What does breakthrough innovation look like today?

Hello Tomorrow
Nov 7 · 4 min read

Hello Tomorrow unveils the top 750 Deep Tech Pioneers selected from the Global Challenge

Every year we receive thousands of applications to our deep tech startup competition, the Global Challenge. This year was no exception, we actually beat all previous records, with 5,176 applications coming from 128 countries! It’s safe to say that this gave us a pretty good idea of what deep tech innovation looks like today. Our team and network of experts carefully judged and selected the best 750 startups from the pack, based on the following 4 criteria: technological innovation, economic viability, leadership & team and potential impact on industry and society. We call these startups our ‘Deep Tech Pioneers’. Here’s what we know about the best projects out there.

Deep tech from well-established ecosystems and some promising newcomers

First off, location, location, location. Among the top startups selected, a mammoth 55 countries are represented. While 27% of these incredible projects come from North America, just over half are European (54%), 14% from Asia and the remaining 5% are dotted over all corners of the globe.

The top cities represented, among them Berlin, Boston, Lausanne, London, Munich, Paris, SF/Bay Area, Singapore,Toronto and Zurich, align pretty well with what the World Economic Forum considers to be the world’s most innovative economies. No surprises here, but we’re happy to see some promising startups coming from much smaller and less well known ecosystems such as Russia and Thailand!

Deep Tech innovation is fuelled by university research

37% of our Deep Tech Pioneers are university spin-offs, with top Universities from Switzerland (ETH Zürich and EPFL), the US (Harvard and MIT), Singapore (National University of Singapore) and Germany (Technische Universität München) ranking highest. Hats off to the growing number of universities out there who are supporting the transfer of research from lab to market! 54% of Deep Tech Pioneers have obtained at least one patent to protect their intellectual property, indicating that these innovations are one-of-a-kind original and novel research, just waiting to be discovered (at the HT Global Summit!) What’s more, 40% of startups have published academic papers in peer-reviewed journals, confirming yet again that the link between research and deep tech innovation is strong.

High impact solutions across all sectors

Our Challenge attracts startups developing solutions across the board. Among the many sectors represented, healthcare is leading the way! With 31% of our Deep Tech Pioneers developing healthcare solutions (medical biotech, medical devices and digital health). Nonetheless, it goes without saying that all of them offer inspiring, purpose-driven solutions, with 88% of them aligning with one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The high-impact nature of these solutions is in part reflected by the fact that these startups are primarily (79%) targeting B2B markets. Developing a platform technology, which can be implemented by many industrial players and applied directly to different products, makes their innovation all the more disruptive.

What does a Deep Tech Pioneer look like?

The average age of a Hello Tomorrow Deep Tech Pioneer startup is under 3 years, which is still very early-stage in the deep tech world! These ground-breaking technologies take time, and require an extensive R&D period in comparison to web and mobile applications, which can easily be developed within a few months.

24% of the startups have female founders, a figure that, whilst definitely not encouraging in terms of gender parity, reflects the fact that the STEM fields remain highly male-dominated (for now!) Year by year, more and more women globally are entering STEM careers, and we hope to see this figure increase accordingly.

They’re all about acceleration

Finally, the importance of acceleration programs to these deep tech startups is significant. 35% of Deep Tech Pioneers are actively looking for acceleration programs to join, whilst 33% are currently enrolled in one. Startups in the deep tech space often lack vital business expertise and access to a mentoring network, and these programs are a great way to obtain the necessary skills and connections to go far. That’s why we’re dedicating a whole day to business meetings with accelerators and incubators, aptly named the Business Day, so that these startups are able to find the right program for them.

In order to give these breakthrough innovations a platform and answer the specific needs of deep tech startups, we have crafted an entire week of events and meetups called the Deep Tech Week, taking place in Paris on March 9–13th 2020. Events include the Business Day (March 10th) and Investor Day (March 11th) and the Global Summit (March 12–13th) — grab your passes today!

Massive thanks to our partners who support our mission to accelerate the transfer of new emerging technologies with high impact!

Hello Tomorrow Stories

Unlocking the power of deep technologies to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. We are a nonprofit initiative run by science entrepreneurs, for science entrepreneurs. Find out more at www.hello-tomorrow.org

Hello Tomorrow

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Unlocking the power of deep technologies to solve some of the world's toughest challenges. www.hello-tomorrow.org

Hello Tomorrow Stories

Unlocking the power of deep technologies to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. We are a nonprofit initiative run by science entrepreneurs, for science entrepreneurs. Find out more at www.hello-tomorrow.org

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