Michael Callas

Michael Callas is Chief Executive and Founder of East London Ventures. Until recently he was Global Head of Emerging Technology for Vodafone Group where he looked after emerging products, incubation and acceleration activitiesin addition to the management of the Vodafone Ventures portfolio of companies across Vodafone’s market and partner markets across the globe.

Named a Tech Tastemaker by Details Magazine, he has been at the forefront of tech, fashion, music, health and wellness, and banking since he began his career. Previous roles include Chief Executive of StepOne Ventures (Madrid, San Francisco, New York) which encompassed a Fintech-focused Silicon Valley Incubator, an Accelerator in Madrid, theMill (education for Entrepreneurs), and Jóvenes con Futuro– an NGO dedicated to helping software engineers gain skills and experience necessary for their career development.

In addition to the venture capital focused work of the role, Michael looked after all major clients and led product development teams that worked on both sides of the Atlantic. While in Spain, Michael worked very closely with BBVA Bank serving as a Senior Advisor to their Innovation and Technology division and helped pave the way for the Fintech sector eruption.

An active figure in the startup world in the US, Europe, and Africa, Michael is a long time TechStars, StartupBootcamp, and Virgin Startup mentor to name a few. Michael remains active in the startup world mentoring and serving on several boards and as a non exec for several companies.

Michael spent several years working in the fitness industry for Crunch in New York, known as one of the most successful fitness brands, innovating across facilities, group fitness, personal training, and customer loyalty. Michael was part of the brand’s turnaround and is credited as having turned the sales process on its head. Since then he has consulted with several fitness companies, especially working in human/machine interaction in the fitness industry, advising Blocs Wearables, fitBit, and several other successful startups focused on fitness and wellbeing. Michael is also an investor in an emerging chain of wellness centres across the UK called Venuz.

Michael is the current Chairman of the Board for Bamboo Seed Capital in Spain, served on the board of Vodafone Ventures Egypt and Safaricom Ventures (Zindua Fund) Kenya, works with New York City Economic Development Council and was noted for his work with startups by the Spanish government and Royal family on several occasions. Michael is an active speaker on a variety of topics and has been a guest lecturer and adjunct professor at IE Business School, IESE, IED (Madrid), the University of Texas, the State University of New York, the Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), and the ESIC Business School. He’s been a keynote and panelist at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, theTM Forum in San Jose, and the GMIC in San Francisco. Michael is a Brownsville, Texas native and holds degrees fromthe State University of New York and Boston University.