Selection Committee

  • Paul Valdez

    Valdez Consulting Limited

Paul has been in the consumer healthcare sector for over 30 years. He has worked at a number of leading multi-nationals such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bristol-Myers Squibb and Reckitt. Senior roles in those organisations included multi-country General Management, Global Strategy and Business Development Director for Europe.

In 2011 Paul founded Valdez Consulting Limited, an international marketing and business development consultancy. The company works through a strong network of associates around Europe, helping clients to grow through geographic expansion and business development initiatives. Paul has frequently worked as an advisor for external companies wishing to enter or expand their activities in Europe, helping to locate opportunities and navigate the complexities of the region.

  • Jeremy Kelly


Jeremy is a Director and co-founder of Deal Flow a specialist International Consumer Health BD Consultancy and Brokerage Company based in UK. Jeremy has over 30 years’ experience in Consumer Health. He started his career in sales marketing with L’Oreal Reckitt and Wellcome, working across all major categories as well as launching number of key switch brands including Zovirax, before taking up the role of European BD Director with Warner Lambert. In 1996 he started his original business Evidence Based Marketing and over the last 20 years has consulted to all of the major OTC corporations in M&A, Licensing and Strategic Planning across all major therapeutic categories. In 2016 Jeremy started his latest venture Deal Flow, a targeted database BD networking and brokerage service, which specializes in screening and connecting buy and sell side opportunities internationally, across the full spectrum of Consumer Health business models in OTC Wellness Nutritionals Herbals and Digital.

  • Polina Hanin

    Academy Director
    StartUp Health

Polina is the Academy Director of StartUp Health and an extremely passionate advocate for health entrepreneurs. In her role, she leads StartUp Health’s lifetime program designed to help entrepreneurs succeed at every stage of their business and attract team members, customers and capital.

Prior to joining StartUp Health in 2012, Polina was at Viscogliosi Bros., a merchant bank focused on the orthopedic industry, where she held multiple interim roles within the firm’s portfolio companies. At Centinel Spine, her responsibilities included leading M&A deals, corporate development and distribution-related operations. She also launched Musculoskeletal Clinical and Regulatory Advisers, where she focused on client relations, marketing and corporate finance.

Polina received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Follow her on Twitter @polinahanin.

  • Alexander Hoffman

    Merck Ventures

Alexander Hoffmann joined the New Businesses team as Principal in October 2016. Previously, Alexander was the Head of Digitization Africa, leading the Digital Strategy for Africa at Merck. Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, he was instrumental for the launch and management of several digital health solutions supporting the existing businesses of Merck across the continent. He was also the main driver of the Merck Africa Accelerator program, looking after digital health startups in this region. Prior to that, Alexander has held various positions at several internet startups, ranging from Skrill and SumUp (online and mobile payments) to consumer-focused online businesses at Rocket Internet. Alexander holds a Master’s degree in Marketing from Kingston Business School, UK. Alexander is based in Amsterdam.

  • Eric Desai

    Greenhouse Capital Partners

Eric is an experienced growth equity and venture capital investor, with a background in consumer products and services. Prior to joining Greenhouse, Eric was a Vice President at Robin Lane Capital, a consumer goods and services growth equity investment firm. Eric has also held Corporate Strategy and Product Development roles at Revolution Foods and Philips, focusing on Food, Consumer Lifestyle and Healthcare. Eric spent his early career in the M&A Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Netherlands.

Eric holds a BS in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arizona, and an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.


  • Maayke Fluitman

    Managing Partner SelfCareFactorY; owner care2create

Maayke received her Master in Pharmacy from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. She has an extensive experience in pharmacy, primary care and self care. After gaining four years’ experience working as a community pharmacist she worked for over 10 years for Alliance Healthcare, where, in her final role as Pharmacy Governance Manager she was responsible for Clinical Governance Program of the pharmacy chain. In 2008 she joined the board of the Royal Dutch Association of Pharmacists (KNMP), of which she was vice-president for four years. She currently is president of the Department of Pharmacists, Medicine & Society at the KNMP.

She started her own business, care2create, to be able to create and launch new concepts in healthcare, wellness and self care. Maayke is also associate partner of Altuïtion, a marketing research company specialised in customer journeys and engagement engineering

Her interest and experience in self care led to strategic involvement on policy level, European as well as International, on creating standards and strategy to develop self care further.
Together with Jan Smits, she owns the SelfCareFactorY, an independent platform on trends and solutions in self care. The aim of this platform is to share best practice in self care and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to sharpen opinions