What is the Hello Tomorrow Asia Pacific Challenge?
The APAC Challenge is held in conjunction with the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge – a renowned international start-up competition that’s been running since 2014. It is uniquely designed to address the needs of early-stage deep-tech start-ups across all industries.
Together, these Hello Tomorrow Challenges give deep-tech and science-based entrepreneurs around the globe a platform for their projects, providing opportunities for equity-free funding, global visibility and connections with key players in the deep-tech ecosystem. To date, previous winners and finalists have already raised more than $1 billion in funding.
Applications are entirely free, and open until 10 July 2021. All APAC-based applicants immediately qualify for both Challenges which, while related, are judged quite independently of each other. This means extra opportunity across both platforms!
The APAC Challenge concludes with the Finals streamed at SWITCH (the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology) in November 2021, and the Global Challenge concludes with the Grand Finals during the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris on 2-3 December 2021.
What does it cost to participate in the APAC Challenge?
Your application to the Global Challenge is completely free, and implies no obligation or commitment. Hello Tomorrow does not claim any kind of decision, power, or take any equity on projects or start-ups applying.
What are the unique perks of participating in the APAC Challenge?
This platform offers you additional prizes and visibility, but most of all it’s a springboard for your start-up to the region and beyond!
Two winners will each receive S$30K in Startup SG grants, and get fast-tracked to the SLINGSHOT 2021 Finals
Three finalists will be fast-tracked to the Global Challenge Finals
Pitch before a select jury live at the APAC Challenge Finals in Singapore (or simply dial in if travels aren’t restored!)
The APAC Challenge Finals will later be streamed at SWITCH – expect tens of thousands of attendees!
How are Hello Tomorrow’s challenges different from other competitions and events?
We designed the Global Challenge (and the APAC Challenge) specifically for deep-tech start-ups because we know that the needs of deep technologies and the resources required to push them forward are different from those of digital start-ups.
At our Summits, you’ll meet experts in science and technology (including investors, executives, entrepreneurs and potential customers) who have a solid understanding of the needs and potential impact of new solutions and want to be part of the deep technology transfer.
We provide a platform for regional and global visibility where you can be endorsed as a leading Deep Tech Pioneer, and enjoy connections leading to business and funding opportunities during the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit (3,500 attendees from 110+ countries) and our invite-only Investor Day (200+ VCs & CVCs).
Hello Tomorrow is run by a group of passionate people who basically just really love deep technologies and want to see you get your innovation out into the world!
Is my information confidential?
The information you provide on your application will be available to the following parties:
• Hello Tomorrow Asia Pacific, Hello Tomorrow, and their external IT team (to manage the application platform)
• Our expert jury members (to evaluate your application)
• Our partners (corporates and investors looking for potential collaboration or investment opportunities)
Though these parties do not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, we and they informally commit to keeping your information for private use only. We may communicate some information publicly (name of your company, country, public description) to promote start-ups. If you believe some information might be too sensitive (because of a pending patent, for example), we advise that you get legal advice from someone within your institution.
Do you take any equity in my start-up if I win?
No; we never have, and can’t see why we ever would. In the true Hello Tomorrow spirit, all our prizes are equity-free.
Who is eligible?
We welcome startups that:
• Are in the early-stage of development (from not-yet-incorporated start-ups, up to series A or early commercialisation stages)
• Are based on a new technology, a scientific discovery or a complex engineering process
• Have a scientific validation of their claim, a proof of concept, a prototype, or are in the process of producing one
• Have a team of at least 2 people
• Are not a subsidiary or spin-off of an existing company
• Foresee an economically viable application on the market within 15 years
• Have the potential to have a strong impact on the industry targeted, and on society or the environment in general
Do I have to be incorporated to apply?
No, you don’t have to be incorporated to apply to the APAC Challenge but you should have clear development plans and goals.
In fact, 40% of applicants from previous editions were not incorporated. If a nonincorporated start-up wins the Challenge, no funds will be transferred until the company is incorporated.
If I have participated in a previous iteration of the Challenge, may I re-apply with the same concept?
Yes, you may do so as long as your project has not won in the past. We also assure you that your past applications have no bearing on your subsequent (re-)applications. In fact, repeat applicants have made it all the way to the Finals and won on their 3rd or 4th tries!
May I apply with a family/ ecosystem of products/ solutions?
Yes, you may.
May I apply even though my start-up has not gained any traction?
Yes, you absolutely may. Even very early-stage start-ups have advanced to the Finals.
That said, external validation and evidence of interest in your technology (such as market surveys, and letters of intent from potential customers/ partners) will benefit your application.
What tracks/verticals are covered?
We welcome all deep-tech start-ups. Your technology/ application should fit in at least one of our 10 tracks this year:
Aerospace, Computer & Communication Hardware, Data & AI, Digital Health & Medical Devices, Energy & Environment, Food & Agriculture, Industrial Biotech & New Materials, Industry 4.0, Medical Biotech & Pharmaceuticals, Mobility & Urban Sustainability.
If you don’t think your technology/ application fits within any of these tracks, please choose the closest fitting track or contact us for help.
How do I choose the best vertical/ track for my project?
Choosing the right track is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all.
If you think your project fits more than one track, pick the one you think you’ll have the best chance of winning. Besides finding the best fit for your technology and its potential applications, you should also consider your would-be competitors in the track to maximise your chance of winning.
If the jury strongly believes your project fits better in another track, however, we’ll reach out and suggest a change of tracks.
What is the selection process of the APAC Challenge?
This happens in sync with that of the Global Challenge, and takes place in 5 distinct stages. Applicants will be informed of their progress at each stage.
Deep Tech Pioneers – The global jury selects the best start-ups based on the quality of their online application and welcomes them to the Deep Tech Pioneers community so they can get immediate access to available benefits.
APAC Challenge Finalists – The APAC jury selects 15 Finalists, and each Finalist will be individually informed in September. These Finalists will be invited to pitch during the APAC Challenge Finals in October in Singapore.
APAC Challenge Winners – The APAC jury selects 2 Winners of the APAC Challenge who will fast-track to the SLINGSHOT Finals (November, in Singapore), and the global jury selects 3 Finalists that will fast-track to the Global Challenge Finals (December, in Paris).
Does my performance at the APAC Challenge affect my chances at the Global Challenge, or vice versa?
Not at all. Except for the special privilege where three APAC Challenge Finalists get selected to fast-track to the Global Challenge Finals, each of these challenges are judged independently of the other.
For example, an applicant who doesn’t qualify for the APAC Challenge Finals might very well still be selected to advance to the Global Challenge Grand Finals!
I’m not based in Singapore – will my inability to be physically present to pitch at the APAC Challenge Finals affect my chances?
Absolutely not. Especially if travel restrictions are still in place, APAC Challenge Finalists outside of Singapore may simply dial in to pitch live to the APAC jury!
Who evaluates the applications, and how?
Applications are reviewed by expert jury members (investors, entrepreneurs, executives, researchers and other experts in the respective fields). For the APAC Challenge Finals, a list and profile of the APAC jury members will be published online and made accessible to applicants prior to the event.
All applications are judged according to the following criteria:
• Technological innovation: The applicant must develop a product/ service based on a new technology, a scientific discovery, or a complex engineering process
• Impact: The applicant must have the potential to make a substantial long-term impact on business and/or society
• Economic viability: The applicant should have well-formulated development plans, objectives, and a sustainable business model
• Team: The applicant must have visionary leadership with the capabilities to drive the company towards success
During the APAC Challenge Finals, the APAC jury members rate and select projects based on the quality of the pitch and the complementary information that’s being provided to them after the initial selection rounds (1-page summary and pitch deck).
When will I know if I'm selected?
Applicants selected as Deep Tech Pioneers (~800 quality start-ups granted exclusive access to community perks, the Global Summit, and Investor Day) will be notified between July and October.
Applicants will be notified in September if they made it to the APAC Challenge Finals (filmed in October and streamed in November).
May I apply to the APAC Challenge without applying to the Global Challenge?
No, you can’t. Besides, why would you? Participating in the Global Challenge is an immense opportunity for any deep-tech start-up!
Will I be penalised if my technology is not 100% proven or ready for market?
No, our Challenge was precisely built to serve the earliest-stage deep-tech start-ups. As long as your project is TRL 3 and up (i.e. have, minimally, a proof of concept), you’re good to go.
For instance, our 2014 Grand Winner, ONWARD (formerly GTX medical), hadn’t yet commenced on clinical trials when they won. Similarly, our 2016 Grand Winner, Lilium, also hadn’t yet had a working prototype when they won. In fact, their product is still not yet commercially available today (but will very soon be)!
May I update my application after the deadline?
Unfortunately, no, you may not. This keeps the competition fair to all other applicants.
May I include in my application a video of our technology in action?
Yes, videos are always helpful. In fact, they’re often the first thing a jury member reviews.