Hello Tomorrow Global Summit 2023: deep tech and accelerated tech innovation

On March 9-10 2023, the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit returned for its 8th edition at the CENTQUATRE-PARIS. Attended by over 3,000 entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, investors, and business and government leaders, the event featured speakers from across the tech spectrum – taking an in-depth look at the future opportunities and ongoing challenges deep tech innovation is currently facing.

Natixis CIB, Hello Tomorrow’s Worldwide Partner, showcased its commitment to the development of deep tech during panel discussions on hydrogen innovation and the deep tech ecosystem, in addition to thought-provoking speeches from company leaders.

Presenting the Natixis CIB Fintech Challenge award, Stéphanie Paix, CEO of Natixis, commented: “We are passionate about the potential of deep tech and its impact on financial services as fintechs increasingly leverage AI, blockchain and quantum computing to drive progress. We are excited about the possibilities and are eager to support the development of new, sustainable solutions that will benefit society.”


Are we heading in the right direction with hydrogen?

On the first day of the event, Natixis CIB’s Ivan Pavlovic, Executive Director and Energy Transition Specialist, discussed the critical role of hydrogen in meeting net-zero targets in the panel discussion, “Are we heading in the right direction with hydrogen?”.

The development of green hydrogen technology, he explained, will be key to decarbonising some segments of hard-to-abate sectors, mainly industry and mobility, through direct applications.

Hydrogen can also be indirectly used in the production of sustainable fuels, such as e-methanol or e-kerosene. This could help partly decarbonise the maritime and air transport sectors in the coming years, in anticipation of new technology developments, such as the use of fuel cells – which Airbus hopes to employ in its aircrafts from 2035.

Yet while green hydrogen presents a promising decarbonisation solution, production currently lags behind grey hydrogen, its cheaper, more carbon-intensive counterpart, which currently accounts for 95% of global hydrogen production.

The shift to green hydrogen will require a massive deployment of electrolysis capacity across the globe. And while this technology is not new, it is expensive. The combined industrialisation of manufacturing processes and successful R&D effort to improve electrolysers efficiency will be pivotal to overcoming this economic challenge.

A growing number of policy frameworks, such as the US’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) or the EU’s carbon emissions market, in addition to stringent carbon regulations in industry and transport, are supportive of green hydrogen development.

However, in the EU, there is still a lack of a clear political roadmap to support the development of hydrogen technology. France and Germany, for instance, have different stances on the use of nuclear energy in hydrogen production, and the extent to which domestic production or imports will cover the hydrogen supply.

Looking ahead, simultaneously scaling up both production and demand – particularly through the use of molecules in steel and chemicals production – will be key to the widespread deployment of green hydrogen. Once demand has stabilised, we can expect to see the deployment of dedicated infrastructure and storage, making hydrogen more easily accessible, in particular for applications in land mobility.


Building Strong Deep Tech Ecosystems

On day two of the event, Patrick Rouvillois, Head of Natixis CIB’s Tech Hub, explored the evolution of the deep tech ecosystem, and the ongoing issues the industry currently faces, in the panel “Building strong deep tech ecosystems”.

Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in European investment in deep tech businesses. In 2015, just €5 billion had been invested into such companies, but more recently, this figure has climbed to €53 billion – with €30 billion in deep tech investments coming from the European Union and €17 billion from the UK.

Beyond Europe, governments in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, from Singapore to the Middle East, have also ramped up support of their nations’ deep tech efforts. This shift in strategy has resulted in the formation of complex quantum, defence, and digital strategies and national funds. In turn, deep tech ecosystems within the country have gone from strength to strength.

More specifically, Rouvillois observed that the global innovation landscape has changed drastically over the past 25 years. Indeed, where formerly, Japan and Asia were at the centre of development of mobile technology, there is now more innovation coming from the US and Western Europe. China, too, has put considerable investment into the development of deep tech technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), resulting in a huge increase in intellectual property.

For the banking industry, deep tech innovation has been steadily growing in prominence, with online bonds and e-banking being adopted across the industry, and transformation through blockchain and tokenisation now being adopted on a wider scale.

Accelerating technological development has become critical to ensuring the governments, banks and corporates remain competitive. However, despite increased interest and investment in the sector, in terms of creating jobs and attracting talent, there is still work to be done – particularly when it comes to promoting the growth of deep tech start-ups.

Some view this topic as a broader political challenge and consider the role of governments as paramount in creating positive ecosystems for entrepreneurs. For instance, governments could focus on setting parameters and creating a community of entrepreneurs for peer learning in addition to providing fiscal stimulus and supportive regulation to make it easier for entrepreneurs to develop across Europe and receive the relevant certification.


Hello Tomorrow Global Summit: a place to meet innovators

Beyond panels and keynotes, the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit also presented the opportunity for industry experts to network and discuss innovation at company booths. On the second day of the event, Natixis CIB’s Tech Hub was delighted to receive Jean-Noël Barrot, the Minister Delegate for Digital Transition and Telecommunications, at its booth. During the visit, both parties had a fruitful discussion about the government’s tech financing initiatives and Groupe BPCE’s respective solutions.

To conclude the event, as part of its Grand Final Ceremony, Nicolas Namias, CEO of BPCE, presented the Global Challenge Award, awarding winner Sweetch Energy its EUR 100 000 prize. During his speech, Namias underscored the group’s commitment to driving innovation within the industry.

“At Groupe BPCE, we recognize the immense potential of new technologies to drive our own transformation as a bank, as well as to deepen our relationships with our clients. What strikes me is the fact that each candidate of the challenge contributed, in its own field, to one of the three major transitions of our world: environmental, digital and societal. These are precisely the transitions that we want to support at Groupe BPCE.”

Since 2011, the top 300 start-ups from Hello Tomorrow’s deep tech network have raised a collective EUR 2 billion. At this year’s Global Summit, Groupe BPCE businesses – including tech-accelerated corporates, scale-ups, big tech companies and funds – actively participated at the event.

In addition to Natixis CIB’s Tech Hub, Groupe BPCE’s offering includes advisory and initial fundraising through Banque Populaire’s NextInnov and Caisse d’Epargne’s Néo Business programmes; venture capital through Seventure Partners; IPOs and capital increases through Natixis CIB’s specialized SECM teams (Strategic Equity Capital Markets); international development through Pramex International; high-growth business strategic advisory through Clipperton; and wealth management advice through Natixis Wealth Management.

Discover our experts’ view in video on Natixis CIB’s Tech Hub webpage

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