This week directly from SLUSH in Helsinki, Finland.
Slush is a two day event that connects startups & tech talent with top-tier international investors, executives and media. This year with 17500 attendees listening, pitching, discussing and showcasing the latest innovations, technology, business trends etc. A direct quote from the event sums it up pretty good “The future feels very close here at Slush”.
We heard many promising and inspiring things such as free healthcare for everyone, but also scary things like the fact that the world will require tech investments exceeding $16500 billion in order to meet the 2 degree goal of global warming. Below you will find a feed with a few of the most inspiring things we captured at the event.
Free healthcare, for everyone, forever
How’s that for a company mission statement, Your MD a healthcare startup from the UK has set out to improve the world. The idea is to provide, so called, self-care over the Internet using artificial intelligence that is trained in medical diagnosing. The AI will be developed to ask questions in order to improve its accuracy. Your MD estimates that 79% of medical consultations can be handled with self-care. Given that half of the world population still doesn’t have direct access to healthcare that is a very promising figure, especially when it is free!
Future of meat, lab-grown
Meat, most of us love it, but we are facing huge challenges with meat production and its effects on the environment. 90% of the world population eats meat and the demand is projected to double in the next 30 years. It takes 23 calories of grain to produce 1 calorie of meat, and in the US 70% of antibiotics is used for animals. Those two sentences don’t add up. That’s what a company called Memphis Meats has set out to solve, with lab-grown meat. Some of the muscle cells are able to regenerate and if you “feed” them they grow and become meat. The company is still in development but believes its products will reduce GHG emissions with over 80%, use 99% less land and over 80% less water.
Modern utilities and transport
Utilities and transport were two common themes at Slush, with everything from large energy companies like Fortum to app developers like Waze. Some interesting stats we caught:
The estimated cumulative cost of traffic congestion by 2030 in the US is $2.8 trillion – the same amount Americans collectively paid in taxes last year.
- Global data center today use more electricity than all of the United Kingdom.
- Los Angeles parking covers about 14% of the incorporated L.A. County land.
- In 2050 there will be one billion people aged above 60 years old.
- 90% of the US population will live in cities by 2030.
- Since 2009, protected bike lanes in US have doubled every 2 years.
- 41% of the worlds energy production is Coal based.
There is a whole lot of things that will have to happen in this area as urbanization continuous to be the greatest megatrend of our lifetime simultaneously as the world’s energy consumption also continues to increase. At the same time, a study by Bain & Company has shown that more and more people in large US cities are moving away from the city centers and often move to the end of the suburbs. As we don’t have to physically be at work, meet the doctor or go to the bank it is becoming more attractive to live in the outer parts of a city.
Surrounding this space we have advancements in electric and autonomous vehicles (including trucks and buses), drones, solar energy, energy storage, car-sharing etc. which will be key in solving some of these problems. It will be extremely important to follow developments in these areas to best adapt your business development. Where and how will new technology be used? For example, will the first large fleets of delivery drones operate in the middle of London? Probably not.
What will happen when death is optional, we are not limited to only live on earth and all commodities are free? Steve Jurvetson, venture capitalist and board member of SpaceX and Tesla, was one of the biggest thinkers on Slush 2016. Take a moment to listen to his thoughts on the future, the challenges we are facing and the endless opportunities he sees in technology!
Business for the greater good
Capital for startup companies seem to be never ending in the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S. the number of funds that raised over 250 million USD have increase during the autumn compared to the same period last year. The investments are global and the investors are looking for scalable business models to internationalize. The valuations are not mainly based on real cash flows, but rather focusing on the team that will execute. A trend among the startups seem to be the focus on contribution to the society and to have a bigger purpose rather than just making money. The startup teams are therefore not looking for the investor with the highest valuation, but rater on long term relationships and the value network of the investor.
Make calls, using your finger
A South Korean startup has developed a bracelet that allows you to hear your caller’s voice simply by placing your fingertip on your ear. In the bracelet there is a microphone, enabling complete phone calls using just your finger. Feels like total science fiction!
Sharewood – An AirBnB for Sports Gear
The sharing economy was a hot topic at Slush and one example of it is the Italian startup Sharewood. The newly founded company aims to provide sports gear globally through their web platform and app. There is no logic in owning sports gear you only use a couple of times per year and it is often bulky stuff you don’t want to bring on the plane while you’e traveling. Via the Sharewood platform, users can find sports gear such as bikes, skid, surfboards on a map and pay for it directly through the app, much like AirBnB but for stuff, eliminating the need for owning the gear themselves.