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Websummit 2020: Software eats the world!

Guillaume RIO
8 minutes
Websummit 2020 took place from December 2 to 4, 2020. According to its co-founder, Paddy Cosgrave, this edition broke its historical record of attendance with 105,000 visitors (on average 70,000/year) from 168 countries.

This new “digital” edition (3 days and more than 100 hours of broadcast content) showcased more than 1,200 speakers and 2,500 startups whose main topics were fintech, health, smart city, sustainability, foodtech, space, retail, etc.

If Covid-19 has accelerated our digital uses in all our areas of life, for analyst Benedict Evans we were carried by tech giants especially at the beginning of the pandemic “Standing on the shoulders of giants”, by the deployment of online work tools, new forms of interactive commerce, digital social relations… all generations combined.

Nevertheless, this edition has made it possible to note that this “fast forward” is not the only tribute of the giants of Tech and it is clear that it inaugurates a new mapping all services and sectors combined …


If not the best known, Laszlo Kishonti CEO of AImotive, the Hungarian Tesla, is convinced that Covid-19 will further accelerate the disruption of the automotive sector. For the latter, the autonomous car, or according to him the “software is the new king”, will take control of the hardware and bring its lot of new entrants.


Like Brian Gu, president of XpengMotors (Alibaba’s main investor), stressing that the new energy vehicle market, or “smartcar“, in China is expected to reach 20% of total car sales by the end of 2025.

Like Tesla, many new Chinese players such as Nio, Li Auto, Byton are attacking the “smartcar” market. This is confirmed by a record increase in sales in November on this type of vehicle (XpengMotors increased its sales by 320% over one year).

The latter being largely financed by the BATX, they benefit from a whole galaxy of contextualized services, thus reinforcing the notion of “smartcar” and “software is the new king” mentioned by the CEO of AImotive!

Tesla, Nio, Li Auto, Byton

Zoox young startup acquired by Amazon this year, recalled through its co-founder Jesse Levinson that it was the first company on the market to obtain authorization to provide autonomous transportation services to the public in California, hence the launch on December 14, of autonomous taxis on this area, carried by the slogan “We’re reinventing personal transportation—making the future safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable”.

This announcement comes a month after that of Waymo on his robot taxi service in Phoenix. On the “cleaner” part, Jesse Levinson added that motorists use their vehicles 4% of the time and that in the remaining 96%, they remain motionless. Half the carbon footprint of a car is just its manufacture.

Zoox, Waymo

On this market we must not forget the great “historical” of this sector!

According to Daimler Ola Källenius president, the company founded by Carl Benz, which patented the first gasoline car in 1886, is accelerating plans to move the automaker beyond the combustion engine vehicle. Finally Marek Reichman, CCO of Aston Martin said that the autonomous vehicles of the brand will be available within 2 years.

Will see it in the next James Bond…

Voiture autonome

Covid-19 has also accelerated drone delivery to different trades, where authorizations have been accelerated during a pandemic. The global drone parcel market is expected to grow to US$7,388.2 million by 2027. Manna, a young Irish company (already awarded at websummit 2019) can already deliver up to 100 different products per day! Building on this success, the British chain Tesco teamed up with Manna to conduct a 6-month trial to deliver basic necessities from its Oranmore store in Ireland, where Manna has an operating license. 

In the US, the drone division of Amazon Prime Air and Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), have received approval from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to test drone deliveries in the US.

In a completely different vein, Zipline International, a young Californian startup, has pre-empted the delivery of drugs by drones to 21 hospitals in Rwanda. According to CEO Keller Rinaudo, his company now supplies 75% of the country’s blood supply.

Drone delivery is becoming a reality and could well help Will Shu, CEO of Deliveroo, who also believes that the pandemic has “accelerated consumer adoption” of food delivery services “by about two or three years”.



If global food demand generates 22% to 37% of greenhouse gas emissions, all sectors combined, the livestock sector alone would generate 63% of food emissions, while it would provide only 16% of the calories consumed in the world. With this in mind, the young Chilean startup Notco, whose main investor is Jeff Bezos, has embarked on the creation of AI-based foods and plants.

According to CEO Matias Muchnick, Notco uses algorithms to create plant alternatives and analyzes the molecular structure of certain foods such as beef, milk or eggs. Then it compares them with the molecular composition of plants to find similarities. His algorithms then find several combinations between plants to best imitate tastes, textures and colors. Its latest product, Notmilk made from AI, cabbage, and pineapple uses 92% less water, 74% less energy and emits 74% less emissions than regular milk.Notmilk is now available from the American distributor Wholefoods (chain owned by Amazon).


Notco is also NotBurger, NotMilk, and NotMayo , a four-year-old chickpea mayonnaise that has already captured 12% of the mayonnaise market in Chile.

According to the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods (USA) also present at Websummit and on the same sector as Notco, its mission is to completely replace the use of animals as food technology, worldwide, by 2035!


Covid-19 has harmed many health systems, especially in the US. According to Mario Schlosser, CEO of the New York-based start-up that has embarked on health insurance: “The biggest problem of the American healthcare system is twofold: on the one hand, it is too expensive; on the other hand, it is still too complicated… What I expect is an individualized health care and insurance system where you can pay a certain amount… almost a subscription for your health”.

This wish is already a reality in China. Jessica Tan Co-CEO of Ping An Insurance and Liao Jieyuan CEO of WeDoctor Group (whose main shareholder is Tencent) presented their various platforms where health, under the guise of AI and IOT, combines with individualized insurance.

The numbers are striking! In March, Wedoctor launched its “Fighting Covid-19” service internationally, with 230 million users in 220 countries. A total of 73,000 medical experts provided free online services, providing over 180 million consultations on the platform.


As a reminder, Wedoctor and Ping Doctor (Ping An Insurance) is the integration of a whole digital ecosystem around health. Wedoctor is already 4,000 hospitals, 300,000 doctors and 200 million patients.

The ambition of these Chinese giants is to deliver individualized and real-time health monitoring (and insurance-related services, etc.), carried out by the IOT and the AI, as demonstrated by the scheme advocated by Liao Jieyuan CEO of WeDoctor Group.


Across the Atlantic, Amazon in light of these latest announcements, launch of Amazon Care, Amazon Pharmacy, Health Insurance (Haven), Halo (‘Fitbit’ connected bracelets) Seems to have a head start to meet the wish of Mario Schlosser CEO of Oscar Health that “Amazon Prime Health” a subscription for personalized health.

Also in the USA, 23andMe internationally known company (Owned by Alphabet) for its DNA tests, is today the largest research database containing millions of human genotypes. She has just launched a study to measure the correlation between genetic heritage and the intensity of Covid-19 symptoms. This ushers in a growing involvement of our DNA in our daily lives like Dna nudge in the UK and IcarbonX in China (mentioned in the latest Commerce Reloaded).


Fintech : Every company can become a #fintech!

According to Ann Cairns, Executive Vice President of Mastercard (Mastercard study), 54% of consumers have increased the use of a contactless debit or credit card and 44% have used a smartphone digital wallet more since the beginning of the pandemic.

For Dan Schulman CEO of Paypal. “The pandemic is the turning point. Digital currencies are going to come into the mainstream… The time is now.”

In the USA, 8% of consumers already consider an online bank like Chime or Varo as their main bank, or 27 million accounts opened with online banks. According to CEO Chris Brit, Chime owns 35% of all digital bank accounts in the USA! According to the latter, the content in neobanks is essential. Connect culturally with your customers to provide them with a financial reading tailored to different targets”.

These new entrants are likely to blend in with the daily banking scene, and this was not denied by Roland Folz CEO Solarisbank AG: “Every company can become a fintech”.

Every company can become a fintech

Conclusion: Software eat the world

The Covid-19 by its chain of irremediable contingencies, but also by its propensity to accelerate the implementation of licenses previously planned much later (drones, autonomous cars, etc.) opens the Pandora’s box on a world or “software eats the word” to paraphrase our analyst Benedict Evans.

If “ambient trade” takes place more and more quickly, it opens a field of possibilities still ignored. ” We have a level of penetration and density of internet population that means all sorts of businesses that would not have been possible in 2000 or indeed in 2010, are now possible.”

“Software eats the world!”, Benedict Evans.


Guillaume Rio

Technology and Partnerships Manager


Guillaume RIO
Specialist of BATX & GAFA ecosystems and passionate about China, Guillaume analyzes the impact of new technologies on our lives.
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