Recapping the Highlights of the 2024 Edition of the HackSummit

Discover the key takeaways, insights and event in numbers from across the full week of events

We had high hopes for the fourth edition of the HackSummit.

We wanted all 1,000+ attendees to go home with a better understanding of the global ClimateTech landscape, the skills to tackle challenges facing them, with actionable advice to implement and the connections they need to scale their business and achieve their mission as fast as possible. 

Here at Hack, we’re building the go-to climate community to accelerate more investment into impact. 

And we’re glad to have you a part of this community to help make it a reality.

HackSummit in Numbers

- 1,000+ Founders, Funders and Operators from 41 countries
- 15 official side events (as well as numerous secret ones)
- 4,508 1:1 meetings took place via the networking app
- 10,821 chat messages exchanged to plan meetings
- 3,000 reusable cups of coffee-free coffee poured
- 20 food and drink partners to keep us fuelled up
- 60-strong startup fair showcasing what's next 
- 6,000 vegetable crates to build the summit

Pitch Competition Finals

Across the 2 days we celebrated rising talents in live pitch competitions where Foreverland Food was crowned winner of the FoodTech World Cup and Mozaic Earth lifted the NatureTech Challenge Trophy.

“The Foodtech World Cup turned out to be beyond my expectations. The quality of the quarter and semifinals were absolutely brilliant. It created months of good traction and momentum with the FoodTech community, finalizing with the great session at the Hack Summit. We are looking forward to collaborating with many of the finalists and especially with the big winner, Foreverland Food,” said Alexandre Bastos of Givaudan

16 Standout Takeaways:

The Power of Community

Insider perspective: Coline Jeannet of HackGroup

At Hack, not only do we believe in the power of community, but we witness it first hand throughout the year. To open the Summit, Coline introduced our 130 Ambassadors from 53 cities across 6 Chapters who are actively hosting meetups and bringing together local communities. 

30 of them joined us throughout the Summit and together they brought the power of community building to the HackSummit to kickstart new conversations and share local opportunities.

Spotlight on the Global South

Highlighted by Michal Klar of Better Bite Ventures

Global insights on transition challenges and ways to tackle them from European, American, Asian, and African perspectives underline the common mission we share. 

The opening panel on the main stage was all about climate investing in emerging markets in Asia (thanks to Alina Truhina and Michal Klar) and Africa (thanks to Maelis Carraro and Abby Stern).

Shobhita Soor, Joaquin Fisch, Paulo Ibri and Gayatri Bhatia represented Africa, Latin America in the FoodTech World Cup.

A dedicated APAC panel covered the opportunities and challenges across the region and how the local ecosystem nurtures, supports and launches startups.

And Leroy Nyangani, David Chen, Mihir Pershad and Gautam Shah to name a few shared their perspective from the global energy transition, rice decarbonisation, future of food and tech-powered wildlife conservation.

Biomanufacturing Scaleup

As told by Maya Bendifallah of Nutropy

Over in the Climate Lab, workshop facilitators and attendees shared how they are paving the way for the bioeconomy of the future in the context of precision fermentation.

Collaboration and mixed financing and production models are key to moving efficiently. Government initiatives will propel biomanufacturing companies further and need to be directed at innovative food solutions.

"Hack"ing the Growth Phase for ClimateTech Companies

Explained by Yair Reem of Extantia Capital

While there is a lot of capital available at the seed stage, it is a different story at the growth stage. 

The transition of a company from venture case to infrastructure case is difficult to navigate and forces founders to think creatively. Fortunately, there are a few things that companies can do to help bridge the Series B funding gap: Securing off-take agreements, embracing debt financing, engaging strategic partners early, embracing government involvement and applying for every grant out there.

Mass Adoption of Clean Energy

As shared by Govinda Upadhyay of SmartHelio

In the transition to carbon free energy, we need grassroots demand that will compel politicians to focus on regulatory measures. Once these regulations are in place, technology will naturally accelerate the adoption of clean energy within our society and around the world.

Beyond this, investment, regulation, hiring, client's acceptance of AI, and mass adoption of the technology will increase clean energy access.

Operating within Planetary Boundaries

Hot take from: Alix Chausson of Nosh.Bio

One of the many workshops in the ClimateLab was focused on how the understanding of planetary boundaries can accelerate sustainable innovation while driving a positive bottom line.

The workshop explored how frameworks leveraged by VCs can align investment criteria, inform impact-driven decision-making, and build sustainable portfolios. And how planetary boundaries can be used as a building block of business models for ClimateTech startups and as a concept to influence ongoing research in the climate space.

Farmers x Technology

Spotted by Clara Best of Saved

Companies are trying to optimise yield, cash and transparency by incorporating technology into non-technology fields. If we take for example AgriG8 who is decarbonising rice fields (the more farmers adopt sustainable practices, the less interest on their loan they have to pay) and Jonathan Ledgard who shared how we can bridge the gap between AI/blockchain and nature.

Food is Hot

Explained here by Till Hoelzer of FoodLabs

For the first time, European funding for Food and Agriculture surpassed that of the US. With European ventures raising ca. 58% of all funding, new European champions are on the rise.

Whether it was through the on-stage cooking demos, at the exclusive tastings in the Taste Lab, on stage with Founders and Investors or waiting in line at the FoodTruck fair, the future of food is here.

“This year's HackSummit inspired a sense of community, action, and concrete solutions around ClimateTech. ClimateTech and FoodTech are deeply intertwined. Tackling sourcing, production, and waste management is vital for achieving Net Zero emissions. Together we can go faster, joining forces is crucial to ensure our transition is successful,” shares Susana Reber of Nestle Research and Development

Making Money from the Blue Economy

Hot takes from Chiara Molena of Edera Lab

The potential for growth in the blue economy is massive, making it a non-negotiable segment for preserving the environment. However, it remains challenging to convince investors to take the risk and long-term approach that new ventures in this space require. 

Without favorable regulations, startups face significant risks as first movers. Strong regulations can create the demand for blue economy solutions, for example the UK is becoming increasingly active with upcoming regulations on biodiversity net gain and marine net gains

Nature-Inspired Regeneration

Summarised by Fabrice Leclerc of EPFL Innovation Park

Nature, described as a technology billions of years in the making, stands as the most advanced system to learn from and draw inspiration.

Appreciating the wisdom of nature and committing to practices that allow for true regeneration supports personal well-being and contributes to a sustainable and thriving planet.

Novel Capital Sources are Flowing into Financing Climate Innovation

Perspective from Nelson Dumas at Eltenemo

There’s a USD 600B yearly gap to bridge towards the Climate transition. VC incentives are all skewed and scale the wrong companies for the wrong reasons and investors keep getting burnt from a lack of transparency on impact and on risks.

Although the solution is not simple, it is straightforward:

We need to develop models to enable granular data on impact and risk in private markets. We need an overarching educational effort to bring all investors (specifically retail and institutional) to the needed comfort level. And new financing models centered around blended finance where all stakeholders take their responsibility in relation to their risk appetite.

Family Offices want to Invest in ClimateTech

As covered by Sadia Nowshin and Freya Pratty in Sifted

At the HackSummit's speaker’s dinner, discussions highlighted the growing interest of family offices in ClimateTech funds. 

It came to light that younger generations in family offices are pushing for greener investments, often clashing with older, more conservative members. Nadim El Khazen of Peakbridge noted that older offices, especially those from polluting industries, are investing in impact funds to offset their legacy. Despite some skepticism, the trend is growing.

Electrifying Mobility

Opinion from Vladimir Golubyatnikov of Eurasian Resources Group

Many people are talking about electric vehicles, but in water transport (think personal recreational boats) clean solutions are already available at the fraction of the cost compared to fossil fuel alternatives. As explained here by Konrad Bergstrom in his keynote address.

Carbon Credits 2.0 = Biodiversity Credits

Noted by Clara Best of Saved Food

Biodiversity credits cover conservation, restoration and species protection and will be a key enabler for developing nature tech. The challenge today is to reach alignment on the meaning and metrics and to refocus investors on biodiversity.

Restoring Soil Integrity

From Chiara Molena of Edera Lab

Rich, healthy soil nourishes nutrient-dense crops, leading to healthier food for consumers. Soil is the earth's largest carbon store. Restoring degraded soil helps capture atmospheric carbon and it's not just a medium for plants to grow but a mirror that reflects the state of our ecosystem.

Soils with healthy biodiversity contribute to more nutritious food, positively impacting our well-being.

And by understanding what imminent needs customers care about, such as soil yields or tree health in forestry, can help nature tech founders craft compelling selling stories.

Walking the Walk

Led by Fascal Hukker of HackGroup

Spotted by PINC, Helena Wasserman of Unstoppable and many more of our attendees we served a 100% climate-friendly menu, including plant based duck, chicken and seafood; coffee free coffee; no footprint chocolates.

When it comes to zero waste conferences, we had plenty of recyclable systems for cups and plates; biodegradable cutlery; food waste collections, reusable conference props, upcycled merchandise and decorations created with local artists and recycled badges. We also worked with Beelong to measure the sustainability impact of our lunch dishes.

Join us Next Time

We’ve already announced the dates for the return of the HackSummit in Lausanne: May 15-16th 2025.

Can’t wait that long? Neither can we. We’re launching a brand new HackSummit in New York dedicated to scaling DeepTech. Join us there on December, 12-13th.

Lock in the best rate here, or get in touch to find out how you can get more involved.