We are accelerating rapidly into a very different, very exciting future. All of the rules are changing – and it is clear that yesterday’s solutions aren’t suitable for addressing our food security challenges of today and tomorrow.
How can global change makers navigate these uncertain times? How can we better understand, embrace and take advantage of “what’s next?” in order to benefit more people?
At the next edition of our TFF Global Summit, we are going all in to explore some of the important trends and disruptions affecting ourselves and our collective future. Expect visionary and action-oriented conversations about fields in transition in the food and ag space – and beyond:
The future of working in agriculture and food production
Farm to table in a world of big data and nanotechnology
Living and eating with artificial intelligence and augmented reality
Ethics, sustainability and abundance in global food systems
Driving innovation through transparency, open sourcing and radical collaboration
And much more
All of this will be wrapped in our trademark TFF-style optimism, energy, and celebration!
The TFF Global Summit is THE world’s meeting place for up-and-coming food system innovators and established players to share their latest insights and learn from each other. We connect and collaborate in powerful ways so that we can create, launch and scale game-changing solutions. And, of course, we’ll all be blown away by the 10 breakthrough pitches from the TFF Challenge Finalists.
Don’t miss out on your chance to be the first to experience #whatsnext.
More information coming soon!
In the meantime, check out what happened at our last Summit in Zurich.
Artist, Innovator & Founder, Studio Roosegaarde
Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is internationally known for creating social designs that explore the relations between people, technology and physical space. From fashion to architecture to sustainable energy, his interactive designs are tactile, emotional, and provide high-tech environments that connect viewers to their space. His projects include Smart Highway, Waterlicht, and Dune, which will be featured at the 2016 TFF Global Summit.
Daan Roosegaarde serves as a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. Additionally, he holds the title 'Artist of the Year 2016' by Kunstweek, was selected as a Trouw’s top 100 Sustainable Green Leaders, and has won the INDEX Design Award, the World Technology Award, and China’s 'Most Successful Design' Award, among many more accolades.
Selected by Forbes and GOOD 100 as a creative changemaker, Daan Roosegaarde has been invited to speak at international conferences such as TED and Design Indaba. Based in the Netherlands and Shanghai, he runs Studio Roosegaarde, a social design lab of designers and engineers leading the world to a better future.
Executive Director, Global Development, XPRIZE
Zenia Tata joined XPRIZE as the Executive Director with more than 21 years of experience in program design, management and business development for not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises. Her work has spanned 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Central America, with diverse issues ranging from water and food scarcity, economic enhancement, climate change, land rights, healthcare, education and child welfare. Her unique contribution has been to infuse these traditional development solutions with an entrepreneurial approach, where all stakeholders can draw tangible value from these programs and services.
Ms. Tata’s consulting clients have included academic institutions like MIT’s D-Lab, private sector social enterprises like Spring Health and Medeem, technology incubators such as D-Rev, impact investment groups like Beyond Capital, funders like Nike, Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations and large international NGOs such as Concern Worldwide. Before that, she was the Executive Director of International Development Enterprises (iDE) USA. iDE pioneered market-based approaches to increase income for impoverished farm families in Asia and Africa and has doubled the incomes of 20 million people living in abject poverty.
Originally from Mumbai, India, Ms. Tata is passionate about her work with economically disadvantaged populations, believes in the innate entrepreneurial qualities of the poor and is constantly searching for innovative solutions to global problems.
Ms. Tata has taught classes on social entrepreneurship in universities such as Harvard Business School, Stanford, MIT, University of Colorado and New York University.
Advisor, Kirchner Impact Foundation
Steve has over 20 years of venture capital, and fund management experience with particular focus on the agriculture sector. Steve has worked with funds totaling in excess of $200M. Today, Steve is focused on venture and growth stage investments related to agriculture, energy and water. Earlier in his career, Steve worked as a Special Agent with the DEA, and as an analyst with Citibank, before helping launch the Harbinger Group’s first two private equity funds, including an independent power fund. In 1998 he and his partners launched their first of several venture capital funds. Steve graduated from Harvard with BA in economics and religion, and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an MBA.
Managing Director, Foodways Consulting
João's experiences in the Portuguese Ministry of Economy (Lisbon) and at Syngenta Crop Protection (Basel) led him to develop an interest in the complex challenges relating to sustainable development in food systems. The thesis he prepared for his Masters in Sustainable Development has become a seminal work on the issue of food waste in Switzerland and laid strong foundations for the current agenda. He is a cofounder of foodwaste.ch and Executive Director of Foodways Consulting GmbH, a lead delivery partner of the Our Common Food Programme.
Associate Director of External Relations, The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture
Julie Borlaug is the granddaughter of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and the Associate Director of External Relations at the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M. Julie works to continue his legacy through developing agricultural partnerships between public, private and philanthropic groups to further the Borlaug legacy and expand upon his mission to feed the world’s hungry.
Julie is passionate about the need and acceptance of innovation and technology in the fight against hunger and poverty. She is also is committed to mentoring and training the next generation of “hunger fighters” and helping them to become part of the solution. Her quote “Fear of Change is one of our greatest obstacle to ensuring there is enough food to feed 9 billion people” was highlighted as one of the top quotes by global leaders in 2014 by DevEx.
Julie is a proud advisor to Thought For Food Challenge and on the boards of
Planet Forward at George Washington University, Community for Zero Hunger, the
Global Coalition for Attracting and retaining Youth in Agriculture,
The Agriculture and Food Security Center at the Earth Institute, Colombia University, and the CropLife Foundation, Council for Agricultural Science & Technology and FarmLink.
Chief Efficiency Officer, Ridiculously Efficient, Inc
Marissa Brassfield is Ridiculously Efficient®. She's a productivity expert and specializes in creative problem-solving, effective communication and organizational efficiency.
Described as "a goddess of operations," "a master of time management" and "a symbol of motivation, talent and productivity" by clients, Marissa helps entrepreneurs scale their impact by supercharging their key team members' effectiveness.
Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. Most notably, she is the director of operations at PHD Ventures, the personal skunkworks of bestselling author, speaker and entrepreneur Dr. Peter Diamandis, who was named one of Fortune Magazine’s “50 Top World Leaders” in 2014.
Since 2013, she has headed up Diamandis' Abundance 360 coaching program -- a platinum-level, 25-year mastermind that helps entrepreneurs running multimillion- to billion-dollar businesses learn about and use exponentially growing technologies and organizational tools. She’s also orchestrated bestselling book campaigns, managed multiple six-figure personal branding projects, and run PHD Ventures’ monthly and quarterly OKR meetings.
Marissa is also a high-performance author. She has written over 10,000 articles for brands and publications like the Huffington Post, The Daily Muse, Lifehacker, Lifehack, Think Productive, PayScale, Trend Hunter and Foodista, generating over 50,000,000 views -- and she’s edited another 230,000 articles. She’s been interviewed on productivity and effectiveness for Entrepreneur, Tech Emergence, AES Nation, The Grindstone, Upwork and more.
For Marissa, friction -- unwanted hassle, wasted energy, resistance, and obligation -- is Public Enemy #1, and her coaching helps high performers fight it.
Research Scientist, Luna innovations
Dr. Nikolai Braun is a Research Scientist at Luna Innovations with a history of successful biotech product development. After receiving his BS in biology from Virginia Tech, he pursued a Biophysics PhD at UC Davis studying cellular energetics. Nikolai then had success at the University of Manchester as a postdoc building molecular tools to investigate yeast Golgi ion fluxes. As a staff scientist at Colorado State University, he was a part of the Plant Sentinel project (DTRA W911NF-09-10526) where he led a team to clone and transform some of the largest completely synthetic gene circuitry to be introduced into plants. Inspired by the work at Colorado State, he co-founded the floral biotechnology company Revolution Bioengineering to develop high-tech flowers for consumer markets. Now with Luna Innovations, he is developing advanced biotechnologies for defense applications. An adventurous synthetic biologist, Nikolai has enthusiasm for creative biological innovation.
Mobilization Officer, Hackwork Advies
Anne Bruinsma is an open innovation advocate, particularly when it comes to rethinking government services. Anne has worked for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs as a policy advisor on open innovation in the domain of food and agriculture. In 2013 she was one of the initiators of Agri meets Design, a platform that mobilizes design-thinking to address wicked problems in food and agriculture. In 2013 she co-founded Polderhack Productions, which aims to build a tech & data community for open innovation in Food and Agriculture by organizing events such as hackathons and tech safari's. She is the owner of Hackwerk Advies, a consultancy that focuses on open innovation, user research and app development for farmers. As a partner of Godan, she strongly believes that Open Data is the new indispensable language for solving today's agricultural challenges.
Anne holds a MSc in Animal Sciences and is currently involved in a research proposal on farm data ownership and privacy issues (Datafication in Agriculture: Building Trusted Partnerships).
Advisor & Co-Founder, StartSomeGood.com
Alex Budak is a social entrepreneur founder, writer, speaker and advisor. A Silicon Valley native, he most recently ran an incubator for social entrepreneurs in Stockholm, Sweden. Previously he co-founded (and now advises) StartSomeGood.com — a leading crowdfunding site for social impact which has helped over 500 global changemakers raise $6 Million for launching new world changing initiatives. He writes on leadership and social innovation for FastCompany, Huffington Post and his own site changemaker.us, and speaks on similar topics in venues ranging from Universities to businesses to The White House.
CEO & Founder, New York Botanics, LLC
Sebastian Cocioba is the CEO & Founder at New York Botanics, LLC, an ornamental plant genetic engineering start-up located in New York City. He is also an independent researcher for the education-oriented biotech non-profit, Binomica Labs. His research focuses on the nutritional requirements of life and the metabolic basis of speciation as well as the development of open source hardware for use in the molecular biology setting both formal and amateur. He does weird things to plants at home.
Founder & CEO, SynBioBeta
John is the founder and CEO of SynBioBeta, an activity hub for synthetic biology startup companies, industry and investors. He received his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University. John led the Planetary Sustainability Collaboratory at the NASA Ames Space Portal where he built partnerships to bring new technologies on sustainability challenges on Earth and in space. He also founded the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines competition) team at Brown University in 2005, was an iGEM ambassador to China in 2006/2007 and has been working in the field of synthetic biology and resource utilization in space at NASA Ames since 2008. In 2010, John was the recipient of a National Academies Keck Futures Initiative grant to hold a workshop on the role of synthetic biology in NASA’s missions.
Scientist & Project Manager, Crop Trust
Dr. Hannes Dempewolf
Hannes Dempewolf is a scientist at the Crop Trust and leads the Crop Trust’s project “Adapting agriculture to climate change: collecting, protecting and preparing crop wild relatives.”
Dr. Dempewolf has a particular interest in exploring ways in which crop wild relatives and landrace diversity can be used in breeding programs more effectively by better linking genebanks to breeders (and vice versa). Hannes has studied Botany at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in Scotland and completed his PhD training at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Dr. Dempewolf has been involved in and led various research projects on plant genetic resources in Peru, the Caribbean, southern Kenya and Ethiopia in the past. His scientific interest focuses on the evolution, maintenance and conservation of agrobiodiversity, the importance of such diversity for farming communities and the role it can play for sustainable development and food security.
Founder & CEO, Appropriate IT
Usha is CEO & CTO of Krishi Janani, a social enterprise that is harnessing technology to create rural transformation in India by reducing costs and increasing income in farm households. Krishi Janani’s group buying and selling platform enables farmers secure better deals from ag supply chains by aggregating supply and demand. Living between Coimbatore, India and Washington DC, Usha has 15+ years of experience in the non-profit technology sector, having worked with organizations such as Amnesty International, Heifer International, Human Rights First, Oxfam USA, and Planned Parenthood. She is co-author of Making IT Our Own: Information & Communication Technology Training of Trainers Manual, which has been adapted and translated into Arabic, French, and Russian.
Evolution Biologist & EPFL Liason, Biomimicry Switzerland
Darja is a passionate biologist that facilitates the development of more innovative, adaptive, resilient and sustainable products and businesses. She is a certified Bio-TRIZ practitioner, mixing together techniques of creativity and a biomimicry approach. Darja holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Approaches to Evolutionary Biology from University Paris Descartes, Paris and Master degrees in Molecular Biology from University of Zagreb, Croatia and in Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Sciences from University Paris Descartes, Paris.
COO, Global Knowledge Initiative
Sara is an internationally recognized science, technology, and innovation strategist. She currently serves as COO of Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI), a nonprofit that brokers partnerships between individuals and institutions to solve global challenges in science, technology, and innovation. She is the co-author of the World Bank's Science and Technology Strategy for Development, has been an advisor to the African Development Bank, and has been commissioned by national governments (Brazil, Canada, Slovenia, and the UK) and international development organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation. Sara graduated with honors from Stanford University’s School of Engineering, where she also earned a Masters degree in International Policy Studies. Sara founded Uganda Arts Outreach, Inc. and serves on the Board of Lesole’s Dance Project and the Global Alliance for Linkages in Science (GALS).
Development Economist, Syngenta
Elisabeth is a development economist at Syngenta, a global agribusiness company headquartered in Switzerland committed to contributing to global food security through innovative technology.
With a passion for business solutions that work for the poor, Elisabeth believes rural communities can be empowered by improving access to knowledge and innovation. She co-created The Good Growth Plan, a global commitment to increase the efficiency of crop production. With the aim to promote transparency and innovation, Elisabeth publishes progress data on The Good Growth Plan as open data. More than 3600 farmers in 41 countries received insight derived from the data on their potential to save scarce resources. She is actively engaged with GODAN to explore how open data can catalyze innovation for sustainable food production.
Elisabeth holds a PhD in Agriculture and a MA in Economics. Before joining Syngenta in 2012, she conducted academic research on smallholder agriculture and food security.
Associate, Biomimicry Switzerland
Camille is currently a student in Environmental Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. She developed her passion for biomimicry during the summer of 2013 while in Berlin, where she was involved in Biomimicry Germany. At the same time, she worked as an intern at Technische Universitat of Berlin in Urban Water Management. She eventually returned to Montréal to pursue her studies at McGill University with a greater interest in this emerging discipline. To share her enthusiasm with the Montréal community, she impromptu organized a conference on biomimicry and engineering at her university in collaboration with Biomimétisme Québec (Biomimicry Québec). Still, she felt the need to learn more about this field. Therefore, she decided to participate to the Biomimicry Student Design Challenge 2013-2014 organized by Biomimicry Institute 3.8 and tied first place with her team Dédale. Her willingness to learn more about biomimicry and the opportunity to enhance her Professional network brought her back to Europe, in Switzerland this time. In the summer of 2014, she became a research intern at Central Environmental Laboratory at EPFL, which ended in her presenting poster on Air Ballast Biomimetic Cargo Ship Design a the Biomimicry Europe - Innovation and Finance Summit 2014 held in Zurich. Camille seeks to find a holistic approach to our modern society problems by integrating biomimicry thinking.
Henry is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies. Henry was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Canada, Spain, Austria, and the United States. Henry's international upbringing contributes to a global perspective and a unique ability to adapt to change. Henry earned his BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, a certificate in Food Security and Urban Agriculture from Ryerson University in Toronto, and an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. Henry is founder of the popular blog Agritecture.com, Director of Business Development at Blue Planet Consulting, and a board member on the Association for Vertical Farming. Henry lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Founder, Food 3.0
Mike is a sciencepreneur dedicated to creating positive change in the world, Mike Gould’s experience includes leading innovative research programs ranging from healthy food ingredients to complexit software to vertical farming. Working in start-ups and in large companies, and across academic, government and private sectors, Mike and his teams leverage fundamental discoveries to create new products and technologies that improve the sustainability of modern life. Today, as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Mike focuses on urban water issues and urban food production systems.
Vice-president, Co-founder & Resident Journalist, GenSpace
Daniel cofounded Genspace, the world’s first community laboratory. Fast Company ranked Genspace among the top 10 most innovative education companies in the world. He is a former fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he researched the field of synthetic biology, and is an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity at the UPMC Center of Health Security. As a journalist, he reports on the intersection of biotech, culture, and business for publications including Businessweek, Fast Company, Scientific American, and Popular Science.
Co-Founder & CEO, Revolution Bioengineering
Keira Havens has been deeply involved in synthetic biology as a scientist, an entrepreneur, a communicator, and a thought leader. After receiving her Bachelor's in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2004, she accepted a commission in the United States Air Force. She left active duty to pursue a degree in a synthetic biology laboratory where she used mathematical modeling to predict biological behavior. She received her M.S. in 2014, and established Revolution Bioengineering, a company pioneering floral trait development for the commercial flower market. This effort inspired a discussion on good biotechnology and lead to the development of the One Sky Initiative, an independent voice dedicated to impact assessment of applied biology. Ms. Havens combines technical expertise and industry experience with a broad network in academia, industry, and government to build public trust through applied biology done well.
Community Manager, GenSpace & Program Associate, BioDesign Challenge
Alison is a graduate from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts with a degree in Theater and Interdisciplinary Science. She was awarded the Hunt Fellowship for her work as a theater artist creating performances that centered on the emergence of new biotechnologies and their implications in the context of social and economic inequities. She researches creative practices that engage the public with basic science and new technologies in ways that promote social reflection and ethical scientific conduct.
Head of Intellectual Property, Syngenta
Dr. Michael Kock is Global Head IP – Seeds and Biotechnology with Syngenta International AG in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to this, he was Senior IP Counsel with BASF AG responsible for plant biotechnology and China IP matters. He is a qualified European Patent Attorney.
Dr. Kock studied chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology in Hamburg Germany and Nanjing, China and graduated with a Diploma in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in molecular biology. He worked as a laboratory leader in pharmaceutical industry research for several years before he focused on his carrier in IP.
President & CEO, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Chris Lewicki is the President and CEO at Planetary Resources, Inc., a U.S. company that seeks to expand the economy of humanity into the Solar System through the development and use of resources found on near-Earth asteroids. Today, the company is deploying their prospecting technologies to manage our precious resources on planet Earth.
Previously, Chris was involved with NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers and the Phoenix Mars Lander, serving as Flight Director for the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and as the Surface Mission Manager for Phoenix. He also performed system engineering development and participated in assembly, test and launch operations for both missions.
He is the recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, Chris has an asteroid named in his honor: 13609 Lewicki. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona.
President, Exponential Vet Inc.
Dr. Adam Little is a veterinarian and entrepreneur who works on creative solutions to addressing human and animal health issues. He has a BSc and DVM from the University of Guelph and is the first veterinarian to attend Singularity University, a prestigious Silicon Valley-based institution which explores the fast moving technologies and their impact on the world. In addition to serving as a Board Member with the OVMA and Veterinarians without Borders, Dr. Little is the President of Exponential Vet Inc., where he assists veterinary stakeholders in harnessing technologies, like sensors or artificial intelligence, to advance the profession.
Co-Founder, agrilution and Association for Vertical Farming
Max is a 27-year-old entrepreneur, co-founder of agrilution, the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) and highly sought-after speaker on the potential of Vertical Farming to improve our malfunctioning global food system. As CEO of agrilution he is bringing to market a revolutionary fully-automated Vertical Farming home-growing ecosystem, to enable anyone access to fresh, highly nutritious and local greens. As Vice-Chair of the AVF he has been on the forefront of connecting the Vertical Farming movement and providing them with a platform to interact, collaborate and educate.
CTO & Co-Founder, TRILLIUM TECHNOLOGIES
Jordan McRae is CTO and Co-Founder of Trillium Technologies a mission driven technology company dedicated to solving Grand Challenges in the areas of OCEAN Conservation, SPACE Exploration, and CLIMATE Change mitigation.
Jordan began his engineering career with Lockheed Martin Space Systems as an Algorithms Engineer on a distributed space robotics platform. Shortly after, he created OCTO23 Technologies, an invention firm based in San Francisco and Hong Kong focused on the invention of Clean Energy and Ocean Conservation technologies. Since 2008 OCTO23 has worked on and developed multiple spin-off technologies and companies such as Humdinger Wind Energy, where Jordan led the the research and design of the Windcell Panel, a modular non-turbine wind energy generator. Another spinoff of OCTO23, B-Squares Electrics, which developed the B-Squares modular electronic platform, went on to be one of Kickstarter's top 10 funded projects of 2012.
Inspired by inventors such as Jacques Cousteau, Leonardo De Vinci, Nicolas Tesla, etc. Jordan is continuously intrigued by the convergence of invention, engineering, and systemic design and intelligence.
Jordan received his B.S. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his M.S. at Stanford University, both in the field of Aeroanutical/Astronautical Engineering with a focus in Robotics.
Senior Program Officer, Global Knowledge Initiative
Manmeet Mehta serves as Senior Program Officer for Collaborative Innovation Capacity Building at GKI. She brings more than 11 years of experience in social entrepreneurship and the private sector in India and the US. Prior to joining the GKI team, Manmeet worked at Atlas Service Corps, focusing on scaling operations across the US, developing strategic collaborations that yielded more than $1 million in revenue. Prior to that, Manmeet worked at GlobalGiving where she launched and scaled GlobalGiving’s “Crowdfunding Social Innovation” program. This program constitutes the first mechanism for global nonprofits to access philanthropic capital from the US individual giving market, addressing a key structural barrier in unleashing innovation in the development sector.
Manmeet brings significant experience in collaborative design and scaling new programs, developing and executing strategy, business development, international grantmaking, and philanthropy. She has a background in Economics and graduate degrees in International Relations (M.A.) as well as Business Administration (M.B.A). She strongly believes in 'work as play', and passionately believes that creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurship is key to solving our biggest challenges. Between 2002 and 2007 she worked with HSBC, The Taj Group & the Khemka Foundation in India, as well as Ashoka in Washington, DC.
Associate, External Relations, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN0
Beatrice is an Associate, External Relations, within the Communications, Policy & Advocacy team of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). She is passionate about international affairs, in particular food and nutrition security, women empowerment and global health.
Prior to joining GAIN, Beatrice worked at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Geneva office in their Public Information Department. In this capacity, she helped communicate the important humanitarian role played by the agency in emergency contexts.
Beatrice is familiar with the Geneva international landscape, where she acquired her professional experience. In 2012, Beatrice worked as a Research Assistant in the Africa Department of Geneva Call and volunteered for the Welcome Desk of the NGO Mandat International, providing necessary information to the delegates and diplomats attending Human Rights Council and Universal Periodic Review Sessions.
Beatrice holds a Master's degree in Global Governance and International Relations and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Cagliari, Italy. She also participated in the Erasmus Exchange Program at Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary.
Founder, Oratory Glory
Holley is an entrepreneur from NYC using her passions for communication and education to push the envelope. As co-founder of the Hall Pass Tour, she and her team collaborate with high schools to produce concerts celebrating the dreams of young people as a means to change the world. She also leads Oratory Glory. The Oakland based communication firm helps today's leaders across the arts, education and tech communicate better and impact culture with authenticity, compassion and finesse.
Mechanical Engineering & Biomimicry Associate, Biomimicry Switzerland
Tonya graduated with an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, focusing on renewable energy and micro-robotics. Following her interest in bio-inspired technology and aviation she completed a PhD in Zoology at the University of Oxford. There, she studied neural mechanisms in flying insects in order to promote bio-inspired solutions for sensor technology and autonomous robotics.
Her general interest is to apply and disseminate the principle of biomimetics in order provide innovative technical processes and products.
Co-Founder, TRILLIUM TECHNOLOGIES
James is co-founder of TRILLIUM TECHNOLOGIES - a US/UK dedicated to developing new technologies to tackle challenging systemic problems such as climate change, asteroid hunting, space exploration, knowledge transfer, water stress and environmental monitoring.
James has championed the rise of the social intrapreneur within multinationals, the practice of creating dedicated Green Teams, large scale collaboratories and the application of systems mapping, financial innovation and non-traditional partnerships to tackle a new era of grand challenges through systems approaches and technology.
James is also co-founder of the Open Space Agency (OSA) which most recently has developed an ultra-low cost robotic observatory for Asteroid Hunting. A passionate educator, James has also lectured social entrepreneurship at Greenwich University (UK), Wharton Business School and is a jury member on the SF-based Spark Design Awards.
Director of Integrated Marketing, People en Español
Pedro is Director of Integrated Marketing at People en Español, and a contributing technology blogger at the HuffingtonPost, focused on emerging social and digital trends. He is a 2015 Direct Marketing News 40 Under 40 Award Recipient, FOLIO Magazine Marketer of the Year Winner, and Honorable Mention for MIN's Marketer of The Year.
As a communications specialist, he has developed award-winning marketing and branding campaigns for consumer, healthcare, corporate and technology clients, most recently as a member of the Digital Innovation Group at Cohn & Wolfe, a global public relations agency within the WPP Group. Pedro's multicultural marketing experience began with his time at HBO’s New York International Latino Film Festival, his public relations and marketing role at Ocean Drive Español (Niche Media Holdings LLC), and with Cohn & Wolfe’s multicultural practice, Infuse.
He is an active member of the LAGRANT Foundation, mentoring young minority professionals entering the communications field. Pedro is also part of OUT in Tech and a supporter of God's Love We Deliver in NYC.
Founder & CEO, Fairtrasa
Patrick Struebi is a social entrepreneur, thought leader, and founder and CEO of Fairtrasa, a global social enterprise that lifts small-scale farmers out of poverty. Fairtrasa is a fairtrade pioneer who created a unique 3-tier development model to convert small-scale subsistence farmers into professional and independent agro-entrepreneurs.
Patrick founded Fairtrasa in Mexico in 2005 after a personal epiphany inspired him to leave a successful corporate career in Switzerland and devote himself to impactful business. For his work with Fairtrasa, he has been selected an Ashoka Fellow, an Endeavor Entrepreneur, a Yale World Fellow, and a Schwab Fellow, and has been named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation, the abc* Foundation, Univision, and Visionaris. In 2014, he was named a New Champion by the World Economic Forum. He is the Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Yale University, an Adjunct Professor and Gabelli Fellow at Fordham University, and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Patrick lectures frequently on social entrepreneurship in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America.
Product Designer, Autodesk
Autodesk believes in the power of design.
As the global population moves toward 10 billion—a level experts anticipate we’ll hit by 2050—designers worldwide are using their skills and talents
to imagine, design, and create a better world where everyone can live well and live within the limits of our planet.
Design has the potential to disrupt the status quo and provide more for people while demanding less from the planet. We’re seeing this vision of the future take shape in building
designs that dramatically reduce energy needs, creative solutions from individual makers worldwide, and new approaches to product development and manufacturing that deliver
higher-quality, more customized goods that are created locally and reduce materials waste.
Autodesk develops 3D design software used by millions of architects, engineers, students, and makers - empowering them with tools to optimize the environmental and social impact of their designs.
Manager, Monitor Deloitte
Jessica Weddle is a Manager in Deloitte’s strategy practice, Monitor Deloitte, where she focuses on the intersection between the private and public sectors in the US, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She has extensive experience helping organizations develop strategies to scale innovative business models in the health and agriculture sectors, with a particular emphasis on scaling solutions for low-resourced settings. She enjoys helping organizations and governments work together so that individuals and populations can achieve better health. Jessica has a dual Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Sciences Po, Paris and a BA from the University of California at Berkeley.
Design Director, IDEO
Nick is a Design Director at IDEO where he focuses on the provocative intersections that occur when you mix art with design. His primary role at the coLAB will be in helping teams trust their instincts and go in unexpected directions while keeping their focus firmly rooted in human needs.
Sector Manager, U.S. Agriculture, Village Capital
Whitney manages the agriculture initiatives at Village Capital; an organization that finds, funds and trains entrepreneurs solving global challenges. Whitney was first drawn to agriculture while working abroad in Tanzania for a microfinance institution, witnessing firsthand the importance of agriculture worldwide and opportunity and need for innovation.
Upon returning to the U.S., Whitney worked at Earthbound Farm- the largest grower, marketer and distributor of organic produce company in the U.S. . She spent four years at Earthbound working first in product innovation and then in managing a new global fruit import department.
Whitney earned her M.Sc. at UC Davis in International Agricultural Development with a specialization in Agricultural Resource Economics. She also holds a B.A. in International Relations. She is based in Louisville, KY.
Founder & Principal, Openbox
Marquise is the Founder and Principal of Openbox. As a business designer and developer for more than two decades, he grounds the Openbox vision in strategic
planning from the fields of investing, product development, and technology. Marquise also works in creative leadership, teaching with the KaosPilots in Denmark and South Africa to help students learn by doing.
An active supporter of the arts, Marquise has collaborated with director Petter Ringbom on three short films and one feature-length movie, Shield and Spear (2014), about the rise of creative expression in post-apartheid South Africa. Marquise acts as a board member for the Lowline Underground Park and board advisor for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and he is a mentor to Geeks Without Bounds and the Girls &
Boys Club. He is also a supporter of the Joyce Theater, Makeshift Magazine and MCA Denver for their ability to inspire exploration and empower creative cultures.
Marquise is passionate about the power of design, and has boundless curiosity for life. You can find him riding his bike through the streets of Manhattan, doing his part to build a greener urban future.
Co-founder & Head of Marketing, AgFunder
Melissa is a cofounder and head of marketing at AgFunder, the leading online investment platform for the $6.4 trillion global agriculture industry. She brings over 12 years of experience in technology, marketing and agriculture with diverse experience across startups and public companies.
Prior to AgFunder, Melissa worked in marketing at Elance (now Upwork), the largest online global platform for hiring freelancers, and category management, where she was responsible for job categories representing 25% of the business. Before that, she was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, specializing in food and agriculture.
Melissa received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, a JD from Northwestern University and a BA from Princeton University.
Samiha is a Co-Founder of FoodFresh, the 2015 TFF Challenge winning team which developed a solar powered storage alternative to address food loss in supply chain in developing countries.
Samiha is an undergraduate business student at the University of Dhaka, majoring in finance and an aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for food & agriculture, science and creative design. Growing up watching hunger and food waste co-exist together, she was motivated to make a real, tangible impact. Samiha has experience initiating projects in Bangladesh to ensure food nutrition through moringa fortified bars for underprivileged children and a project to produce affordable energy source from sugarcane waste.
On April 2, 2016, the 10 Finalist Teams of the TFF Global Challenge took the stage to pitch their big ideas on how to feed the world. These extraordinary young leaders embrace an any-thing-is-possible mindset. They utilized new innovation practices and techniques that leverage accelerating technologies and crowd-powered tools in order to “uproot the status quo” and shape a better future. Congratulations to all Finalist Teams for presenting your brilliant ideas!
Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa, Indonesia
EcoNoodle brings cassava grown by smallholder farmers into the mainstream market through delicious and nutritious instant noodles made from cassava flour.
Makerere University and Kyambogo University, Uganda
Fruiti-Cycle’s biogas tricycle has attachable refrigeration units, allowing farmers to generate more income from the produce they already grow and decrease post harvest losses.
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Oxmosis’ small-scale forward osmosis filter aims to revolutionize wastewater treatment around the world, while also creating agricultural fertilizer as a byproduct.
University of Paris Descartes and University of Paris Diderot, France
Peer-to-Peer Probiotics have created yeast and bacteria cultures that produce Iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B in fermented foods eaten in many cultures around the world. These vitamin-rich strains can easily be shared from one household to another.
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