Founders Forum and Silicon Valley Bank have once again spotlighted the top five companies with world-changing potential to join the 2022 Rising Star cohort.

Founders Forum is an event-powered global community of leading tech founders, corporate CEOs and senior investors. The initiative, born out of the annual Founders Forum tech event, seeks to uncover early-stage startups with world-changing potential. Every year, Founders Forum taps into its network of investors and other companies in the Founders Family ecosystem to search for the most ambitious founders and teams, novel and disruptive uses of technology, and inspiring solutions to big and important problems.

This year’s entrepreneurs are transforming healthcare and robotics as well as exploring the world of NFTs and blockchain technology. They are using their expertise and drive to improve the reality of those around them that are, “building our future,” according to Founders Forum. Each of the five is an example of a determined founder with unrelenting ambition to change the world, described as having “world-changing potential” by the list’s independent panel of judges.

Previous Rising Stars listmakers have included Babylon, Bumble, Fanbytes, Desktop Metal, Duolingo, Farfetch, Hertility, Lemonade, Pillpack, Shazam, and TransferWise.

Alexei Zamyatin. Cofounder, Interlay

Originally from Vienna and now living in London, Zamyatin is a researcher and software engineer with special interest in the security and decentralization of cryptocurrencies. Zamyatin has been contributing to Bitcoin research since 2015 and earned a computer science PhD from Imperial College London, focusing on Bitcoin and blockchains.

Zamyatin is now cofounder and CEO of Interlay, an R&D company focused on blockchain interoperability. The startup unlocks decentralized use cases for Bitcoin across major blockchain networks, so people can invest, earn and pay with Bitcoin on any blockchain. Interlay describes itself as, “radically open and secured by insurance” and its team comprises coders, early Bitcoiners and DeFi natives.

Dr Ariane Gomes. Cofounder and chief scientific officer, Baseimmune

Since founding Baseimmune in late 2019, Gomes has acted as CEO & CSO, leading its fundraise of £4.2 million with her co-founders. She’s responsible for executive and scientific strategy and oversees company operations. Gomes is a biologist specialised in immunology and vaccine development with 15 years of experience working in laboratories. She started her career working in the pharma sector in quality control before moving to R&D and holds a PhD in Clinical Medicine from the Nuffield Department of Medicine.

Founded in 2019, Baseimmune is a biotech startup on a mission to create the next generation of vaccines, specialising in pathogen analysis for antigen discovery and vaccine design. Many of its operations harnessing the power of big data and Baseimmune’s aim is to create vaccines with plasticity; effective against current and future unknown strains and variants.

Isaac Bentata. Cofounder,

Previously employed at Goldman Sachs, where Bentata worked as a quantitative trader in the fixed income team, building automated market making algorithms for illiquid markets, Bentata holds a BEng (Hons) in chemical engineering and an MSc in machine learning from University College London.

Bentata is now applying his knowledge of blockchain technology to Fair, a no-code platform which lets creators and collectors launch NFTs and other digital assets “within minutes, end-to-end and completely code-free” requiring only your artwork and a crypto wallet and taking 6% of primary sale revenue. Bentata leads both blockchain development and strategy for the platform and deployed the blockchain infrastructure behind the recent Ukraine NFT sale, the first ever government backed NFT.

Dr Nicholas Hawker. Founder, First Light Fusion

Hawker’s research into fusion began in 2007 as part of his masters thesis, where he worked at the University of Oxford with Yiannis Ventikos. This work continued into a DPhil, where Hawker performed hydrodynamic simulations of shock-driven cavity collapse. These simulations showed that cavity collapse leads to inertial confinement of the gas inside the cavity and revealed that extreme states of matter could be reached, possibly entering the regime for fusion.

To explore the concept of energy generation via this process, Hawker and Ventikos co-founded First Light Fusion Ltd in 2011. Beginning life at the University of Oxford, First Light continues to work closely with academia and is, in their own words, “solving the problem of fusion power with the simplest machine possible” in a way that could be a much safer option than the nuclear power plants we have today. Recently, Hawker and his team successfully demonstrated hot fusion, the process that fuels the sun, using its own proprietary technology.

Dr Paolo Pirjanian. Founder, Embodied

Described as an industry-leading founder, technologist and leader in robotics, Paolo Pirjanian is the former CTO of iRobot with over sixteen years of experience developing and commercialising cutting-edge home robots. Before founding Embodied, he worked on Mars rovers at NASA and led teams and companies at iRobot, Evolution Robotics and others. Pirjanian was fascinated with AI and robotics from childhood and remembers being inspired by Luxo Jr., a short animation in a Pixar documentary.

Embodied, Inc. was founded in 2016 by Pirjanian, whose mission is to make robots smarter and more useful, to become part of everyday life. The company is rethinking and reinventing how human-machine interaction is carried out, beyond simple verbal commands. One example of this is Moxie, a robot with the ability to understand and express emotions, with emotive speech, believable facial expressions and body language, and focused on healthy child development. In Pirjanian’s own words, “it’s fun to do the impossible, but it can also be a little scary.”

Read more on the Founders Forum Rising Stars website here.


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