2020 Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) Global Finals Brings Together Highly Innovative Startups Tackling the World’s Biggest Challenges

Disruptive cleantech startup Genecis selected as Global Winner; MicroGen Biotech wins Female Founder Award and Tyto Care takes home Covid-19 Innovation Award

2020 Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) Global Finals Brings Together Highly Innovative Startups Tackling the World’s Biggest Challenges (Photo: Business Wire)

MENLO PARK, Calif.--()--Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) 2020 Global Finals was truly one for the ages, with the competition held virtually amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The finals event kicked off in April 2020 with more than 2,400 world-changing startups from 87 countries showcasing their technologies at a time when their innovations and ideas have never mattered more. The field of outstanding candidates was ultimately narrowed to seven remarkable Category Winners, which went on to compete in the Global Finals on July 15th.

This year’s XTC winners overcame tremendous obstacles to turn their ideas into reality and unlock breakthrough innovations in service of society. The competition enabled invaluable collaborations between entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and global corporations to collectively change the world for the better.

“XTC is all about finding the next great disruptive startups that can address the world’s most pressing problems and have a meaningful impact on our planet,” said Young Sohn, Co-Founder of XTC, President and Chief Strategy Officer, Samsung Electronics and Chairman of the Board, HARMAN. “That’s why we are honored to celebrate all the amazing 2020 XTC winners and finalists that are truly changing the world. Given the many challenges the world is facing today, this year’s competition has a special urgency and significance. I couldn’t be more proud of the startups, partners, investors, volunteers and the entire XTC team that have collectively come together to empower game-changing technologies, promote entrepreneurship, and make the world a better place for everyone.”

The seven outstanding Category Winners that competed in this year’s XTC Global Finals are:

Genecis (Cleantech & Energy): Genecis converts food waste into biodegradable plastics and other high value materials, helping to reduce the 18 billion pounds of plastic polluting our oceans every year.

Hala Systems (Enabling Technologies): The Hala platform uses IoT, AI, remote sensing, and a distributed ledger to prevent violence and mitigate social challenges in the most dangerous places on Earth.

MicroGen Biotech (Agtech, Food & Water): MicroGen develops a technology to block the uptake of heavy metals by crops and restore contaminated soil.

ReWire (Fintech): ReWire boosts economic growth and financial independence in developing countries through a digital banking platform designed for the world’s 270 million migrant workers.

Saathi (Healthcare): Saathi makes eco-friendly hygiene products for women from banana tree fiber.

SPRK.Global (Transportation & Smart Cities): SPRK is on a mission to turn 1.6 billion tons of wasted food into a global business by using AI to understand and anticipate oversupply patterns.

TOMi.Digital (Education): Thousands of K-12 teachers are using the TOMi app to create interactive classes to engage students remotely and in-person, even without classroom internet.

Today, XTC is thrilled to announce that the Global Winner of the 2020 XTC competition is Genecis, an awe-inspiring cleantech startup that is having a profound impact on the planet.

“It was truly the adventure of a lifetime to compete in the XTC competition alongside thousands of other startups that all share our mission of making the planet a more sustainable and prosperous place for everyone,” said Luna Yu, CEO of Genecis. “We are thrilled to be selected as the Global Winner and we look forward to joining forces with the many amazing XTC ecosystem partners, including Fortune 50 corporations and tier-one venture investors, that can help us take our business to the next level and further benefit humanity.”

Genecis, along with the other Category Winners, will receive full exposure to the XTC network over the next 12 months, as well as access to world-class investors, corporations, and mentors to help gain global visibility, raise capital, launch corporate collaborations, accelerate growth, and reach greater scale.

The XTC competition is supported by more than 35 leading corporations, venture capital firms, universities, event and media partners. All told, more than 120 volunteers from the investment and corporate communities served as judges and helped organize regional competitions to bubble up the best of the best.

All seven Category Winners delivered impactful presentations to XTC’s star-studded panel of six judges that included internet legend and Yahoo! Co-Founder Jerry Yang; Young Sohn; Tim Draper, Founding Partner, Draper Associates; Philippe Botteri, Partner, Accel; Rafaèle Tordjman, Founder, Jeito Capital; and Bill Tai, Partner Emeritus, Charles River Ventures, and Co-Founder of XTC.

“World-scale problems need world-scale solutions that unite people from all over the planet. Innovation has gone global and great companies that could unlock a brighter future for all of us can come from anywhere now,” said Bill Tai. “This year’s theme is ‘Pitch for Hope’ and given what we see in the missions and talents of the XTC companies this year, along with the active collaboration of many of the world’s largest companies as participants and sponsors of XTC, there really is hope as everyone unites for our shared future.”

As a bonus, this year’s XTC competition also featured two inaugural awards that went to a breakthrough startup responding to the global COVID-19 crisis and to a female-founded startup whose innovations are driving solutions to global challenges.

Receiving the Female Founder Award was MicroGen Biotech, whose platform technology reduces heavy metals in crops to protect the health of all mankind and improves the health of soils. The Covid-19 Innovation Award went to Tyto Care, an innovative startup that is transforming healthcare delivery with on-demand medical exams from the comfort of home.

“We are honored that the judges recognized the potential of our product and the impact it has on the fight against Covid-19,” said Dedi Gilad, CEO of Tyto Care.

Presenting the awards were esteemed leaders across multiple industries. Advertising guru and Publicis Chairman Maurice Lévy delivered the Global Winner Award, while Tamara Steffens, Managing Director of Microsoft M12 handed out the Female Founders Award. Additionally, Dr. Hansell Steadman of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford of Harvard Medical School presented the Covid-19 Innovation Award.

Representatives from top organizations including the United Nations, International Finance Corporation (a division of the World Bank Group), Cisco, Citi Ventures, NXP, UCSF, and the University of California were also in attendance to present awards to the seven XTC Category Winners.

“We are excited to announce that, beginning today, startups can apply for XTC 2021,” said Sohn. “We look forward to hosting next year’s XTC Finals at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, France and ushering in the next generation of world-changing startups.”

To learn about the XTC Finalists and connect with the team, go to https://extremetechchallenge.org/finalists

About Extreme Tech Challenge

Extreme Tech Challenge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation whose mission is to elevate the next generation of entrepreneurs creating new technologies and innovations to benefit humankind. The Extreme Tech Challenge™ competition brings together startups, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and world leaders to bring solutions that address the challenges facing humanity and our planet. Extreme Tech Challenge partners include ADEO, Arm, ACTAI Global, BGV, Cadence Design Systems, Cisco, Curtin University, Deutsch Telekom T-Labs, DLA Piper, Evercore, Ford, Fujitsu, Global Corporate Venturing, Glovo, HARMAN, Intel, IT-Farm, Kejora Ventures, Maekyung Media, Microsoft, Morgan Lewis, NXP, Orrick, OurCrowd, Platform Calgary, Samsung Electronics, SGInnovate, SLUSH, SVG Ventures, Tech Mahindra, TechCrunch, Tech in Asia, University of California, YourStory TechSparks, Viva Technology, and Zoom. A list of complete XTC partners and how to join can be found at extremetechchallenge.org


Daniel Yoo


Daniel Yoo