18 Pioneering Areas We Love!

By January 23, 2015No Comments


We constantly get asked which areas and industries will be represented at Pioneers Festival and what kind of startups we are looking for with regard to our Pioneers Startup Programs. Here, we have tried to break it down into the 18 areas we are particularly interested in – innovation and break-through technologies being key. These areas certainly do not cover the full spectrum of tech innovation and entrepreneurship. So, if you are active in a different field, show us what you are working on!

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is one of the fields with the potential to change life as we know it. Not only Hollywood has picked up this topic numerous times to show also show the controversy surrounding it, but we also see an increasing number of entrepreneurs working in this field. Example: Adam Cheyer (Co-Founder Siri) just launched Viv Labs. We are super excited to see what’s next – it seems like it has barely begun.

SEE MORE: Adam Cheyer and Vishal Sharma at Pioneers Festival

Energy, Clean Tech & Climate

The field of Energy and Clean Tech is huge and has the potential of having enormous impact. From nuclear to renewable energy sources, storage and transmission – not only Tesla uses battery power to get hundreds of horse powers onto the street. Cheap energy is king as falling costs can dramatically improve the quality of life.

SEE MORE: Danielle Fong – The Greentech Goddess


We are interested in seeing how to make healthcare more sustainable, better for less money: Innovative preventative methods, the implementation of new technologies, sensors and medical devices as well as pharmaceuticals and digital health. Show us what you have got!

SEE MORE: Analyze yourself with Scanadu – Walter DeBrouwer

IoT, Sensors & Wearables

Make it smart! Leading tech companies like Cisco, Intel and Qualcomm are totally into this field. It is about making everything connected and smarter than it is these days – from internet-connected locks to the smart coffee machine in your kitchen. Wearables like Jawbone, fitbit, Withings and others are hot. Big VCs like A16Z, Khosla Ventures, Mayfield Fund, First Round Capital, KPCB, and True Ventures put their money on IoT. There is definitely more to mention, but let us drop a few key words: smart cities, home automation, connected cars, location based & navigation and wireless communications.

SEE MORE: Hilton Romanski on IoT



Robots can simply do things we cannot, and are most probably way more efficient. Self driving cars, mars rovers, industrial robots or even toys are already and will play even more of a part in our daily lives.

SEE MORE: Robotics Panel with Rodney Brooks

Life Sciences & Biotech

Hacking biology comes to life! Calico wants to slow aging, others read and manipulate DNA, invent genetic programming, fight diseases or merge humans and machines. Definitely a controversial field, but one that is on the rise and yes, we will be covering it at Pioneers Festival.

SEE MORE: Biotech 2.0 with Ryan Bethencourt and Bill Liao

Food, Water & Agriculture Tech

Somehow we will have to feed 9 billion people soon, right? Knowing that, we should start facing this upcoming challenge, otherwise we will end up with big problems. A solution we believe in is technology and bold entrepreneurs.

SEE MORE: Food for 9 billion people – Agriculture 3.0

Fin Tech

Financial Services have grown immensely, from payments processing to remittances to wealth management, crypto currencies, investment strategies, information distribution, lending services to more efficient tools. It is safe to say, the fields of saving and investing are ready for disruption.

SEE MORE: The Future of Payments with Patrick Collison (Stripe)

Enterprise, (Big) Data & Productivity Services

This field includes many sub-categories like cloud & analytics, enterprise software & SMB productivity, SaaS, supply chain & logistics, HR & workforce management – it is mainly about reducing costs, using new technologies like mobile phones and tablets, and the modernization of industries, their practices and processes.

SEE MORE: Predicting the Future – Christopher Ahlberg

Automotive & Transportation

Flying and driverless cars are finally here! So what is up next to improve transportation, make it more efficient, sustainable and cheaper? We are happy to find out together with you!

SEE MORE: World Premiere – launch of Aeromobil, the Flying Car

29_pioneers2014_flyingcar_291014_0280_Nima Kazem_small


Yes, we want to see the spaceship of the future and launch it at Pioneers Festival! But there is even more to explore and achieve like nano-satellites, asteroid mining, space logistics & transportation… Star Trek has been inventing the future since the 60s, now it is on us to make the next step.

SEE MORE: Mike Safyan on Disrupting Space

Education & Training

Education is key as it can disrupt all the other areas on this list, when done in the right way. Using the mass scale of technology in education might be the way to go, but also small improvements can add up to the big move. This includes fields like mobile language learning, teacher-student collaboration, education data and analytics, coding and programming education, online classrooms… you name it!

NanoTech, Materials & Digital Fabrication

Let’s do this! Modern and innovative materials with special properties at atomic scale and the potential for science, technology and medical applications like nano materials or bio materials (e.g. in cell culture, surgery and dental implants or drug delivery). This area not only implements the research and usage of smart and advanced materials, but also the way we use them for production, e.g. 3D-printing and digital fabrication.

Download the Pioneers Festival Startup Report 2014


[signupform id="9718802"][/signupform]

Infrastructure & Data Management

Basically everything we do is getting more and more related and connected to the internet and data – thus, we have to make sure it works the way we want. To drop some more key words: security, server, storage & big data infrastructure, networking, programming tools, monitoring, open source and APIs.

SEE MORE: Brad Templeton on Big Data

Science Infrastructure

We defined Science Infrastructure as new and disruptive business models for basic research which should be directly connected to the commercialization of science, as well as tools and software to improve research and communication.

SEE MORE: Sciencepreneur Extraordinaire – Austen Heinz

AR/VR & Games

The field of Augmented Reality and personal displays is growing constantly – the gaming market alone is huge! We have tried to put these categories into one area which stretches the field from Google Glass and Oculus Rift to MMOGs and mobile gaming.

SEE MORE: Showcasing Avegant with Yobie Benjamin

Entertainment, Music, Video & Creativity

Do you (still) watch (online) TV? Use CDs, mp3 or online streaming? Think about it – entertainment industries are changing, content is getting distributed in new ways and celebrities communicate with their fans on different channels than only a few years ago. New businesses will be born in this area and we want to be at the spearhead of this evolution.

SEE MORE: Andrew Sorensen coding Music

Communications & Telecommunications

We hope Skype, SMS, PMs, e-mails or even the basic phone call is not the final evolutionary result we see in the field of communications. As there is progress in all the other named fields happening, also the communication tools and methods will have to improve. Simpler, more elegant and definitely more effective.

You are working on the next big thing? Apply now for the Pioneers Startup Programs and showcase at Pioneers Festival