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Patrick Polak

Managing partner Newion

Patrick is co-founder of  Newion, a VC firm investing in European Bussiness to Business software startups. Today he is jointly responsible for managing the company. His tasks include defining the firm’s overall investment strategy, fundraising and investor relations. Patrick is closely involved in Newion’s investments and is holding various board positions to help portfolio companies accelerate their growth, and is actively involved in National and European Venture Capital associations and initiatives. Patrick previously co-founded and sold a software company before becoming a venture capital investor at NV NOM, investment and development agency for the Northern Netherlands.

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Vareska van de Vrande

Professor of Collaborative Innovation and Business Venturing at RSM Erasmus University

Vareska joined RSM in 2007 after completing a PhD in Industrial Engineering and Management Science at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Her expertise focuses on the areas of corporate venturing and collaborative innovation, including external technology sourcing, corporate venture capital investments, strategic alliances, and corporate-startup collaboration. Other research interests include (corporate) entrepreneurship, patents, and venture capital. She has published articles in leading academic journals, including the Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy, the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, tthe Journal of Product Innovation Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and the Journal of Business Venturing. At RSM, Vareska teaches courses and modules in Strategic Management and Corporate Venturing at the graduate and post-experience level. 

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Wilbert Lek

Managing director Rotterdam Partners

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Peter Paul van Voorst tot Voorst

founder Skoon Energy

Peter Paul van Voorst tot Voorst, founder of Skoon Energy, is active in the world of energy storage. Motivated to contribute to the energy transition, Peter Paul started the company with the goal to offer all services needed for the use of mobile energy through an intelligent online platform, enabling a wide range of users to transition to the use of sustainable energy sources. Skoon Energy focuses on facilitating access to mobile batteries for ships, festivals, construction sites, grid balancing and other applications with a temporary demand for energy. As a regular visitor of Venture Café Rotterdam, I’ve come to realize the importance of networking and learning from the best experts. As I believe both Skoon and myself have benefitted from all that Venture Café offers, I’m honored to be able to support Venture Café and its ecosystem through this role in the board.’

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Jawad Handizi

Vice President Business Development Western Europe at GE Healthcare

Born and raised in Rotterdam, 20 years experience in both pharma & med tech environment. I love to read, travel, play soccer, fitness and cook.

The VC is essential to the eco system because it provides the right platform/stage to accelerate change & innovation in the right atmosphere.  Furthermore it is THE place to explore and nourish  out-of-the box thinking & co-creation amongst start-ups, scale ups and Corporates.

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Burcu Tas 

Portfolio & Innovation Manager Ice Cream Europe at Unilever

Burcu has worked in different functions of the supply chain for 12 years. She moved to Rotterdam from Istanbul in March 2020. She pursues her purpose “Be Uranus for diamond rain!” to trigger abandoned transformation for herself and others. Uranus is the planet of the change and disruption in astrology. The diverse and innovative ecosystems boost-up her creativity through passion, novelty and pleasure to be Uranus. Venture Café could be summarized as “Love at first sight!” for her. Despite Covid-19 conditions, she ran into the perfect ecosystem with different options to build relationships between students, startups, entrepreneurs, corporates, investors, and other organizations in her third month in Rotterdam. Motivated to support this ecosystem for more and more diamond rains.

Connect with Burcu on Linkedin