Rowena Ironside (chair)
Rowena is an experienced SME board director with broad international executive experience and particular expertise in strategy, technology and entrepreneurship. Rowena spent 25 years in the ICT industry, building and leading services and software businesses in the UK and the US including the start-up and sale of a successful IT services company in London. Rowena has a deep understanding of digital technology (software, data, networks, cybersecurity) with experience on both sides of M&A transactions in the sector and in managing growth, change and cross-cultural integration.
Since 2002 she has built a second career as a non-executive director, angel investor and strategic advisor. Rowena is currently co-founder and executive Chair of Women on Boards UK and Non-Executive Director at the Digital Catapult. She is a non-executive board member for the Elections and Registration Division, Cabinet Office, and has recently completed her term as a City Fellow of Hughes Hall, Cambridge.
Angus heads the Simmons & Simmons International FinTech team. He is a commercial IP specialist with over 14 years’ experience advising on technology issues in the financial services sector. His clients range from top tier investment banks and market leading software developers to some of the UK’s most exciting FinTech start-ups. Angus is recognized in Legal 500 2014 and 2015 for IP transactional work and is a guest lecturer on the Oxford University postgraduate diploma in IP Law and Practice.
Angus is also a Techstars mentor on the Barclays Accelerator London programme, a founding member of the Tech London Advocates FinTech Working Group and one of the Contributing Editors of Getting the Deal Through: FinTech. The founder and CEO of one current FinTech 50 business describes Angus as “a driving force of the FinTech community” with “a deep understanding of the issues entrepreneurs face every day as they grow their business. There is nobody else like him in FinTech. I highly recommend him!”.
David G.W Birch is an author, advisor and commentator on digital financial services. He is Global Ambassador for Consult Hyperion (the secure electronic transactions consultancy that he helped to found), Technology Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (the London-based think tank) and a Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey Business School. He is an internationally-recognised thought leader in digital identity and digital money; was named one of the global top 15 favourite sources of business information by Wired magazine and one of the top ten most influential voices in banking by Financial Brand; created one of the top 25 “must read” financial IT blogs; was found by PR Daily to be one of the top ten Twitter accounts followed by innovators, along with Bill Gates and Richard Branson and was rated Europe’s most influential commentator on emerging payments by Total Payments.
His latest book “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From money we understand to money that understands us” was published in June 2017 with a foreword from Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England. The LSE Review of Books said the book should be “widely read by graduate students of finance, financial law and related topics as well as policymakers involved in financial regulation".
Dave graduated from the University of Southampton with a B.Sc (Hons) in Physics.
Jeni Tennison (OBE)
Jeni is the CEO of the Open Data Institute. She gained a PhD from the University of Nottingham then worked as an independent consultant, specialising in open data publishing and consumption, before joining the ODI as Technical Director in 2012 and becoming CEO in 2016. Jeni works with the UK’s public sector as a member of the Open Standards Board. She served on the W3C’s Technical Architecture Group from 2011 to 2015 and co-chaired the W3C’s CSV on the Web Working Group. She sits on the Advisory Boards for the Open Contracting Partnership and the UK’s Information Law and Policy Centre; the Board of Ada, the UK’s National College for Digital Skills; and the Co-operative’s Digital Advisory Board.
Elisabeth is the Director of Consumers, Economic Growth and Energy at the Behavioural Insights Team. Prior to joining BIT Elisabeth held senior roles at the Australian Treasury and completed her postgraduate studies at Harvard Law School.
Elisabeth was the lead author of BIT’s recent report ‘Applying behavioural insights to regulated markets’, and is leading the team’s policy and trials on pensions, savings and financial behaviour. Most recently, she has led the Financial Capability Lab, a partnership with the Money Advice Service which has employed a mixed methods approach of lab testing and qualitative research to rapidly test ideas to increase financial capability.
Miles is the Head of Propositions at Open Banking. Open Banking is the entity that has been set up by the UK Competition and Markets Authority to create innovative technology (APIs), data standards and the governance structures which will enable the UK to implement Open Banking in January 2018.
In his role he is responsible for the Propositions team, acting as the “voice of the customer” across the programme, contributing to policy evaluation and the development of the API roadmap and thereby ensuring that the intended customer benefits of the CMA Order are met. This is achieved through extensive engagement with the market, customer research and customer interest groups.
Miles has deep experience of customer-led digital product development across the payments, digital identity and telecoms landscape, having also worked for companies including Vodafone, MTN, Sky, Verizon and Paym.
Miles is also Director at Customer Experience New Product Development Ltd and Consulting Director at Mobile Market Development Ltd.
Niamh brings the small business voice to the Open Up Challenge Judging Panel. Niamh founded The Travelwrap Company in 2008 and the signature product, the Scottish Cashmere Travelwrap, went on to win The Luxury Gift of the Year. The same year, Niamh won Best New Business at the International Stevie Awards for Women in Business, USA. The company is an international e commerce business & now exports to 20 countries worldwide.
Before launching her business, Niamh was a pharmacist by profession and worked in the hospital and then Pharma industries for 10 years. Latterly, she was head of UK Consumer Medical Affairs for Pfizer.
Rebecca joined Triodos Bank in September 2013 and leads the team responsible for UK business banking activities with SMEs, social enterprises and charities, with particular focus on the Environmental, Food & Farming, and Social and cultural sectors.
Rebecca has nearly 30 years experience in the financial services sector, and began her career as a corporate relationship banker with Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, before relocating to the UK in 1989 to join the bank’s Project Finance team, where she advised and financed major infrastructure projects in Europe. Rebecca then joined accountancy firm Grant Thornton in Bristol, where she established a Government & Infrastructure advisory team advising public sector procurers and private sector contractors on long term public-private partnerships for capital projects in education, environmental services, housing, health and blue light services.
Until recently, Richard was SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) Market Analysis Director at Barclays Bank in the UK. Professor Roberts was awarded an MBE for his services to SME research in the UK in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list. From 2001 until 2014, Professor Roberts was also Chief Economist for Barclays UK Banking.
In early 2014, Richard retired from Barclays and joined CREME as Honorary Professor in the Business School at the University of Birmingham. He is currently working on a major research project with CREME. The Enterprise and Diversity Alliance is a public – private collaborative project to promote diversity, access to finance and access to markets in ethnic minority entrepreneurship. His book on Finance for Small and Entrepreneurial Businesses was published in Spring 2015.
In June 2014, Professor Roberts was appointed as Special Adviser on SME finance to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee in the UK Parliament. He also acts as a consultant on SME issues for a number of interested parties.
Simon is a Researcher for Leading Edge Forum, a global research and leadership programme dedicated to helping large organizations reimagine their organisations for a technology-driven future. Simon is also lead practitioner for LEFs Wardley Maps Advisory service which helps clients anticipate market and ecosystem developments so they know where to go and why.
His focus is on strategic play both at an industrial and global level. He is the author of multiple reports including “Clash of the Titans: Can China Dethrone Silicon Valley?”, a pioneer in the use of topographical intelligence within business, a former executive and an advisory board member for several successful start-ups.
He has twice been voted as one of the UK’s top 50 most influential people in technology. Simon has spent the last 20 years defining future strategies for companies in the FMCG, Retail and Technology industries. He is a passionate advocate in the fields of strategic play, organisational structure, open source and leadership and is a regular presenter at conferences worldwide.
Sanjay is Chief Innovation Officer at the Center for Innovation, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He is supporting the development of new ideas, and innovation at scale. He is involved in the setting up of the Bharat Inclusive Technologies program, and the Bharat Innovation Fund which will help in bringing the advantage of digital technology to the entire population.
Sanjay is an active volunteer with iSPIRT, the software product industry think tank, and is an active member of the Open API, and the cashless India teams. To achieve these objectives, he has been working with the NPCI to define the next generation payment systems (the Unified Payment Interface), as well as with regulators and other bodies to help entire processes go paperless. He has been one of the key contributors to help create, and evangelize various government open apis, which are collectively referred to as the India Stack.
During his career, Sanjay has been responsible for the development of many large scale, high impact systems. He was the Chief Product Manager at the UIDAI, where he led the product development efforts from its early days till well after the launch. The UIDAI has issued over a billion numbers to Indian residents. He was also responsible for the creation and launch of Google Map Maker – a crowd-sourced mapping product that is responsible for Google Maps data for 170+ countries (including India).
Chris heads up the Open Up Challenge. He was a Senior Economist at HM Treasury and the Prime Minister’s Energy Review, worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and as a strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group. He designed and delivered a groundbreaking accelerator programme for 10,000 UK small business leaders at Goldman Sachs.
Andrea is the assistant programme manager coordinating the implementation of the Open Up Challenge. Prior to joining Nesta, Andrea specialised in not-for-profit audit and earned her chartered professional accounting (CPA) designation at KPMG Toronto. Andrea has a BComm from Queen’s University (Canada) and an MSc International Management from the London School of Economics.
Harry is digital content and entrant manager co-ordinating outreach efforts to innovators.
Prior to joining Nesta, he managed online and offline content for a financial services think tank.
Pete (Smith) Finlay
Pete is the Open Up Challenge's Consultant Entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Silicon Milkroundabout, the best and biggest startup recruitment event in the world. He is also a co-founder of Songkick.com, backed by Y Combinator, Index and Sequoia.