The World Economic Forum today welcomes 100 innovative tech firms to its Technology Pioneers community. Full of young and growing tech companies, the 2022 cohort is forging new paths in healthcare, food production and more with cutting-edge technologies.
This year’s intake includes Emerge, which is improving virtual interactions through the development of a device with tactile effects for users at virtual gatherings. Ampd Energy is reshaping the construction industry by pioneering battery energy storage systems, and Alife is supporting healthcare advances by using artificial intelligence to improve the success rate of IVF.
“The 2022 cohort of Technology Pioneers is already bringing great changes to industries around the world,” said Saemoon Yoon, Technology Pioneers Community Lead, World Economic Forum. “By joining this community these emerging tech leaders can continue to show not only the impressive tech advancements within their firms but also how their companies are helping to build a better future for us all.”
For the first time, over one-third of the selected firms are led by women, well above the industry average. With 2022 Tech Pioneers based in 30 countries – with Viet Nam, Rwanda and the Czech Republic represented for the first time – this year’s cohort is shaping industries around the world.
In Mexico, for example, microTERRA builds on-site water treatment systems with microalgae that transforms wastewater into a sustainable protein source and clean water. Luxembourg’s Mission Space develops a satellite-based space weather intelligence system. In the United States, Bonumose is transforming global food systems with its technology to support the affordable production of healthy alternative sugars such as tagatose and allulose.
Following their selection as Technology Pioneers, this year’s companies will join an impressive group of alumni that include many household names, such as Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Spotify, TransferWise, Twitter and Wikimedia.
The 2022 cohort will also be invited to participate in World Economic Forum workshops and events and high-level discussions during their two years in the community.
The 2022 Technology Pioneers include:
- Access Afya (Kenya) – High-quality healthcare for the global mass market
- Ampersand (Rwanda) – Africa’s leading battery-swap energy network for light vehicles
- Okra (Nigeria) – Digitalizing financial services for Africa
- Pula Advisors (Kenya) – An insurance and technology company providing comprehensive insurance solutions
- Sendy (Kenya) – Building fulfilment infrastructure for e-commerce and consumer brands
- Akila (China) – Optimizing buildings, construction and environmental, social and governance
- Allinfra (China) – Building technology to help institutions achieve their climate goals
- Ampd Energy (China) – Electrifying construction to eliminate emissions
- Authing (China) – Enterprise’s next-generation information technology identity infrastructure
- BioMap (China) – Leveraging artificial intelligence to decipher the complex immune system
- Booming Tech (China) A virtualization engine platform for a digital oasis
- Boson Protocol (Singapore) – A universal settlement layer for commerce
- Digitwin (China) – Providing enterprise metaverse solutions through spatial digital twins
- Docosan (Viet Nam) – A new gateway for healthcare in Viet Nam
- EMQ (Singapore) – Enabling real-time, secure and affordable financial services for everyone, everywhere
- Freed Group (China) – Enhancing performance and commerce capability through FreeDimension technologies and solutions
- Mint Innovation (New Zealand) – Delivering low-carbon metals critical to electrifying the global economy
- Mudi (China) – Offering clinical research-based data through the use of artificial intelligence
- N.THING (Republic of Korea) – Leading innovation in agricultural service and farm-to-table value chains
- NextBillion.ai (Singapore) – A spatial data platform enabling location artificial intelligence for enterprises
- Okra Solar (Australia) – Developing hardware and software for sustainable last-mile energy access
- OnLoop (Singapore) – Transforming clunky performance management into elegant collaborative team development
- Pandocorp (India) – Making supply chain execution intelligent with a fast logistics cloud
- Proeon (India) – Creating next-generation plant proteins with superior taste, texture and nutrition
- Qcraft (China) – Autonomous driving solutions for easy autonomous application with rapid iteration
- Recykal (India) – Asia’s first circular economy marketplace
- Reejig (Australia) – Ensuring zero wasted potential in people, business and society
- RoboticPlus (China) – Providing intelligent robotic products for the construction sector
- Seoul Robotics (Republic of Korea) – A 3D computer vision company powering the future of autonomy
- Shinta VR (Indonesia) – Providing impactful immersive technology for education and human development
- SmartCoin Financials (India) – A tech-driven financial inclusion platform empowering the underserved
- Vahan (India) – Building a full-stack labour marketplace for blue-collar workers
- WIZ.AI (Singapore) – Revolutionizing the in-and-outbound call process with conversational voice artificial intelligence
- XCharge (China) – All-in-one smart electric vehicle charging solution pioneer
- YesHealth (China) – Building the world’s largest and most efficient vertical farms
- Beenova AI (UK) – Scaling education through conversational learning powered by artificial intelligence
- betteries (Germany) – Upcycling electric vehicle batteries into affordable mobile power systems
- Circulor (UK) – A proven technology for real-time supply chain traceability
- Citibeats (Spain) – Ethical artificial intelligence big data analysis
- Collective Benefits (UK) – Insurance and benefits platform for independent work
- Cyacomb (UK) – A first line of defence against harmful content online
- Dendra Systems (UK) – Pioneering ecosystem restoration at scale
- EJARA (France) – Enabling francophone Africans to build and protect their wealth
- Embion Technologies (Switzerland) – Platform technology for sustainable nutrition and health solutions from biomass
- Enerbrain (Italy) – Providing healthier and energy-efficient built environments for people
- Fluency (UK) – Enabling central bank digital currencies and universal digital payments
- Mission Space (Luxembourg) – A private satellite-based space weather intelligence system
- MIWA (Czech Republic) – Preventing the creation of waste from single-use packaging
- Nu Quantum (UK) – Enabling scalable quantum computing through photonic networks
- Oxford Quantum Circuits (UK) – Building quantum computers to enable life-changing discoveries
- Plan A (Germany) – A corporate carbon accounting and decarbonization software solutions provider
- Proton (Switzerland) – Providing internet services that are private by default
- Roboze (Italy) – Reshaping manufacturing with a new distributed production model
- ROCSOLE (Finland) – Insights from harsh process conditions improving industry operational efficiency
- Somnium Space (UK) – Open, social and persistent virtual reality platform powered by blockchain
- TechWolf (Belgium) – Developing an enterprise overview of employee skills and gaps
- Twin Science (UK) – Developing children’s skills through purpose-led STEM learning
- Wolfprint 3D (Estonia) – Cross-app avatar platform for the metaverse
- Global66 (Chile) – Global financial platform for individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises
- Houm (Chile) – A digital platform to rent, buy and sell properties online
- Mamotest (Argentina) – A patient, data-driven, end-to-end solution to defeat breast cancer
- microTERRA (Mexico) – Powering the plant-based future
- Pomelo (Argentina) – Infrastructure to launch and scale fintech in Latin America
Middle East and North Africa
- Eureka Security (Israel) – A data security posture management platform
- HawKar (Tunisia) – An innovative start-up aimed at people with reduced mobility
- OCON Healthcare (Israel) – 3D uterine drug delivery to fit women’s anatomy
- Agerpoint (USA) – Transforming how plants, crops and forests are measured and monitored
- Alife (USA) – An IVF operating system to improve outcomes and fertility care
- Aliro Quantum (USA) – Quantum networks for physics-based secure communication and scalable quantum computing
- AllHere (USA) – AI-powered support for families in primary and secondary schools
- BEIT (USA) – Providing intellectual property for quantum computer hardware and algorithms
- Benepass (USA) – Reimagining company staff care with flexible and personalized benefits
- Bonumose (USA) – Affordable, healthy sugars without sacrificing taste or functionality
- Butlr Technologies (USA) – Making the built environment people-aware
- Centrly (USA) – A market intelligence platform accelerating innovation by systematizing partnership search
- Colossal Biosciences (USA) – The de-extinction company
- Copia Automation (USA) – Git version control for programmable logic controller (PLC) programming
- Credo AI (USA) – Operationalizing responsible artificial intelligence
- CrowdAI (USA) – Enabling organizations of all sizes to deploy computer vision
- Databento (USA) – Pay-as-you-go for financial market data
- DNAstack (Canada) – Building technologies to enable responsible biomedical data sharing and discovery
- DXM (USA) – Technology-driven, on-demand, sustainable manufacturing platform for all
- Emerge (USA) – Bringing touch and emotion to virtual experiences
- Everstream Analytics (USA) – Setting the world’s supply chain standard
- Guidewheel (USA) – Empowering factories to reach sustainable peak performance
- High Fidelity (USA) – Offering spatial audio technology for next-generation voice communication
- Horizon Blockchain Games (Canada) – Driving Web3 adoption through easy, fun and powerful blockchain
- Hubble Technology (USA) – Enabling business resilience through complete visibility into technology assets
- Ignite (USA) – Accelerating the world’s transition to a decentralized future
- Journey Foods (USA) – Automating sustainability, nutrition and cost innovation
- Leap (USA) – Enabling real-time, automatic energy market participation for distributed energy resources
- LeasePilot (USA) – Helping commercial real estate owners draft their leases faster
- Manufacture 2030 (USA) – Empowering companies to hit supply chain carbon targets with confidence
- Nithio (USA) – An artificial intelligence-driven platform for clean energy investment
- Novoloop (USA) – Upcycling company creating chemicals and materials made from plastic
- Oolu (USA) – Distributing solar energy solutions in West Africa
- Plaine Products (USA) – Eliminating single-use plastic from the bathroom
- Recuro Health (USA) – Pre-emptive digital medical care to lower costs and improve outcomes
- Resilinc (USA) – A leading supply chain risk monitoring, mapping and resiliency solution
- Slang (USA) – Artificial intelligence-powered learning platform empowering the workforce with professional English
About the Technology Pioneers
The World Economic Forum believes innovation is critical to the future well-being of society and driving economic growth. Launched in 2000, the Technology Pioneer community comprises early- to growth-stage companies from around the world that are involved in the design, development and deployment of new technologies and innovations and are poised to make a significant impact on business and society.
The community is part of the Global Innovators Community, an invitation-only group of game-changing start-up companies. In addition, the community is also part of the Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, where members contribute to shaping new policies and strategies in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and digital assets, the internet of things and autonomous vehicles.
Global CEOs Commit to Collective Action on Cyber Resilience
For the first time, leading oil and gas stakeholders are calling for industry to come together to stop harmful cyberattacks.
The action is in response to major security breaches in the past two years that have highlighted the vulnerability of critical infrastructure. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022, 18 companies have come together to take a Cyber Resilience Pledge, in recognition of the fact that much more collective preparedness is needed.
The pledge aims to mobilize global commitment towards strengthening cyber resilience across industry ecosystems. Organizations endorsing the pledge commit to collaborating and taking collective action on cyber resilience. Launched with the support of organizations engaged in the World Economic Forum’s Cyber Resilience in Oil and Gas initiative, the pledge seeks to empower organizations to take concrete steps to enhance cyber resilience across their industry.
The organizations that have taken the pledge are: Aker ASA, Aker BP, Aramco, Check Point Software Technologies, Claroty, Cognite, Dragos, Ecopetrol, Eni, EnQuest, Galp, Global Resilience Federation, Maire Tecnimont, Occidental Petroleum, OT-ISAC, Petronas, Repsol and Suncor.
“First endorsed by key CEOs in the oil and gas value chain, the Cyber Resilience Pledge is a landmark step as it signals recognition of the complexities of building a cyber-resilient industry ecosystem and a commitment towards collective action to achieve it,” said Alexander Klimburg, Head, Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum. “The World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity is proud to have led this effort in conjunction with our partners. We look forward to scaling the pledge to other industries in the future.”
The pledge promotes a shift towards a resilience-by-design culture, ecosystem-wide, cyber-resilience plans and greater collaboration between players.
“As the world deepens its digital footprint, cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated,” said Amin H. Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco. “But one company, working alone, is effectively like locking the front gate while leaving the back door wide open.” Companies must work together if they want to truly protect the critical energy infrastructure that billions of people around the world depend on.
Cyberattacks on the Colonial Pipeline in the United States in May 2021 and on European oil facilities in February 2022 forced the facilities to operate at limited capacity, causing huge economy and society-wide disruptions.
Common, industry-wide, cyber-resilience practices are essential, said Robert M. Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Dragos. “As our world becomes more digitally connected it is imperative, especially for our industrial and operational technology, to ensure our infrastructure’s secure and safe operation.”
“The oil and gas industry is going through a digital revolution that has been a catalyst to the energy transition and sustainability. Cyber resilience is key in this revolution, as staying ahead of vulnerabilities is fundamental to our business. The pledge is a step further by developing a collective effort to embed cyber-resilience and a cyber-risk aware culture across the energy industry,” said Felipe Bayón, CEO of Ecopetrol.
“The pledge advances Galp’s commitment to joint action on managing cyber risks and protecting cybersecurity of critical energy infrastructure, by creating awareness and a unified stance on cyber resilience in the global energy sector,” said Andy Brown, CEO of Galp.
“Petronas upholds the safety of its people, assets and the environment as our utmost priority, including reinforcing better cyber security and safety practices. Petronas is committed to and fully supports the World Economic Forum’s Cyber Resilience Pledge and its principles in safeguarding our ability to deliver energy responsibly and securely,” said Tengku Muhammad Taufik, CEO of Petronas. “In this respect, we believe that addressing the risks and enhancing cyber resilience is critical as the oil and gas industry embraces greater digitalization to capture valuable opportunities in this digital era.”
The Forum will continue to promote the pledge across multiple industry ecosystems with the objective of facilitating the implementation of the cyber resilience principles.
New Initiative to Build An Equitable, Interoperable and Safe Metaverse
The World Economic Forum announced today a new initiative, Defining and Building the Metaverse. The initiative brings together key stakeholders to build an economically viable, interoperable, safe and inclusive metaverse. Research suggests that the metaverse is expected to grow into an $800 billion market by 2024.
At this early stage, the metaverse can develop in many ways, depending on research, innovation, investment and policy. The new initiative convenes more than 60 leading technology and other sector companies alongside experts, academics and civil society to accelerate the development of governance and policy frameworks for the metaverse and strengthen economic and social value creation opportunities.
The initiative will focus on two key areas. The first area of focus is the governance of the metaverse, how the technologies and environments of the metaverse can be developed in safe, secure, interoperable and inclusive ways. The second will focus on value creation and identify the incentives and risks that businesses, individuals and society will encounter as the metaverse comes to life. The initiative will also outline how value chains may be disrupted, industries may be transformed, new assets could be created and rights protected.
“The Defining and Building the Metaverse initiative provides the industry with an essential toolkit for ethically and responsibly building the metaverse. This will help ensure that we can fully harness this vital medium for social and economic interconnectivity in an inclusive, ethical and transformative manner,” said Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.
“The metaverse is at an early stage in its development. Done well, the metaverse could be a positive force for inclusion and equity, bridging some of the divides that exist in today’s physical and digital spaces. That’s why the Defining and Building the Metaverse initiative will be so valuable. It mustn’t be shaped by tech companies on their own. It needs to be developed openly with a spirit of cooperation between the private sector, lawmakers, civil society, academia and the people who will use these technologies. This effort must be undertaken in the best interests of people and society, not technology companies,” said Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs, Meta Platforms, Inc.
“The metaverse is the next inevitable step in the evolution of the internet but will require comprehensive collaboration between all ecosystem stakeholders to make it an open, safe and secure environment. As such, this Forum initiative is a robust start to addressing the key technology and policy fundamentals to enable the metaverse to fulfil its boundless potential,” said Cher Wang, Founder and Chairwoman, HTC Corporation.
“While the metaverse is in its nascent stage, we believe it has the potential to deliver enhanced connections for everyone. As an industry it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure this new paradigm is developed in a way that is accessible for everyone, puts the needs of people first, enhances human connection and is developed securely with trust built in by design. It is for this reason that we are proud to participate in this cross-industry collaborative body that will define the standards for the metaverse,” said Brad Smith, President and Vice-Chair, Microsoft Corporation.
“As part of Sony Group, our goal is to get closer to people, and Sony Interactive Entertainment approaches the Metaverse with the mission to further imagine the ‘best place to play.’ We envision a virtual world that will captivate our fans, excite global creators, and bridge these two vast communities in bold new ways. Now, with an anticipated growing community of users engaging within the Metaverse, governance is a critical and shared responsibility of all its participants. An accessible, safe, and inclusive Metaverse will require new ways of thinking and democratization as well as strong commitments from all involved,” said Stephanie Burns, SVP, General Counsel, Sony Interactive Entertainment.
“At Magic Leap, we are excited about how technologies like augmented reality will transform the way we live and work, especially in growing fields like healthcare, manufacturing and the public sector. To realize the potential of these technologies, a thoughtful framework for regulation that protects users and facilitates future innovation is required, supported by all stakeholders, including businesses, consumers, government, NGOs and academia,” said Peggy Johnson, CEO of Magic Leap, Inc.
“As a company that has inspired and developed generations of kids through physical play, we are uniquely positioned to help develop kids in the digital worlds of tomorrow. As the metaverse evolves, it is reshaping how people meet, play, work, learn and interact in a virtual world. To us, the priority is to help create a world in which we can give kids all the benefits of the metaverse – one with immersive experiences, creativity and self-expression at its core – in a way that is also safe, protects their rights and promotes their well-being,” said Julia Goldin, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, The LEGO Group.
“The rapid advancement and adoption of the metaverse will create unforeseen complexities in terms of governance, ethics, social and industrial effects. Thus, the need for collective intelligence to anticipate, analyse, design, experiment on and constantly revise governance measures and frameworks will be crucial. It will be an honour for us from CJ Group to make contributions along with dedicated and leading colleagues from around the world to the World Economic Forum’s metaverse initiative,” said Dr. Cha Inhyok, Chief Executive Officer, CJ Olive Networks & Group Chief Digital Officer, CJ Corporation.
“In these early stages of development of the metaverse, it is important to define the operating principles, standards and ways of working as we go forward. Frameworks that account for openness, interoperability and safety are fundamental to long-term sustainability and success of these shared ecosystems and communities. We look forward to contributing to the World Economic Forum’s committees for this new initiative,” said Nuala O’Connor, Senior Vice-President & Chief Counsel, Digital Citizenship, Walmart Inc.
“Animoca Brands is pleased to be a part of the inaugural metaverse initiative launched by the World Economic Forum and we look forward to a dialogue with our industry colleagues as we navigate the potential of true digital ownership in the open metaverse,” said Yat Siu, Co-founder and Chairman, Animoca Brands.
Taking active steps to form a strong foundation for metaverse development is one of the key tasks humanity has to fulfil this decade. We are proud to be part of the World Economic Forum’s metaverse group and give our insights and suggestions regarding these topics, particularly that of interoperability. We are keen to further develop decentralized ways to allow users the ability to move freely between virtual reality worlds and keep their digital identities and belongings truly theirs,” said Artur Sychov, Founder and CEO of Somnium Space.
Growing Intra-Africa Trade through Digital Transformation of Customs and Borders
The digital transformation of customs and borders in Africa could improve efficiencies in processes, such as administration at customs and borders, and yield trade gains on the continent of $20 billion a year. A new report by the World Economic Forum, Growing Intra-Africa Trade through Digital Transformation of customs and borders, launched today at the Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos, provides a pragmatic perspective on the non-tariff barriers in border and customs services that can be exponentially improved through digital transformation to increase intra-Africa trade.
The report, written in collaboration with Deloitte, is launched at the convening of the Forum Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a multistakeholder group that supports implementation of the goals set out by AfCFTA through public-private collaborations. The group comprises Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda,; Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat; Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals; and Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank among others.
The AfCFTA implementation, which started in January 2021, has the potential to increase intra-African trade from its current 18% of total trade to 50% by 2030. It also has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty. However, achieving its full potential depends on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.
Kavitha Prag, Africa Lead, Enterprise Technology and Performance at Deloitte Africa, said: “The African Free Trade Area agreement can be a great catalyst for Africa’s growth and development, but its full realization hinges on the introduction of efficiencies, including the improvement of customs processes. Digital transformation of border posts and customs is thus a crucial and necessary step in the implementation of the protocol, especially for many of Africa’s landlocked countries.”
Various countries and the regional economic communities are making efforts to build better trade networks enabled by world-class logistics networks that can withstand recent supply chain shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions.
The report highlights insights from the Logistic Performance Index as well as key insights from case studies demonstrating the quantifiable value of digital reforms in countries such as Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. The paper is a call to action for more integrated digital reforms that can drive higher impact through public-private partnerships that sets the course for Africa’s post-pandemic recovery and growth.
“Even after tariffs are lowered, and simplified procedures put in place, the full benefits of the AfCFTA will not be realized unless non-tariff barriers to trade are also addressed,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum. “Policy-makers can make a difference by implementing digital solutions.”
The report calls on the following policy support to enable digital transformation:
– Legislative support and acceptance that embraces new practices such as e-signatures or the use of drones to monitor cargo
– Buy-in from the various agencies that enable these operations to embrace digital reforms and embed them in their processes
– Take action based on demand-driven interventions that lead to higher adoption of rates by all organizations and position intra-Africa trade as more cost- and time-competitive
– Develop skills of services agents that can maximize the potential of the digital solutions
– Better co-ordination among AfCFTA members to establish Single Customs Territories
The World Bank notes that while African exports of goods and services have seen their fastest growth in the past decade, the volumes remain low at just three per cent of global trade. The bank says boosting intra-regional trade requires improvement of physical integration, such as cross-border energy, transport and connectivity infrastructure, strengthening cooperation by harmonizing customs rules and procedures, and facilitating business integration through regional electronic settlement systems, an electronic cargo-tracking system, and easing restrictions on services trade.
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