The XTC application window has closed and our evaluation process has formally begun! We’re so excited with our competition’s growth this year, and the incredible participation from all around the world. While last year’s competition generated some 2,200 applications, this year we more than doubled that number with 3,500+ applications submitted, from 92 countries (compared with 81 countries in 2020)! This pays testament to the rise of a new generation of tech startups that are committed to advancing purpose driven innovation and addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
As we shift gears and kick off our evaluation process, we would like to thank our partners for their amazing efforts in supporting – and in many cases, managing – XTC’s regional events. With 49 partners and counting, compared to 31 in 2020, our global presence and reach has expanded significantly. Last year’s competition included 12 regional events that yielded 31 XTC finalists. This year, by contrast, the Extreme Tech Challenge featured 21 regional competitions, and will result in the advancement of 59 finalists. We anticipate at least 80 finalists qualifying for the class of 2021, including independent applicants, compared to 52 total finalists in 2020.
The introduction of nine new standalone regional events have enabled our global competition to quickly, and meaningfully, expand into new competitive regions. XTC LatAM, XTC Mexico and XTC Africa, for example, have significantly augmented our global presence, now covering six continents, and helped significantly diversify our pool of startup applicants. Collectively, these new regional events will be responsible for qualifying 28 XTC finalists to the class of 2021.
This year also saw the introduction of category-specific regional events. XTC Health Israel, supported by ARC Innovation at the Sheba Medical Center, focused exclusively on the healthcare vertical, while NXP’s India Tech Startup Challenge delineated six verticals revolving around electronics and semiconductors.
Further deepening this year’s vertical focus, two new specialized awards have been introduced. In addition to the Female Founder Award and the COVID-19 Impact Award, XTC announced the creation of an Ethical AI Award presented in collaboration with Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), Samsung, NXP Semiconductors, Global Corporate Venturing (GCV) and Tech Mahindra; and a Positive Home Award presented by ADEO Group, a platform of companies dedicated to home improvement services. These new modifications to the 2021 competition are stimulating interest in key innovation areas that go beyond the UN’s SDGs and help shape a broader public discussion around purpose driven innovation in the 21st century.
All candidates, and partners, regardless of the vertical, will benefit from XTC’s partnership with TechCrunch to present the Global Finals on July 22, 2021. With over 16 million entrepreneurs, tech executives, venture capitalists and tech-obsessed readers, TechCrunch extends a meaningful platform for the Extreme Tech Challenge, and helps amplify global visibility to its participants.
We’re excited to have you with us on our journey, and we look forward to sharing more exciting news with you soon.
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