Jouko Ahvenainen, Founder & Executive Chairman
Jouko Ahvenainen is a serial-entrepreneur, e.g. co-founder of Grow VC Group, a pioneer in new funding solutions, including equity p2p investments. He participated in changing US finance regulation, getting the Senate and President to allow crowdfunding and has worked with EU finance regulation. Jouko started his work with crowdfunding models in 2008.
Jouko is a founder, partner and board member in several innovative digital finance companies. Jouko is also an advisor for US, European and Asian investing and finance programs. He has especially worked to plan and implement models to get crowd investing and institutional investor models to work together.
Jouko has worked in teams to close several VC deals (from 150k USD to 15M USD), and also closed many large customer deals and been responsible for 40M USD annual revenue. He started his first own software business when he was 16 years old. Jouko has been a Certified Adviser for the NasdaqOMX First North lists stock exchanges. Jouko is on the boards of various start-up companies, and is a co-founder or seed investor in 11 companies.
Earlier he co-founded data analytics businesses. Before his serial entrepreneur career Jouko held senior positions at technology firms including Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young, Powerwave Technologies Inc. and Nokia. Jouko has vast experience of international business in Asia, Europe, and North America; he has lived and worked in the UK, the US, Finland, Malaysia and run business in Hong Kong. Jouko regularly speaks about innovative finance models and digital business in conferences including SXSW, Mobile World Congress, Next Conference, Crowdfunding World Summit and The Peter Drucker Forum around Europe, Asia, and the US. In 2013 he was listed Top 100 Influencers in Digital Industry and crowdfunding.
Jouko holds an MBA from Helsinki School of Economics / McCombs School of Business, at the University of Texas, Austin and a M.Sc.(Tech.) from Helsinki University of Technology.
Valto Loikkanen, Founder & CEO
Valto Loikkanen is a serial entrepreneur who has started several companies across Europe and the US in the web and mobile fields. At the age 24, Valto started and grew his first company VTG Worldwide, selling custom mobile phone covers, from the ground up into an international business turning over 84 million FIM.
Forward thinking and always seeking the next big web and mobile success, as a serial entrepreneur and startup advisor, Valto got fed up with the lack of transparency and openness in the startup funding process. Web 2.0 companies often need only small amounts of money to grow, due to the cost-effective nature of their business models, and the investment market hasn’t historically been suited to raising small amounts of capital. Valto saw that with Web 2.0 taking hold, lack of transparency no longer works in helping the Internet’s shining stars find their grounding.
Wanting to battle these challenges, Valto founded Grow VC and the Grow VC group to apply the principles of web 2.0 to the area that has historically been shrouded in mystery – VC funding. He aims to bring a better, fairer environment for startups seeking funding, as well as investors to work together for accelerated innovation.
Markus Lampinen, Chief Operating Officer
Markus is an internationally awarded driven entrepreneur with an international background and diverse education in economics and technology. Markus is also CEO of Crowd Valley Inc., a Grow VC Group company. He is also a global investor and senior partner at the Grow VC group. During his tenure as COO of Grow VC, he recruited over 100 individuals, built up a global team on six continents and expanded operations to over 150 countries. In his earlier businesses, he has focused on responsibilities of CFO and e.g. been responsible for sales growth of over 270% per year, for several subsequent years.
Markus has pioneered new funding models in the US and Europe, advised policy makers globally for a more effective market, and worked with actors in both the private and public sector, to improve the framework for new funding models, including crowdfunding, cross border investments and private placements. He serves as a frequent public speaker on related themes. Markus is married and constantly bringing presents from his travels to his two children.
Emily McDaid, Head of Communications
Emily brings transatlantic experience to communications and media contacts, and a worldwide reputation. She began her career in technology PR at MIT’s CSAIL in the early 2000s. From there she began working with some of the best PR professionals in Boston at SHIFT Communications. Moving to London in 2003, Emily worked with countless tech brands and became a director at the Loewy group of PR agencies. She built a second-to-none network of media professionals, and then broke out on her own to found Hatch PR in 2008. Emily is also a founding member of Grow VC.
Emily is a dual UK and US resident. McDaid has published two suspense novels, TETHERBIRD, and THE BOILER PLOT, since 2012. She has self-marketed the books to climb Amazon’s bestseller ranks. Her author site is found here.
Gal Smolar, Legal Counsel
Gal is a part of Grow VC founding team and corporate technology lawyer. He has acts for entrepreneurs, angel investors and VC's, performed tech M&A and tech fund formation. Gal has experienced in technology funding transaction (early stage, seed, A/B/C) in Israel, U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands. He has experience from many industry areas: consumer web and mobile, data analytics, SaaS, medical devices, drug delivery, energy efficiency and green chemistry.
Each Grow VC Group company has its own management, more information on the web site of each company.