Marina Atarova

Marina is a Russian born, London based entrepreneur and mentor who fell in love with internet at an early age. Marina has now over 5 years’ experience working with early stage, high growth potential tech startups and business Angel investors looking to invest in tech.

Marina divides her time between her weekly events and workshops for startups and investors where she is presenting and mentoring. She is also an enthusiastic social media professional and a sought after speaker at national and international conferences such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Pioneers Festival in Vienna. She is the founder of the Startup Academy where she runs her own workshops regularly at Google Campus in East London. One of her ambitions is to help launch a truly game-changing Fashion Technology company.

Early Years

Marina grew up in a small town in Lithuania in what was then the Soviet Union after her father, an atomic engineer was relocated there from St. Petersburg to build a power plant in the region. With a talent for languages and a thirst for knowledge Marina headed to Germany, to study in Dresden University of Technology where she later completed her degree in Sociology and Media studies.

Daimler Benz and a first taste of technology and the internet

After university Marina joined Daimler Benz as a member of their newly formed internet marketing department and was immediately hooked by what she identified as the huge promise of digital marketing.  After that she decided to move to London in the winter of 2010 for its reputation as the best place in Europe for launching a digital business.

London, Tech City and the startup scene

Whilst improving her skills as an internet marketer Marina found herself networking with many different startup founders. These were the early days of tech startups in London, and when she met her long term business partner, Paul Dowling, at one such event.

Together they decided to launch a digital platform for startups called Dreamstake where Marina has now been a partner for more than 5 years, advising startups on  strategy and organising pitching and knowledge sharing events for them. Dreamstake platform was, and still is the world’s only tech startup platform that matches founders to the investors who best suit their requirements using a unique startup rating algorithm that looks at more than 50 data points.

Today the Dreamstake platform is home to thousands of startups, and thanks to the free mentoring, events and workshops laid on by Marina and Paul. Many startups using the platform have developed to the point of investment readiness and subsequently gone on to raise funding, in some cases becoming household names.


Having been at the forefront of London’s “Tech City” revolution which began in 2010 when Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson jointly launched Tech City UK, Marina has run countless startup workshops both independently and on behalf of Dreamstake, as well as acting as a mentor at numerous accelerators and incubators i.e. MassChallenge UK, Startup Weekend, Google Campus, and 4YFN (4 Years from Now), and as a strategic advisor to investors.

Marina’s advice and ability to help early stage tech startups navigate through all of the obstacles on the path to a successful fundraising have seen her quickly gain a reputation as somebody with their finger on the pulse of the startup scene. There are very few questions about the startup world she doesn’t have an opinion on or answer to; her longevity in a startup world that is notoriously difficult to survive in marks her out as a key personality and somebody worth seeking the opinion of, not just for startups, but also for investors.