Industry Pioneers to Join British Airways Aboard ‘UnGrounded’ Innovation Lab Held at 30,000 Feet

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Craig Newmark, Gina Bianchini, Among Leaders Confirmed to Participate in Global Technology Challenge

NEW YORK--()--British Airways today revealed a selection of industry leaders and change agents set to take part in UnGrounded, the company’s inaugural Innovation Lab in the Sky. The group will work on global challenges at 30,000 feet, aboard a private British Airways flight from San Francisco to London on June 12, 2013. Confirmed participants include California Lieutenant Governor and entrepreneur Gavin Newsom, Gina Bianchini, CEO of Mightybell, and Craig Newmark, founder, craigslist and craigconnects.

All participants have been hand selected to participate based on their experience and passion for driving the acceleration of innovation within developed and emerging communities across the world. The ideas and solutions created on the flight will be received by the United Nations ITU Secretary General at the DNA (Decide Now Act) Summit in London.

Additional innovators confirmed to participate include:

  • Andrew D’Souza, COO, Top Hat
  • Claudia Fan Munce, VP Corporate Strategy, Managing Director, IBM Venture Capital Group
  • Will Young, Director of Zappos Labs, Zappos; General Partner, Vegas Tech Fund
  • Alexis Ringwald, CEO and Cofounder, LearnUp
  • David Raskino, CTO, Microsoft Global Start-Up
  • Anthony Goldbloom, Founder and CEO, Kaggle
  • Penny Abeywardena, Head of Girls and Women, Associate Director, Commitments, Clinton Global Initiative
  • James Beshara, CEO, CrowdTilt
  • Tiffany Shlain, Filmmaker & Founder, The Webby Awards

The group will be joined by like-minded pioneers from the UK and entrepreneurs representing emerging entrepreneurial communities in India and throughout Africa.

In addition, Mashable, a leading source for news, information and resources for the connected generation selected ten flight participants as part of its “Best Idea” contest. The contest asked readers to share information about how they came up with their best idea. Mashable selected the following winners based on who they felt best embodied the spirit of the flight based on their answers:

  • Jen Padgett, Executive Director, CTA
  • Derek Shanahan, Director of Marketing, Playerize
  • Brian Doll, VP of Marketing, GitHub
  • Keren Douek, Recruitment Solutions, jobdreaming
  • Sheel Tyle, Associate, New Enterprise Associates
  • Kimberlie Cerrone, CEO, Tiatros, Inc.
  • Kristen Christian, Founder, Bank Transfer Day
  • Kofi Frimpong, Founder, Meal Tics
  • Peter Sheehan, Regional Sales Director, TeraMedica
  • Kelly Hoey, Co-founder, Women Innovate Mobile

More details on the Mashable winners and their entries can be found here.

“As we’re approaching the launch of UnGrounded on June 12, we’re excited to see visionaries and leaders from Silicon Valley bring their distinct perspectives and skills together to tackle the critical global challenge around the STEM skills gap,” said Simon Talling-Smith, EVP of the Americas for British Airways. “Face-to-face connection ignites the exchange of amazing ideas, and by bringing these bright minds together, British Airways and our partners, the United Nation and DNA Summit, look to spark and accelerate innovation to affect global change.”

About the UnGrounded Innovation Lab in the Sky

Taking place at 30,000 feet in the air aboard a private British Airways flight from San Francisco to London in June, the UnGrounded Innovation Lab in the Sky will address the misalignment between where science and technology talent is emerging and where opportunity exists. Developing solutions will be for the purpose of accelerating global innovation. Upon arrival in London, the group will present their approach to delegates from the United Nations during the DNA Summit. For more information visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us @BritishAirways and join the #BAInnovate conversation.

Key Facts: The UnGrounded Flight

  • The inaugural UnGrounded flight will travel from San Francisco to London on June 12, 2013.
  • British Airways has chosen to launch the UnGrounded flight from Silicon Valley, the global hub for technology and the de-facto model for how amazing ideas can be cultivated when people are together.
  • Participants on the UnGrounded flight will include some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent thinkers – from budding entrepreneurs to seasoned business leaders, VCs and scholars.
  • UnGrounded brings together talent from diverse backgrounds to disrupt and co-create to effect change within the global innovation community
  • Upon touching down in London, flight participants will attend the DNA Summit, a meeting that connects the best minds in the world to progress talk into action.
  • During the DNA Summit, passengers will present their solution to the challenge to a group of like-minded, global innovators. The outcome will be received by the Secretary General of the ITU - the UN agency for information and communication technologies.


Hannah Slocum, 212-331-8410


Hannah Slocum, 212-331-8410