Walter De Brouwer
Entrepreneur in Residence
Walter De Brouwer is a Belgian internet entrepreneur who was involved in the creation of 38 companies, two of which became successful IPOs. He has an MA in linguistics from the University of Ghent, a PhD in Semiotics from Tilburg University and is doing a second PhD in Economics which proposes to use financial engineering to phase out development aid. At present he is the CEO of OLPC Europe, the European branch of Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop per Child located at the campus of Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication in Belgium.
De Brouwer stood at the cradle of personal computer magazine publishing (CM-PCM) in the Benelux and sold his titles to Nielsen Company (formerly VNU) in 1994. In 1996 De Brouwer was one of the founders of PING (Eunet), the commercial company of the European Unix Users Group which was acquired by Qwest Communications International and of Jobscape which went public as Stepstone on both the London Stock Exchange and the Oslo Bors.
From 1996-2001, Walter De Brouwer was a sponsor of the MIT Media Lab, and sat on the programming board of Nicholas Negroponte's Digital Life project. Inspired by Negroponte's work, he set up the 'Fundamental Research' laboratory Starlab which competed with Microsoft founder Paul Allen's Interval Research Corporation and Xerox Parc, specialising in Blue Sky (Deep Future) research on BANG, Bits-Atoms-Neurons-Genes. Financial Times said that Starlab attracted "the world's brainiest nerds", Discovery Channel called it the "Nerd Heaven", CNN listed it as a "lab of the last chance".
In 2003, De Brouwer became a director of the Tau Zero Foundation, formerly known as NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project and the founder of Fork Capital, a banking company in Brussels. He acted as Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts Europe until 2009 and recently joined the editorial team of the Journal for Chinese Entrepreneurship. De Brouwer is a founding member of TEDGlobal (Oxford), TEDActive (Palm Springs) and is the curator of TEDxBrussels.