Air Liquide is one of the partners of the second edition of the Hello Tomorrow Challenge, a global start-up competition covering all major fields of technology. After six months of competition, the five finalists in the Energy & Environment category – Biocarbon Engineering, PowerWindow, Saros, Solenica and Turbulent – met up at the conference held on June 25 and 26 at La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris before a panel composed of judges representing Air Liquide, Total, and the CEA, among others, to convince them of the value and impact of their technology. BioCarbon Engineering, which emerged as the winner in the Energy & Environment category, was awarded €15,000 in prize money by François Darchis, member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee in charge of innovation.
BioCarbon Engineering, a company that developed a seed planting drone to combat deforestation, also won the Hello Tomorrow Grand Prize. The goal of this English start-up is to use a fleet of drones to plant millions of saplings simultaneously, using a faster and less costly technology than those currently in use.
The Hello Tomorrow Challenge, open to young researchers and entrepreneurs from around the world, is designed to promote projects that combine science and technology around six tracks: Food & Agriculture, Energy & Environment, Transport & Mobility, Materials & Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technologies & Security. Air Liquide sponsored the Energy & Environment category.
Launched in December of 2014, the Hello Tomorrow Challenge brought together more than 3,600 applicants from 90 countries, thanks in particular to its network of ambassadors, who promoted the initiative locally.
Throughout the competition, teams from Air Liquide worked closely with their counterparts at Hello Tomorrow. Group experts reviewed the 120 pre-selected start-ups based on criteria relevant to the proposed technology, the market potential, and the social impact. Once this phase was completed, the 30 start-ups short-listed for the Grand Finale on June 25 and 26 at La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie were mentored by Group employees (engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs). A masterclass was led by Group experts on the subjects of industrial property and intellectual property, giving the start-ups exactly what they needed to fully understand these issues.
The participation of Air Liquide in the Hello Tomorrow Challenge is aligned with the Group’s open innovation approach. This challenge has enabled Air Liquide to detect several disruptive technologies, to identify potential collaborations, and to become part of the global ecosystem of innovation.
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A non-profit organization, Hello Tomorrow supports entrepreneurs who want to bring solutions for the future based on scientific and technological innovations. The Hello Tomorrow Challenge is for start-up projects with high potential, based on laboratory technologies. The competition features 200 000 euros in prize money, along with support from experts, high-quality training, legal advice and media exposure. @hellotmrc / hello-tomorrow.org
The Air Liquide i-Lab
The i-Lab is Air Liquide’s laboratory for new ideas. Both a Think Tank and a Corporate Garage, the i-Lab co-builds news offers, products, and technologies with Group entities involved in innovation and its core businesses. Located in Paris, the i-Lab works with all of the Group’s R&D facilities in Europe, the United States, and Asia. @iLabAirLiquide
The Air Liquide Group
World leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health, Air Liquide is present in 80 countries with more than 50,000 employees and serves more than 2 million customers and patients. Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen have been at the core of the company’s activities since its creation in 1902. Air Liquide’s ambition is to be the leader in its industry, delivering long-term performance and acting responsibly. Air Liquide ideas create value over the long term. At the core of the company’s development are the commitment and constant inventiveness of its people. Air Liquide anticipates the challenges of its markets, invests locally and globally, and delivers high-quality solutions to its customers and patients, and the scientific community. The company relies on competitiveness in its operations, targeted investments in growing markets and innovation to deliver profitable growth over the long-term. Air Liquide’s revenues amounted to € 15.4 billion in 2014, and its solutions that protect life and the environment represented more than 40% of sales. Air Liquide is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (compartment A) and is a member of the CAC 40 and Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 indexes. @AirLiquideGroup