Technology Pioneers Are Mixing Latest Technologies to Kickstart the Next Wave of Industry Disruption

27 Jun 2016

Peter Vanham, Media Lead, Tel.: +41 79 620 9129; Email:

· The World Economic Forum today announced its list of the 30 most promising Technology Pioneers 2016, including fintech provider Blockchain, collaboration tool Slack and market trend visualizer Quid.

· Other awarded pioneers blend existing innovations like drones, 3D printing and the Internet of Things to create real-world solutions in fields such as health, food, energy, IT and finance

· 70 per cent of the recognized pioneers come from the US, a sign of the country’s continued strength in innovation; other nominees come from Canada, France, Israel, Luxembourg and Sweden

· For more information, visit

Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, 27 June 2016 Many of the world’s most innovative start-ups come from the US and blend innovations like 3D printing, the Internet of Things and drones to create new ones in health, agriculture, finance and other industries. That is the insight from the World Economic Forum’s 2016 class of Technology Pioneers, announced today in China.

The annual list this year includes well-known tech start-ups such as Luxembourg-based fintech provider Blockchain, market trends visualizer Quid and cloud-based collaboration tool Slack (US), but also many companies that combine innovations from the Fourth Industrial Revolution – including 3D printing, genome editing, the Internet of Things, drones and mixed reality – into innovations for different industries.

“This class demonstrates how companies can act at the interplay of different technologies,” said Fulvia Montresor, Head of Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum. “It also shows how quickly some technologies are evolving, and how current innovations start to provide real-world solutions for global challenges.”

Companies like Voxel 8 (US), a 3D electronics printing company; Farmers Edge (Canada), which provides satellite data for precision agriculture; and Cylance (US), which specializes in predictive cyberthreat prevention, are among those pioneers blending innovations.

Magic Leap (US), which specializes in virtual retinal displays for mixed reality applications; Kensho (US), which does real time analytics for the financial industry through artificial intelligence; and Wrightspeed (US), which provides hybrid electric powertrains for heavy-duty trucks, show how fast certain technologies are evolving in providing real-life solutions to global challenges.

The Technology Pioneers 2016 follow in the footsteps of companies such as Google (2001), Wikimedia (2007), Kickstarter (2011), Dropbox (2011) and TransferWise (2015). Many of the awardees will take part in the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China this week, as well as the Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos, Switzerland, in January.

Twenty-one out of 30 Technology Pioneers 2016 come from the US, continuing a trend from previous years, in which more than 60% of awardees are from the that country. Europe (6) and Canada (1) accounted for the remaining 30% of the awardees.

“Innovation increasingly happens all around the world, but many breakthrough innovations continue to come from the US and, to a lesser extent, Europe,” said Montresor. “The availability of funding in the US, the large single market and access to talent make for a pioneer-friendly environment.”

About half of the technology pioneers also work exclusively on global challenges including food, health, energy and the environment, signalling a shift in innovation towards sustainability, whether for people or the planet.

“Past technology pioneers like Google introduced the world to the internet reality; today’s Technology Pioneers are fully native in this new world and are working both on digital innovations and how to solve the physical world’s challenges,” Montresor said.

The Technology Pioneers were selected from hundreds of applicants by a committee of 68 academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives. The Technology Pioneers join a cohort that will meet for the first time in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, for the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, and will reconvene at the Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos.

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Appendix A: Full List of Technology Pioneers 2016 per sector and country


Cellectis (France) – Immunotherapies based on genome edited cell
Chrono Therapeutics (USA) – Optimized drug delivery with embedded sensor technology
Eargo (USA) Virtually invisible comfortable hearing device
Flatiron Health (USA) – Cloud-based software supporting cancer care (Israel) – Smartphone-based medical test
Omada Health (USA) – Digital behavioural medicine tackling chronic disease


Formlabs (USA) – Accessible 3D printer delivering industrial quality objects
Voxel 8 (USA) – Embedded 3D printing of electronics
SIGFOX (France) – Communication network dedicated to the Internet of Things
Ginkgo Bioworks (USA) – Engineered microbes for food, health and consumer goods
Synthace (United Kingdom) – High yielding bioprocesses through computation and automation

Food Security

Impossible Foods (USA) – Sustainable, plant-based meat
Farmers Edge (Canada) Precision agriculture for productive and sustainable farming


24M Technologies (USA) – Lower cost lithium-ion batteries
Wrightspeed (USA) – Hybrid electric powertrains for heavy duty trucks

Environment and Natural Resources Security

APATEQ (Luxembourg) – Membrane-based wastewater treatment
GlassPoint Solar (USA) – Solar steam generators for the oil and gas industry
WaterSmart Software (USA) – Data analytics and customer engagement for water utilities
Universal Bio Mining – Synthetic biology for improving mining productivity


Cylance (USA) – Predictive cyber threats prevention and defense
PrecisionHawk (USA) – Terrestrial data acquisition and analysis through Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Orbital Insight (USA) – Geospatial big data for studying social and economic trends
Magic Leap (USA) – Virtual retinal display and software for augmented reality applications
APX Labs (USA) – Smart glasses software for enterprises
Mapillary (Sweden) – Crowdsourcing street-level map photos
Quid (USA) – Platform for visualization of market trends and cultural phenomena
FiscalNote (USA) – Platform for access to legislative and regulative data
Slack (USA) – Cloud-based team collaboration tool

Financial Systems

Blockchain (Luxembourg)
– Bitcoin wallet and transaction data services
Kensho (USA) – Real time analytics for the financial industry

All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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