Paris / April 13th

Innovators Under 35 France

For the 4th running year, MIT Technology Review has been looking for the best young talents in France in all areas related to science & technology. This year, after evaluating more than 200 candidates, the jury has selected the 10 Innovators Under 35 France that were revealed during the Award's Ceremony in Paris, on April 13th.

The community of “Innovators under 35” gathered in Paris for the launch of the 2016 European tour

This year's “Innovators under 35” in Europe, organised by the MIT Technology Review, with the support of BNP Paribas and L’Atelier BNP Paribas, got under way last week in Paris. Two French innovators, Timothée Boitouzet and Clémentine Chambon, received a special accolade.

It is Wednesday 13th April 2016, and under the stained glass roof of the historic BNP Paribas building at rue Bergère in Paris, a large crowd has gathered to attend the MIT Technology Review awards ceremony for “Innovators under 35”. Kathleen Kennedy, president of the leading American technology and research media company, describes how this programme, created 17 years ago in the United States, has gradually established itself in Europe: “We now have six competitions in Europe. Last year, for the first time, we held a European summit involving all the laureates and submitted their ideas to the European Parliament. We are doing the same thing again this year, on 24th November.” The Paris event on 13th April marked the start of the “Innovators under 35” European tour. Over the coming months there will be events in Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy and Spain. And at each of them, she will present two awards to the country’s most promising young innovators: the Innovator of the Year and Social Innovator awards.

Rewarding innovators rather than innovations

At 14 rue Bergère, in the auditorium which will soon be packed out, the ten French innovators – three female and seven male – are going over the three-minute pitches they will have to give to present their project. Matthieu Nebra, one of last year's winners, has come to take part in a panel on the future of education and to introduce two of this year’s entrepreneurs: “I can't wait to see what ideas are out there, and I will be delighted to hand over the baton.” A year after being spotted by MIT Technology Review, his Open Classroom team has grown from 25 to 40 people and has launched its first government-accredited MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) diploma. “It gave me credibility, it enabled me to travel and meet inspirational people, people I feel I have something in common with.” The winners from past years who appear on stage in the auditorium or in videos screened for the occasion all say the same: the successive generations of Innovators under 35 form a real community that can be relied on. Romain Lacombe, another past winner, quotes the animated film Ratatouille: “The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”

The relaxed manner of the previous innovators and their happiness at being involved in the evening are an indicator of what is in store for the ten laureates who appear on stage one after the other, some of them looking stressed and overawed, still in the process of learning how to “represent” their profession of entrepreneur. Laurent Boitard, in the running with his Millidrop project, confided before the start of the event that he was very keen to be here not as a representative of his company, but as a “person”.

For Olivier Dulac, president of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, that's the beauty of these awards: “L’Atelier BNP Paribas has been a partner to this fantastic initiative for four years. We have a particular attachment to these awards because they are less about rewarding innovations than rewarding innovators. This human dimension, involving projects with a “science of life” theme, in other words which use progress and technology to improve our everyday lives, is something we now see as strategically important.”

Technology in the name of social progress

At Stressed they may have been, but they were no less compelling for it: announcing the award winners, Jacques d’Estais, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of BNP Paribas, congratulated them on “the quality and energy of the presentations”: “I have never seen this auditorium so full! It’s very exciting.” The Social Innovator award goes to Clémentine Chambon, founder of Oorja Solutions, which provides rural Indian communities with a cheap, reliable source of electricity from solar power or biomass. She quietly thanks the jury. The winner of the Innovator of the Year award, Timothée Boitouzet, who with his firm Woodoo invented a translucent, fireproof, waterproof, very strong wood, who is more loquacious, does not hide his emotion: “This award is very important for me as it represents the recognition and validation of my work by my peers.” One can’t help noticing, too, that the two laureates were chosen not for purely digital technology projects, but for ideas that contribute to an improvement in living and working conditions in one case, and the building of intelligent “Cradle to Cradle” towns in the other.

Clémentine Chambon
Timothée Boitouzet
Marjolaine Grondin
Franz Bozsak
Bologna / May 9-10th

Innovators Under 35 Italy

MIT Technology Review has been looking for the best young talents in Italy in all areas related to science & technology. Discover their projects here.

The community of “Innovators under 35” gathered in Paris for the launch of the 2016 European tour

This year's “Innovators under 35” in Europe, organised by the MIT Technology Review, with the support of BNP Paribas and L’Atelier BNP Paribas, got under way last week in Paris. Two French innovators, Timothée Boitouzet and Clémentine Chambon, received a special accolade.

It is Wednesday 13th April 2016, and under the stained glass roof of the historic BNP Paribas building at rue Bergère in Paris, a large crowd has gathered to attend the MIT Technology Review awards ceremony for “Innovators under 35”. Kathleen Kennedy, president of the leading American technology and research media company, describes how this programme, created 17 years ago in the United States, has gradually established itself in Europe: “We now have six competitions in Europe. Last year, for the first time, we held a European summit involving all the laureates and submitted their ideas to the European Parliament. We are doing the same thing again this year, on 24th November.” The Paris event on 13th April marked the start of the “Innovators under 35” European tour. Over the coming months there will be events in Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy and Spain. And at each of them, she will present two awards to the country’s most promising young innovators: the Innovator of the Year and Social Innovator awards.

Rewarding innovators rather than innovations

At 14 rue Bergère, in the auditorium which will soon be packed out, the ten French innovators – three female and seven male – are going over the three-minute pitches they will have to give to present their project. Matthieu Nebra, one of last year's winners, has come to take part in a panel on the future of education and to introduce two of this year’s entrepreneurs: “I can't wait to see what ideas are out there, and I will be delighted to hand over the baton.” A year after being spotted by MIT Technology Review, his Open Classroom team has grown from 25 to 40 people and has launched its first government-accredited MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) diploma. “It gave me credibility, it enabled me to travel and meet inspirational people, people I feel I have something in common with.” The winners from past years who appear on stage in the auditorium or in videos screened for the occasion all say the same: the successive generations of Innovators under 35 form a real community that can be relied on. Romain Lacombe, another past winner, quotes the animated film Ratatouille: “The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”

The relaxed manner of the previous innovators and their happiness at being involved in the evening are an indicator of what is in store for the ten laureates who appear on stage one after the other, some of them looking stressed and overawed, still in the process of learning how to “represent” their profession of entrepreneur. Laurent Boitard, in the running with his Millidrop project, confided before the start of the event that he was very keen to be here not as a representative of his company, but as a “person”.

For Olivier Dulac, president of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, that's the beauty of these awards: “L’Atelier BNP Paribas has been a partner to this fantastic initiative for four years. We have a particular attachment to these awards because they are less about rewarding innovations than rewarding innovators. This human dimension, involving projects with a “science of life” theme, in other words which use progress and technology to improve our everyday lives, is something we now see as strategically important.”

Technology in the name of social progress

At Stressed they may have been, but they were no less compelling for it: announcing the award winners, Jacques d’Estais, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of BNP Paribas, congratulated them on “the quality and energy of the presentations”: “I have never seen this auditorium so full! It’s very exciting.” The Social Innovator award goes to Clémentine Chambon, founder of Oorja Solutions, which provides rural Indian communities with a cheap, reliable source of electricity from solar power or biomass. She quietly thanks the jury. The winner of the Innovator of the Year award, Timothée Boitouzet, who with his firm Woodoo invented a translucent, fireproof, waterproof, very strong wood, who is more loquacious, does not hide his emotion: “This award is very important for me as it represents the recognition and validation of my work by my peers.” One can’t help noticing, too, that the two laureates were chosen not for purely digital technology projects, but for ideas that contribute to an improvement in living and working conditions in one case, and the building of intelligent “Cradle to Cradle” towns in the other.

Stanislaw Ostoja-Starzewski
Anaïs Barut
Thomas Samuel
Timothée Boitouzet
Anaïs Barut
Brussels / May 25th

Innovators Under 35 Belgium

MIT Technology Review is excited to announce the second generation of Innovators Under 35 Belgium. This year, 8 laureates have been selected by the jury of the award for their inspiring projects.

The community of “Innovators under 35” recognises Belgian innovators in Brussels

On Wednesday 25 May 2016, the MIT Technology Review community of Innovators under 35 descended on Brussels. This was the second leg of the European tour which had kicked off the previous month in Paris. At the event, two young Belgian innovators were singled out for special recognition: Xavier Damman and Steven Vercammen.

“This evening you are all winners”: these are the opening words from Sébastien Deletaille, one of the Innovators under 35 for Belgium in 2015, who is master of ceremonies at the event taking place at BNP Paribas Fortis in Brussels. By “you” he means the eight innovators selected by the panel of judges for the Belgian award, now in its second year. The proximity of the European institutions, to which all the European innovators will present their projects in November, can be felt in the words of welcome of Max Jadot, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis: “It's fantastic for us to work with MIT at European level. Besides its classic role, a bank also has a social role to perform, by helping young entrepreneurs set up, develop and expand their companies. (…) We are delighted to be here this evening. It gives us high hopes for the future of our country and our continent.”

Welcome to the community

Although they are all winners already, the innovators have the chance to go away with an extra honour: that of Innovator of the Year or Social Innovator. Each of the innovators has prepared a three-minute pitch and slide show to present their innovation to the large audience in the bank’s auditorium. An exercise in which some, already used to fundraising and/or the media, seem perfectly at ease whereas others are still learning the delicate art of being one’s own press officer. This journey from being an inventor in your lab to the head of a company defending your idea in public is one that all the innovators recognised by the MIT Technology Review are familiar with. For them, joining the community has served to really boost their credibility.

Yves van Ingelgem, Innovator of the Year in 2015 with his company Zensor, sums it up: “Start-ups may be sexy but on the B2B level, which is where we are working, the market may be wary and need convincing. It’s a label that helps a lot, that opens doors. (...) It is our mission to innovate continuously: the title Innovator of the Year gives us that credibility among our clients.” Sébastien Deletaille, one of last year’s innovators with his company Real Impact Analytics, has the same message for the members of this latest crop of laureates: “I would like to share three things with you. 1. It is always about people, about meeting people who have the perpetual desire to improve things; 2. This community will bring your ideas and your voice to a bigger audience; 3. You will forge connections with decision-makers and institutions. This award is not only a token of recognition, it is also an opportunity. Seize it!”

Innovating at any age

As they appear on stage, one after the other, the innovators of 2016, who all worked together on their pitches in the morning, seem to show a growing ease – perhaps due to the sense of now belonging to a community of people who face the same challenges as them. Seeing them presenting their projects even makes Carl Malbrain, president of the MIT Club for Belgium, want to “create a competition for innovators over 55!” After all, that is exactly the message these young entrepreneurs are sending: anyone can innovate, anyone can change the world. In the words of Steven Vercammen, founder of EVapp, a few minutes after being awarded the title of Social Innovator: “Do what you think you need to do. Innovation comes from normal people.” Xavier Damman says the same, actually on the stage in the auditorium after receiving the accolade of Innovator of the Year 2016 for his project OpenCollective: “I am a keen advocate of start-ups because they provide an opportunity for anyone to work on topics they are passionate about and create value for everyone. It is up to us, to all of us, to encourage people to make the big leap.” A few hours earlier he declared: “There is no right age to be an entrepreneur.” Now that being young (or old!) is less and less of a handicap to being taken seriously, it is up to each one of us to find the innovator dormant inside us... and wake him up.

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Xavier Damman
Charles Fracchia
Geert Slachmuylders
Jill Vanparys
Warszawa / June 28th

Innovators Under 35 Poland

MIT Technology Review is pleased to announce a new generation of Innovators Under 35 Poland. For the second time in this country, the jury has selected from among more than 150 candidates the 10 brightest Polish talents.

The community of Innovators Under 35 gathered in Warsaw for the next stage in its European tour

On Tuesday 28 June 2016 the community of Innovators Under 35 gathered in Warsaw to celebrate innovators in Poland. This was the second event to be held in Poland and it singled out Patrycja Wizińska-Socha and Rafał Flis and celebrated a certain vision of Europe.

“We want our leaders to listen to innovators,” explained Kathleen Kennedy, President of MIT Technology Review, on stage at the Warsaw Spire where she spoke about the meeting between European innovators from 2015 and members of the European Parliament. This was a way of celebrating the strength and diversity of the community of Innovators Under 35 in Europe, where 6 competitions are now held each year. And the Polish leg of the tour, held just a few days after the Brexit vote, confirmed that Europe is truly a place of innovation. It was with this in mind that Franz Bozsak, a French Innovator and founder of Instent, held a talk for European entrepreneurs, during which he said, “Europe’s potential for innovation is very strong. It’s the place to be. Why is that? Because of its people. It has a high density of very different people and it’s this diversity that makes Europe what it is.” Olivier Dulac, chairman of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, shared this viewpoint, “Over and above innovation, it’s the human aspect that counts. We are celebrating innovators. With Opinno, L’Atelier is developing a community of European innovators. This is important for BNP Paribas as Europe’s leading bank, and for L’Atelier, whose reach extends across the whole of Europe from Paris.” Because to innovate, it is important to meet the right people, and to be able to draw on a community for support. All the entrepreneurs gathered in Warsaw agreed on this. Olga Malinkiewicz, CTO at Saule Technologies and 2015 Innovator of the Year, spoke to the 2016 prizewinners before they took the stage to present their innovations. “The recognition I gained from winning this prize gave my work and my business a huge boost. You can’t imagine how lucky you are. Congratulations!”

The importance of teamwork

The eight innovators who attended the event (out of ten selected in Poland this year) each presented their projects. Many of them ended their three-minute pitch by mentioning their team members, like Łukasz Kołtowski, founder of MySpiroo, who said, “Nothing would have been possible without my amazing team.” And by chance, it was on this basis that Rafał Flis, Social Innovator of the Year, built the success of Social Wolves, which helps young people find a solution to social problems through teamwork. Rafał was thinking of his partners when he accepted his prize, as was Patrycja Wizińska-Socha, named Innovator of the Year for her innovation, Pregnabit, a telemedical solution that allows parents-to- be to monitor their unborn baby’s health. “This is a really good time to thank my team and our investors,” said Patrycja in her acceptance speech. “I’m very grateful to them all.”

Patrycja, Rafał and all the others are now part of an even bigger team - the worldwide team of Innovators Under 35. BNP Paribas is very proud to support this team. Tomasz Bogus, Chairman and CEO of BGZ BNP Paribas in Poland, said, “We are the bank for a changing world. In Poland, more specifically, our role is to support our clients in a fast-changing environment. That’s what we’re here for. It’s a great honour to be able to do so alongside MIT Technology Review. I am very pleased that we are able to support this ecosystem and contribute to its development.” Kathleen Kennedy ended the ceremony by welcoming the new Innovators, “You are now part of a community. This is just the start of your adventure with us.” There is no doubt that she will help them grow and promote their innovations in Europe and beyond.

Katarzyna Kamińska
Bartłomiej Kołodziejczyk
Łukasz Kołtowski
Patrycja Wizińska-Socha
Berlin / July 5th

Innovators Under 35 Germany

MIT Technology Review is pleased to announce the third edition of Innovators Under 35 Germany. The jury composed by experts in biotech, nanomaterials, software & hardware, energy and medicine has selected the 10 brightest German Innovators in all areas related to science & technology.

The community of Innovators under 35 celebrates “Deutsche Qualität” in Berlin

On 5 July 2016 the community of Innovators under 35 gathered in Berlin to celebrate German innovators. The awards ceremony was attended by not just the Berlin or even the German innovation community. On this fourth leg of the European tour the other countries involved in the MIT Technology Review awards were also well represented, with attendees including Xavier Damman, Innovator of the Year 2016 for Belgium, Stanislas Niox-Chateau, one of this year's French innovators, Rafał Flis, Social Innovator of the Year for Poland, and Steven Vercammen, named Social Innovator in Brussels a month previously – proof that this international competition, as well as showcasing pioneering talent, fosters a sense of family across the European continent and on an international level.

This is a crucial aspect for Kathleen Kennedy, president of MIT Technology Review: “It is very important that we bring these innovators together and that they form part of our community.” Nicolas Huchet, French Innovator in 2015 for his Bionico Hand, had been in Berlin last year, too, to introduce one of the German innovators. He gives an example of what this community has done for him: “A year ago I met the founder of the Fab Lab Berlin at this same event, and now we have started working together.” Olivier Dulac, president of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, stresses that “In this time of turmoil in Europe, it makes sense to have this community.” As for BNP Paribas’ involvement as a partner for the European streams of the competition, he explains: “It's not that it’s important but that it’s natural to be a partner to this event: our hallmark is being the bank for a changing world. A bank like ours needs to innovate and support its customers as they seek out new markets and look to transform their economic models. We can’t not be interested in innovations and the innovators who are there to make the world a better place.”

Seasoned innovators who mustn’t forget to dream

Before they can be “officially” part of the family of Innovators under 35, the German innovators each have to present their projects in under five minutes. Before they take to the stage in turn, Tobias Kraus, German Innovator 2013, addresses the audience: “You might be wondering what becomes of all the innovators under 35. In fact, most of the people who succeed simply do their thing. When you work on a good idea, you learn a lot more than what you were expecting at the outset. It's very important in terms of innovating, and that's why it’s important to be here: they will do a lot more than what they present to you here this evening.” So it is not unreasonable to expect to see them leading the world of innovation a few years from now: most of the projects presented are already at a very advanced stage, and their creators look perfectly at ease in the presentation exercise. In the pitch designed to convince an investor they already come across as highly experienced and many of them, in true American showman style, have mastered the art of storytelling and humour.

That is certainly true of Gero Decker, who will go on to be named Innovator of the Year later that evening, who begins his presentation by relating how, as a “double nerd”, being a fan of chess and of video games, while still a teenager he created his own computerised chess game. While the professionalism and effectiveness of the presentations is exemplary, Paul Rojas, professor of information technology and mathematics at the Free University of Berlin, whose work relates to driverless cars, decides to inject a dose of romanticism and passion into the ceremony: “Innovation starts with a dream, with a problem you want to solve. If you want to innovate, you have to have a vision, and you have to have innovators. You also need to be aware of your social responsibility. You have to test your system a million times before making it available to others. We have to innovate with social responsibility.” A perfect introduction to the work of Ansgar Jonietz, who shortly afterwards is named Social Innovator of the Year. He is the only one of this year’s 10 laureates to run a non-profit- making venture in the form of Was hab’ ich?, his project to translate medical reports into everyday language. In the wake of this German event, to outside observers the national tech scene already looks to be in the phase that comes after the explosion – namely a sensible and successful consolidation – with a bright future ahead of it.

Tom Baden
Frederik Brantner
Simone Strey
Michael Thiel
Madrid / October 27th

Innovators Under 35 Spain

MIT Technology Review is proud to announce the sixth generation of Innovators Under 35 Spain. The spanish community of innovators gathered together to welcome the 10 winners that have been selected by the jury of the awards from among 300 candidates for their talent and their pioneer projects that are changing our society.

Closing the European tour of the Innovators under 35 2016 in Madrid

On October 27th, in Madrid, was held the Spanish edition of the Innovators under 35 event. It was also the end of a European tour that stopped in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Warsaw to distinguish the most promising young innovators of the old continent.

The ceremony starts in Spanish: Vicente José Montes Gan, who welcomes the madrilene innovation community in the sleek auditorium of the Foundation Rafal del Pino, starts off by saying that he wants to support the Spanish language as an international means of communication. At the very end of the award ceremony, the initiative will be reflected in the words of the Innovator of the year, Javier Jimenez: « What we have here has a lot of value, we have nothing to envy to the rest of the world, we have ideas! » The ten innovators that the MIT Technology Review has identified in Spain all seem indeed to be proud to carry their country’s colors on the international scene. But they have also travelled, lived and worked abroad, and are a vibrant demonstration that innovation is best shared, within Europe and in the rest of the world. Rafael Salazar, Director of the Innovators under 35 programme, insists on that idea: « How do we survive and stay relevant in a world that is changing so fast? (…) We need to develop the ecosystem, be where the innovation is happening, look for people who are bringing great change wherever they are. We look for the most disruptive people in every country. » And these people become part of a community of over 1000 winners, from 30 countries, who have been distinguished over the seven years that the programme has existed. An opportunity that they strongly appreciate, like Samuel Sanchez, the host of the evening and winner 2014, who remembers going to the European parliament last year with other innovators to present their ideas: « It was encouraging to see institutions acknowledging and trusting young talents, » he says, before turning to the 2016 innovators. « There are so many synergies, some of you guys are going to start connecting. » And they indeed already have, notably thanks to a trip to MIT a few weeks before. But now is time for them to present their innovations to the audience, in 3-minute pitches. As always, it is interesting to see those who are perfectly at ease with the whole thing, already in the role of a young CEO looking to convince potential investors, and those who need to get used to being the face of an idea they had years ago and worked so hard to bring to the world. But all of them share an enthusiasm for what they do, and a will to show us why it matters. « I’m here to find dreamers, are you ready to dream with us? », asks Blanca Rodriguez, founder of Smile & Learn, an edutainment app for children and their parents.

Just do it

The rounds of pitches are punctuated by a keynote by Ron Evans, ringleader at The Hybrid Group, who gets the audience to stand up and « play the game of life », and another by Pau Garcia-Mila, Innovator of the year 2011, who teaches us that « innovating means being rats »: animals that can survive and thrive in pretty much any environment, always adapting to their circumstances. There’s also a dialogue between Ander Michelena, CEO and Cofounder of ticketBis, and Inaki Berenguer, CEO and cofounder of Coverwallet, who discuss the importance of having a partner, the current technology bubble and the challenges to grow internationally. They give young innovators this advice: « Just do it. The worst you can do is loose a couple of years, but you will get experience. The Spanish landscape is also more favorable now. You don’t want to wonder, decades from now, what could have been if you had done it. » This advice, the Innovators have already made theirs. They work everyday to help people with eating disorders, obesity and childhood psychosis, to fight patent trolls with Bitcoins, to power the internet of things sensors without batteries, to develop peptides that can fight multiresistant bacterial infections, etc.

Like Esther Garcia, founder of Eneso, puts it: « Everyday when I go to work, I know I am making my company grow, but that I am also changing someone’s life. » And it doesn’t go unacknowledged: at the end of the ceremony, she is awarded the prize of Social Innovator of the year, for helping people with disabilities use their own computers, phones and tablets. Perhaps a little too moved and surprised to talk in English, she says in Spanish: « I didn’t expect it because all the projects are so interesting and carried out by motivated people. It is my own motivation to keep working and bringing change. » Javier Jimenez, Innovator of the year for his solution that allows to screen for meningitis in a non-intrusive way, also insists on how much of an honor it is to be part of a community of such brilliant minds. Next step for the innovators from Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland: a European Summit, on November 24th, that will distinguish three innovators of the year at European level. An important event for Olivier Dulac, président of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, who was the partner of the Spanish edition for the first time this year: « This was the last step of the European tour before the Summit. Like the other countries who have undergone economical difficulties, particularly in Europe, Spain has managed very early on to give a chance to creators and innovators. Spain and Europe are very fertile terrains to bounce back up and invent new things. »

Jordina Arcal
César de la Fuente
Blanca Rodríguez
Carlos Sánchez

Barcelona, November 24th
Discover the European Innovators
Under 35

Carlos Sánchez

2016, Spain

His smart orthopedic brace guides scoliosis treatments with objective data

Bartłomiej Kołodziejczyk

2016, Poland

His conductive polymers allow the creation of biosensors and more affordable flexible solar panels

Katarzyna Kamińska

2016, Poland

EHer drugs could cure the flu, irrespective of the strain

Clémentine Chambon

2016, France

Sustainable, miniature power stations that provide electricity to the neediest communities

Xavier Damman

2016, Belgium

A new form of association for the Internet Generation based on total financial transparency.

Geert Slachmuylders

2016, Belgium

His turbines extract previously unattainable energy from water

European Editions

Since 2009, MIT Technology Review has been looking for the best young talents in Europe in all areas related to science & technology. This year, after evaluating more than 1000 candidates, the jury has selected the 10 Innovators Under 35 in Europe that will gather during the Summit Europe, on November 24th

With the support of BNP Paribas and L'Atelier BNP Paribas, this new generation form part of the global community of pioneers and promotors of social change curated by MIT Technology Review that aim to transform the world with innovative ideas.