By Hana Anandira
Start-ups bring a human touch to 4YFN
The GSMA’s annual event for technology start-ups Four Years From Now (4YFN) returns to MWC Barcelona 2023 with over 700 emerging companies on the showfloor exhibiting the latest in cutting-edge innovation, with this year’s central theme humanising technology.
Held at Fira Gran Via, the event’s panel sessions are split into six main programmes covering fintech, digital health, education technology, frontier tech, investment and environmental tech. Each will assess the role and impact of new technologies in these areas.
Pere Duran, event series director of 4YFN, told Mobile World Daily the use of artificial intelligence (AI), environmental technology and metaverse have showed significant progress in the last year across the industry. These key trends and associated societal impacts are set to be prevalent across the 4YFN schedule.
“This year, we decided to focus on the people behind these start-ups who are trying to change society for the better by making technology cheaper, accessible and more inclusive,” he added, emphasising this year’s angle which zooms in on the ethical benefits of technology as start-ups seek to embrace digital tools in sectors like education and inclusive finance.
In line with the GSMA’s broader ambitions to tackle social issues through digital connectivity, the upcoming 4YFN aims to shine a brighter light on emerging companies that leverage smart technology, what Duran described as disruptive tech to empower consumers.
“We are going to highlight the companies that are looking to address the big challenges that we have. Humanising tech is a very broad topic, so the event will touch upon many different areas,” Duran added.
The conference’s central topics feature in dedicated sections across the four days of the event, where more than 300 international speakers are set to present.
Among this year’s varied roster of 4YFN keynote speakers, Duran highlighted entrepreneurs behind successful start-ups including: founder of GoStudent Felix Ohswald; Factorial founder Jordi Romero; and founder of iamtheCODE Lady Marieme Jamme.
Elsewhere at the event pitching and networking sessions between start-ups and a community of 1,000 investors will be held, while an impressive line-up of companies from across the globe will be exhibiting their ideas and innovations.
The 4YFN Awards also make a return, with a ceremony celebrating the work of some of the most innovative digital start-ups due to be held on Wednesday 1 March.
Five finalists have been selected from a shortlist of 50: sustainable network connectivity company Aircision from The Netherlands; sign language mobile app DeafTawk from Denmark; online school for software developers Microverse from the United States; Spanish fintech start-up Payflow; and autonomous drone platform Unmanned Life from the UK.
Duran noted concepts around the metaverse were “growing exponentially” within the start-up ecosystem today, alongside climate technology.
To support and showcase these innovations, 4YFN will be launching a brand new “immersive experience” area. Here, delegates will be able to explore futuristic metaverse-related activities, including VR booths and avatar generators.
“Attendees will have the opportunity to discover four curated activities that are pushing the boundaries of the perception of reality”, Duran added.
Check out all the action from 4YFN on Mobile World Live TV, in Mobile World Daily or on the 4YFN website: www.4yfn.com