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EP41: Social entrepreneurship
in telecoms, challenging
the incumbents

Michael Potter is an entrepreneur, documentary filmmaker, author, and social enterprise investor. In this episode, he and Mattias Fridström discuss:

  • Michael’s professional background in the 80’s, working as a nuclear arms controller, international telecoms at the United Nations, and joining the very first class of students at the International Space University.
  • The story of Esprit Telecom, a European telco co-founded by Michael, and how the company challenged the telecoms incumbents.
  • Geeks without Frontiers, an NGO co-founded by Michael promoting technology including broadband connectivity to support health, education, poverty reduction and gender equality in developing countries.
Mattias Fridström
Mattias Fridström
There’s a certain kind of person who gets a little bit too excited about networks. Mattias is that guy. If he had a tattoo, it would be of a network. Mattias holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wollongong, Australia. He joined Telia in 1996 and has worked in a number of senior roles at Telia Carrier (now Arelion), most recently as CTO. Since July 2016 he has been Arelion's Chief Evangelist. Mattias’ passion isn’t limited to networks: He has played golf professionally and competed on a high level in both football and floor hockey.
Michael Potter
Michael Potter
Co-founder of the Non-Profit Organization Geeks Without Frontiers

Michael Potter is a co-founder of the Non-Profit Organization Geeks Without Frontiers. He was Co-Chair of Entrepreneurship faculty of the inaugural class of the Singularity University, is a Senior Fellow at the International Institute of Space Commerce and a member of the Advisory Board of the Lifeboat Foundation.



Formerly, Michael was an international telecommunications analyst at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. His articles on high technology business and policy have been widely published.

Prior to his technology investment firm, Paradigm Ventures, Michael was Vice Chairman, co-founder and President of Esprit Telecom plc., a pan-European competitive telecommunications services provider. During his 8 years at Esprit, his team grew to 1,000 employees in over 9 European countries and a market capitalization of a billion US dollars.

Michael is the founder of the The Kalpana Chawla Scholarship for Innovation, Entrepreneurism & Space, and The Ilan Ramon Project for Innovation, Entrepreneurism & Space. He is a multi-award winning documentary filmmaker whose films focus on humanity's greatest challenges.

Michael received a Doctorate in Space Achievement from the International Space University, an MS degree from the London School of Economics and a BA from California State University at Sacramento.

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