The Wilbe team had a chance to attend the Collision Conference in New Orleans last month: a rapidly growing tech conference in North America, seeing over 25,000 attendees across three full days. Since the Wilbe team is spread across four continents, this was a great opportunity to get the whole team together. We spent three days before the conference to put our heads together and work on our strategy for the coming months.
At the conference, we noticed a few trends worth highlighting:
1. Food waste from a B2B perspective
Most startups in this space are traditionally B2C companies, helping restaurants/ supermarkets target the food waste problem through customer engagement. We started looking at how we could use technology to help retailers make better decisions relating to procurement, inventory and supply chain management. If you are a startup looking to solve a problem in this space we are all ears.
2. HealthTech: digital + hardware
At Collision and more broadly, we're coming across several ventures which combine the use of both hardware and software e.g. smart robotics, IoT devices, or devices embedded with machine learning tools to process health data.
Diabetes is a serious epidemic in the 21st century which did not go unnoticed at Collision. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the global prevalence of this disease among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014, and only predicted to worsen with an ageing population, rising income levels and greater pressure on the healthcare industry. We observed a handful of startups attempting to solve this problem through the use of wearable technology: circulation socks or clothing embedded with sensors to detect changes in body temperature.
At Wilbe, we are committed to ventures that are looking to address some of the biggest chronic illnesses impacting the world today: mental health (Nuddge) and diabetes (see Creoto Technologies). Collectively, these two chronic diseases affect over 722 million people around the world.
It’s here to stay - and we continue be promoters of the potential of its technology (we onboarded our first blockchain ventures in 2015). We are also very much aware of the increasing amount of "white *paper* noise" in the crypto space and always looking to draw a distinction between applications that could genuinely benefit from a token and speculative applications. At Collision we met a couple of experienced teams that had built a product based on the technology rather than solely the crypto element. Keep an eye out for Maecenas going live this summer.
4. Clean Tech, and Electric Vehicles (EVs) in particular
A highlight for many of us at Collision was Al Gore's keynote speech. He spoke about his belief that the tech scene had the capability to lead the charge on combatting climate change - one of the biggest problems of the 21st century.
Innovations within the Clean Tech space are very much aligned with regulatory and social goals to solve the problem of climate change. We see multiple opportunities spinning off from EVs, in the form of battery services, battery technology improvement, EV charging infrastructure, and energy storage solutions.
5. “The New Silicon Valley’
We heard a lot of chatter about where the future centers of innovation would be. Former Cisco CEO, John Chambers, puts his money on France. We also heard Shenzhen, which has been dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’. The fastest growing city in the world started some 30 years ago in 1979 when the fishing village was declared a “special economic zone”. The city which began its transformation as a manufacturing hub for foreign companies is now accumulating experience and skills to develop itself as an innovation powerhouse that combines both manufacturing and R&D capabilities, founded on its open-source model. Our Hong Kong Partner travels frequently between Hong Kong and the mainland to explore opportunities in the Far East.
A big thank you to Declan Kelly (Head of Investors at Web Summit) who assisted us through a seamless experience.
Next up is Web Summit in Lisbon. We hope to see you at there!
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org.