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Excitement for The Europas Awards for European Tech Startups is heating up. Here is the first wave of speakers and judges — with more coming!

The Awards — which have been running for over 10 years — will be held on 25 June 2020 in London, U.K. on the front lawn of the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton, London — creating a fantastic and fun garden-party atmosphere in the heart of London’s tech startup scene.

TechCrunch is once more the exclusive media sponsor of the awards and conference, alongside The Pathfounder.

The application form to enter is here.

We’re scouting for the top late-stage seed and Series A startups in 22 categories.

You can nominate a startup, accelerator or venture investor that you think deserves to be recognized for their achievements in the last 12 months.


For the 2020 awards, we’ve overhauled the categories to a set that we believe better reflects the range of innovation, diversity and ambition we see in the European startups being built and launched today. This year we are particularly looking at startups that are able to address the SDGs/Globals Boals.

The Europas Awards
The Europas Awards results are based on voting by experts, experienced founders, hand-picked investors and the industry itself.

But the key to it is that there are no “off-limits areas” at The Europas, so attendees can mingle easily with VIPs.

Timeline of The Europas Awards deadlines:

Submissions now open!
25 March 2020 – Submissions close
14 April – Public voting begins
25 April – Public voting ends
8 June – Shortlist Announced
25 June – Awards evening, winners announced

Amazing networking

We’re also shaking up the awards dinner itself. There are more opportunities to network. Our awards ceremony this year will be in the setting of a garden/lawn party, where you’ll be able to meet and mingle more easily, with free-flowing drinks and a wide selection of street food (including vegetarian/vegan). The ceremony itself will last less than 45 minutes, with the rest of the time dedicated to networking. If you’d like to talk about sponsoring or exhibiting, please contact Claire Dobson on

Instead of thousands and thousands of people, think of a great summer event with the most interesting and useful people in the industry, including key investors and leading entrepreneurs.

The Europas Awards have been going for the last 10 years, and we’re the only independent and editorially driven event to recognise the European tech startup scene. The winners have been featured in Reuters, Bloomberg, VentureBeat, Forbes,, The Memo, Smart Company, CNET, many others — and of course, TechCrunch.

• No secret VIP rooms, which means you get to interact with the speakers

• Key founders and investors attending

• Journalists from major tech titles, newspapers and business broadcasters

The Pathfounder Afternoon Workshops
In the afternoon prior to the awards we will be holding a special, premium content event, The Pathfounder, designed be a “fast download” into the London tech scene for European founders looking to raise money or re-locate to London. Sessions include “How to Craft Your Story”; “Term Sheets”; “Building a Shareholding Structure”; Investor Panel; Meet the Press; and a session from former Europas winners. Followed by the awards and after-party!

The Europas “Diversity Pass”
We’d like to encourage more diversity in tech! That’s why we’ve set aside a block of free tickets to ensure that pre-seed female and BAME founders are represented at The Europas. This limited tranche of free tickets ensures that we include more women and people of colour who are specifically “pre-seed” or “seed-stage” tech startup founders. If you are a women/BAME founder, apply here for a chance to be considered for one of the limited free diversity passes to the event.

Meet some of our first speakers and judges:

Anne Boden
Starling Bank
Anne Boden is founder and CEO of Starling Bank, a fast-growing U.K. digital bank targeting millions of users who live their lives on their phones. After a distinguished career in senior leadership at some of the world’s best-known financial heavyweights, she set out to build her own mobile bank from scratch in 2014. Today, Starling has opened more than one million current accounts for individuals and small businesses and raised hundreds of millions of pounds in backing. Anne was awarded an MBE for services to financial technology in 2018.

Nate Lanxon (Speaker)
Editor and Tech Correspondent
Nate is an editor and tech correspondent for Bloomberg, based in London. For over a decade, he has particularly focused on the consumer technology sector, and the trends shaping the global industry. Previous to this, he was senior editor at Bloomberg Media and was head of digital editorial for in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Nate has held numerous roles across the most respected titles in tech, including stints as editor of, editor-in-chief of Ars Technica UK and senior editor at CBS-owned CNET. Nate launched his professional career as a journalist by founding a small tech and gaming website called Tech’s Message, which is now the name of his weekly technology podcast hosted at

Tania Boler
CEO and founder
/> Tania is an internationally recognized women’s health expert and has held leadership positions for various global NGOs and the United Nations. Passionate about challenging taboo women’s issues, Tania founded Elvie in 2013, partnering with Alexander Asseily to create a global hub of connected health and lifestyle products for women.

Kieran O’Neill
CEO and co-founder
Thread makes it easy for guys to dress well. They combine expert stylists with powerful AI to recommend the perfect clothes for each person. Thread is used by more than 1 million men in the U.K., and has raised $35 million from top investors, including Balderton Capital, the founders of DeepMind and the billionaire former owner of Warner Music. Prior to Thread, Kieran founded one of the first video sharing websites at age 15 and sold it for $1.25 million at age 19. He was then CEO and co-founder of Playfire, the largest social network for gamers, which he grew to 1.5 million customers before being acquired in 2012. He’s a member of the Forbes, Drapers and Financial Times 30 Under 30 lists.

Clare Jones
Chief Commercial Officer
Clare is the chief commercial officer of what3words; prior to this, her background was in the development and growth of social enterprises and in impact investment. Clare was featured in the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 list for technology and is involved with London companies tackling social/environmental challenges. Clare also volunteers with the Streetlink project, doing health outreach work with vulnerable women in South London.

Luca Bocchio
Luca Bocchio joined Accel in 2018 and focuses on consumer internet, fintech and software businesses. Luca led Accel’s investment in Luko, Bryter and Brumbrum. Luca also helped lead Accel’s investment and ongoing work in Sennder. Prior to Accel, Luca was with H14, where he invested in global early and growth-stage opportunities, such as Deliveroo, GetYourGuide, Flixbus, SumUp and SecretEscapes. Luca previously advised technology, industrial and consumer companies on strategy with Bain & Co. in Europe and Asia. Luca is from Italy and graduated from LIUC University.

Bernhard Niesner
CEO and c-founder
/> Bernhard co-founded busuu in 2008 following an MBA project and has since led the company to become the world’s largest community for language learning, with more than 90 million users across the globe. Before starting busuu, Bernhard worked as a consultant at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. He graduated summa cum laude in International Business from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and holds an MBA with honours from IE Business School. Bernhard is an active mentor and business angel in the startup community and an advisor to the Austrian Government on education affairs. Bernhard recently received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 UK Awards in the Disruptor category.

Chris Morton
CEO and founder
Chris is the founder and CEO of Lyst, the world’s biggest fashion search platform used by 104 million shoppers each year. Including over 6 million products from brands including Burberry, Fendi, Gucci, Prada and Saint Laurent, Lyst offers shoppers convenience and unparalleled choice in one place. Launched in London in 2010, Lyst’s investors include LVMH, 14W, Balderton and Accel Partners. Prior to founding Lyst, Chris was an investor at Benchmark Capital and Balderton Capital in London, focusing on the early-stage consumer internet space. He holds an MA in physics and philosophy from Cambridge University.

Husayn Kassai
CEO and co-founder
/> Husayn Kassai is the Onfido CEO and co-founder. Onfido helps businesses digitally onboard users by verifying any government ID and comparing it with the person’s facial biometrics. Founded in 2012, Onfido has grown to a team of 300 across SF, NYC and London; received over $100 million in funding from Salesforce, Microsoft and others; and works with over 1,500 fintech, banking and marketplace clients globally. Husayn is a WEF Tech Pioneer; a Forbes Contributor; and Forbes’ “30 Under 30”. He has a BA in economics and management from Keble College, Oxford.

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As we pass the eight anniversary of the crash, the senator is rightly demanding that the government explain why it has failed to prosecute those responsible

Let bygones be bygones? Not if Elizabeth Warren has anything to say about it.

This past week marked the eighth anniversary of the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers and the near collapse of the entire US financial system. And Warren, the crusading Democratic senator from Massachusetts, still hopes to bring some of the individuals responsible for the debacle to justice.

When the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) wrapped up its work investigating the causes of the cataclysm, it referred nine individuals to the justice department, noting commission members believed they had identified serious violations of securities laws or other offenses.

Warren wants to know why the justice department has been twiddling its thumbs for eight years, while citizens confidence in both government and the financial system dwindles.

She points out that of the nine individuals named referred for possible prosecution, only one has ever faced any penalties. Even then, when the Securities and Exchange Commission fined former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd for misleading investors about the degree to which the mortgage funding entity was at risk of collapsing due its exposure to risky mortgages, it was Fannie Mae itself that wrote the $100,000 check on Mudds behalf, to a special US Treasury account that accepts gifts.

Thanks to the National Archives, we know the identities of the other individuals the FCIC panel referred to the DoJ to be considered for criminal charges. Among the most notable figures is Robert Rubin, the former treasury secretary who oversaw Wall Streets deregulation and has held top jobs at two of the biggest beneficiaries of that move, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

Rubin, the FCIC members suggested, may have been responsible together with fellow top Citigroup management for keeping the value of the mortgage securities that were stuck on the banks balance sheet and for which they couldnt find buyers, inflated. That meant they could hide the extent to which Citi was exposed to subprime mortgages, declaring at one point it was 76% lower than the actual levels. That may rise to the level of fraud.

Former treasury secretary Robert Rubin in 1998. Photograph: Ken Cedeno/REUTERS

Another name on the list is that of Charles Prince, Citis CEO, who achieved fame/infamy for his comment that as long as the music is playing, youve got to get up and dance. At the FCIC hearings, he tried to argue that no individual bank had the power to stop the madness that led up to the financial crisis: as long as his competitors kept making more reckless loans, he had no choice but to follow suit and keep dancing.

The problem is that whining that well, Joey was doing it, too, and he made me do it is the kind of excuse that goes out of fashion by the time youre a teenager. Its inappropriate in a middle-schooler, much less a middle-aged man.

And yet, as Elizabeth Warren points out, the DoJ has been sitting on a list of middle-aged bankers for several years now. Its unclear to what extent any wrongdoing can still be prosecuted, given that the statute of limitations will apply to many of these cases.

But at the very least, the DoJ can explain why they failed to act, as she has requested.

True, financial crimes can be tough to prosecute: the issues are complex and lend themselves to finger-pointing, with everyone pointing to someone else as the culprit.

And some of the trials that have taken place havent had results that would necessarily have encouraged the DoJ. Most recently, several the traders accused of being involved in rigging the key Libor interest rate, affecting the cost of trillions of dollars of loans, mortgages and other financial deals, and who were known by names like Lord Libor and Big Nose, were acquitted in trials. A Swiss private banker was acquitted of helping his US clients duck taxes in a Miami trial.

In one of a handful of cases directly linked to the financial crisis itself, the managers of a Bear Stearns hedge fund that collapsed in 2007 after investing in subprime mortgage securities were accused of securities fraud. It was supposed to be an easy win for prosecutors in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, but jurors acquitted the two men in late 2009. In fact, one of the only major courtroom victories came in 2013, when the fabulous Fab, aka former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre, was found liable by a federal jury for defrauding investors in a mortgage deal that made hedge fund managers who took the other side of the deal a lot of money but cost the investors millions.

But this was a civil, not a criminal case, and Tourre had to pay monetary damages, not spend any time in jail. Goldman Sachs, too, forked over $550m to settle related charges, neither admitting nor denying any wrongdoing in the matter, a phrase calculated to drive Warren and all of Wall Streets other critics around the bend. No one has gone to jail.

Perhaps this would matter a little less a little, a very little if Wall Streets arrogance had been dimmed by the events of 2008. Or if it the Libor trading scandal hadnt flared up, or if JP Morgan Chase hadnt experienced the London Whale derivative trading losses, the latter ultimately costing the bank $6bn. In neither case has anyone been marched off to jail. Two of the colleagues of Bruno Iksil, the derivatives trader who orchestrated the trades the whale in question have been charged with criminal conspiracy, but havent set foot in the US to face those offenses.

Meanwhile, Iksil resurfaced and in true whale-like fashion, made a big splash earlier this year by objecting to his moniker. He also insisted, in a letter sent to Bloomberg, that his managers told him what to do; that it was a bank-designed strategy that ran amok. The losses were not the actions of one person acting in an unauthorized manner, he wrote. My role was to execute a trading strategy that had been initiated, approved, mandated and monitored by bank management.

In other words, if we want to comfort ourselves by thinking of Iksil and others like him as rogues, were demented.

Ex-Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre had to pay monetary damages, but did not spend any time in jail. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Thats something to ponder now as we read the headlines about the revelations at Wells Fargo, where some 5,300 middle-ranking and junior employees were fired for opening sham accounts in the name of existing customers. The employees met the banks sales targets and their own productivity targets; the customers didnt have a clue about what was going on until they realized they were hit with a fee for an account they hadnt opened, or saw their credit was downgraded for some unknown reason.

The good news is that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exists; stopped this and collected a penalty.

But Carrie Tolstedt, who ran the consumer banking division that was busy doing all this, will walk away with $124.5m in pay, while being called a standard-bearer for our culture by John Stumpff, the banks CEO.

Thankfully, federal prosecutors are already looking at Wells Fargos sales practices but the investigation cant stop at the lower level.

At some point, the cultural standard bearers the bosses the people who put in place trading strategies and policies that others implement will have to do more than simply sign the checks made payable to the SEC and other regulators.

From dipping into their own (very, very healthy) bank accounts, to defending their actions in a civil or criminal court, its time to hold top managers accountable for what happens within their firms. They cant just scoop up the profits and pretend they dont know the risks that the institution is running to generate those returns, or ignore the possibility that earning them required abusing the trust of clients, or even putting the financial system at risk.

The events of eight years ago remind us what happened when Rubin, Prince, and others forgot. Its time to rally behind Warren and demand an accounting for those events, so that we have a precedent for holding Stumpff responsible for what just took place at Wells Fargo.

Never again.

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