Scientific Advisors

Luca Benini

Scientific Advisor

Luca Benini holds the chair of digital Circuits and systems at ETHZ and is Full Professor at the Universita di Bologna. He received a PhD from Stanford University.

He has been visiting professor at Stanford University, IMEC, EPFL. He served as chief architect in STmicroelectronics France.

Dr. Benini’s research interests are in energy-efficient parallel computing systems, smart sensing micro-systems and machine learning hardware.

He has published more than 1000 peer-reviewed papers and five books.

He is an ERC-advanced grant winner, a Fellow of the IEEE, of the ACM and a member of the Academia Europaea.

He is the recipient of the 2016 IEEE CAS Mac Van Valkenburg award,  the ACM/IEEE A. Richard Newton and the EDAA Achievement awards in 2020.

Executive Team

Evangelos Eleftheriou

Chief Technology Officer

Co-Founder ​- Axelera AI

Evangelos Eleftheriou, an IEEE and IBM Fellow, is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Axelera AI, a best-in-class performance company that develops a game-changing hardware and software platform for AI.

As a CTO, Evangelos oversees the development and dissemination of technology for external customers, vendors, and other clients to help improve and increase Axelera AI’s business.

Before his current role, Evangelos worked for IBM Research – Zurich, where he held various management positions for over 35 years. His outstanding achievements led him to become an IBM Fellow, which is IBM’s highest technical honour.

In 2002, Evangelos became a Fellow of the IEEE, and later in 2003, he was co-recipient of the IEEE ComS Leonard G. Abraham Prize Paper Award. He was also co-recipient of the 2005 Technology Award of the Eduard Rhein Foundation. In 2005, he was appointed an IBM Fellow and inducted into the IBM Academy of Technology. In 2009, he was co-recipient of the IEEE Control Systems Technology Award and the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award. In 2016, Evangelos received an honoris causa professorship from the University of Patras, Greece. In 2018, he was inducted into the US National Academy of Engineering as Foreign Member. Evangelos has authored or coauthored over 250 publications and holds over 160 patents (granted and pending applications).

His primary interests lie in AI and machine learning, including emerging computing paradigms such as neuromorphic and in-memory computing.

Evangelos holds a PhD and a Master of Eng. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University, Canada, and a BSc in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Patras, Greece.

Scientific Advisors

Marian Verhelst

Scientific Advisor

Marian Verhelst is a full professor at the MICAS laboratories of the EE Department of KU Leuven. Her research focuses on embedded machine learning, hardware accelerators, HW-algorithm co-design and low-power edge processing. Before that, she received a PhD from KU Leuven in 2008, was a visiting scholar at the BWRC of UC Berkeley in the summer of 2005, and worked as a research scientist at Intel Labs, Hillsboro OR from 2008 till 2011. Marian is a topic chair of the DATE and ISSCC executive committees, TPC member of VLSI and ESSCIRC  and was the chair of tinyML2021 and TPC co-chair of AICAS2020. Marian is an SSCS Distinguished Lecturer, was a member of the Young Academy of Belgium, an associate editor for TVLSI, TCAS-II and JSSC and a member of the STEM advisory committee to the Flemish Government. Marian currently holds a prestigious ERC Starting Grant from the European Union, was the laureate of the Royal Academy of Belgium in 2016, and received the André Mischke YAE Prize for Science and Policy in 2021.

Executive Team

Fabrizio Del Maffeo

Chief Executive Officer

Co-Founder ​- Axelera AI

Fabrizio Del Maffeo is the CEO and co-founder of Axelera AI, the Netherlands-based startup building game-changing, scalable hardware for AI at the edge. Axelera AI was incubated by the Bitfury Group, a globally recognised emerging technologies company, where Fabrizio previously served as Head of AI. In his role at Axelera AI, Fabriozo leads a world-class executive team, board of directors and advisors from top AI Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining Bitfury, Fabrizio was Vice President and Managing Director of AAEON Technology Europe, the AI and internet of things (IoT) computing company within the ASUS Group. During his time at AAEON, Fabrizio founded “UP Bridge the Gap,” a product line for professionals and innovators, now regarded as a leading reference solution in AI and IoT for Intel. In 2018, Fabrizio, alongside Intel, launched AAEON’s “AI in Production” program. He also previously served as the Country Manager for France and Sales Director for Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe at Advantech, the largest industrial IoT computing company. In this role, he also led the intelligent retail division. Fabrizio graduated with a master’s degree in telecommunication engineering from Milan Politecnico University.

Board of Directors

Sander Verbrugge

Non-Executive Director

Partner - Innovation​ Industries

Sander Verbrugge is a Partner at Innovation Industries, an independent venture capital firm that combines company-building and venture investment. Sander also sits on the Board of Directors at Axelera AI, the Netherlands-based startup building game-changing, scalable hardware for AI at the edge.

Sander works to bridge the gap between disruptive technologies and profitable businesses. He has more than six years of strategy consulting experience at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, where he has acquired a deep understanding of technology and successful business practices. He previously held positions at NXP Semiconductors working on global technology scouting efforts led by the CTO. He was also part of the central PMI team for a successful M&A with Freescale, as well as Co-Lead for PMI of the Sales and Marketing Organisations for an intended Qualcomm M&A with Qualcomm. He additionally managed a global business development team focused on IoT Security.

In early 2019, Sander started his position at Innovation Industries where he focuses on the High-Tech part of the portfolio. He is heavily involved in the early-stage efforts of the fund and holds a supervisory board seat in multiple portfolio companies, the latest addition being Axelera AI. Sander received his PhD in Molecular Biophysics from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and an MsC from TU Delft.

Board of Directors

George Kikvadze

Non-Executive Director

Executive Vice Chairman​ - Bitfury Group

George Kikvadze is the Executive Vice Chairman of the Bitfury Group, the world’s leading emerging technologies company. George currently sits on the Board of Directors for Axelera AI, the Netherlands-based startup building game-changing, scalable hardware for AI at the edge.

Prior to joining Bitfury in 2013, George held positions at Emergent Capital, GCF Fund, York Capital Management, AFK Sistema and Morgan Stanley. He obtained his MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and his MA in International Relations and Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). George is a Founding Director of the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC). He is also a Board Observer at LiquidStack – the world’s largest liquid immersion cooling company for hyperscale, edge and high performance computing.

Board of Directors

Valery Vavilov

Non-Executive Director

Founder and CEO - ​Bitfury Group

Valery Vavilov is the CEO and founder of the Bitfury Group, the world’s leading emerging technologies company. Axelera AI, the Netherlands-based startup building next-gen, scalable hardware for AI at the edge, was incubated by Bitfury and advised by other technology companies, including nanotechnology firm IMEC and deep-tech venture capital funds Innovation Industry Fund and imec.xpand. Other game-changing companies Bitfury has incubated and brought to market include LiquidStack, the emerging leader in two-phase liquid immersion cooling for the world’s most intensive computing applications, and Crystal Blockchain, the most advanced blockchain analytics platform for digital asset compliance.


Valery’s entrepreneurial experience and passion for blockchain led him to found the Bitfury Group in 2011 when blockchain was just beginning to capture the world’s attention and imagination. A native Latvian who experienced first-hand the challenges resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union, Valery was inspired by the innovative technology and saw an opportunity to build technological solutions that could improve the lives of people worldwide. Valery focused first on hardware solutions that would ensure security and trust in the Bitcoin Blockchain, leading Bitfury to develop six generations of cutting-edge chips and state-of-the-art data center designs. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its focus to provide custom-designed software and advanced hardware in cryptocurrency, blockchain and artificial intelligence, all while maintaining its position as one of the major public Bitcoin Blockchain security and transaction providers. Prior to founding Bitfury, Valery spent more than 15 years in a variety of technical and leadership positions. 


He has received his M.S. degree in Computer Science from Riga’s Transport & Telecommunication University in Latvia and has completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Among other leadership initiatives, he is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Fourth Industrial Revolution Council on Blockchain.