We are a team of international service and business designers with a passion for collaborative thinking

Our team has deep roots in the startup, corporate and consultancy worlds. Having been entrepreneurs ourselves taught us how to be agile and focused, our work within enterprises brought us an understanding how to scale products globally, serving hundreds of millions of customers. Our background in consultancy gave us our client expectation management attitude – we are here to help you succeed.

Our born-global team has lived across 4 continents and speaks 7 languages as mother tongue…

Our Team

Sébastien Gianelli

CEO and Co-Founder

Sébastien Gianelli

CEO and Co-Founder

Sébastien Gianelli

CEO and Co-Founder

‘The Man with the Plan’, Seb is a co-founder and CEO at Vertical. With a strong grounding in startup and broad experience in all facets of business, he is the ideal person to oversee Vertical’s corporate venturing portfolio, steering our project selection and early-stage investment policies. The ‘soul’ of the company, Seb firmly believes that building a happy, healthy team and simplifying work processes are prerequisites for any successful startup. In his free time he likes nothing better than to put his hiking boots on, or to sample new cultures and cuisines.

Kenneth Salonius

Head of Business Development and Co-Founder

Kenneth Salonius

Head of Business Development and Co-Founder

Kenneth Salonius

Head of Business Development and Co-Founder

Co-founder and Head of Business Development at Vertical, Kenneth is the heartbeat of the company. With an enviable track record in successful startup founding and design (HealthSpa & Framgo), his main focus is on systematically bringing innovative startups and ambitious corporates together to create and develop profitable enterprises. Kenneth’s result-driven yet humble nature makes him an outstanding sales person and invaluable asset to the Vertical team. Kenneth’s ’healthy body, healthy mind’ attitude and his uber-sporty lifestyle is balanced out by spending quality downtime with family and friends.

Christian Lindholm

Co-Founder

Christian Lindholm

Co-Founder

Christian Lindholm

Co-Founder

A man of many talents, Christian is primarily a startup specialist. As well as co-founding Vertical, he is also jointly responsible for launching Koru (where he is CEO) and Upgraded. Known affectionately as ‘Cride’ to his inner circle, the technical expertise and vision he accumulated as VP at Yahoo! helped nourish his appetite for innovation and shape his vision for life quality enhancement solutions. Cride is still regarded as a legend at Nokia for inventing and developing the Navi Key. Like many of the Vertical team, he is a dab hand in the kitchen and enjoys the simple things in life – good food and an active lifestyle.

Expertise Wearables OS, IoT devices, Smart keys, Product Management & Innovation, Business Development

Paolo Borella

Senior Venture Analyst and Co-Founder

Paolo Borella

Senior Venture Analyst and Co-Founder

Paolo Borella

Senior Venture Analyst and Co-Founder

A co-founder of Vertical, Paolo gets a kick out of creating and growing new business ventures. Chiefly responsible for shaping and developing Vertical’s investment practices, he honed his business development, supply chain and go-to-market skills at industry giants GE, Nokia and Fox Mobile Distribution. Paolo has been involved in a startup world since 2009. An active, driven individual with a taste for innovation and adaptation, Paolo feels right at home in the great outdoors and enjoys the physical and mental challenges of triathlon.

Expertise Telecom Industry, Mobile Internet & Applications, Online Services, Business Development, Go To Market, Change Management & Innovation

Clients: Stora Enso, Samsung, Amer Sports, Telia, Fazer, Orion

Startups: 20tree.ai

Anna Ehrnrooth

Senior Venture Strategist

Anna Ehrnrooth

Senior Venture Strategist

Anna Ehrnrooth

Senior Venture Strategist

Anna Ehrnrooth has extensive experience of European legislative procedures both in Helsinki and in Brussels working through two Finnish EU presidencies. Anna has a deep understanding of evaluating regulatory impacts and influencing legislative procedures from the point of view of business and a solid base in international relations & diplomacy.

Patrick Francke

Senior Venture Strategist

Patrick Francke

Senior Venture Strategist

Patrick Francke

Senior Venture Strategist

Patrick Francke has experience in the healthcare sector from several relevant perspectives including primary care, secondary care, occupational health care and preventive care.

He also has extensive knowledge in health technology and potential innovations regarding the future in health and healthcare management.

Fabian Sepulveda

Senior Venture Strategist

Fabian Sepulveda

Senior Venture Strategist

Fabian Sepulveda

Senior Venture Strategist

Fabian Sepulveda has over 20 years of working experience in engineering, management consulting and investment banking with the likes of Lucent Technologies, A.T. Kearney, and JP Morgan.

Most recently, he is actively involved in Finland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as a startup coach and Lean Launchpad® trainer, and helps organizations understand and execute Lean Startup methodologies and customer development. Fabian teaches Venture Formation and other courses at the Aalto University Ventures Program and Aalto Executive Education. He cofounded eyescubed, a startup in automotive technology, and also cofounded Courage Ventures Advisory, which provides entrepreneurship training and development to leading private and public organizations. He is also a cofounding Partner of Courage Ventures Management, a fund investing in health & wellness, education, and environment verticals.

Fabian has a BSc in Electrical Engineering, an MSc in Finance and a PhD in International Entrepreneurship.

Nati Lalayants

Office & People Manager

Nati Lalayants

Office & People Manager

Nati Lalayants

Office & People Manager

Nati is our Office&People Manager at Vertical, having joined from Maria01 where she worked as Community Manager. She is responsible for developing our corporate culture, and for fostering a harmonious and productive workplace atmosphere. ‘Minimal clutter, maximum focus, optimal results’ is her motto. Nati is also responsible for Vertical’s resource management and allocation. In her spare time, when she is not running, Nati likes to bake – cake days at Vertical have already become the stuff of legend!

Hanna Mäenpää

Venture Researcher

Hanna Mäenpää

Venture Researcher

Hanna Mäenpää

Venture Researcher

Bogdana Gamburg

Venture Analyst

Bogdana Gamburg

Venture Analyst

Bogdana Gamburg

Venture Analyst

A bright and dynamic woman, Dana is a Venture Analyst with strong experience in startup sourcing and assessment in the Healthcare, Pharma and Food industries. Prior to joining the company, Dana refined and polished her brokering skills in the Health & Wellbeing startup sector. Her strong background in dealflow helps sustain Vertical’s strategic business development. A fervent proponent of Women in Tech, she was one of the first in Helsinki to organise Coding for Girls events, generously donating her time and skills to the movement. In her spare time, Dana is a proper foodie with a taste for fine coffees.

Expertise: health, wellbeing, pharma, as well as smart factory, renewables, robotics, industrial automation startups from Europe, Baltics & Russia

Clients: Samsung, Telia, Fazer, Pfizer, Amer Sports

Startups: Popit, SDKHealth, Heimo, GreenTEG

Jan Bubienczyk

Venture Analyst

Jan Bubienczyk

Venture Analyst

Jan Bubienczyk

Venture Analyst

Jan is a venture analyst at Vertical. Previously he worked as CMO at Startup Sauna, where he was responsible for deal-flow generation, scouting and communications. During his Sauna time Jan evaluated hundreds of startups, meeting with countless founders, investors and community partners at numerous conferences and industry events. He first sunk his teeth in the startup ecosystem as co-founder of a small-scale team development consulting operation, which was called Bule. Later he worked with the same team to develop an HR solution for a large enterprise in New Jersey. Jan was also heavily involved at senior and board level in the European Youth Parliament, where he led and facilitated various committees while refining his negotiating, time and expectations management skills. His ability to react quickly to our clients’ ever-changing needs makes him indispensable to our team. A charismatic polyglot (he speaks five languages!), Jan is very much the man for designing and coordinating corporate venturing projects.

Expertise: Deal-flow, Screening, Marketing, Blogging, Inbound Marketing, CRM

Clients: KONE, Stora Enso, Lähitapiola, Orion

Startups: Sixgill, Kaltiot

Eero Toppinen

Venture Analyst

Eero Toppinen

Venture Analyst

Eero Toppinen

Venture Analyst

With an aptitude for corporate venturing, Eero is an ambitious analyst who gained valuable experience working at Nordea and Avanto Ventures. Eero has extensive knowledge of both corporate and startup culture, having worked on open innovation with companies such as Accenture, Wartsilä and Orion. His time in the Finnish Defence Forces marks Eero out as an independent thinker with excellent analytical and teamwork skills.

Expertise gameplay analytics, data technologies, design & development open innovation

Clients: Uudeenmanliitto, Orion

Startups: Etsimo, Practigame, Kamu, Lifted

Lars Melakoski

Venture Analyst

Lars Melakoski

Venture Analyst

Lars Melakoski

Venture Analyst

Meet our Venture Analyst with vast experience in Event Production and Marketing. As a teenager Lars was heavily involved in the European Youth Parliament, initially as a facilitator and later on as a board member. More recently, he has been polishing his event production, project management and marketing skills at startup pioneers such as Bule and Maria01. Quick to learn and possessing a keen eye for detail, Lars describes himself as a ‘know-how sponge’.

Nea Kanerva

Venture Analyst Trainee

Nea Kanerva

Venture Analyst Trainee

Nea Kanerva

Venture Analyst Trainee

Our ambitious Venture Analyst trainee is from Aalto University where she studies Information and Service Management with a minor in Finance. Nea brings with her extensive knowledge of customer service and finance gleaned from her time at industry kingpins such as OP Bank. She also worked four consecutive years as a Volunteer at Slush where she developed a solid understanding of the ins and outs of the startup world. Nea also spent a year in the American school perfecting her English language skills and learning about American culture.

Sasha Kazantsev

Senior Venture Designer

Sasha Kazantsev

Senior Venture Designer

Sasha Kazantsev

Senior Venture Designer

Sasha is our Senior Venture Designer, with responsibility for building design methodology for our external corporate venturing process. He developed his design skills while working for Digitalist with clients such as Helsinki University, Atea, TokenMarket, as well as the multinational creative technology expert and Koru, a wearable OS startup. Choc-full of ideas for process innovation and improvement, Sasha has already established himself as an integral part of the Vertical team. His proactive attitude and excellent strategic planning and development skills are second to none.

Expertise: wide range of visual mediums, web and media-technologies

Clients: Pfizer, Stora Enso, Samsung

Startups: Popit, Heimo, SDKHealth, GreenTEG, 20tree.ai

Pontus Vepsäläinen

Senior Venture Designer

Pontus Vepsäläinen

Senior Venture Designer

Pontus Vepsäläinen

Senior Venture Designer

Pontus has over 15 years of experience in the Digital industry, working as a UI, Visual, Interaction and Kinetic Designer for platforms like iOS, Android, Windows Phone and web-based applications. As a Visual Designer, Pontus has a deep passion for his work and possesses a willingness to go over and above to complete projects on schedule. He has a special talent for bringing fresh perspective to brands without them losing their original appeal. Previously, Pontus was Senior Lead Visual Designer for clients like Nokia, Ericsson, Garanti, Volvo, Mozilla and Telia Sonera, leading the team from Concept Design to market-ready applications. His versatility and deep knowledge of the industry allow him to work simultaneously in numerous roles. Some of the roles held by Pontus during his career are as follows: Motion Designer, Art Director, teacher of Web Design and Motion Graphics, Print Designer and Web Designer.

Expertise: UI/UX design, Motion design, Service design,

Clients: Pfizer, Folkhälsan, Lähitapiola, Orion, KONE

Startups: Popit, Heimo, GonioVR, Sixgill, Kaltiot