FAQ Global Challenge
The Global Challenge is a renowned international startup competition organized by Hello Tomorrow since 2014. It is uniquely designed to address the needs of early-stage deep tech startups across all industries.
The Challenge gives deep tech and science-based entrepreneurs around the globe a platform for their projects, providing opportunities for equity-free funding, global visibility and connections with key players in the deep tech ecosystem. To date, previous winners and finalists have already raised more than $3 billion in funding.
Applications are entirely free and open until the 5th October 2023.
The Challenge concludes with the Grand Finals which will take place during the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris on the 21st and 2nd March 2024.
Your application to the Global Challenge is completely free and implies no obligation or commitment. Hello Tomorrow does not claim any kind of decision, power or take any equity on projects or startups applying.
Around 800 startups will be selected to receive the “Deep Tech Pioneer” global recognition and get exclusive access to:
- an international deep tech network to tap into opportunities for visibility, funding and connections
- our Investor Day to engage in one-on-one meetings with 200+ top-tier VCs and CVCs
- our Global Summit to interact with sector-specific and invite-only industry leaders, investors, accelerators and fellow founders.
60 finalists (6 finalists per track) will be selected to pitch in front of a select audience of 400 people to compete for equity-free prize money: €100K for the Grand Winner, €30K for 2nd place and €20K for 3rd place. The 10 Track Winners will also receive in-kind prizes in the form of customized coaching sessions provided by our experts and personal introductions with relevant investors & potential partners and clients.
Additional “Corporate Tracks” co-organized with our corporate partners will provide more pitching opportunities and customized prizes.
We designed the Global Challenge specifically for deep tech startups because we know that the needs of deep technologies and the resources required to push them forward are different from those of digital startups.
At the Summit, you’ll meet experts in science and technology, including investors, executives, entrepreneurs and potential customers, who have a solid understanding of the needs and potential impact of new solutions and want to be part of the deep technology transfer.
We provide a platform for global visibility where you can be endorsed as a leading Deep Tech Pioneer and for connections leading to business and funding opportunities during the Hello Tomorrow Summit (3,500 attendees from 110+ countries) & our invite-only Investor Day (200+ VCs & CVCs).
Hello Tomorrow is run by a group of passionate people who basically just really love deep technologies and want to see you get your innovation out into the world!
The information you provide on your application will be available to the following parties:
- Hello Tomorrow and our external IT team (to manage the application platform)
- Our volunteer expert jury members (to evaluate your application)
- Our partners (corporates and investors looking for potential collaboration or investment opportunities)
Though these parties do not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, we and they informally commit to keeping your information for private use only. We may communicate some information publicly (name of your company, country, public description) to promote startups. If you believe some information might be too sensitive (because of a pending patent for example), we advise that you get legal advice from someone within your institution.
We welcome startups that:
- Are in the early-stage of development (from not yet incorporated startups up to series A or early commercialization stage)
- Are based on a new technology, a scientific discovery or a complex engineering process.
- Have a scientific validation of their claim, a proof of concept, a prototype, or are in the process of producing one.
- Have a team of at least 2 people.
- Are not a subsidiary or spin-off of an existing company.
- Foresee an economically viable application on the market within 15 years.
- Have the potential to have a strong impact on the industry targeted, and on society or the environment in general.
No, you don’t have to be incorporated to apply to the Challenge but you should have clear development plans and goals.
In fact, 40% of applicants from previous editions were not incorporated. If a non-incorporated startup wins the Challenge, no funds will be transferred until the company is incorporated.
We welcome all deep tech startups. You should be able to fit in at least one of our Global Challenge tracks this year:
We welcome all deep tech startups. You should be able to fit in at least one of our 10 Global Challenge tracks this year:
Aerospace, Advanced Computing & Electronics, Digital Health & Medical Devices, Energy, Environment & Biodiversity, Food & Agriculture, Industrial Biotech & New Materials, Industry & Machines, Medical Biotech & Pharmaceuticals, Sustainable Construction & Infrastructure.
If you don’t fit into any of these tracks, please contact us or choose the closest fitting track.
It’s up to you to select the track you think you would have the best chance of winning. If the jury strongly believes your project fits better in another track, we will suggest that you change the track.
On top of the Global Challenge tracks, you can also apply to any open Corporate track. You will only need to apply once to both the Global Challenge in one of the official tracks and to any of the available Corporate Tracks.
You cannot apply only to a Corporate Track, you have to choose one of the official tracks as well.
The judging takes place in 3 distinctive steps. Applicants will be informed of the progress at each step.
- Deep Tech Pioneers – The jury selects the best startups based on the quality of their online application & welcomes them to the Deep Tech Pioneers community so they can get immediate access to available benefits.
- Finalists – The jury selects around 6 Finalists per track. These Finalists will be invited to pitch during the Grand Finals at the Summit in Paris.
- Track Winners & Grand Winner – A jury made up of investors, corporates, scientists and other experts in the relevant field select the Track Winners and ultimately, the Grand Winner following their pitches at the Summit.
Applications are reviewed by expert jury members (investors, entrepreneurs, executives, researchers and other experts in the respective field). For the Grand Finals taking place during the Global Summit, a list and profile of the jury members will be published online and made accessible to applicants prior to the event.
Applications are judged according to the following criteria:
- Technological innovation: The company must develop a product/service based on a new technology, a scientific discovery or a complex engineering process.
- Impact: The company must have the potential to make a substantial long-term impact on business and/or society.
- Economic viability: The company should have well-formulated development plans, objectives and a sustainable business model.
- Team: The company must have visionary leadership with the capabilities to drive the company towards success.
During the Grand Finals at the Summit, the jury members rate and select projects based on the quality of the pitch and the complementary information provided to them about the startups after the initial selection rounds (1-page summary & pitch deck).
Applicants selected as Deep Tech Pioneers (around 800 quality startups granted exclusive access to community perks, the Summit and Investor Day) will be notified between November and December 2023. The finalists will then be announced in mid-January 2024.
GLOBAL SUMMIT & INVESTOR DAY
The Global Summit, taking place every year in Paris, is the first global event dedicated to scientists and deep tech founders coming from across all industries.
The Grand Finals of the Global Challenge happens here. Finalists pitch in front of an audience of 400 people and an expert jury as they compete to win their track and the Grand Prize.
The Summit features a full program, including keynotes from leaders in science and technological innovation, expert panels discussing issues around technology as well as interactive learning sessions aimed at early-stage startups to share best practices and advice on how to advance your company.
A day dedicated to one-on-one investment meetings between our Deep Tech Pioneers and 200+ of the most prominent VCs and CVCs in the world.
Only startups who have been selected as Deep Tech Pioneers (this year and in previous years) are given access to Investor Day. Prior to the day, startups will be provided with the list of VCs and CVCs attending in order to begin booking individual meetings with them.
During the 2020 edition, the total of fund sizes of participating investors was more than $16B. (check our Investor Day page).
The Summit brings together 3,500 of the most prominent leaders in emerging technology, including investors, founders, top executives, scientists & other academics, policy makers, PhD students and journalists.
Startups selected for the first time as Deep Tech Pioneers do not have to pay to attend the Summit. However, they do have to pay a deposit of €99 per ticket which is reimbursed on the condition that they attend the Summit. The reimbursement will take place within two months after the Summit.
Tickets to Investor Day are available for purchase at a discounted price for first year Deep Tech Pioneers and at the regular price for alumni Deep Tech Pioneers.
Startups not selected as Deep Tech Pioneers would not be able to attend Investor Day but would still be able to purchase tickets to attend the Summit in Paris.
Unfortunately, we cannot cover travel costs for over 800 startups. Each startup is thus responsible for their own travel or accommodation expenses.
We understand that the cost associated with travelling to Paris can be significant. However, we’ve seen from previous editions that startups truly benefit from the Summit due to the visibility they get and to their interactions with top-level industry leaders and investors whom they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to personally connect with outside of the event.
We are currently developing our network of local hubs around the globe. We organize local competitions to empower startups at a local level and to provide them with opportunities within their own ecosystems.
The following countries/regions are/will be hosting Local Challenges:
Asia-Pacific – Open to startups based or incorporated in countries within the Asia-Pacific region. Finals will be held in Singapore/Bangkok around early October.
Japan – Open to startups based or incorporated in Japan. Finals will be held in Japan in mid September.
If your team is based in a country covered by a Local Challenge, you’ll have the opportunity to:
- compete with fellow startups in your local ecosystem
- meet potential partners, investors and your local deep tech community
- and win your return trip to Paris for the Global Summit in March 2024 and other prizes as well (check your Hello Tomorrow Local Hub website for more information).
There is no Local Challenge in my country. Can I still apply to the Global Challenge & will this affect my application?
If your team is not based in a country covered by a Local Challenge, don’t worry! You can still apply to the Global Challenge and you still have just as much of a chance of being selected as one of our Deep Tech Pioneers or Finalists, and will enjoy the full experience of the Challenge and Global Summit!
It’s easy! When you indicate your country on the Global Challenge application form, you will automatically be considered for any ongoing Local Challenges as well.
No, you can’t. But why would you? Participating in the Global Challenge provides you the opportunity to gain visibility at a global level and offers you a chance to win up to €100K equity-free funding as well as in-kind prizes in the form of customized coaching sessions provided by our experts and personal introductions with relevant investors & potential partners and clients.