“New technologies can provide solutions to the challenges the world faces today.” – David Aikman, Chief Representative Officer, Greater China, World Economic Forum
Organizations such as the World Economic Forum (WEF), with access to a network of experts, can help the innovation community identify high-potential startups and technology breakthroughs.
Every year, the World Economic Forum releases a list of Technology Pioneers – startups that are highly original and poised to shake up an industry or two. The competition is judged by leaders from both science and business, and the winning startups tend to be exceptional.
These young companies are very much the kind of development partners that innovative corporate subscribers seek out on seedsprint.
For that reason, we’re saying thank you to WEF for recognizing these startups. Let’s take a deeper look into what makes this year’s crop of Technology Pioneers so notable.
What Makes a Tech Pioneer? Diverse Emerging Technology Startups
This year’s list of winners is highly diversified, and they cover those technologies that are center stage for industry’s open innovation professional. The startups span artificial intelligence and synthetic biology, aiming to tackle profound challenge for energy, healthcare, communications and manufacturing applications, ranging from markets for automobiles to diagnostics to silicon wafer and beyond.
More than anything else, these emerging technology startups are well positioned to influence legacy companies. These young companies all share a combination of high quality science-based IP and a hunger to succeed–it’s no wonder the WEF judges are convinced of the impact these winners will have.
Service Innovation: Connected Health and Privacy
Some of the Technology Pioneers deliver step-change improvements in service industries, such as healthcare, food service, and cybersecurity.
Take World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Augmedix. The founder noticed that the rise of electronic patients’ records can cause doctors to waste time entering data during patient visits, which can sour the patient experience. Augmedix wants to equip doctors with smart glasses, through which “a team of real-time, quality controlled, and customized remote scribes” can hear and record patient data, freeing up the doctor for hands-on, personalized care.
Understandably, privacy and security issues crop up in any health-connected discussion. Fortunately, many young companies are actively developing technology solutions in tandem with “smart” devices to deliver consumers the privacy, security and peace of mind they deserve.
Another innovative young technology company Onfido, is moving to commercialize a background check procedure that provides privacy and security assurance for companies which rely on the ability to verify remote users and workers. For example, they are currently working with TaskRabbit, and food-delivery company HelloFresh.
Another example of leading-edge security technology in the Tech Pioneer class is Deep Instinct, a predictive solution which uses machine learning to counter cyberattacks. There is enormous potential for startups in this space, with cybersecurity being the second most pressing concern cited, according to a recent PwC event survey.
Energy, IOT and the Blockchain
Traditionally, electric power generation and distribution have relied on a top-down, centralized model: the conventional electric utility. From deregulation and the rise of independent power producers, to the increasingly common usage of solar panels, new models of energy production and distribution are emerging.
Several WEF Tech Pioneers are working to improve upon or upend the traditional model. Blockchain energy company, Electron, is among them. This UK-based startup is looking to put blockchain-based trading tools in the hands of energy producers of all kinds, from households with solar panels to large traditional producers to in order to increase efficiency and security in the energy space.
A European company with a taste for distributed energy is Berlin-based Mobisol. Energy poverty limits economic and social opportunity for over 1.1 billion people, according to the United Nations Foundation. Mobisol provides low cost solar power systems to places where the traditional electric grid is unreliable or nonexistent. Drone delivery is in the works, which could give the company an edge in hard-to-reach markets.
Energy and operating efficiency generally go hand in hand. Konux an industrial IoT company, located in Munich, uses sensors and AI-based analytics to help companies keep operations efficient.
Industrial IoT is mainstream, used by giants such as GE and other major companies to reflect their embrace of this powerful technology. The potential benefits of connecting physical objects via the internet has led to a proliferation of startups in the space. This nod from WEF may help Konux to stand out in the fray.
As companies applying for these awards know, there’s nothing more rewarding than having a team of global leaders in science and business tell you you’re on the right track.
For those that win major awards, sweep up a seed round, or join a competitive accelerator, the effect as is similar: validation spurs growth.
WEF winners are an inspiration to all of us. seedsprint works to get emerging technology startups in front of established companies with valuable resources. Those companies in turn can provide young companies with scale-up insights and specialized equipment, customer access, and the deep market knowledge that can make a vital difference for commercialization.
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