UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


UCL SSEES student Andrea Tortella takes centre stage on CNBC during World Economic Forum 2024

5 February 2024

Andrea Tortella, a current Politics, Sociology and East European Studies BA student recently attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024 in Davos where he pitched his ground-breaking start-up live on CNBC.

 Andrea Tortella takes centre stage live on CNBC at WEF Davos 2024

During the event, whose key theme this year was ‘artificial intelligence’, Andrea found himself amongst a remarkable line-up of guests. Reflecting on his experience, he said: “It was a memorable and humbling experience meeting such exceptional people from CEOs to heads of state, to Nobel Prize winners to innovative start-ups. I was part of the latter, and spoke, after former US Secretary of State John Kerry and before singer Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, about the future of AI in advertising.” 

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry and  singer Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas

Andrea spoke of his start-up in advertising technology, more specifically, his expertise in spatial computing advertising software, with the aim to transform traditional advertising methods by integrating augmented reality to create immersive and interactive ‘ad experiences’. Co-founding as the CEO, along with Xiaocheng Liang at UCL in Data science who previously worked at IBM and Amazon, and Marco Visentin who is undertaking his PhD in AI at Imperial, Andrea said “we are very excited about the impact of our product.”  

Andrea Tortella takes centre stage live on CNBC at WEF Davos 2024

Andrea continued: “We have finished building our nonprofit side project ‘Donate A Smile’ which aims to make more people smile and raise money for nonprofits with the help of advertising. Simply smile into our app and you donate. It works by overlaying a sponsored filter on your face triggered by your smile. The ad revenue from the sponsored filter is what pays for the donations.” 

“It would be amazing to have it implemented at UCL where every smile donates to UCL is registered as a nonprofit.” Watch a video demonstration here. You can also try the software.   

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