Who are we?

The Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications is Vodafone’s European think and do tank, exploring the potentials and responsible use of digital technologies for innovation, growth and sustainable social impact. As a European think tank, our motivation is to employ impact-driven programmes with a global reach that counter social challenges and enable system change such as greater diversity in tech development. 

One particular goal the Institute has set for itself is employing its own projects and initiatives to minimise gender inequality in the tech industry and foster the participation of women in technological development. Since launching FLANE Accelerator in 2016, we have been committed to supporting startups that empower women through technology.

FLANE was developed with a threefold mission. That is, we want more female representation in the tech world, we want to utilise technology as a force of social change, and finally, we want to close the gender investment gap.

The mission is supported by our partners Yunus Social Business. Their work offers a dignified hand out of poverty to millions of people through Social Business – a model pioneered by our Co-Founder Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus.

They work from the bottom up with Philanthropic Venture Funds, financing and supporting social businesses in developing economies and the top-down with Corporate Innovation, growing social businesses with large companies who want to see business in a different way.

The FLANE founding partners Social Entrepreneurship Akademie continue to support the programme with their excellent impact entrepreneurship competencies, while the Impact Hub Berlin remains on board as Community Partner providing participating start-ups with access to the global impact community and investors. Whereas our new partner WLOUNGE contributes its expertise in gender lens investing and it’s local and global investors and mentors network to support the cohort.

Meet the Team

We are an international, dynamic and proactive team of women focused on finding purpose in our lives. We find inspiration in working feet on the ground with entrepreneurs who make social change happen. Together, we will be fully dedicated to accelerating your business!

From the Vodafone Institute

Inger Paus

Managing Director of Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications

Inger is responsible for Vodafone Germany’s corporate responsibility strategy. She has broad access and great experience in managing the FLANE network both internally towards the Vodafone Group as well as external partnerships. She contributes to the strategic development and partnerships of the virtual acceleration programme, as well as the overall stakeholder management and further supports the programmes international reach.

Julia Ebert

Senior Research Manager of Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications

Julia has diverse experience in think tank activities and building up innovation programmes to promote social participation formats with partners from industry and the public sector to raise awareness of digitisation issues. In her role as project lead of FLANE, she coordinates internal and external stakeholders, strengthens Vodafone’s international corporate engagement network for female empowerment and contributes to the strategic development of the programme.

From Yunus Social Business

Solene Tsitos

Project Manager - based in France

With a very international profile and after several experiences working for Impact Accelerators, Solene thrives in a territory where entrepreneurs solve society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. With an active interest in building communities and creating engaging-content around on-the-ground solutions – Solene will connect the dots, leverage the community-aspects of the remote program and make sure each individual is having the best experience possible. Solene will be your point of contact for the programme.

Arunima Singh

Entrepreneur in Residence - Co-Lead - based in Berlin

Arunima has a diverse experience working for impact-accelerator programs, impact investment funds, social businesses and creating ecosystems to support early-stage entrepreneurs in Chile, India, Spain, France, South Africa and Western Balkan region. With an active interest in the Lessons Learnt from social business initiatives, connecting the dots and helping impact businesses scale – Arunima will be your Entrepreneur in Residence during the programme. 

Lisa-Katharina Guggenmos

Co-Lead - based in Munich

Lisa brings deep experience in building digital transformation and innovation strategies. She established several digitalization initiatives for the German Federal government, corporate organizations as well as startups. As program lead of a global Impact Accelerator programme she helped social entrepreneurs scale their businesses in the transport and mobility sector for several years. Lisa trained as a political journalist and believes in the power of digitalization and human-centric design. She contributes to F-lane as strategist and corporate engagement lead.

The Advisory Board has three areas of responsibility:

1. The Advisory Board makes the final decision about the final participants

2. The Advisory Board gives strategic advice and expertise regarding the programme

3. The Advisory Board is closely connected to the finalists and will give impulses during the programme

Full board to be announced soon...

Advisory Board Members

Andy Goldstein

Andy Goldstein is Co-Founder & Executive Director of the LMU Entrepreneurship Center and the German Accelerator.

Andy is also Co-Founder & Managing Director of Deloitte Digital Ventures, a new entity dedicated to building digital businesses for Fortune 500 level firms. A serial entrepreneur with 33 years of experience in founding, financing, building and accelerating companies, Andy sold his software company to the publicly listed Avanquest Software in 2003, served as COO Europe until 2009 and as a Board Member until 2014. Andy served for 3 years as a Board member at Carpooling.com (recently acquired by Bla Bla Car) and 4 years at Feingold Technologies (recently acquired by ShareCare). His accelerator at the LMU, the top ranked university in Germany, has spawned over 180 companies in 8 years and the German Accelerator, a project of the German government has graduated over 70 companies in 3 years. Before co-founding Deloitte Digital Ventures, Andy also led the launches of The Allianz Digital Accelerator & The Volkswagen DataLab and currently is leading Corporate Accelerator launches in the Pharma, Gas and Auto industries. Andy is co-founder of the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie in Munich and a founding member of 4Entrepreneurship, the Entrepreneurial Think Tank of the 4 Munich Universities and holds teaching positions at the LMU (Munich University), the HFF (Munich Film and Television University) and at the EM Lyon Business School in France.

Hedda Pahlson-Moller

Hedda Pahlson-Moller is a full-time Business Angel focused on impact investing.

Hedda Pahlson-Moller, is a full-time Business Angel investing in social and environmental impact through her organisation OMSINT/TIIME (www.tiimeisnow.org). She sits on the boards of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), the Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN), Rising Tide and Chameleon Invest, an early-stage co-investment fund. Her engagement with the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), Luxembourg Microfinance Development Fund (LMDF) and Ashoka reflect her commitment to mobilise capital towards sustainable projects that value ‘Triple Bottom Line’ (People, Planet, Profit). Hedda is Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Sacred Heart University’s Exec. MBA program and lectures on Social Enterprise & Social Innovation for the University of Lux. She is an Executive Fellow at Essex University

Lisa Witter

Lisa Witter is an award-winning executive, serial entrepreneur, author and public speaker.

She is an expert in the intersections of communications, government, politics, philanthropy, technology, women’s issues and behaviour change. She has counselled CEOs, Nobel Peace Prize winners, politicians, philanthropists, scientists and academics. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Apolitical:  an international platform connecting the best ideas and people in the public sector. Lisa also co-founded Assemblyfor, applying behavioural science to policy and social change. Previously, she was COO of Fenton, the largest public interest communications firm in the US. She has worked in government for the Seattle City Council. She is a WEF Young Global Leader and sits on the Global Agenda Council on Behaviour.

Paresh Modi

Paresh is Global Head of Business Development & Innovation at Vodafone.

Paresh is Global Head of Business Development & Innovation at Vodafone, and is responsible for driving collaboration opportunities with cutting edge innovators that have the potential to support Vodafone’s Digital transformation journey. Paresh leads Vodafone’s efforts with the start-ups, leading academics and the tech giants across the globe, and is constantly looking for disruptive ideas from brilliant innovators. Paresh has been at Vodafone since 2007 in a variety of senior roles across Vodafone Group. Previously he was at iPass (headquartered in Silicon Valley) as UK & Ireland MD, as well as at Cable & Wireless Worldwide as Managing Director of its Media, Entertainment and Technology business unit.

Saskia Bruysten

Saskia is a leader in the social business movement and co-founder of Yunus Social Business.

Saskia is a leader in the social business movement and co-founded Yunus Social Business (YSB). Under her leadership, YSB has been working with over 20 global corporations to help them use their core competencies to address social problems. Saskia has been awarded the BOLD Woman Award 2020 by Veuve Clicquot, Handelsblatt “25 women who make the world a better place 2016″, Wired Smart List 2013, Capital “Young Elite” 2017, 2018 and is a member of YPO. Saskia was appointed to the EU Commission’s expert group on social business and has advised on Ban Ki-Moon’s UN MDG Advocacy Group as well as Richard Branson’s B-team. She speaks regularly at high profile events, including the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative.

To be announced soon...