Program

Fintech

The world of fintech is evolving at a fast pace and technology has changed the concept of finance. Banks need to deal with the constant growth of fintech startups. Accenture reports that worldwide, $27.4 billion have been poured into fintech startups only in 2017, and this percentage is increasing significantly. Banks of today are undergoing tremendous evolution and transformation. What is the future of banks and the future of money? Will banks keep having control of the money? What are the opportunities for banks to stay above water? They need to evolve quickly and consider opportunities for a complete rethink. What is the next wave of disruptive technologies which will define the future of the fintech industry? The disruption created by digital forms of payments certainly has the ecosystem shaken up.

Blockchain

A blockchain is a digital and decentralized ledger in which records can be inserted. Every time a transaction occurs on the network, each node gets updated, which prevents malicious manipulation of records. Thus, the authenticity of each record is backed by the entire community instead of a centralized recordkeeping authority. Take the example of a shared document. Instead of writing a document that you will then send to a recipient who will edit it before sending it back to you, a blockchain network would allow each user to make direct amends to the document that gets updated on every other user’s computer instantly. The popularity and demand for blockchains has exploded recently due to their lower operating costs, minimized processing delays, high transparency, resistance to corruption, and, of course, the recent increase of popularity of cryptocurrencies. Is “blockchain” just an overhyped buzzword, or is it the technology of the future?

Data

With the increasing amount of information available about industry systems, handling data efficiently is a critical step when optimizing a process. From gathering data accurately to identifying bottlenecks, an efficient quantitative analysis can yield significant profits. The progress in data gathering, storing, and analysis allows to handle more complicated and bigger amounts of data. As the amount of technology in business always increases, so does the need for optimization. Efficiently monitoring processes and all the data associated to them is a key element to remain competitive. The main challenges of data handling in the future will be to ensure data security and privacy, handling big data, dealing with unstructured data, and more. How will we respond to the increasing amount of data gathered by all the sectors of industry? How can this data be managed, integrated, visualized, and most importantly, protected?

AI

Simulating advanced artificial intelligence in machines and computers has become one of the hottest topics in technology advancements. Its goal is to mimic typical human behavioural traits, such as cognitive functions, self-learning, and reasoning across all sorts of sectors. Although the current technology may never allow computers to surpass humans, they can get close and come in handy in many situations. Two of the first, most famous applications of AI are chess simulators and self-driving cars. In both of those cases, the computers must assess and weigh the potential consequences of every action they perform and decide accordingly. AI could facilitate our lives in all sorts of applications, but it also generates a great deal of controversy. Will artificially intelligent computers become so powerful that humans can’t keep up? Could AI be used for weaponry or hacking? The absence of rationality in the decision-making process seem to cast doubts.

Cybersecurity

We are delighted to bring you the Cybersecurity segment in collaboration with Adara Ventures, an early stage VC firm investing in European deep tech companies with a particular focus on Data and Cyber.

Cybersecurity is the protection of computer systems from damage to its hardware, software, and electric data, as well as from any unwanted intrusion, disruption, or misdirection. The more we rely on computer software to perform transactions, store money and conceal private information, the stronger cybersecurity we need. Some of the biggest banks invest sums of over a billion dollars in cybersecurity to ensure the safety of their services. Cyberattacks are evolving and are becoming increasingly destructive, which stresses the need for progress in security. What are the main security concerns of the internet today? Which current, emerging, and future technologies have to worry the most about cybersecurity? What is the importance of data privacy: can you really be anonymous online, and is it acceptable to be so? Does the progress in technology force cybersecurity to progress accordingly? What role will cybersecurity play in the future, and what is its future worth?

Smart travel

The word “smart” is often used to describe the utilization of technologies to improve and facilitate people’s lifestyle on a daily basis. When it comes to travelling, technology can be applied in all sorts of ways. On a larger business scale, costs of transportation can be largely reduced with an efficient routing and mapping system where multiple deliveries can be executed in the least amount of time and energy. On an individual perspective, smart travel can be achieved by designing car sharing, parking, convenient public transportation, and on-demand ride services solutions. Driverless cars, frictionless cities and ticketless travel may just be around the corner.

Energy

An increase in technology often correlates to an increasing need of energy supply. The main challenge of this era of innovation is to meet the high demand for energy with clean, sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy. Although alternatives solutions of energy supply are emerging, our society remains heavily reliant on products made from fossil fuels for heating and transportation. We must encourage the growth of alternative energy sources by emphasizing their benefits towards the environment and their economic competitiveness. Increasing energy efficiency and developing renewable energy technologies are also topics that must be considered. Will the planet ever run out of fossil fuels? And if so, how will the energy industry react? What other energy solutions could replace them, and when?

Healthcare

Our current healthcare framework contains inefficiencies that must be addressed. Due to the advancements technology is offering us, the healthcare sector is becoming one of the most transformed areas. How can the latest technological innovations assist our current healthcare system? Should we expect an increase in life expectancy? Will gene editing be the future of diseases treatment? What are the buzziest technologies or disease areas of 2017-2018? How is Big Data, AI, and Machine Learning changing the healthcare system? What is the evolution in the pharmaceutialsector? What are the most disruptive breakthroughs in biotech: CRISP,Nutraceuticals? Will chemotherapy ever become nothing but a bad dream?

Industry 4.0

There are three known Industrial Revolutions. The first one came with the appearance of mechanization and the utilization of water and steam as power means. The second one represented the emergence of mass production, assembly lines, and electricity. The third one appeared with the popularization of automation and computers. Industry 4.0, also sometimes referred as the fourth Industrial Revolution due to the recent clear evolution of technology, contains the recent advancements in cyber physical systems. It represents the next phase in the digitalization of manufacturing systems. How will the Industry 4.0 advancements impact employment? What are the challenges in reaching optimal supply chain management? How is IoT (Internet of Things) helping that progress? Smart factories, cloud computing, and the progresses in automation are in the radar of

Tech4Change

The advancements in technology are changing our daily lives in many different aspects. Today’s campaigners use new technology to involve more supporters, obtain better numbers, engage a greater spectrum of audience, saving money, increasing the speed of communication, and more. Technology is helping people live a better life and change the world for the better. We need to explore how technologies are making this possible. How does technology make it easier for individuals to have an impact on the world? Is it easier to make a difference today than it ever was? What technological progress does our world still need to promote change?

Developers

A developer writes code and builds programs and software, commonly referred as “apps”. The need for software engineers is projected to grow drastically over the next few years. While technology may suppress jobs in certain sectors of the industry, it most definitely will provide massive opportunities for developers and software engineers. What will be the software needs of tomorrow? Will AI, cloud computing, and IoT invade the programming world? Is it still worth learning how to code today? Will it be necessary to be a coding guru to develop software considering the popularity of “No-Code”?

Logistics & Ecommerce

Logistics is the management of the way resources are obtained, stored, and transported to their destinations. This entails a great amount of planning and control which is often reliant on digital technology. Logistic systems can remain quite simple on standard small-business scales. However, due to the lack of a brick and mortar location, an ecommerce must rely on third parties to handle, store, and ship products to the customer. This in turn calls for an efficient inventory management strategy. E-commerce has grown rapidly over the past few decades and greatly contributed to the evolution of logistics. We can’t help but think about the monster that has become Amazon, and the so-called Amazon effect. But even Amazon says that if it stops innovating, it will be out of business within a decade. What is the next move for e-commerce, and how will it scale against physical stores? Does the solution of optimized shipping lie within 3PL (third-party logistics)? What is the power of free and/or fast shipping?

Agrotech

The importance of the agricultural sector is too often underestimated. The constant increase in life expectancy undeniably forces agriculture to maximize its efficiency to sustain the demand for alimentation. The sector must reinvent itself with he help of innovative technological solutions. Not only more food will be required in the future, but our habits and needs will also evolve. As consumers, we want to have healthier food but also, we want to understand all the processes behind the production of the food we eat today. The new projects and start-ups coming out nowadays are helping to achieve all these social requirements. With this changing universe around, are we going to be able to change our traditions and adapt them to upcoming generations? What will be in our plates in the near and distant future? Will we ever be able to feed everyone on the planet, and is technology the solution to the issue? We must rethink our food universe and accept that the advancements in agrotech may have to be accompanied with a shift in our culture.

Startup Operations

Managing startup operations can be tricky due to the new company’s fresh appearance in the market. Startups usually have little products to commercialize and no reputation to benefit from, yet. Due to limited source of revenue during the incubation, startups must rely on investors and self-funding to survive the transition. Thus, they must show great flexibility in order to fulfil multiple tasks such as design, marketing, financials, and production. What is the role of a startup COO? Is it the same across all startups? As a startup starts to grow, several systems need to be put in place, such as an efficient organizational structure, systematic and strategic planning, and task specialization, while retaining an authentic company culture.

Frontiertech

Frontier technologies are areas of technology that emerged from research and development (R&D) but aren’t massively commercialized yet. What is considered “frontiertech” is constantly changing, because R&D keeps coming up with new innovations that increase in popularity and quickly become democratized worldwide. Robotics, drones, Artificial/Virtual/Augmented reality, space 2.0 and quantum computing can all be included within frontiertech. But will any of these have a meaningful impact in the future? What is the future of space travel? Will drones become a reliable delivery solution? What may seem like an amusing gadget today may just be an indispensable technology tomorrow.

Entertainments & Platforms

In the past decade, we have experienced a great evolution and transformation in the consumption of entertainment content. Access to any type of news has become increasingly easier thanks to the multiple platforms available. We need to know what impact entertainment and marketing is having on these platforms, on creativity and on the traditional agency model. Customer interests are changing, therefore personalization has become fundamental. We now consume content through different viewing platforms. How can we take advantage of the emerging technology channels to improve and create more awareness of the quality of content we consume, and transmit one of the world’s most important issues? Will the internet last forever, and if not, what comes after it? What is the next disruptive technology the media will use to provide information? Will these platforms disrupt the future of media & entertainment as we know them?

Ethics in AI

Ethics in AI can be separated in many distinct branches. The first and foremost branch contains ethics that humans must consider and respect when designing, using, and interacting with artificial intelligence. Transparency is required for a technology that is predicted to invade our world in the next few decades. But ethics come into play in many other aspects of AI. For example, we must consider the impacts of AI on human employment. Furthermore, one of the biggest concerns in AI is the nefarious power it could have if used maliciously. How do we protect ourselves against undesired or unintended consequences? As AI progresses, will cybersecurity be able to meet the increasing demand for security? Will AI ever overcome our intelligence that put us on top of the food chain? Should there be strict AI laws and regulations regarding crime, malice and warfare?

Working culture

An organization technically relies on the performance of all of its employees as individuals and as members of a whole system. But without proper leadership, vision, morals, and culture, we do not bring the best out of our employees. With a good culture, employees will have a personal sense of urgency and motivation to complete the task at hand and will feel like they are adding a brick to the wall by doing so. Additionally, a healthy culture makes the workplace fun and increases both employee and customer satisfaction. What is the key for creating a good culture in a company? Who is responsible for creating it? What kind of culture do the leading companies have, are they similar? Culture may just be a startup’s greatest asset; do startups struggle in achieving a good company culture since day 1?

Diversity

Diversity in the workplace is no longer considered a “plus”: it’s a necessity. By neglecting a certain portion of the population because of age, ethnicity, religion, gender, and more, companies may turn down unprecedented talent. Statistics show that racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%, and teams composed of equally paid men and women earn 41% more revenue. If statistics prove that diversity benefits companies, why is inequality still present in the workplace? How will diversity evolve in the upcoming years? What is the inherent reason for which, today, a white Caucasian male is the predominant profile in the workplace? And what can companies do to change stereotypes and create heterogeneous workplaces?

Insuretech

After the massive increase in popularity in FinTech, advancements in technology were applied to revolutionize the insurance sector. Applications of AI, IoT, and Chatbots to harvest complicated sets of unstructured data to optimize insurance algorithms are becoming increasingly prominent. Will traditional insurance companies get replaced by more technologically advanced systems? How can they seize the opportunity to develop their current model to survive the technological advancements? How can technologies like AI and blockchain benefit the insurance business? InsurTech startups are becoming a threat and project that some of the current insurance incumbents may not be able to evolve.

Regtech

Regtech, sometimes referred to as “the new FinTech”, is the name of the disruption happening with the use of technology in the regulatory world. By helping companies to comply with regulations efficiently and inexpensively, RegTech helps businesses keep up with the fast-paced advancements created by the development of FinTech. How will RegTech companies deal with the geopolitical events affect regulations such as Brexit? How does RegTech deal with data privacy requirements? Could RegTech be the solution to the current Anti Money Laundering (AML) procedures? What are the key challenges when financial instutions adopt RegTech?

Proptech

Real estate/property technology represents the change both in mind and technology of the real estate industry. Technologies such as AI, beacons, smart homes, home viewing, augmented reality, virtual reality, big data, and many more are all useful tools that contribute to the expansion of proptech. Similarly to all other sectors where tech is involved, proptech is expected to highly disrupt the current industry and force real estate professionals to adapt and innovate in order to keep up. How will PropTech affect the current industry? What is at stake for real estate professionals? What can professionals do in order to keep up, and where are the areas that can be disrupted by innovating startups? Will PropTech be an alternative, an addition, or a replacement of the current systems?

Legaltech

Law is another sector where technology has recently been drastically emerging. According to AngelList, only 15 startups listed themselves as “Legaltech” in 2009, while more than 400 startups are currently listed. Technological advancements are reshaping the industry and forcing all law-related businesses to stay up to date. This includes taking advantage of online legal marketplaces, using bots and scripts, advanced legal analytics, blockchain, and more. Lawyers aren’t the people revolutionizing the legal world anymore; entrepreneurs are. How can LegalTech contribute to the inefficiencies of one of the oldest professions of our history? How big is the need for cybersecurity in this industry? How much faster can legal services be performed with efficient big data processing software? Efficient data handling, protection, and analysing could very well be the future of the law industry.