From Ideation to

We are committed to helping transform today's most enigmatic technologies in the verticals AI, Blockchain, Cloud and Data Analytics (A.B.C.D), from ideation to practicality.


Company Overview

Aves Lair’s goal is to create an ecosystem where groundbreaking startups, innovative corporations, visionary investors, top scientists, and industry leaders are brought together to usher the new wave of AI, Blockchain, Cloud and Data Analytics.


Aves Lair is a seed-stage accelerator based in NYC. Every 6 months, we invest $100k in each company that is ready to take on our program. Our 12 week plan of action offers a hyperconnected platform that develops innovative solutions utilizing our network of global industry and academic leaders in AI, Blockchain, Cloud, and Data Analytics (A.B.C.D).



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Flavio Somanji

Research Scientist II at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)

Ask me about: The intersection of technology and medical research.

Experience: I was born and raised in West Africa and moved to the United States in 2009 for high school. I received my undergraduate degree in neuroscience and biology from Syracuse University in upstate New York. Following my education, I’ve been a part of numerous biopharmaceutical research institutions such as Brammer Bio and UCB in which I’ve helped aid the manufacture of pristine gene and cell therapies for clinical trials. I’ve also founded my own company in 2016 called EcoDemand, which seeks to pave the path for revolutionizing the global economic system. Having grown from these experiences, I returned to school to obtain my masters degree in bioengineering and nanotechnologies from Harvard University. Currently, I’m working as a Research Scientist at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I am intrigued by the application of AI to correctly identify products in images captured and uploaded by consumers for easier web searches. We are currently investigating this modality at EcoDemand, thereby ensuring that users obtain the right product(s) all the while saving the time needed for manual input, amongst other features. Similarly, we are en route to deploy blockchain technology to mitigate fraudulent activities on our platform and facilitate transparency, as it pertains to the cost of associated goods, considering the impact of global value chains (GVCs) and the lack thereof. Beyond EcoDemand, I engage with industry experts utilizing AI to decode brain scans, serving as a surface-level diagnosis for epilepsy, as well as high throughput data analysis from nanoparticle-deployed microfluidic chip devices which can contain thousands of channels, used for research and diagnostic purposes.

Sharon Gill

Real Estate Advisor at Compass

San Francisco, California

Ask me about: Business development, marketing, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, real estate, sales, biology, medical devices, etc.

Experience: I have held various sales and business development positions at large biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific, Brooks Automation, VMR International, and Cole-Parmer Instrument Company. I possess experience in growing business units, sales negotiations, analyzing competitive landscapes, implementing sales strategies, and bringing products to market. Most recently, I joined Compass in 2019 as a Real Estate Advisor and am a real estate agent. I hold an MBA from San Jose State University, a MSc in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins, and a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.


Jeff Reed

VP of Business Development and Partnership for Homebloc

New York, New York

Ask me about: My biggest value add is my years of experience in traditional capital markets, deal structures, and capital rising. I have a great network in capital markets and digital assets. I’m connected with traditional capital markets institutions, family offices, OTC digital currency trading desks, crypto focused hedge funds, digital asset exchanges, venture capital, and HNWI, but my real passion is focused on the business development for early stage startups within the blockchain space. I’m helping the executive team at Homebloc with capital markets business development and strategy.

Experience: My background is in traditional capital markets, fixed income trading, syndication, and operations. I worked at Bank of America, CitiGroup Global Markets, and Bank of Montreal. I worked on the buyside prior to joining the sell side. I left Bank of Montreal in 2019 to pursue blockchain full time. I started to attend blockchain events, and that’s how I met Yao, Mike, and Francis at Lair East.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: My niche in business development is certainly within capital markets. I have interests beyond that as well, but within BD, what helps me be successful is my ability to build relationships and partnerships to grow sales revenue. I do have an interest in AI as well. A good friend of mine has been a Co-Founder of a few AI startups and he is CEO of a successful AI/Quantum Computing  consulting business. I’d love the opportunity to learn more and work with cool Blockchain/AI startups in the space.

Jiangfan Zhang

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri, United States

Ask me about: AI, blockchain, data science, data security, and research projects

Experience: I am currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Prior to becoming a professor, I was a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University. I have worked on a number of research projects relating to AI and blockchain technologies, such as reinforcement learning and distributed processing. I received my PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Lehigh University

Short description of my experience related to AI/blockchain: Between my PhD program and roles as a postdoctoral research scientist and assistant professor, I have worked on various research projects for AI and blockchain. Subject areas of these projects include blockchain infrastructure, data security, reinforcement learning, distributed processing, and sequential learning.

Charlie Oliver

Founder/CEO at both TECH 2025 and Served Fresh Media

New York, New York

Ask me about: Emerging technology, political implications of new technologies.

Experience: After spending several years in corporate law in document review at global firms (White & Case, Clifford Chance and Wachtel Lipton, to name a few), I segued into tech and new media as a web video producer where I co-created and co-produced experimental web video projects. Soon thereafter, I launched Art of Talk TV (a web video platform that brought the world of talk shows online).

Served Fresh Media™ (a New York-based company that provides digital media strategy, product development, and branding across platforms including social media, mobile, and live-events) was a natural next step in my evolution. At Served Fresh Media, my team and I provide digital strategy, senior management advisory, team building and training, strategic partnerships, and product development for companies. Served Fresh Media has worked with clients including IBM, New York Press Club, Digital Media Wire, Digital Flash, and It’s About Time, among others.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: In the Fall of 2016, I launched Tech2025 to educate entrepreneurs and consumers on the next wave of disruptive, emerging technologies that are expected to drastically change our world in the next decade (AI, machine learning, driverless vehicles, IoT, blockchain, VR, etc.), through live-events and interactive workshops with industry experts. The mission of Tech2025 is to help entrepreneurs and the general public to understand and embrace emerging technologies.

Bolong Li

Director of Acquisition Growth at Amazon Audible

New York

Ask me about: Product marketing, growth marketing, customer acquisition and engagement, business development, sales, financial engineering, etc.

Experience: I currently lead the customer acquisition team at Amazon’s Audible. My team focuses on getting new members through various channels. I also worked on engagement and retention at Audible before my current role. Prior to Audible, I worked at Apple and one of Goldman Sachs’ joint ventures. I also teach marketing as an adjunct professor at Pace University’s business school. I obtained a master’s degree from NYU in Financial Engineering and a certificate in Business Excellence from Columbia Business School.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I am keen on learning more about these fields.


Edward Borrelli

Founder of Hupernikao Holdings 


Ask me about: Capital markets, finance, healthcare, cannabis

Experience: In 2014 I began transitioning my capital markets advisory business into a focused strategic corporate finance and business development operation. I began doing this with The CORE Institute, the leading and largest Orthopedics Practice in Arizona. I developed a strong advisory team: (resident entrepreneur, research analyst, healthcare debt finance executive) working directly with the CEO and CFO. I reviewed, analyzed & consolidated all financial documents and informational decks of the 19 operating subsidiaries. I solicited 12 and interviewed six leading healthcare lending institutions. I recommended and executed a $23M facility with Midcap Financial, an Apollo Asset Management Company.<?p>

Starting 2015 broadened focus to include the cannabis industry both in Canada and in the U.S. as the next growth industry. I directly invested in and advised companies in the cultivation, manufacturing and plant tissue culture and genotyping verticals. Accumulated cannabis market trends, technical and science based knowledge as well as multipart legal backdrop for Canadian cannabis companies and the U.S individual states leading to investment prospects in parallel with focus on medical applications to private and institutional investors. Communicate effectively to both corporate & buy-side clients with investment recommendations based on the company’s innovative technologies, commercial opportunity, and sector trends /outlook.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I first heard about cryptocurrencies in 2017, and the transparency and accountability resonated with him. I had a bad impression from European financial institutions that prioritized benefiting investors over integrity. I also value liberal regulations and creativity.

Sheila Doyle

Marketing Consultant 

New York, New York

Ask me about: Health and wellness, brand reputation, science and innovation, CBD, medical devices, marketing, healthcare startups, design, business development, and life sciences

Experience: I am an agile, cross-functional leader with a medical device marketing, wellness, consumer goods, and creative background. I received a Masters degree from Syracuse University and BFA from the University of Dayton.

I ran my own advertising agency that serviced healthcare, medical education, finance, and consumer goods companies for 15 years before joining Langton Cherubino Group, an award-winning branding and design firm in NYC, where I worked with brands like Pfizer and Verizon.

In 2009, I joined early stage medical device startup Mederi Therapeutics to develop and execute branding and marketing strategies for their non-surgical radiofrequency therapy product for treating GERD. As Vice President of Marketing at Mederi, I was responsible for brand positioning and integrated marketing strategies that resonated with physician, patient and payer target markets, launching products worldwide and growing distribution to more than 35 countries.

Most recently, I was Managing Director at High Falls Hemp NY, an early stage startup in the hemp-derived CBD industry, where I managed marketing, product development, and sales operations.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I am excited about the growing potential of AI and blockchain technology in the medical devices and biotech industries

Eric Lau

Head of Engineering at Lake Hill Capital Management

New York, New York

Ask me about: Scaling technological infrastructure, computer science, quantitative trading

Experience: Between 2010 and 2014, I developed my own library for streamlining algorithmic trading processes (e.g. research/backtesting, simulation, live-trading) using GPUs/CUDA (which was relatively new technology) for computing large data sets.  Within it contained parts of modern “machine learning” such as regression, distribution analysis, and principal component analysis. Parts of the project were brought into a high-frequency trading strategy development platform in 2014. In 2015, I moved on to Bloomberg to develop their backtesting services for equities and indices.
In 2016, I joined the Lake Hill Capital Management group (at the time, a division of Leucadia Asset Management) to help build out the group’s core infrastructure for derivatives trading.  At the end of 2019, the group spun out from Leucadia Asset Management, and I took over the R&D and technology segments of the firm.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: While my experience in Blockchain itself is more limited, I have worked extensively in low-level computer science and statistics/machine learning in the context of derivatives trading and portfolio management. In my career, I have had experience across the board in the technology field ranging from networking engineering, ultra-low latency development (sub-microsecond/nanosecond optimization), and high-performance computing (queue network optimization) up to web development/web scalability.

Jiannan, Ouyang, PH.D.

Co-Founder and CEO at Openmining


Ask me about: Emerging technology, Crypto Mining, Computer Systems, High Performance Computing, Cloud Computing

Experience: Openmining is a Crypto Acceleration as a Service company. Blockchain computing is the new HPC. Bitcoin network is already 200x more powerful than today’s fastest supercomputer. We build next-generation cryptographic acceleration solutions and services for blockchain computing: proof-of-work, zero-knowledge proof, IPFS, you name it!

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I’ve 10 years of research and engineering experiences in the field of computer systems and high-performance computing. I co-founded Openmining in 2018, a startup focused on software/hardware acceleration solutions for novel cryptographic applications in areas including blockchain and data privacy. We have deep experience in the crypto mining industry. Our flag-ship FPGA accelerator product provides best-in-the-world performance in the market. Prior to Openmining, I worked at Facebook as a research scientist, focused on novel connectivity solutions for under-connected areas. I obtained my Ph.D. in computer science at University of Pittsburgh.

Jon Krohn

Chief Data Scientist

New York

Ask me about: Data acquisition, data modeling, bringing algorithms to production, testing for model biases against particular demographic groups, machine learning, deep learning, statistics, data science, open-source software, biological/healthcare data, marketing data, behavior, UX/UI for interacting with algorithms, commercialization and fundraising strategies, scaling, hiring.

Experience: I’m specialized in machine learning, particularly its deep learning subfield, as well as statistical modeling. I’ve been the Chief Data Scientist at a VC-funded ML start-up for over five years, so I also have a strong understanding of entrepreneurship in the data/”A.I.” sector.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: During my PhD at Oxford, I helped develop the business concept of Pharmatics, a British ML start-up focused on applications in the pharmaceutical and medical industries. I was also the founder and director of the Oxford Entrepreneurs’ Incubation Centre, which provided a co-working space, an investor network, and administrative guidance to tech companies launched by Oxford students; one incubatee was the first-ever acquisition of a British firm by Google. 

Since 2015, I’ve been Chief Data Scientist at untapt, where I use ML to automate processes related to human talent. I authored the 2019 book, Deep Learning Illustrated, an instant #1 bestseller in Amazon’s Neural Networks and Data Mining categories that has been translated into six languages. I provide a comprehensive deep learning curriculum in-classroom at the NYC Data Science Academy, at leading industry conferences, for major global technology corporations, and for federal government agencies. I also provide graduate-level guest lectures at Columbia University and New York University to engineering- and business-faculty students alike.

Taha, Ahmed

Vice President Corporate Development & Strategic Investments at Forbes 

South Jersey

Ask me about: Growth and scaling strategies, fundraising, financial modeling, strategic planning, budgeting/forecasting, corporate partnerships, and M&A

Experience: I lead strategic investments at Forbes where I am responsible for the firm’s M&A, venture investments, and strategic developments activities. In addition, I provide oversight to Forbes’ portfolio investments and assist their management teams with strategy execution. In my previous role at Group Nine Media, I was involved in the merger of Thrillist Media Group with NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker, as well raising $100mm+ in venture funding from large strategic and venture funds. I started my career at Goldman Sachs and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Drake University. I am passionate about helping build and grow startups, and I am excited to be a mentor for Aves Lair.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain:

  • I am a board member of, a startup focused on empowering retail investors by providing them access to sophisticated AI driven investment strategies.
  • I provide business model and strategic planning consulting to crypto and blockchain companies

Lu, Dai

Senior Data Analyst at Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance Company of China 

Shanghai, China

Ask me about: Business data analysis, consumer loan, big data, machine learning, embedded system

Experience: I work as senior data analyst at Ping An Insurance in China. Before that, I also worked for Tuniu Corp., Adsame and Cummins Emission Solutions. My experiences are related to technicals like control software, Video on Demand streaming, video surveillance, real-time bidding system, real-time recommendation system, credit risk modelling, predictive analysis. I have extensive experience with rotonemerging technology and their applications across different industries, on different stages. I am interested in the interplay of business model and emerging technology. I got master degree of E.E from Iowa State Univ.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I started my research work on distributed consensus about 10 years ago. After returning to Shanghai, I joined in a start-up focusing on AI video surveillance. There we provide service for detecting, measuring and analyzing complex events based on real-time or stored footage, utilizing AI technology, and become a main player in China market. Later I also lead the core algorithm team for Adsame, a smart digital advertising company, which is among top player of China’s market. I also worked for Tuniu Corp., help them build a team on risk modelling and analysis, for its newly established consumer finance business department. As senior data analyst in Ping An Insurance Corp., I lead a team mainly working on the adoption of emerging tech, including AI, Blockchain for insurance business’s whole lifecycle.

Philip Gradwell

Chief Economist at Chainalysis

London, United Kingdom

Ask me about: Economics, startups, data science, data analytics, cryptocurrency, blockchain, energy, consulting, product development, business development, etc.

Experience: I currently lead product development on data analytics for cryptocurrency markets and blockchain economics at Chainalysis. This gives me deep insight into the cryptocurrency industry, current gaps in the market, and its likely evolution. Over the last 3 years at Chainalysis I have also led our Research team and built our brand through thought leadership. Prior to Chainalysis, I spent 8 years as a Principal at an economic consultancy firm called Vivid Economics working on policy for climate change and energy. I joined Vivid Economics as the firm’s first analyst in 2009 and helped build the consultancy from start-up to 40 people. As a Principal, I led the Energy & Industry practice with a team of over 10 people and was responsible for significant revenue and profitability, company management, people development, and recruitment.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I currently lead data-driven research on blockchain economics at Chainalysis, a company that offers cryptocurrency investigation and compliance solutions to global law enforcement agencies, regulators, and businesses.

Mike Grandinetti

CMO/Chief Strategy Exec, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Thought Leader, Professor, Board Member, Podcaster 

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ask me about: Strategy and Business Model Design, Product Development, Digital Marketing & Sales, Technology, Raising Venture Capital, Leadership, Building a Strong Culture, Building an Effective Board of Directors, Building 8 successful VC-backed tech startups


  • Board of Directors: CoVent19 Global Ventilator Design Challenge
  • Faculty member on digital / engineering leadership and innovation on MIT, UCB, Rutgers, Brown and Harvard University
  • Mentor of Techstars Boston Startup Accelerator

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I am active in the DeFi space, mentoring the Berkeley Blockchain accelerator, the Berkeley SkyDeck accelerator, Berkeley’s Data X course and Techstars. I am an active angel investor through my firm, Southboro Capital, a tech consultancy. I am also a faculty member at Berkeley, Brown, Harvard and Rutgers.

Joerg Kliewer

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey

Ask me about: Engineering, technology, teaching, publications, mentoring

Experience: Scientist in data and information analysis and signal processing with over 20 years of experience. Seeking to increase the security, reliability, and performance of distributed learning and secure storage, and computation tasks by using strategies from machine learning and error correction coding. Created technological and scientific impact through 5 patents, 200+ peer- reviewed publications. Secured over $3,000,000 in funding as principal investigator from government and non-government sources.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: Consulting for startup in the area of blockchain-based storage, developed reinforcement and deep learning based strategies for 5G,  teaching a graduate course in statistical machine learning

Yiman Lou

Senior Human Factors Engineer at BD

San Jose, California

Ask me about: Medical devices, product design, psychology, marketing, healthcare, UX/UI design, project management, resource planning, etc.

Experience: I am currently a Senior Human Factors Engineer at Becton Dickinson (BD) Bioscience and leading human factors and user experience work for the clinical cytometry product lines. Prior to BD, I worked at Medtronic for four years in Minnesota as a Human Factors Scientist. In my role, I specialize in human factors, which is a combination of psychology, engineering and design. I study human characteristics and behaviors to understand how customers interact with the company’s products and work to improve products’ safety, efficiency and user experience. My work includes user experience design, building customer journey maps, clinical workflows, and human factors processes in the medical device field.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I am keen on learning more about these fields.

Mourad, Mazouni

Founder and Managing Partner of Davinci Consulting Group, EVP of Morgan Stanley

New York, New York

Ask me about: Making blockchain applicable and lucrative for businesses; permission vs. permissionless systems in blockchain; tokenization; operations; technology; product management; preparing pitch books and decks

Experience: I have had 8 years of experience mentoring VC, PE, high-tech telecom, and Saas model companies. I also manage a pool of funds by helping them identify startups and make bids for startups. I also advise well-funded companies to reach the next level of their business by helping them become public. I have had extensive experience working with VC firms in the European and Asian space.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I have had 5-6 years of experience in the research and business operations side of Blockchain/AI. I graduated from the London School of Economics with a PhD in financial research. My thesis was about utilizing swarm algorithms to make market predictions. Much of my research relates to applications of blockchain in the AML financial services space for the purpose of reducing cost and manual work.

Tania J. Omana Amador

Co-founder of Buroma Group S.C. and Attorney at Wilkes Legal, LLC.

Washington, D.C 

Ask me about: US-Mexico relations, bilateral business opportunities, cross-cultural communication skills, international law, human rights law, U.S. immigration policies, disruptive behavior.

Experience: I have dedicated my legal career to the bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States. I realized there aren’t enough “bridges” to satisfy the needs of people who migrate to, live, and invest in both countries. Therefore, I have focused my career on finding strategies to solve these types of problems. I thrive on being a “facilitator,” and I am a firm believer that approaching clients’ issues with compassion and creativity is a must.

As an entrepreneur, I co-founded Buroma Group, S.C., a boutique consultancy firm in Mexico, which provides cutting edge legal services and consulting for government officials and organizations.

As an attorney, I have established a proven track record for helping clients resolve legal matters that touch upon Mexican and U.S. Law. I also worked at the Office of Legal Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in the United States. I am currently an immigration attorney in the U.S., and in 2019, I was named consultant attorney ad Honorem for the Consular Section of the Mexican Embassy in the United States.
During my professional journey, I have understood the cultural shock, language barriers, and entrepreneurial hustle. But every day, I got inspiration from my client’s struggles and successes and from the resiliency of vulnerable people to whom I give legal consultation on a pro- bono basis.

Short description of my experience related to A.I./Blockchain: I believe that A.I. has been underused in immigration and human rights law practice. I look forward to interacting with the creative minds out there and learn more about these fields.

Michael Rotondi

VP of New Venture Development at Vera Holdings

New York

Ask me about: Entrepreneurship, startups, business strategy, blockchain, finxzance, business development, consulting, fundraising, strategy, financial products, marketing, etc.

Experience: I am an entrepreneur and multidisciplinary CEO-level executive, strategist, and senior writer, primarily in finance and technology, although I have worked in dozens of industries. I have developed and documented business strategies, business plans, financial products, marketing materials, proposals, whitepapers, and more for both startups and mature businesses. My work has been utilized by clients in dozens of industries on five continents, and I’ve been personally responsible for all tasks involved in their creation – strategy formulation, financial modeling, writing, graphics, and so forth. Over the years I have had engagements with a number of Wall Street legends, as well as a project with Dr. Stephen Hawking. I also was a co-founder of a senior-level management consulting firm that was acquired by MetLife. 

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I have been engaged in the blockchain space since 2016, and am the founder of Smartcoin Labs, which creates asset-backed stablecoins, digital currency, and blockchain-based smart securities.

Ryan Shearman

Chief Alchemist at Aether

New York

Ask me about: Investing, startups, diamonds, jewelry, blockchain, cryptocurrency, IoT, electric vehicles

Experience: I am the founder and CEO of Aether, where we transform harmful atmospheric carbon into diamonds. I am an engineer and technologist turned serial entrepreneur. I founded my first tech startup, a DTC brand called FUSAR, in 2013. We developed a line of connected safety products for use in outdoor sports – everything from motorcycling to skiing and snowboarding. We scaled our footprint to over 130 countries around the world before selling the company in 2018. Prior to that, I was one of the original team members on the David Yurman Men’s line. I was responsible for developing new product collections that featured exotic materials not endemic to the jewelry industry (e.g. Gibeon meteorite, carbon fiber, dinosaur bones, etc.). Our critically acclaimed work in men’s products and accessories drove a period of hyper-growth and we surpassed a $200M+ run rate in just three years.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I have been a cryptocurrency investor since 2014 and have a particular interest in the application of distributed ledger technology for use in supply chain/material provenance tracking.

Dr. Alfloyd Woodard

Sentara Hospital Medicine Physician

Virginia Beach, VA

Ask me about: General Internal Medicine, Hospital Medicine/Hospitalist

Experience: General internal medicine physicians, or internists, are primary-care doctors who perform physical exams and treat a wide spectrum of common illnesses in adult men and women. One of every four physicians in the U.S. is an internist, many of whom are certified in one of 19 subspecialties, including cardiology, infectious disease and medical oncology.

Ned Saleh, PhD

Founder at Synsal, Inc.

San Francisco Bay Area

Ask me about: Semiconductor industry, physics, technology ideation & seminal product concepts, advanced automation, Blockchain

Experience: I graduated from rank #1 doctoral program in Nuclear Engineering. My doctoral research was under the 2018 Physics Nobel laureate Gérard Mourou, I was involved in the early development of the most intense laser in the world cited in Guinness Book. I spent over a decade in the semiconductor and consumer electronics industry, I am the seminal (co)inventor a number of disruptive technologies like Hybrid Metrology and atmospheric micro-plasma. I conceived and co-founded Plasmotica for portable miniaturized Point Of Care testing. I founded Synsal, a horizontally disruptive blockchain company with hardware-based expansive network effect.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: Synsal is focusing on healthcare/bioinformatics, our patented technology provides vertically integrated and monetizable self-sovereign data ecosystem for the mass market. Our company is devoted to building a blockchain based network using healthcare data, almost similar to the ‘New Facebook’.

Richard (Ruicheng) Xu

US Head of Grand View Capital

San Francisco, California, United States

Ask me about:

  • Industry or market: TMT, ToB business, Global market. 
  • Start up: Fund raising, Growth

Experience: Focus in TMT and EAS industry. Experienced in Chinese Go-Oversea and cross broader business. GVC is a cross-border fund has more than 40 portfolios in US, South Asia, Africa and China. Including Habby, Holla, OnePieceWork, Hiretual, News Break, the passage etc. 

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: We are looking for the teams that use AI tech to solve a particular problem in a particular scenario.

Lisa Gus

CEO & Co-founder at WishKnish, CEO at VeeSee

States Washington DC-Baltimore Area

Ask me about: Marketing, strategic development and management, startup / scaleup environment.

Experience: I’m the CEO and co-founder of WishKnish, a distributed ledger technology company responding to a global need for transparency, democracy, and accessibility. My entire career of working in the technology industry as a founder, changemaker, advisor, combined with my extensive experience in marketing and business strategy have led to the creation of the Knish.IO distributed ledger platform, and inspired transformative technological innovation. As a female founder, I saw first-hand the challenges encountered by entrepreneurs across multiple verticals, forming the inspiration for what eventually became the cutting-edge solutions offered by WishKnish and being used by key organizations, both in the nonprofit sector and across a wide range of commercial enterprises. A few clients across several continents include Deeding, Silicon Harlem, UpTrace, MedMergent, and more.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I frequently participate in blockchain expert panels, industry events, and conferences, and my crypto market analysis has been syndicated by Money Morning, Finance Monthly, Lifehacker, and others.  I am the CEO of a quantum-resistant interoperable DLT Platform as a Service currently used in a number of verticals

Andre Smith

Co-Founder at The Sales League

San Francisco, California, United States

Ask me about: Creating a proper sales pipeline, pitching their product, proper discover with customers, marketing strategies, lead generation strategies, cold calling strategies, and navigating proof of concepts with customers. 

Experience: I have 12 years of experience selling technology spanning across healthcare, predictive analytics, AI, and application development platforms (no-code, low-code and pro-code on Salesforce and Heroku/AWS). 

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I’ve had the pleasure of consulting with some of the most innovative companies pursuing AI and Blockchain within Healthcare. My time at Salesforce provided in-depth exposure to healthcare companies across the U.S., starting from small business up to medium enterprises. 


Matt Kowalczyk

President/Owner of EXIT83 Consulting

Seattle, Washington, United States

Ask me about: Entrepreneurship, IOT, Business Strategies, Managing a P/L, Raising capital, Business development, Establishing a sales pipeline, Managing ambiguity, and most importantly wine.

Experience: Computer technology has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Other kids mowed lawns for money – I repaired Apple computers. I had the master key to my high school because I set up and managed its very first computer lab in the early 80’s.

After doing a stint developing applications for the NeXT in 1992, Microsoft recruited me straight out of Carnegie Mellon University in 1994. I spent over 11 years with Microsoft as an engineering/business lead; highlights included co-pitching the TabletPC concept to Bill Gates and co-founding the company’s ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC) team.

Apart from technology, my other great passions are entrepreneurship and strategy; I love charting new territory and solving hard business problems. Since Microsoft, I have started eight companies with two substantial exits, worked as an executive at four other companies, and consulted for many more. In one of those companies, we built the best selling wine software for the iPhone for 4 years straight. I built EXIT83 out of the extensive professional network I’ve cultivated over the years, and it’s the amazing people I continue to meet and work with that make it all succeed. Most recently, I have learning hardware development, and my team is busy deploying our own custom IOT sensor platform called Valynce. I also dabble in angel investing from time to time.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: Over the last 2.5 years, my company has been leveraging IOT to harvest data to provide operational analysis for manufacturing facilities. AI uses our data for predictive maintenance, safety protocols, and optimized manufacturing practices.

Harumi Urata

Chief Financial Officer, Celsius Network

San Francisco, California, United States

Ask me about: Business Management, Strategy, Product Management, Innovation, Technology, AI, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Space

Experience:Founder and CEO of HUT Consulting, former COO for CFA Society New York, which I successfully completed a turnaround. Held multiple senior level positions at Thomson Reuters in healthcare and science. Worked at Morgan Stanley and Citigroup in investment banking. I specialize in leading and advising organizations on taking innovative paths to achieve strategic, operational and marketing success and speaks on topics including Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Cybersecurity, AI, Big Data, Outer-space, among others.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain:

I am a frequent speaker at emerging technologies events including blockchain and artificial intelligence. I am the CFO and CIO of Celsius I provide business model and strategic planning consulting to a number of organizations from startups to government

Lavina Ramkissoon

Founder@, Director @ Future City Fourways

City of Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa 

Ask me about: AI, agritech, fintech, healthtech, lawtech, retail tech and growing

Experience:I have been involved with a few companies during my journey from starting out with Australia’s campus (Monash University) to running a few board rooms. I’m an enthusiastic health freak, known to be a geek, and a passionate dancer. I escape it all by retreating to my tiny-house office, which houses my vintage and most modern technologies amongst which lies some of my paintings. With over 20 years leadership experience in IT, a digital psychology speaker, engages in strategy, management services and non/executive advisory services to deliver IT and Business strategy programmes. Proven strategist and output-driven senior executive with 10 years of diverse leadership experience across Africa and Europe.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain:
Besides the 20 years experience in technology, I hold added knowledge in fields of psychology and artificial intelligence. AIEthics mentor and driver of Africa’s artificial intelligence potential. Hughes support of technology for good in under developed countries. Aims to educate, inspire, drive AI innovations across Africa, AIEthics mentorship programs, develop centres for ethical training and certification, AI accelerator programs for graduates and business in this fast space by liquid upskilling within African continent.


Gabriel Zanko

Venture partner at Urano Capital, CEO of MobileyourLife (Investment Banking related to Technology)

Bogota,D.C., Capital District, Colombia

Ask me about: AI, Blockchain, Renewable Energy, Raising Capital

Experience: Gabriel Zanko is a Technology Advisor & Investor. Researcher & Writer in Technology , Speaker and Musician. With an international background in Finance & Public Accounting from UCAB University in Caracas Venezuela and History & Croatian Language from University of Zagreb – Croatia. Worked in companies such as PwC and Nokia & Siemens Network between Caracas Venezuela and Bogota Colombia as External- Internal Auditor and Tax Advisor. Then he switched to Investment Banking & Venture Capital where creates 2 ventures in the Technology Space.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: Gabriel Zanko has been advising the last 3 years, global companies in the several fields

1) How to make a global strategy

2) Structure the best way to raise capital from Global Investors

3) Open new markets such as LATAM or ASIA



Founder & CEO of DeFiner

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Ask me about: Blockchain, Entrepreneurship

Experience: Jason Wu is an experienced blockchain architect, project manager and digital finance entrepreneur. Jason has quickly established himself as a subject matter expert and adviser to numerous organizations in the areas of token economics, smart contact integration and blockchain architecture. In 2018, Jason established lending platform to simplify the process of decentralized digital currency transactions. Jason holds an Master of Business with Honors from the Ohio State University.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I’m the founder of DeFiner, a fully decentralized, digital asset lending platform designed to provide an alternative marketplace for users worldwide to easily access new financial opportunities, secured by blockchain technology.



Managing Director at ValCap Global Advisory

New York, New York, United States

Ask me about: Negotiations, dispute resolution, doing business in Africa and the Middle East, ping pong, hiking, travel.

Experience: For the past two years, I have been based in NYC, working as MD of ValCap Global Advisory, where I help companies improve their decision-making, planning, and access to capital.  Before that, I was in Dubai for five years working as a consultant for Bain & Company and as a sovereign risk analyst for Moody Investors Service.  Prior to Dubai, I lived in Tunisia for a year and a half, working as an analyst for a regional private equity firm AfricInvest Capital Partners.  Before joining Aves Lair as a mentor, I have advised – or been part of – four startups in Doha, Lagos, San Diego, and NYC.  

I have an MSc in international relations from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Short description of my experience related to AI/Blockchain: I invested in a number of cryptocurrencies in the summer of 2017 and have been following developments in blockchain and crypto ever since. My largest holding is VeChain. 

Our accelerator is virtual, enabling companies to join from anywhere.
Our resources are located in NYC for those who would like to relocate.