Our Judges

About Our Judges

Assaf Biderman
Founder and CEO, Superpedestrian, and Associate Director, Senseable City Lab, MIT

Assaf Biderman is a technology inventor, author, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Superpedestrian, a robotics company that focuses on the future of personal urban mobility, and co-inventor of the Copenhagen Wheel: MIT's award winning bicycle project and the company’s first product. Superpedestrian has received multiple awards including the Red Dot: Luminary, Time Magazine's 25 Best Inventions of 2014, and the Deutscher Werkbund award. He also teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is Associate Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, a research group that explores how technology is changing the way we understand, design and live in cities.

Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana
Director, National Innovation Agency, Ministry of Science and Technology

Dr. Chairatana (PAC) is Director of National Innovation Agency (NIA). Prior to this, he was founder of Noviscape Consulting Group, and co-founder and program chair for Technology and Innovation Management at Graduate School of Management and Innovation (GMI), King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT). PAC is a member of the International Editorial Board of the Asian Journal of Technology Innovation (AJTI) and Associate Editorial Board for African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (AJSTID). As futurist, he has involved with various regional scenario buildings and future exercises since the late 1990s. For example, PAC took part in consulting Vietnamese authority on Aquaculture Foresight. He facilitates various scenarios and roadmapping projects; e.g. a low carbon society in APEC, nutraceutical and automotive electronics roadmaps, a restructure of Ministry of Science and Technology, a shift in Thai lifestyle, and a future of Thailand 2020, including a management of a regional program on Mega-cities foresight in Asia. He also involves with horizon scanning network of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Nicola Crosta
Founder, Baan Dek Foundation

Nicola Crosta is a world-level expert in development economics, social impact and philanthropy. He has over 15 years’ experience working in leading international organizations. Prior to joining Epic, Nicola worked for the United Nations (UNCDF), serving as Representative in Cambodia (2008-2011) and then as global Head of Policy in New York (2011-2014). He co-chaired one of the UN interagency Task Forces that produced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Nicola served more than a decade at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. He has written numerous publications and delivered lectures (Harvard, MIT, Sciences Po, HKU) on development economics and philanthropy worldwide. In 2000, he founded the award-winning Kids Home Foundation (Baan Dek in Thai), a social enterprise that provides thousands of migrant children from across South-East Asia with access to education and healthcare. Nicola holds a Masters in Public Administration at Sciences Po (Paris) and a Masters in Business Administration at ESCP (Oxford). He is a passionate kite surfer. He currently lives in Bangkok with his wife and three sons.

Christian Huder
Founder, innergy.berlin

Christian founded innergy.berlin in 2013 which is a consultancy specialized in innovation management in the field of energy, clean tech and digitalization. His preferred method to bring innovation to life is building start-ups, whose development he is supporting in many ways. Among them are company builder activities, jury and mentor roles in many accelerators and start-up competitions, as well as corporate start-up collaboration and ecosystem development. He furthermore helps start-ups to receive financing and acts as an angel investor. Together with DENA he is currently bringing the second edition of the global Start Up Energy Transition Award to life. Beyond that, his recent main project has been building the innogy Innovation Hub in Berlin as well as scouting and investing in early stage startups. His current passion is the Token Economy, because blockchain based tokens are enabling whole new business models and incentive architectures, that can be a crucial building block towards a sustainable economy that we need in order to prevent climate change happening.

Pita Limjaroenrat
Executive Director, Grab Thailand

Pita Limjaroenrat has been the Executive Director of Grab Thailand since October 2017. He is primarily responsible for providing strategic guidance in leveraging business efficiency and strong collaboration with all relevant stakeholders with the goal to bring betterment to the community of driver-partners, passengers as well as to society. He also serves as managing director/ Co-Founder of CEO Agrifood Co., Ltd., the third largest rice bran oil producer in ASEAN. At the age of only 25, he became a successful tycoon who had turned the family business after his father's death. He was awarded APEA Entrepreneur of the year 2015 for Thailand. Prior to joining Grab Thailand, Pita had a wide range of public private partnership experiences. On public sector, he served as National Economic Development officer under Dr. Suvit Maecinsee, Minister of Prime Minister's office in 2006, Assistant to the Thai Government’s Foreign Affairs Committee from 2013 – 2014 and an Advisor to the Industry Minister from 2012 – 2013. On private sector, He worked at Merrill Lynch Phatra and Boston Consulting Group. Pita graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Thammasat University in 2005. In 2012 he concurrently earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Apart from being a successful businessman,Tim also enjoys Thai boxing, Oil painting, and photography as well as spending his free time with his wife and young daughter. 

Sarah Jane Maxted
Executive Director, MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program

Sarah Jane Maxted accelerates innovation ecosystems whether it is within an institution or in the community, a broader region, or globally. This is clearly highlighted by her current position leading the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) where she fosters innovation and entrepreneurial (I&E) growth strategies for regions globally. Her responsibilities at MIT also include being a Director in the MIT Office of International Programs as well as mentoring and evaluating start-ups, and serving on several I&E boards across the institute. Of note, she launched the inaugural MIT Innovation Ecosystem Symposium. Originally from Colorado, she went to Duke University where she double majored in Policy and Cultural Anthropology; Minor in Dance. She has also spent significant time in Washington, D.C. working for President Obama’s Administration.

Thanapong Na Ranong
Managing Director, Beacon Venture Capital

Thanapong is the managing director of Beacon Venture Capital, a wholly-owned corporate venture capital fund of Kasikornbank PLC. With over 20 years of experience in telecommunications and technology industry, Thanapong has been actively involved in the Thailand startup ecosystem since its early days. His first investment deal in Ookbee has been a classic case that inspired many new generations of Thai entrepreneurs. Prior to InVent, Thanapong was the Deputy Director of the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA). Thanapong was also among the founding team of CS Loxinfo which is now a public company (SET: CSL) with an annual revenue of over $100 million. Thanapong holds an MBA from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration and an executive program certificate in Venture Capital from Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley.

Krating Poonpol
Managing Partner, 500 TukTuks

Krating Poonpol is currently a Managing Partner, 500 TukTuks - a 15 million USD micro VC fund focusing on Thailand/SEA. He is also a Founder of Disrupt Technology Venture - a leading startup pre-accelerator program in SEA. Krating was selected Thailand's Business Man of The Year in 2016 by The Nation and Asia21 Young Leader of 2017 by Asia Society. Krating is the first Thai selected to participate in prestigious Kauffman Fellow program. Before coming back to Thailand, Krating used to work and live and Silicon Valley for 7 years most prominently as Product Marketing Manager ( Global Lead ) of Google Earth. Krating graduated from Stanford MBA in 2007.

Jonathan Ruane
Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management

Jonathan Ruane is a Lecturer in the Global Economics and Management group at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Digital Fellow at MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). His interests are at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, strategy and international markets. He is a Professor at Trinity College Dublin and a former Fulbright recipient. Ruane cofounded the ‘Global Business of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics’ graduate course with Prof Simon Johnson in addition to faculty teaching positions across MBA, EMBA, and Executive Education courses at MIT. He worked closely with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson on “Machine Platform Crowd.” Prior to coming to MIT, Ruane was CEO of Eventovate, a VC backed SAAS startup that he cofounded and subsequently sold. The business was listed in the Techcrunch Euro Top 100, and Ruane himself was named in the Top 40 Irish Entrepreneurs Under 40. He started his career with Procter and Gamble. Ruane serves on the board of the UCD Cantillon Research Centre for Entrepreneurship, Design and Innovation.

Palmmy Wong
Co-founder, Siam Organic Co., Ltd.

Palmmy is a Co-founder of Siam Organic Co., Ltd., a social enterprise from Thailand which aims to sustainably solve the problem of farmers’ poverty in Thailand by bringing innovative, healthy and delicious products to the global consumers under brand Jasberry®. Since its establishment in 2011, it is now working with over 1,000 small-scale farmers in North East, the most impoverished region in Thailand, and able to achieved social impact of over USD 1.72 million increased income for the farmers in year 2015, with SROI of 4.3x. The average earning of Jasberry rice farmers is now 14x higher than the average Thai rice farmers.