Melissa Jun Rowley will participate in Startup Iceland. Melissa will moderate the Founders Panel, it should be an interesting discussion. The founders who will participate in the panel are Tristan Gribbin, the founder of FLOW VR. Tristan has an interesting background (disclosure, I have been an advisor and mentor of Tristan and FLOW VR). I gravitate towards founders who have interesting backgrounds and have punched above their weight class in different settings. I think Tristan falls in that category. In addition to that she is obsessed with making everyone meditate, which I believe is a great mission to have. She always tells everyone she meets – Meditation is the Medicine, I cannot agree more. I am looking forward to the conversation with her during Startup Iceland.
Joi Sigurdsson, Co-founder and CEO of Crankwheel is the second founder in the panel. Joi is a natural leader, has such a wonderful presence and charisma. Did I mention that he is super sharp technically and understands the journey of building a startup. Joi used to work at Google, decided to move back to Iceland and build a startup. Crankwheel was the winner of the Stökkpallurinn competition last year. In addition to that, Crankwheel has been scaling so rapidly and the company is going from strength to strength, the kicker is that he has not raised a single penny in external funding. I think Joi and Gilsi Sigvaldsson the Co-Founder and CCO are building Crankwheel the right way. For instance they did not scale the team before they proved to themselves there was a Product-Market fit and their solution actually solved a problem in the market. I am inspired watching founders like Joi and Gilsi build their companies.
Thor Fridriksson, Founder of a stealth startup, Thor was previously the founder and CEO of Plain Vanilla Games that launched the popular QuizUp game. QuizUp closed shop last year. It would be very interesting to hear lessons learned from that experience. I wrote wake for QuizUp and I am glad that Thor is back on the path to building another company. I don’t know what he is working on but it is inspiring to see him work with his team in the Iceland Ocean Cluster office space. I am excited to listen to this conversation.
The other founders are Sandra Mjoll Jonsdottir-Buch, co-founder and CEO of
Platome Biotechnology and Helgi Hermansson, Co-founder and CEO of Sling. I just got to meet Sandra, she is again a natural leader and is working on an interesting problem. I always tell anyone who looks at a Startup to look beyond what they are currently working on. Sandra has some incredible ideas of how to change biotechnology and biology. I am excited to get her on the panel for this year’s Startup Iceland. The theme for this year’s Startup Iceland is Personal Data, Health, Wellness and Technology. Sandra is working on producing stem cells, for those who just read the headlines about stem cells.
Helgi has been an entrepreneur and I have known him since I started on this journey in Iceland. We have had a number of breakfast meetings where we have had a number of discussion.
Always friendly and enthusiastic, helgi has built a team, raised seed capital and is also growing the business from strength to strength. He now spends most of his time in New York, but a part of his team is based out of Iceland. Here is a good article and interview explaining what Sling does. I am looking forward to meeting him and learn more about what he has been doing the last year.
Melissa will also participate in the mentoring sessions on June 1st in Reykjavik University. The office hours style mentoring sessions have been one of the highlights of Startup Iceland and we are very happy to have Melissa join us for this event. We had been trying to get Melissa to come to Startup Iceland for sometime now, and finally we have managed that.
Melissa is the co-founder of the specialist accelerator Resolve, which works with sector-leading organisations to help purpose-driven startups around the world scale globally, while connecting business hubs to emerging markets. Previously, she built the tech and social impact platform, The Toolbox, with legendary musician Peter Gabriel, to promote the movement of Apptivism—the creation and use of digital tools aiding humanitarian initiatives. As a seasoned journalist, content strategist for Fortune 500 companies and international speaker, she raises global awareness around the intersection of entrepreneurship, frontier technology and social change. Melissa started her career as a field producer for CNN in New York City and Los Angeles. Her writing has been featured in BBC News, Fast Company, CBS News, MTV, TechCrunch and The Guardian.