Are you an entrepreneur addressing global challenges? Apply for the Extreme Tech Challenge by March 15

XTC covers 10 categories including agtech and foodtech, cleantech, advanced materials, edtech, fintech, enabling tech (AI, ICT), biotech and devices, digital health, mobility, and sustainable smart cities.

For a third season, the non-profit Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) is seeking startups on every continent to join its ecosystem community and annual pitch competition. XTC focuses on advancing recognition and investment in high-return businesses doing responsible innovation that improves society and the environment.

The application deadline to become part of this worldwide competition is March 15. Apply here.

XTC, which was started in the mid-2010s to scout for ‘extreme tech’, was rebooted in 2019 when co-founders Young Sohn and Bill Tai saw a new opportunity in products and services aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

A key factor was that, due to huge advances in AI, edge computing, 5G and microfabrication, no longer did “sustainability” and “practical business” have to be in opposition. With capitalists’ growing awareness of the “disruptive potential” of global challenges, they saw investors actually paying a premium for businesses pivoting and solving these challenges. Also, investors are increasingly looking globally for investments, not just in a few tech hubs. So they felt the 2020s was the right time to build their worldwide ecosystem of corporations, investors, and startups.

From inception, XTC has partnered with YourStory’s annual conference TechSparks and offered “early admission” to the best tech-for-good finalists in the Tech 30/50 competition. Companies ranging from biotech (Elucidata) to mobility tech (Chara) to digital health (CogniAble), aquaculture (NatureDots), IT (NavanaTech) and e-commerce (FreshoKartz) have become XTC Global finalists through TechSparks. Other finalists from India include Pixxelspace and WHRRL.

Last year and again currently, NXP Semiconductors of India is running the NXP India Tech Startup Challenge specifically for tech-for-good startups in ICT and related areas. Winners are also offered “early admission” to XTC and included mobility tech (Grinntech), education tech (Thinkerbell), Industrial & IOT (MultiNanoSense) and digital health (Sunfox). After this, Thinkerbell and Sunfox won appearances on Sharks Tank India and Sunfox won XTC’s Global COVID Innovation Award.

Applications for the NXP Challenge close on March 18.

XTC is now partnering with agencies of the United Nations for further special recognition events. UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the World Food Forum last year, partnering with XTC for the WFF Startup Innovation Awards. to showcase entrepreneurs harnessing technology to drive the sustainable transformation of agri-food systems.

XTC recently announced a partnership with UNICEF for a UNICEF EdTech Award to recognise edtech ventures with the clear potential to impact 100-million children worldwide. Read more and apply here.

XTC is growing in every region, with new competitions announced in Brazil and South Africa recently; it has over 70 global partners composed of corporations, venture capital firms, universities, policymakers, and tech conferences. In 2021, the competition selected 80 finalists covering every continent with 43 percent of those being female founders. The finalist cohort collectively raised over US $166 million in venture investment since being selected.

XTC covers 10 categories including agtech and foodtech, cleantech, advanced materials, edtech, fintech, enabling tech (AI, ICT), biotech and devices, digital health, mobility and sustainable smart cities.

Applications for both Global XTC and NXP India Tech Startup Challenge are open until March 15 and March 18 respectively, and until March 31 for consideration by UNICEF. Winners of the NXP India Tech Startup Challenge will have access to the XTC Virtual Boot Camp Event and will stand a chance to participate as a finalist in the global competition. Qualified applicants to both will be eligible for both UNICEF and UN FAO competitions this year.


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