple workable ideas to incredibly complicated proposals requiring big money to get going. We heard from people on every continent, with hot spots in Singapore, the UK, South America, Silicon Valley, and Eastern Europe. Ages ranges from 17 years, to 82 years, from business people, academics, government including military employees, and school children. If you have ideas and energy, don’t let all that go to waste. Together we can end this pandemic.

Organisations Represented

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