Samsung Climate & Circularity Tech Challenge: A night to remember

The Samsung Climate and Circularity Tech Challenge was one for the memory books! ✨ The stars aligned for a perfect evening: startup stars, tech stars, investor stars, all glittering in one tiny galaxy at the SVB Experience Center in San Francisco.

And then there were six

More than 140 startups seized the opportunity to – potentially – work with Samsung to produce the next generation of home appliances and improve manufacturing processes.


This challenge was a huge success, with more than 140 applications,” said Brendon Kim, Managing Director; Samsung Next, which sponsored the challenge. “It’s a testament to XTC and the reach they have now. It’s the largest competition and ecosystem for companies that want to do good, and we’re really proud to be part of XTC.”

A team of evaluators pared applications down to a short list of Top 6 finalists, who pitched at the finals round September 18. “These finalists are six of the most compelling companies we’ve seen in this competition,” said Kim.

The Top 6 startup finalists were Aquasaic, Baleena, Barrow Green, Blip Energy, Camfridge and River Otter Renewables.


And the winner is … Camfridge!

Congratulations to climate tech startup Camfridge, who was named winner of the inaugural Samsung Climate and Circularity Tech Challenge!

Delivering the winning pitch was Camfridge CEO Neil Wilson. Camfridge, a spin-off of the University of Cambridge, developed a magnetic cooling technology which does not use harmful refrigerant gases. It boasts superior temperature stability, making it highly energy efficient and is completely safe to use. We’re excited to see where this partnership leads.


Off-the-charts networking

The event was not just about pitch finals, but also off-the-charts networking with a star-studded cast of investors and corporate executives from companies such as NXP, Honda, Mitsubishi and Chemonics, to name just a few.


Victoria Slivkoff, Extreme Tech Challenge Executive Managing Director, played the role of hostess and emcee to the intimate gathering of 100 people. 

Roll the documentary …

Victoria played the XTC mini documentary, featuring founders Young Sohn and Bill Tai, who tell the stories of their humble beginnings and how XTC came to be. 

It’s quite a story.


Attendees had the rare opportunity to listen to Young and Bill share some of their earliest memories of XTC and how it became the world’s largest startup competition and ecosystem. Now, these two legendary VCs are funding the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. As of 2023, XTC startup competition finalists have raised an eye-popping $4.1B (that’s Billion-with-a-B).


The State of Deep Tech on Semiconductor, AI and Data

The evening included a short panel discussion on the State of Deep-Tech, where Victoria talked with Young Sohn, Co-founder of Extreme Tech Challenge, Chairman of the Board at HARMAN International, Founding Managing Partner of Walden Catalyst Ventures and former president of Samsung Electronics, and Lip-Bu Tan, Executive Chairman of Cadence Design Systems, Chairman of Walden International and Founding Managing Partner of Walden Catalyst Ventures. The audience was literally feet away from titans of the tech industry. You could hear a pin drop.

A perfect evening

Thanks to everyone who attended the event, complete with exciting pitches from companies leveraging advanced technologies and building the companies of the future. Young and Bill regaled the crowd with tales of building XTC. We heard from leaders of the industry and networked with the best of the best investors, ecosystem partners and impact startup founders.

It was a perfect evening.

Watch the Extreme Tech Challenge 2023 Season Highlights video.


Check out all the photos from the event. Feel free to download, and don’t forget to follow XTC and tag us on your social posts!
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🎤 Interested in becoming an evaluator or judge for XTC startup challenges and competitions? We are always searching for experts to help us choose finalists. Please get in touch if you’d like to participate.

Where to next? 

🚀 SOSV Climate Tech Summit

🌐 Virtual event

📅 September 26 (live pitch event)

📅 September 27 (winner announcement). Register for SOSV Climate Tech Summit.


🚀 UN World Food Forum Agtech & Foodtech Startup Innovation Awards

📍 Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy (in-person event)

🌐 You can also attend the virtual event

📅 October 18. Register for the World Food Forum.


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See the full pitch session here.


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