Meet the team!

Selected from top partners, our united and prepared team will help the selected startups to solve doubts, and share our experience with them, accompanying in the impulse of their business!

Alberto Sierra


Coordinating Data Market Services. Alberto is an R&D consultant specialized in Project Management and Entrepreneurship at Zabala. Within the company, he works closely with SMEs and Startups stimulating innovation and finding the perfect match between ideas and funding opportunities. Involved in other EU initiatives as Altfinator, he is the right guy to talk about technology, Startups and business opportunities.

María Anguiano


Project Manager at ZABALA and R&I Consultant, María worked as a Biomedical Engineer developing preclinical models and analysis tools to study the biology of cancer using image analysis techniques. She is involved in the management of ICT EU projects within the H2020 programme such as EDI, aiming at bridging the gap between data-centric companies and market success.

Carlota Gil


Carlota is part of the European Project Team at ZABALA. She studied Business Administration at the University of Navarra. Additionally, she worked as auditor for a large audit firm being in charge of the financial report and directly responsible for field work in the areas with the highest audit risk.

Susana Garayoa


Susana leads to ZABALA the European communication team. She is a journalist specialised in the fields of Science and Innovation. Her postgraduate studies are focused on Corporate Communication, Public Relations and Digital Marketing. She is one of our favourite influencers on Twitter and always enthusiastic about European affairs!

Miguel García


He works at ZABALA since 2009. Within the company, he is responsible for a number of acceleration/incubation initiatives at EU level such as IRSUS, Blockchers or European Data Incubator. Startups, data and innovation are the best hashtags to find him online.

Dennis Birkhölzer


After working for various startups in Leipzig where he focused on sales development and value selling, Dennis now supports the SpinLab. He studied Applied Media Science and wrote his bachelor thesis at IBM Germany about software-based knowledge management and collaboration.

João Fernandes

Bright Pixel

Project Manager at Bright Pixel, João worked in a multinational touchscreens manufacturer, promoted a European nanomedicine program (nanomedTAB), provided strategic consultancy to SMEs and stimulated open innovation at the largest retailer in Portugal. In the meantime, travelled 3 months around Asia and founded a pet accessories brand.

Frederico Santos

Bright Pixel

Responsible for Minimum Viable Products and Incubation at Bright Pixel, Frederico Santos has a vast experience in turning complex technical systems into products. Passionate about entrepreneurship, he managed an open innovation program for a large telco, connecting startups and corporates. Also participated in 2 European projects (Mobizz & Cloud Catalyst).

Diana Rusu


The Executive Director of Spherik Accelerator, Diana has previously been part of the technocratic government as Chief of Staff for the Minister Delegate for Romanians abroad in which capacity she advanced a new national strategy, designed an innovative startup grants program (Diaspora Startup; 76mil euros) to facilitate brain circulation, and co-organised the first diaspora business summit.

Cristina Juc


Involved in the local tech and startups community since 2015, Cristina has been focusing on digital marketing in the IT sector for the last 3 years. Her background in Architecture and Arts was enhanced with several years of writing, Product & Project Management experience in the tech industry. In 2017 Cristina joined the Spherik Accelerator's team as a community manager.

Morten Birkeland


Mr Birkeland holds a Master of Science (Denmark Technical University) and a Master of Law in Intellectual property management (Strasbourg University). In addition, he is an examiner European Patent Attorney and authorized representative. In 2014 he founded IPTec-tor™, a company providing IP and legal products and services to clients, as well as holding IP assets.

Elena Simperl

University of Southampton

Elena Simperl is Professor of computer science at the University of Southampton and director of the Southampton Data Science Academy. She is also one of the Directors of the Web Science Institute and a Turing Fellow. She has contributed to more than 20 research projects, often as principal investigator or project lead.

Manuel León-Urrutia

University of Southampton

Dr Manuel León-Urrutia is Research Fellow in the Web and Internet Science research group of the Electronics and Computer Science Department (ECS) of the University of Southampton, supporting the H2020 Data Market Services Project. Manuel also supports the Southampton Data Science Academy as a senior tutor, learning designer, and board member.

Rigo Wenning


Rigo’s activity centres around three poles: legal advice for W3C & ERCIM, research in the area of Security, Privacy & Law, legal advise and technology consulting with the AFS Law firm. His current research project is SPECIAL.

Marie-Claire Forgue


Marie-Claire Forgue serves as Head of W3C Training. She developed the W3Cx MOOC program, in partnership with edX. Additionally, Marie-Claire is a member of the W3C Developer relations team, organizing W3C dev-meetups and participating in online and in-person communities. She also participates in the dissemination activities of European projects administered by ERCIM.

Stefano Modafferi

University of Southampton

Dr Stefano Modafferi is a principal enterprise fellow and project manager at the IT Innovation Centre. He has a PhD in Information Engineering from Politecnico di Milano, followed by experience in research projects and industry prior to joining IT Innovation in Jan 2012. In the last 7 years, he has been involved in 10+ research and innovation projects.

Sebastien Toupy

The Next Web

Entrepreneur, community builder & people-connector. Sebastien has a real passion for startups, innovation, and social impact. He currently dedicates most of his time to organize events and run programs that help startup founders to build successful and future-proof companies.

Adam Warren

The Next Web

Head of Research at TNW X, Adam is responsible for the research programmes and startup activities at TNW. With a keen interest in technology and the creation of corporate startup partnerships. With an academic background in planning and real estate, his particular interests lie in smart cities, deep tech verticals and sustainability.

Iciar Arbesú


With more than 12 years of experience in marketing and communication, Iciar has developed her professional career in Ogilvy working for clients such as American Express, ING, Cepsa, Guggenheim, GE Money Bank, ABN Amro Bank Spain, among others, and developing international projects. Customer centric professional skilled in Digital Strategy, Integrated Marketing, Advertising and Customer Relationship Management.

Laura Roldán


Developing her professional career within Ogilvy during the past 10 years, Laura has been working providing a comprehensive service in planning, management and development of online and offline campaigns, strategies for different business areas and CRM campaigns; and participating in the development of different pitch for the company.

Victoria Monje


During her career in Ogilvy, she has been managing different technology-based accounts, such as Big Data and Internet of Things. Besides of being an intermediary between the projects involved and the agency resources, she organizes and attends events around Europe.