The fifth annual race to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island continues to heat up for the world’s largest startup competition the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC). After announcing the Top 25 teams on Necker Island last October, the list of contenders have now been narrowed down to the Top 10 Semi-Finalists.

The next stage of the Extreme Tech Challenge will be the Semi-Finals on 10 January 2019, taking place at CES in the Bellini Ballroom (2003-2006) at the Venetian from 1pm-3pm. At this semi-final, the Top 10 teams present on stage at CES, as the judges score and deliberate on the spot to announce the top three finalists, who will then compete for the top spot at the XTC Finals on Necker Island on 3 April 2019.

The Top 10 this year features a remarkably strong group of startups from six countries around the globe including Australia, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Switzerland, and the United States. The diversity in the industries, backgrounds, and stages of the top 10 teams adds an extra layer of complexity and intrigue to the competition as the judges evaluate each company based on their performance in their respective categories and not necessarily in comparison to each other.

ActiveProtective: Developed a wearable that protects the hips of older adults using wearable airbags, alerting caregivers, monitors behaviors, and promotes safer mobility. Based out of Philadelphia, ActiveProtective offers smart hip protection in a form-factor that people will actually wear.
BitLumens: Provides decentralized power to rural communities which are not connected to the power line using the blockchain to provide them with a credit score. Founded in Switzerland, BitLumens offers farmers solar home systems which can be paid in installments.
Civic Eagle: The Atlanta based SaaS company uses artificial intelligence to reduce the time and cost of identifying, tracking, and analyzing important legislation and regulations for organizations that need to respond to quickly changing policy environments.
Einride: Disrupting the unsustainable transportation industry, making the movement of goods more intelligent: emission-free, safe, and cost-efficient. Based out of Sweden, Einride provides transportation as a service, based on interconnected, all-electric, autonomous trucks or “T-pods.”
Elevian: Develops regenerative medicines, with the potential to treat and prevent many age-related diseases and extend healthy lifespan. Based in Boston, Elevian targets a fundamental mechanism of aging: regenerative capacity, our body’s ability to heal itself, which declines with age.
Last Of Ours: Bringing people together to protect our planet’s endangered species and natural zones by creating shared value between social entertainment and real-world impact. From Thailand, the team created a digital mirror on the blockchain where every unique token represents a real endangered animal living in the wild, one-to-one.
Liven: A rewards-based lifestyle payment platform out of Australia that connects users, merchants, charities in a seamless payments experience powered by the blockchain. Liven allows users to discover new experiences, pay bills and earn a meaningful reward that they can use anywhere within our network with a transparent dollar-value, or share with a charity of their choosing.
Lynq: Location, decentralized. A new level of reliability, safety and privacy without infrastructure – paired with dramatic power savings across devices. Based out of New York, LynQ offers secure location without phones, networks or infrastructure, going beyond convenience and peace of mind, to saving lives.
re:3D: Committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to industrial 3D printing. After pioneering the world’s first affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer, the Houston based team is now enabling 3D printing from recycled plastic via directly from pellets or flake.
WeWALK: Developing technologies for the visually impaired to increase their independence and safety on the road, as well as promoting their equal participation to society. Based out of Istanbul, WeWalk’s first product is a smart cane for visually impaired, offering features such as obstacle detection, smartphone connection, and app integrations.

In addition to the companies above, NYX has been selected as the XTC Wildcard winner. The Wildcard gets the opportunity to showcase with the Top 10 Semi-Finalists at CES 2019. The Israeli neuro-wellness company developed a brain-tech wearable headband that allows the users to improve their sleep and reduce their stress.

The winner of the fourth annual Extreme Tech Challenge was Power Ledger, a software company out of Perth, Australia that uses blockchain technology to enhance the adoption and accessibility of clean energy worldwide. They were selected by a panel of judges that included Richard Branson himself.

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