Shaping the world of tomorrow with science and technology. This was the objective of the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit held in Paris on the 13th and 14th of October. The event brought together more than 2000 innovators from all over the world including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and corporates. All the attendees had one thing in commun: the ambition to change the world through biotechnologies, artificial intelligence or machine learning. Many speakers and coaches were present to encourage and help entrepreneurs. Among them, Michael Bloomberg, CEO at Bloomberg and Emmanuel Macron, former French Minister of Economy talked about disruptive innovation and the relationship between big companies and startups.
Hello Tomorrow is first and foremost and non-profit association whose goal is to help and bring into the spotlight entrepreneurs that want to change the world through science. The community goes far beyond the French borders. HT events gather all over the world scientists, investors and industries to find a solution for local challenges.
The entire deeptech ecosystem was reunited in Paris for the annual Hello Tomorrow Global Summit. Healthcare, a subject very dear to the President of Hello Tomorrow, Xavier Duportet, was one of the main topics discussed during the two days. Named in 2015 “French Innovator of the Year” by the MIT, Duportet is also the CEO of Eligo Bioscience; a biotechnology startup that creates “smart antibiotics” that can kill very specific bacteria by using their genome. Genetics and DNA were areas of research widely explored by entrepreneurs. A whole morning was actually dedicated to the subject. Clive Brown from Nanopore explains that his startup develops a device that can scan DNA and extract information. “ DNA is like a information flowing down a wire. We should be able to decode it and treat it like Internet information” he says. Brown also adds that his device is already used to sequence the genome of species on the seabed and soon everyone will be able to plug it into their mobile phones. In healthcare, the applications are infinite. From fast patient DNA sequencing to detect diseases, to analysis of the bacterial genome to identify antibiotic-resistance strains, the use of DNA data for quicker and more personalised treatments is only at its beginning. What about creating DNA from scratch? That is what Emily Leproust, CEO at Twist, and her team do. Their clients use that DNA to create more food with less land, program healthy cells to recognise cancer cells and kill them or even modify organisms to turn them into biofactories that could produce plastic, energy or fuel. There are limitless opportunities. But DNA can also be used like a database. Indeed, Leproust is convinced that we can store data in the DNA just like we store data on the cloud. “The future of long-term storage is the DNA.” she says.
The event was organised in collaboration with big French companies such as BNP Paribas, Carrefour, Roche, Safran, L’Oreal, Butagaz and many others. They each had a stand where they exposed their latest inventions and gave talks about the future of their industry. Independent entrepreneurs were also there to presents their products like “the world’s most comfortable bed”.
Finally, HT tomorrow is also a startup competition. What is called the Hello Tomorrow Challenge collected over 3500 applications from 100 countries and research institutes. Healthcare, aeronautics, energy, food and agriculture, transportation and mobility or beauty and wellbeing were some of the tracks to which startups could apply. The Grand Prize went this year to Lilium Aviation, a startup that produces fast, all electric and silent personal jets.
The 2016 edition of the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit left many people in the audience speechless. What we thought was science fiction is actually happening right now, right in font of our eyes. When biology meets computing and business, the possibilities are infinite. The brave and ambitious entrepreneurs that want to change the world were offered the opportunity to express themselves and defend their ideas. Hopefully, investors and corporates heard the message, and soon the gap between industries and startups will be bridged. Indeed, according to a study revealed by the BCG, 95% of deeptech startups want a partnership with big companies but only 50% succeed in doing so. The Hello Tomorrow Global Summit most definitely helped bring closer together young entrepreneurs and international companies so that very soon, they will be able to work side by side and change the world.