Day 1 of the 2022 Arch Summit kicked off with panels, pitches and some new announcements at Luxexpo TheBox.
With the motto “innovation is impact, the time is now,” Tomorrow Street’s two-day flagship event is pitched as a platform to inspire and connect businesses with tech companies and scale-ups.
More than 3,200 people registered to attend the event, which opened with a serious word from CEO Kenneth Graham.
“There’s a lot of big challenges at the moment, some of them rather worrying but, technology can make a difference,” he said, adding: “Have a think about what your business could do to make a positive impact.”
After a brief technical hitch with the radio microphone, Luxembourg economy minister Franz Fayot expanded on the 17 UN sustainable development goals to reach by 2030, saying “we know full well that we are not going to get there. Particularly not in the developing world, which was set back by the pandemic which is now thrown back by a hunger crisis and by supply and energy problems that have become worse because of the war in Ukraine.”
Luxembourg occupies first place in terms of European over-consumption, as demonstrated by its Earth overshoot day (the day on which all the Earth’s resources would be used up if all the planet consumed at the same rate as a country). Fayot explained that the country’s horizon 2050 economic strategy had three scenarios: status quo with 3% GDP and population growth of 1.2m, a circular scenario with an economic slowdown or a technology optimist scenario driving innovation through a strong digital economy. “It will probably be a mix of all three of them,” the minister said.
“Of course technology and digitisation isn’t an end in itself. It has a carbon footprint and uses a lot of energy […] But it’s about using technology and digital innovation at the end of the day to make the world a better place for people.”
Also during the opening speeches, Vodafone and the economy minister signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction and operation of Vodafone’s green European logistics hub, expected to open in Bettembourg at the end of 2024.
Among the highlights of the first day were the renewable power challenge, a global initiative launched in July seeking innovative solutions to the challenge of generating renewable power directly at mobile phone sites. Among the finalists were Kynetic Energy, Bladon, Engie Energy and Bboxx.
There were more pitches from the thirteenth edition of Luxinnovation’s Fit 4 Start acceleration programme, which provided a platform for its digital ventures cohort shortlist. These included agritech firm Ivvest, AI steel and mining solutions Warden Machinery, 3D printing firm Advanced Materials & Additive Manufacturing, wine NFT firm TheSafeBox.io, AI engineering firm Artificial Engineering, emissions reduction solution 4QT, driving data optimisation platform DRIVATA and IoT traffic safety solution AD Knight.
A large crowd gathered to hear changemaker Sophia Kianni (pictured above) talk about her experiences as a climate change activist. Kianni was in demand and gave a second talk to international students at the Dome during the afternoon.
The LPEA’s panel on startup funding provided concrete guidance for founders as well as a chance to connect with some of Luxembourg’s biggest VCs, including Expon Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners and Middle Game Ventures.