Extreme Tech Challenge

Extreme Tech Challenge

XTC Global Finals: These 7 startups, selected out of 2400 global applicants, are solving the world's most extreme problems

XTC Global Finals: These 7 startups, selected out of 2400 global applicants, are solving the world's most extreme problems

Monday July 13, 2020,

5 min Read

The world faces dire global challenges, including poverty, inequality, and climate change. 

Technology will play a fundamental role in helping humanity overcome these challenges. And that’s what this year’s world’s largest startup competition for entrepreneurs addressing global challenges - Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) - is all about.

The XTC Competition was founded in 2014 by Young Sohn, President and CSO, Samsung Electronics and Bill Tai, Partner Emeritus, Charles River Ventures, to empower entrepreneurs and their companies with resources and networking to scale at low-to-no incremental cost.

XTC is a nonprofit and is devoted to elevating the next-generation of entrepreneurs creating new technologies and innovations to benefit humankind. Inspired by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the XTC supports and showcases innovators harnessing the power of technology to address key humanitarian challenges that the world is facing today. 

Game-changing innovations for global good 

The theme this year is ‘Pitch for Hope’, the competition kicked off in May 2019 and saw 2,400+ startups from 87 countries applying for the contest. Drawing from the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) bifurcated startups addressing challenges across seven key categories - AgTech Food & Water; Cleantech & Energy; Education, Enabling Technologies, Fintech, Health and Smart Cities & Transportation.  

The applicants were then narrowed down to 52 finalists, who recently pitched their solutions to a panel of more than 80 leading investors and industry experts. A winner was picked for each of the seven categories, who will now make their pitch to a power panel of six investors that includes internet legend and Yahoo! Co-founder, Jerry Yang; Young Sohn, Corporate President and Chief Strategy Officer, Samsung Electronics, and Co-founder of XTC; 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.

In addition to the overall winner, XTC competition has instituted two new awards that will go to a breakthrough startup responding to the global COVID-19 crisis and to a female-founded startup whose innovations are driving solutions for global challenges. These two special awards will be announced at the XTC Global Finals.

Meet the seven startups, the category winners, who will now present at the XTC Global Finals 2020

These seven startups are category winners, who have been selected from 87 countries. But, they all have one thing in common: Their innovations are making the world a better place.


MicroGen Biotech: Two billion children ingest unsafe levels of toxic heavy metals like arsenic through the everyday consumption of food brands. MicroGen develops a technology to block the uptake of heavy metals by crops while restoring contaminated soil.


Genecis: The startup converts food waste into biodegradable plastics and other high-value materials. They use a scalable platform to reprogram bacteria to make high-performance materials from low-value organic waste streams, while significantly reducing GHG emissions.


TOMI Digital: 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. And, in a time of COVID, TOMi has become a prominent teaching tool for virtual classes, even when students cannot use video conferencing.


HALA System: The Hala platform uses IoT, AI, remote sensing, and distributed ledger to prevent violence and mitigate social challenges in the most dangerous places on Earth. For instance, Hala’s early warning system has helped to predict airstrikes in Syria and save civilian lives.


Rewire: Rewire boosts economic growth and financial independence in developing countries through a digital banking platform that is designed to serve the unique needs of migrants wherever they are. Led by ideals of social good, Rewire offers complete transparency, equal opportunity, and a fair banking system that’s available to everyone.


Saathi: This startup makes eco-friendly hygiene products for women from banana tree fiber. Saathi’s sanitary pads biodegrade within six months vs. 600 years, and since the pads don’t contain harsh chemicals, they provide a rash and irritation free experience.

Smart Cities

SPRK: SPRK’s mission is to make the global food supply chain food-waste-free by turning millions of tons of surplus food into a sustainable impact venture. SPRK's AI-powered online distribution platform matches food oversupply with local demand, reducing food disposal costs and CO2 emissions while making more food available in cities.

The road to create impact

Through its global startup competition, XTC provides startups the potential for global visibility, the ability to raise capital, network with global entities (corporations, VCs, partners), and gain mentorship opportunities they need to pioneer technological breakthroughs and help power a sustainable future. It connects the innovators with a network of investors, corporations, and mentors to help them raise capital, launch corporate collaborations, and scale their world-changing startups. 

On July 15, XTC's Global Finals will be live-streamed. It’s your chance to hear how these winning startups will wow a panel of world-class investors and corporate executives. Register here