Notes from Hello Tomorrow’s Global Summit 2024 in Paris

Elisa Riou

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Last month, I had the privilege of attending the 9th iteration of the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris, an event that brought together over 3,500 professionals from various deep tech sectors, including venture capital and climate technology. The summit proved to be an invaluable experience, not just for networking but for the insights and knowledge shared. Alongside Argento Labs, I engaged with a diverse group of investors, founders, corporate leaders, and key players in the ecosystem.

The summit’s agenda was rich with content relevant to our accelerator’s mission to support founders. Topics ranged from capitalization tables and intellectual property strategies to first-of-a-kind (FOAK) factories, impact investment, and co-founder dynamics. 

Here are some key takeaways from Hello Tomorrow’s Global Summit:

Regional insights:

  • EU: The European climate tech sector has been gaining significant momentum, the region snagging a whopping 43 percent of global climate tech venture capital, doubling in just 4 years. Countries like the UK, Sweden, and Germany are leading the charge, but countries like Iceland, Lithuania, and Bulgaria are catching up fast. London is now the second-largest city globally for climate tech investments. The EU’s commitment to initiatives like the European Green Deal and clean energy projects is propelling this growth. Plus, the EU also supports solutions through grant funding initiatives, with the UK, Germany, and France leading the pack, and the European Innovation Council accelerator offering grants to early-stage climate tech companies. (Panel: Can Europe create deep tech champions? With Clea Kolster (Lowercarbon Capital), Clara Chappaz (La French Tech), Caspar Schuchmann (Ineratec), Alizée Blanchin (Hello Tomorrow)

  • APAC: With its heavy reliance on fossil fuels and substantial emissions, APAC is on the lookout for game-changers. European investors and founders have a golden opportunity to make their mark. Asia’s got the infrastructure, resources, and manufacturing prowess to scale up climate tech companies. China is the world’s leading manufacturing country, while India is experiencing growth in the chemical manufacturing sector. For example, China dominates the global solar manufacturing market due to its significantly lower production costs compared to the US, India, and Europe. The US has attempted to incentivize domestic production and reduce reliance on Chinese imports, but China’s dominance is expected to continue. The decreasing cost of solar energy is driven by experience curves, economies of scale, technological advancements, and competition, making solar power more affordable and accessible. Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand have also become attractive manufacturing hubs due to factors such as cheap labor, stable politics, and liberalized trade policies. By expanding operations into Asia, climate tech founders can enhance their agility, flexibility, and proximity to markets, thereby scaling up their companies and competing globally. (Panel: Financing the Climate Transition in APAC)

Sector-specific Takeaways

  • CDR: Carbon removals currently account for about 3 percent of the total carbon market in Europe but the EU is setting the stage with its recent Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF), about transparency and credibility in the carbon-removal market. Compliance with the framework can enhance market credibility and regulatory support, but it also comes with costs, hurdles, and increased competition. Startups that adapt to the regulatory landscape and meet the CRCF criteria position themselves to capitalize on the potential trust and credibility established by the framework. I’d like to recognize and congratulate Carbon Atlantis, a German CDR company that won the “Environment & Biodiversity” category at the summit. They’re using a low-cost electrochemical approach to direct air and point source capture. (Panel: Carbon Management – Crafting the Value Chain with Sarah Jones (Zero Carbon Capital), Hussein Dhanani (Climeworks), Marilene Pavan (Lanzatech), Vincent Durand (Hello Tomorrow))

     

  • Agrifood: The agri-food value chain faces the dual challenge of providing food to a growing global population while reducing its carbon footprint. Europe, with its expertise, research institutions, and capital, is emerging as a strong contender for venture capital investments in agrifood tech. Countries like the Netherlands, France, and Germany have world-leading knowledge institutes in food and agriculture, attracting agri-tech startups. Founders must work closely with farmers to develop technologies and services that boost productivity, sustainability, and profitability in farming operations. Collaboration between ag-tech startups and farmers ensures that solutions align with the real-world needs of agricultural practitioners. (Panel: Regulation vs Innovation? The Future of European Foodtech & Agritech with Joško Bobanović (Sofinnova Partners), Anna Handschuh (Gourmey), Stéphane Dupré la Tour (EDF R&D), Michel de Lempdes (France Deeptech))

     

  • Biotech: The European continent is witnessing groundbreaking discoveries and technological advancements in biotechnology, revolutionizing healthcare, agriculture, and various industries. Synthetic biology is the rising star, offering sustainable solutions to global challenges. Europe maintains stringent ethical standards and a robust regulatory framework to ensure responsible innovation in biotechnology. The UK, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Denmark are the heroes of the biotech industry. I had the chance to meet with founders using microorganisms and enzymes to drive industrial transformation in energy, textiles, plastics, agriculture, and water. If you’re into biotech, Europe is where the action is. (Panel: Unlocking the Power of Synthetic Biology with Pae Wu (SOSV), John Paschkewitz (Boston Consulting Group), Austin Che (Ginkgo Bioworks), Fayza Daboussi (Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB)), Lisa Melton (Nature Biotechnology))

Rising trends:

  • Biodiversity: The importance of biodiversity is gaining traction in climate venture capital. As we face biodiversity collapse, it becomes crucial to measure, map, monitor, and restore ecosystems for the future of humanity. The EU is setting ambitious targets to protect a minimum of 30% of land and sea areas, create ecological corridors, and establish strictly protected zones. It’s time to restore and conserve our ecosystems. (Panel: Revitalizing Ecosystems: Biodiversity Restoration on Land and Sea with Laurie Menoud (At One Ventures), Nicolas Pade (European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC)), Axelle Ducos (Land Life), Jen Stebbing (Climate & Nature Communications)

     

  • Critical mineral recovery: The demand for critical minerals is skyrocketing as we connect the world. Europe aims to localize supply chains, reduce reliance on specific regions, and create a low-carbon, low-waste materials ecosystem. The Batteries Regulation is leading the charge on collecting, reusing, and recycling batteries within Europe. This means we need cutting-edge battery recycling technology and sustainable mineral mining. (Panel: Bridging the Critical Mineral Supply Gap with Julia Davourie (Convergent Ventures), Eric Dusseux (Breakthrough Energy Ventures), Lilian Schwich (Cylib), Benjamin Tincq (Marble)) Tozero, the winner of the summit’s Global Challenge, offers a groundbreaking process for recovering critical materials from lithium-ion batteries. 

In conclusion, APAC has the opportunity to learn from the EU’s successful approach to the climate tech industry, including their commitment to initiatives like the European Green Deal. By leveraging their manufacturing advantage and attracting foreign companies, APAC can enhance its competitiveness in the global market. To fully unlock the potential of the climate tech sector, APAC governments should update their policies and regulatory frameworks to provide attractive incentives that align with global standards and encourage investment and innovation in the region.

The blend of inspirational talks, networking opportunities, and the cultural richness of Paris made Hello Tomorrow’s Global Summit a memorable experience, and I had the pleasure of meeting incredible individuals. Special thanks to the organizers and contributors of the daily side events: Climate Salad, Brick and Mortar Ventures, Marble Studio / Kiko Ventures, Orrick, DCVC / TOMORROW / Fifty Years. I am eager to apply the insights gained to enhance our accelerator’s impact in the climate tech space. A heartfelt thank you to all the organizers and participants who made this event a success.

Learn more about Brinc’s Climate Tech program.

Elisa Riou

Elisa is a Sustainability Associate Program Manager at Brinc, a global venture accelerator. She is also the Hong Kong City Lead for the Women and Climate Community. With a background in consulting and corporate innovation, she transitioned to directly support start-ups after assisting a climate tech company in fundraising. In her free time, Elisa enjoys meditation, running, and scuba diving.

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Elisa Riou

Elisa is a Sustainability Associate Program Manager at Brinc, a global venture accelerator. She is also the Hong Kong City Lead for the Women and Climate Community. With a background in consulting and corporate innovation, she transitioned to directly support start-ups after assisting a climate tech company in fundraising. In her free time, Elisa enjoys meditation, running, and scuba diving.

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  • Elisa is a Sustainability Associate Program Manager at Brinc, a global venture accelerator. She is also the Hong Kong City Lead for the Women and Climate Community. With a background in consulting and corporate innovation, she transitioned to directly support start-ups after assisting a climate tech company in fundraising. In her free time, Elisa enjoys meditation, running, and scuba diving.

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