Introducing Circklo’s Business Academy Mentors for 2021

Words by Circklo team in News

18 men and women of different nationalities, backgrounds, colour and religion have been carefully selected to become Circklo’s Business Configurator Academy mentors for 2021. These are joined by five additional business coaches and two venture capitalists. Three of the mentors are also angel investors.

These 18 mentors will be taking Circklo’s Academy start-ups through a fascinating journey into the possibilities and opportunities brought about by pushing the boundaries of conventional business, by having the courage to challenge the status quo and by wanting to create a better world for everyone, all under the umbrella of sustainability, digital technologies and circular economy principles.

Circklo’s mentors have been selected to ensure that our start-up founders and their key team members, including their business, will benefit of the best advice and support Circklo can make available to them.

Circklo’s Academy mentors are thought leaders in a subject matter area of expertise, meanwhile the business coaches are highly experienced individuals acting in an advisory capacity during the programme.

Brief biographies of Circklo’s Business Configurator Academy can be found below:

Ann Rosenberg is a senior executive with 25 years of experience in the corporate world, specialising in technology, sustainability, and business purpose. After 20 years at SAP, Ann has now moved to Wood plc where she is Senior Vice President for Sustainable Development.

Charles Nicholls is an international entrepreneur and software executive specializing in eCommerce, marketing and AI/Machine learning, and he is currently the Co-founder and Trustee of the Carbon Community, and also an angel investor with Circklo’s Business Configurator Academy.

Jade Huang is the CEO and Co-founder of Style Sage, an AI-powered retail analytics solution that enables brands to increase their speed to market, with real-time insights across four key business areas: Pricing, Assortment, Promotions, and Trends.

Jenn Vande Zande is the Editor in Chief of the online platform ‘The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce’, and a thought leader in the world of e-commerce, customer experience and search engine optimisation.

Jennifer de Maria is a Senior Talent Market Researcher at Shopify, a leading global commerce company providing trusted tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business of any size.

Joerg Koesters is a Technology Marketing executive with 20 years’ experience in Marketing, Sales and Consulting in the Consumer business - both in industry and technology – as well as in Retail and Consumer Products.

John Hill is the Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President for Planning at Carhartt. John is a technology and operations executive with more than 30 years of multi-industry experience spanning retail, distribution, insurance, automotive, pharmaceuticals / biotechnology, software as a service, high technology, and public sector.

Lisa James is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at SAP, and she is an experienced marketer and storyteller in the computer software industry. Lisa is behind many of SAP’s marketing pipeline generating activities, including all external facing solution collateral.

Margot Heiligman is, what some would call, a social media mastermind. She had a successful career in business development and strategic alliances in software & communications for web-based CRM product companies, and now she is the Social Media Director for SAP Customer Experience.

Olga Kotsur is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mercaux. Under her leadership, Mercaux won numerous awards for its revolutionary approach to retail shopping and experience, and its customer list starts with French Connection and ends with Nike.

Paul John Bakker is the Vice President for Global Enterprise Solutions at ASICS Corporation.

Peter Fisk is the CEO of GeniusWorks, an innovative business accelerator based in London, and he is also professor of leadership, strategy, and innovation at IE Business School in Madrid, where he is the Academic Director of their flagship executive programmes.

Phil Mossop is the Chief Operating Officer of Pentatonic, a circular economy design and technology company. Phil is also an angel investor with Circklo’s Business Configurator Academy, and for 20 years he has created and grown environmental businesses across waste, recycling, energy management, health and wellness sectors.

Sandeep Nalgundwar is the Executive Vice President at Knack Systems, a niche SAP consulting partner dedicated to driving digital transformation across industries by simplifying front-office and optimizing back-office processes, leveraging various best-of-breed SAP solutions.

Thomas Vetter PhD is the CEO of Dr Vetter Consulting, a company bridging the gap between business and IT technology. Before he founded Dr Vetter Consulting, he was a Senior Vice President at SAP. Dr Vetter, alongside Charles Nicholls and Phil Mossop, is also an angel investor with Circklo’s Business Configurator Academy.

Vince Pizzoni is a Professor in Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Nottingham, and he also coaches MBA, EMBA, Sloan and MSc students at a number of business schools including London Business School, Imperial College, Cambridge University and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Vivek Bapat is a senior executive with over 25 years’ experience in brand, corporate, and technology marketing and communications. His background includes start-ups, mid-size companies and large established global brands.

Yasmin Sharp is the Global Head of Customer Experience at SAP, and she has the rare skill of being highly technical and knowledgeable of the subject area, yet is able to explain things in such a way as to make it easy to understand for those who are not so technically minded.


Circklo's Business Configurator Academy is a fixed term, mentorship-driven programme dedicated to start-ups and SMEs aiming to succeed in sustainable digital innovation.

Circklo is looking to accelerate start-ups for profit and impact in the areas of:

  • Sustainable food and beverage companies;
  • Sustainable fashion companies;
  • Recycling and reuse of resources (i.e., plastic, metals etc.);
  • Non-financial metrics calculators, and track and trace platforms;
  • Financial technology (fintech).

Circklo’s mentors and coaches work intensively with all individual teams for 12 weeks, ensuring these are supported to create a refined business plan.

Each 12-week cycle culminates in a Dragons' Guild Day, when the teams which have attended the programme will be presenting their business plan to a carefully selected, invite-only audience of investors and industry experts, the goal being that of seeking investment funding for their business idea, and/or a way to validate their idea with a real case scenario.


Set up in London in 2020, Circklo created the first Business Configurator in the world specialised in digital start-ups for the circular economy. Circklo’s main expertise is in developing seed stage start-ups in the sustainability area.

Circklo offers start-ups both the opportunity to raise capital and accelerate their business and, also, to configure their business in such a way that purpose and profit can successfully coexist and complement each other in the 21st century digital world, fully using and embracing the principles of circular economy.

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