Founders Forum

Founders Forum, a global community for entrepreneurs, has used artificial intelligence technology to predict who the tech founders across Europe will be in the future.

Unveiled at an event at No 10 Downing Street yesterday evening, the selected candidates were picked up by a combination of the technology and peer recommendations.

Ed Vaizey MP, in attendance at the event, commented on the findings: “The UK has a thriving digital economy, and this bold new initiative by the Founders Forum is a great step towards discovering entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.

I look forward to seeing the positive impact their work will have on the tech industry, including helping to identify a diverse range of talent,” he concluded.

Some of the candidates picked up by AI were:

Rikke Koblauch, 24, based in London
Originally from Denmark, 24-year-old Rikke came to London a year ago with little more than a one-way ticket, a bag of possessions and a big drive to succeed in London’s tech scene. Having excelled at Hyper Island, the unconventional Swedish creative school, she is now part of the UX/UI team at Ustwo based in London where she designs digital technologies. On the side she is developing an idea connecting tech and mental health, helping people overcome social anxieties. As well as being discovered by the AI technology, Rikke was also nominated by the founder of Ustwo for her talent and tenacity (and for attending hackathons, alone, and winning them). Her ambition is to set up a technology business in the near future that improves the lives of the user.

Susanne Mitschke, 25, Glasgow
Susanne studied business and economics in Vienna, before making the move to Glasgow for her masters. Originally from Germany, Susanne believes Scotland is a ‘great place to be an entrepreneur’ having just launched Mind Mate, an app to improve self management in early stage patients and family carers. Mind Mate has secured £40,000 in funding and is currently being rolled out across NHS Scotland, making a positive impact on patients lives – not bad to say the idea arose during a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style university competition for a new healthcare startup.

Carmen Alfonso Rico, 28, London
Originally from Spain, Carmen moved to London over a year ago having no network here but a strong ambition to understand both technology and investments worlds. Discovered by the Founders of the Future AI technology, Carmen is currently working within capital markets within an investment bank and is soon making the move to a London VC specialising in early stage technology companies. Having received top grades for her Law & Business degree at Universidad Pontificia Comillas, she went on to become the youngest ever advisor to the President of a region of Spain for two years. With entrepreneurship in her blood – several family members have set up their own companies – she previously set up a citizen journalism platform in Spain which ran for 10 months. Whilst the model didn’t work, she wasn’t deterred and is hungry to set up an educational technology business in the near future.

Dr Tom Bowles, data scientist and Founders Factory founder in residence, added:“An AI simulates what a human might do but at scale; with more data and no bias. Our model continually learns, and as we get additional data on the career trajectories of the Founders of the Future community, we’ll be able to accurately predict who will start tech companies.

“By looking at each individual in the context of what they have achieved, within their relevant field, biases like gender or location can be minimized. This means that AI can have a significant impact on diversity; it doesn’t care about someone’s background, it only sees the potential within them,” he said.

Some of the candidates discovered via peer recommendations:

Harriet Wright, 25, London
A champion of improving organisational culture through technology and diversity, Harriet was nominated by her current employer Kathryn Parsons of Decoded, as well as being endorsed by Mind Candy’s Michael Acton-Smith. She studied drama at university and hoped to go into advertising, but found agency life constricting. After meeting the owner of startup  Flubit on a train, she talked herself into a job there, her first experience in tech. Falling in love with the sector she worked at Firebox with Michael Acton Smith (prior to Mind Candy) in a product development role before joining Decoded. Within a year she has become lead on a  number of the company’s biggest accounts helping them to deliver diversity programmes for large clients using technology.  Harriet’s aim is to set up a startup within this field to empower people using tech within organisations.

Mustafa Al-Bassam, 21, London
Nominated by David Rowan of Wired, Mustafa came to the UK with his family from Iraq as a refugee, aged five. Growing up in London, Mustafa excelled at school and now studies computer science at King’s College. Now 21, Mustafa caught the world’s attention at the age of 16 when under the name ‘Tflow’ with his hacker group LulzSec, hacked a number of large organisations including the CIA and Sony. The aim was to expose security shortfalls and highlight the need for freedom of speech. He received a 20 month suspended sentence and a two-year internet ban. Whilst contemplating a PhD, he is keen to stay in London to setup a startup to improve data security, particularly within the healthcare sector.

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