Hjördís Sigurðardóttir; Founder and CEO of ALDIN Biodome
Hjördís is the founder, creator and CEO of ALDIN Biodome. She is responsible for defining the company’s overall vision, concept and business development, as well as strategic planning, partnerships and goals.
Hjördís has received special awards for exceptional innovation and social capacity building and was a nominee for the EUWIIN award (2017). She is a member of the EU Woman Inventors and Innovators Network.
Hjördís commenced her professional life in the food industry, where she has extensive experience as quality control and production manager. She was also co-founder and a board member of a renewable hydropower company in Northern Iceland. In the field of planning she has worked as designer and advisor on various projects. Hjördís has also undertaken academic research and currently lectures on spatial planning at the Icelandic Agricultural University.
Hjordis has a MSc degree in Landscape Architecture and Planning, from Wageningen University Holland, with a Spatial Planning Specialization, a BSc in Environmental Planning, and a BS in Food Science.
Hjördís has been tutoring students for several years, including being Karen Róbertsdóttir’s main tutor in her research at the ALDIN garden 2020-2022. The research was considered outsanding and was nominated to receive the Icelandic President’s Awards in 2022.
Ágúst Freyr Ingason, CFA; Executive Chairman
As Chairman, Ágúst Freyr leads the board with a focus on strategic matters. He plays a pivotal role in fostering the effectiveness of the board. Ágúst Freyr is a partner in ALDIN since 2015 and has been involved in the development since.
For more than 10 years Agúst served as EVP and Executive Producer for LazyTown Entertainment. He was instrumental in developing and spearheading one of the most highly acclaimed global children’s television series and franchises in contemporary broadcasting history, growing the company from a small operation in Iceland into a phenomenon in over 120 countries worldwide.
Ágúst is equally adept in the financial sector with key positions of increasing authority prior to LazyTown – launching and managing international investment funds in Iceland that invested amongst others in international venture capital funds, providing local institutional investors first-time access to investments in international venture capital funds.
He is currently also an executive producer on several television productions.
Ágúst graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with an M.A. in Economics as well as subsequently receiving the CFA Charter.
Umar Ali; Corporate Finance
Umar is head of corporate finance and has been a partner in ALDIN since 2018.
Umar is an investment banker with extensive experience in international finance. He has held senior positions in banking and corporate advisory, including with HSBC and NatWest, with a focus on Investment Banking, Private Equity, Project Finance Advisory, Leveraged and Acquisition Finance.
He has worked on numerous project finance transactions across the world including in oil and gas, TMT, power generation and real estate. He has advised a number major firms including award winning transactions, written and taught courses on acquisition & leveraged finance, and is an advisor to a number of innovative companies in the tech, sports, and agritech sectors.
Umar is an engineering graduate and holds an MBA from Imperial College London.
Einar Páll Tamimi, General Counsel
Einar Páll is ALDIN‘s General Counsel and advises on all legal aspects, e.g. related to zoning, corporate finance and contracts. Einar has been a partner in ALDIN since 2019.
Einar has been a partner at Nordik Legal Services for a decade, and during that time been at the forefront of restructuring some of Iceland’s top-tier companies. He has served as a director or chairman of some of Iceland’s best known companies across several sectors as well as serving as a director of foreign listed and unlisted companies. Einar has also served as a board member or chairman of governmental committees such as the Appeal Committee on Personal Finance Restructuring and the Appeal Committee on Securities Listing. He is currently the Chairman of the committee overseeing the execution of all state guaranteed loans related to the Covid-19 economic challenges.
Einar has a wealth of experience in Icelandic and international corporate and finance law. Einar served as Assistant Professor at Reykjavík University’s School of Law and was MD and later Chairman of the school’s European Law Institute. Prior to his university appointment, Einar had served as Head of Legal Services at the European Free Trade Association in Brussels. Einar left academic life to become General Counsel of Íslandsbanki, later Glitnir Bank.
Karen Rós Róbertsdóttir (Née Karen Pease); Horticulture Technician
Karen has advised on plant related issues for ALDIN for several years and became partner in 2020. She has developed a searchable database of tens of thousands of plant species for ALDIN. She manages the ALDIN Biodome sustainabe experimental garden.
Karen has 17 years experience importing and cultivating a range of exotic tropical plant species under horticultural lighting. They include a coconut tree imported as a seed from Fiji which is now four meters tall, without ever having seen the light of day and a Garcinia variety discovered in the mountains of Jalisco, Mexico, as recently as the summer of 2020.
Karen has a two decades experience of software engineering in the US and Iceland (including running a startup, Celadon Applications). She has a BS in Computer Science from Rose-Hulman Institute of Science and is currently pursuing a horticulture degree at the Agricultural University of Iceland, with a focus on organic food cultivation.
Karen has been doing experiments with impact of low-grade heat and insulation on plant growth, at ALDIN’s location for more than two years. She has showcased that many exotic food plants can be grown outside in the city and/or more harvest can be obtained. She received grants from the Student’s Innovation Fund and her work considered outstanding. The research was also nominated for the Icelandic President’s Awards in 2022.
Gísli Matthías Auðunsson; chef with sustainability as a guiding principle
Gísli plays a key role in the design and operation of restaurants in ALDIN Biodome with an emphasis on the diverse and beautiful use of locally produced ingredients.
Gísli is a chef who has run some of the most prestigious restaurants in Iceland. He has received various awards and nominations for being an outstanding young Icelander, an incentive award from the association of companies in the fishing industry. Gísli is very interested in developing a vegan menu and has begun that journey with ALDIN Biodome.
Along with running the restaurant Mat og Drykk, Skál og Næs, Gísli has run the restaurant SLIPPURINN in Vestmannaeyjar since graduating, which has attracted attention from around the world. He has also been on the board of the Icelandic Slow Food Association for several years and has been a leading voice and advocate for Icelandic cuisine.
Over the years, Gísli has presented Icelandic cuisine and ingredients on the international stage. In 2021, the book ‘SLIPPURINN: Recipes and Stories from Iceland’ was published by Phaidon, in over 50 countries.
Gísli graduated from the Hospitality and Culinary School of Iceland in 2011 with the highest grade. Soon after graduation, he started his career running his own restaurants.