Meet the Team

We are operators, scientists and entrepreneurs

with a shared set of values.

Alessandro Maiano


CEO at Wilbe. Former corporate solicitor in London focused on tech and medical devices, Ale left practice in 2015 to advise founders of early stage tech companies. Supported over 40 founders, and in 2017 set up Wilbe Ventures, acting as interim COO to AI and Blockchain ventures on an equitable basis. He built an investor-backed portfolio and a stellar team and in 2019 evolved Wilbe as the home for entrepreneurial scientists.

Guest lecturer for masters students within the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London.  Academically Ale specialised in environmental law, drafting policy including for COP15 in Copenhagen. He completed his LLB (Hons) from the University of Kent. A bowman when sailing, once injured his neck head-banging at a RATM tribute gig. 

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Academic Partner, Gautam is an evolutionary cell biologist heading his own research group at EMBL. The Dey Group is studying the evolutionary origins of nuclear organisation and architecture. He completed his postdoctoral research with Buzz Baum at the MRC Lab for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL and PhD from Stanford University’s Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, where he worked with Tobias Meyer on the evolution of human gene regulatory modules. Gautam's research.

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Hakan Bagci


Academic Partner helping the team visualise the impact of the research that we wish to commercialise. Hakan brings his expertise as a life sciences and healthcare consultant and inside the lab as a senior molecular and cellular biologist at Imperial College London. He is also Founder of the Imperial Postdocs and Fellows Enterprise Network. Hakan’s research.

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Devika Thapar


COO at Wilbe. Former head of new product development at IBM Watson in New York. Devika spent five years commercialising artificial intelligence solutions for large enterprises across USA and Europe in product, sales and chief of staff roles. She began her career as a management consultant with Accenture India. An angel investor in early stage ventures. 


Devika serves on the Board of Collette, a world leading travel company. Professionally trained dancer, she is on the Board of STEM from Dance aimed at empowering girls of colour to pursue a STEM education through dance. She completed her MBA from Yale University, where she also worked with the tech transfer office and a BA in economics from St. Stephens College India.

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Melanie Ghoul


Academic Partner working with the team to evaluate research. Melanie is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Junior Research Fellow in Evolutionary Microbiology at University of Oxford studying the evolution of social behaviours in bacteria with a focus on commercialisation as Enterprise Fellow, Oxford MPLS and Ideas to Impact fellow at Said Business School. Melanie’s research.

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Alec Thomas_edited.jpg


Originally from Colorado, Alec completed his PhD in the development of a bio-mimetic material to package therapeutics for targeted delivery. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, he led a clinical project within the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. He will soon be stepping into the entrepreneurial world at a London-based start-up in stealth.

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Why "Wilbe"

W. Wilberforce


The man who has inspired the setting up of Wilbe, led the spirit with which we came together as a team and with which we choose the founders we back and the problems we tackle. Transparent, dynamic, relentless and generous.

  • William Wilberforce

The Wilberforce Group

Innovating in sciences is both a privilege and a great responsibility.

The Wilberforce Group is a working group of senior social scientists, policy crafters and futurist designers who helps the team prioritise the innovation objectives and consider questions on ethics and impact.