The Berlin Innovation Study Tour

Five Americans (Aaron Price, David Brown, Jackie De La Rosa, Mita Carriman and Rodrick Miller) recently traveled to Germany on the Berlin Innovation Study Tour, a program organized by Bosch alumni and select members of the Transatlantic Core Group (Paul Kuehn, Dierdre Lizio, Matthew Clayson, and Sandy Kreis), from October 24th-28th. Participants explored the city and learned more about innovation, technology, and start-ups in Germany.

They arrived on Monday, October 24th for a welcome dinner and a talk from Josh Cohen entitled “Understanding Innovation: US vs. Germany.”

The next day the participants learned more about the city’s history on the Berlin on Bike Tour. This was followed by a lunch meeting with Berlin Partner and a talk from Lukas Wagner on “Berlin as an Innovation Hub.” After lunch the group visited the EUREF Campus, home to international companies such as Cisco, Deutsche Bahn, Schneider Electric, and Alphabet. They met one of the start-up founders at the Campus, Henning Hepner, CEO of ebee and Mint Engineering. Afterwards they had a meeting with Franziska Lohl of Techstars and happy hour and networking with Proboneo.

On Wednesday the group continued to meet with major players in German innovation. The kicked the day off with a discussion on “Advancing Talent: Best Practices to Identify, Attract, and Retain Talent in the Innovation Economy,” led by Ivo Betke, the founder of Webcrowd, a digital recruitment firm, and Shana Kennedy (Bosch XXXI) of Career Foundry. The participants then met with Melanie Whitaker, a program officer in the German Marshall Fund’s Berlin Office for a talk on “The ability of transatlantic networks to drive innovation and change.” Afterwards they met with Tobias Noite, the CEO of Certain Measures and Roman Lipski,a Polish painter and long-term Berlin resident, to learn about “Berlin: The Intersection of Art, Design and Technology, and How it Drives Innovation.” The also had a chance to examine how immigrants and refugees help spur innovation with a talk from  Ana Monge, Speaker and Host at Immigration:Hub, called “Recognizing the Capabilities of Newcomers: How Migrants are Transforming Berlin’s Innovation Economy.”  The day concluded with a dinner with the BMW Foundation at Weltkuche. Claudia Strasser, Program Manager, Markus Hipp, BMW Foundation Social Innovation Officer, and Tobias Wittich, Rainmaking Loft, were in attendence.

The participants had another packed day on Thursday, starting with Chiara Sommer’s talk “High-Tech Grunderfonds Management GmbH: Venture Capital in Germany.” They then had a chance to discuss startups and entrepreneurship at a roundtable at ItemBase. Topics included a discussion of what’s working and what’s not in the startup scene, and how the scene differs between the U.S. and Europe. They then had the chance to delve further into the topic of immigration with a talk entitled ” Immigration: Opportunities and Challenges” at Plug & Play Accelerator at Axel Springer. The session includeds speakers shuch as Madita Best of Daheim, a startup that created a language app for recent immigrants, and Miriam Taenzer, the Head of Bitkom Taskforce for Refugee Help, a startup that is launching a job board for immigrants. The group then moved up to hub:raum at Deutsche Telekom to hear Verena Veller, Communications worker at hub:raum/Deutsche Telekom, and Lucie Volquartz, Project Manager of Startups at Bitcom, speak about “Corporate Innovation: What’s Working What’s Not?” The day ended with a tour and dinner at Holzmarkt.

The program ended on Friday with a closing meeting and a discussion of next steps.

Participant Bios

Aaron Price

Aaron is the founder and CEO of Propeller Media, built to unite innovators. Launching with the Propeller Innovation Festival in 2016, the event united over 8000+ innovators of the Northeast to celebrate what’s new and create what’s next with inspiration, education, and fun. Aaron is also the founder of the award winning NJ Tech Meetup, the state’s largest technology and entrepreneurial community with over 6000 members.

Aaron has served as the tech community expert for The White House, NJ Economic Development Authority, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal to name a few.

A serial entrepreneur, Aaron has founded several technology startups, including deliverU, effordables, weCraft, livecube, and Additionally, he served as the entrepreneur-in-residence at the NYC venture capital firm, DFJ Gotham. A born entrepreneur, Aaron started his first commercial venture in high school after he was awarded a patent for a weight lifting device.

Aaron lives in Hoboken with his wife and the startups of which they are most proud, their two daughters.

David Brown

David Brown is the Vice President of Innovation Leadership for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. There he leads initiatives focused on accelerating business growth in the Greater Boston area, including increasing opportunities to create relationships between startups and larger anchor institutions, growing internal innovation programs, branding Boston’s innovation community regionally and globally, influencing public policy locally and nationally around innovation, and helping prepare the business community in Boston around emerging trends and marketplaces. His work cuts across major industries in Boston including technology, healthcare, clean technology, and social innovation. Prior to the Chamber, David held roles running partnerships for ZappRx and as the Executive Director of Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG). David has an MBA, summa cum laude, from Babson College, and a BA from Williams College. In his spare time, aside from chasing around his two young boys, he is an active startup investor, sits on the boards of City Awake, Arts Connect International, Innercity Weightlifting, and TUGG, and is an avid skier.

Jackie De La Rosa

Jackie De La Rosa is a trained lawyer but an entrepreneur at heart. Before starting Oasys, she managed Mark Cuban’s northeast portfolio of his investment arm. His northeast portfolio was valued at approximately $55 million under her watch. Before her experience with Mark, she also contributed to another venture capital fund G51 Capital in Austin, Texas with the main task of sourcing Northeast deals in technology, clean tech and software. Jackie volunteers her time by advising young women entrepreneurs through the Women’s Center of Enterprise in Boston, Techstars and the Harvard Innovation Lab.

Mita Carriman

Native New Yorker and Brooklyn based Mita Carriman is the CEO and CoFounder of Adventurely (, an app disrupting solo travel that instantly connects you to activity partners or dates for curated activities in major cities. Adventurely was named a best new app by Refinery29 and Hipmunk, and was named 1 of 5 new travel startups with the most bold idea for 2016 by As CEO, Mita brings 7 years’ experience in law as an Intellectual Property and Trial Attorney who operated her own law firm and also served as General Counsel to a 500+ member national non-profit organization in the US. In addition to her work with Adventurely, Mita also recently launched, a coalition of tech innovators with Caribbean & Latin American Heritage, and tech startups making impact in Caribbean & Latin American Countries as a nod to her own heritage.

Rodrick Miller

Rodrick Miller is a results-oriented leader with over 15 years of experience in economic development, strategic planning, trade and foreign investment, real estate and project finance. He is respected globally for his ability to maneuver in extraordinarily complex political and business environments, and craft strategies and structure deals to provide long-term value to communities and investors. Currently, Miller is serving as President & CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). As CEO of DEGC, Miller is firmly committed to enhancing strategies and programs that are aggressive and effective, thoughtful and focused, and that play to the inherent strengths of the local market. Initiatives range from leading the redevelopment of the Mt. Elliot Corridor to increase the manufacturing capacity of the city to promoting small business growth through the Motor City Match program which provides grants of $500M to local small businesses quarterly. Previously, Miller served as the founding president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the official economic development organization responsible for ensuring the long-term economic vitality and driving job growth for the City of New Orleans. In that role, his team was responsible for nearly $900M in new private sector investment and over 7,500 new jobs. Prior to that position, Miller served as the Executive Vice President of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber where he managed day-to-day operations, developed strategic initiatives, and helped deliver on the firm’s $20M capital campaign. He has held other roles in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science degree in international business from St. Augustine’s College. He also earned a Graduate Diploma in Finance from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) as a Fulbright Fellow. Miller aims to work collaboratively while providing strong leadership and communicating a shared path forward. His skills as a negotiator, policy expert, and corporate strategist have been honed in over 10 countries. A scholar practitioner, he is a sought after lecturer and contributes to various publications. He is a term member of US Council on Foreign Relations, is a board member of the International Economic Development Council, and sits on the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council. Miller has received numerous accolades including Ebony Magazine’s 30 under 30, Phoenix Business Journal’s Top 40 under Forty, Top 100 Tech Influencers in the Silicon Bayou, Young Economic Developer of the Year by the International Economic Development Council, and numerous others. He enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with his son. Miller is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.

Planning Team Bios

Deirdre Lizio

Deirdre Lizio is the Program Manager of Corporate Affairs and Chief of Staff to the General Council at Risk Management Solutions, the world’s leading catastrophe modeling firm. She manages a wide variety of projects related to governance, compliance, business management, and corporate social responsibility. Prior to RMS, Deirdre was the Chief Operating Officer at Holstee, a lifestyle brand and sustainable home goods start-up. There she was responsible for overall company operations, finance, product supply chain, and strategy. Deirdre has over 10 years’ experience running operations at mission-driven start-ups in the education, responsible finance, and energy efficiency sectors. She was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in 2009-2010, working at Deutsche Bank and the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Outside of work, Deirdre is active with the Emerging Leaders in Energy and Environmental Policy (, a network of professionals studying and pursuing creative solutions to pressing environmental challenges. In the summer of 2014, she planned and managed an ELEEP study tour supported by the Bosch Stiftung for 8 participants to come to NYC and learn about sustainable business.

Matthew Clayson

Matt Clayson is Vice President, General Counsel, Business Development and Governmental Affairs at Detroit Trading Company. Detroit Trading Company is amongst the world’s foremost aggregators of “in-market” shopper intelligence providing data to original equipment manufacturers and dealers that are responsible for more than 30,000 individual vehicle sales or $1 billion in monthly car sales. He was formerly Executive Director of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center; prior to that, he was an attorney with interactive marketing and technology company ePrize, LLC (now HelloWorld).

Matt has been a featured speaker on the topics of entrepreneurship and innovation in the creative industries for the U.S. Department of State, the Aspen Institute, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Michigan State University Prima Civitas Foundation, The American Assembly, the German Marshall Fund, Techonomy, Meeting of the Minds, TechWeek and others. He is a 2015 German Marshall Fund Marshall Memorial Fellow and a member of the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Core Group.

Paul Kuehn

Paul Kuehn is obsessed with understanding how to grow high-value technology-driven businesses. He has extensive expertise in idea/concept development, strategic planning, operations, and feedback system development. He has a deep technology community network as well as multinational and cross-cultural work experience. He is currently Director of Business Development for GI Energy US, a US distributed energy integrator with deep expertise in geothermal, battery storage, fuel cells, CHP, micgrogrids and solar energy. Paul has extensive commercial and industrial energy project experience having worked on over 50 MWp across Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.

He has been part of the founding leadership team for Propeller Fest which attracted over 8,000 founders, entrepreneurs and innovators for to an interactive forum that hosted over 80 startups as well as industry giants like Techstars, Google, Prudential’s Gibraltar Ventures, and Nokia Bell Labs. Paul also founded Global PACT, a global education startup that he grew to 8 countries and 1,500 students. His Bosch Stages included KFW Banking Group and Deutsche Eco AG. He is fluent in German.

Outside of work, Paul is involved with the Warm Heart Worldwide, a nonprofit working on community development in rural northern Thailand. Working with volunteers, communities, local schools, and strategic partners, Warm Heart tackles problems that have kept generations of families in poverty. Through a cooperative effort Warm Heart is addressing family care, education, microenterprise, environmental concerns, and health care for the elderly and needy.

Sandy Kreis

Sandy Kreis is the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT) at John Hancock. In this role, she works with product teams to research and develop new products in financial services and insurance, using agile methodologies and cutting edge technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, and others.

Prior to joining John Hancock, Sandy has a variety of experience working with consumer-facing mobile apps, from advising myTrue, a company that is hoping to bring machine learning to help the individual manage dating in the digital age to serving as the Chief Commercial Officer at Drafted, a venture-backed mobile app that crowdsources recruiting. Before joining Drafted, she worked under the founders of as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Blade, a $20M startup foundry that finds the next and greatest consumer-based applications in both hardware and software.

From 2012 – 2014, she served as the Senior Manager of Business Development on the Innovation Team at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. In addition to organizing the Boston Cleanweb Hackathon and creating programs to support incubators like Greentown Labs (when it was just four entrepreneurs with a vision), she was also responsible for conceptualizing and staffing state leadership on Governor Deval Patrick’s international trade missions, which included “startup diplomacy” trips to Colombia, Japan, Israel, Canada, Mexico and others locations around the world.

She has judged and mentored a number of startup competitions, including the MIT 100K and the MIT Clean Energy Prize. The Bosch Foundation just awarded her a scholarship to run an invite-only study tour of the innovation ecosystem of Berlin, Germany. In 2015, she was nominated to BostInno’s 50 on Fire.

She is currently a visiting lecturer at Tufts University, instructing on innovation cluster development and how to launch a startup.

Prior to her entrepreneurial endeavors, she was a research analyst at IHS Emerging Energy Research and CB Insights. She holds a BA from Georgetown University, cum laude, and a MALD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she focused on international business relations and clean energy policy.


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