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VivaTech 2024 Day Three Digest

Posted at: 05.24.2024in category:Top Stories
Serena and Venus Williams took to the VivaTech stage, AI enhanced our language skills, and the 2024 AfricaTech winners were announced.


The final B2B day of VivaTech 2024 came to a close. We recap the best moments of the day.

Game, Set, Shares: Serena & Venus Williams

Venus and Serena Williams arrived in Paris to share their experiences and perspectives on sports, investing, and business with an audience at VivaTech. The conversation started with the sisters expressing their affection for Paris, a city where they have created many cherished memories, especially during their time at Roland Garros. "Our first Grand Slam doubles title was here in Paris, so we have really great memories forever," said Venus.

The main theme of the discussion was "togetherness," reflecting how Venus and Serena have supported each other throughout their careers. They emphasized the importance of sharing the stage and experiences, not just in tennis but in their business ventures as well.

Serena highlighted their investment philosophy, focusing on diversity in both people and ideas. She stressed the need to invest in projects that benefit a broad spectrum of society, rather than just a small elite. Venus echoed these sentiments, talking about her ongoing efforts to promote equity in various fields, including sports and business. "Investing has changed a lot since I started. Companies like Shares are really changing the landscape of how people are investing broadly across the board," said Venus.

The conversation also delved into the challenges and learning experiences they faced in their transition from sports to business. Both sisters emphasized the importance of stepping out of their comfort zones to achieve significant growth. "Once you get comfortable, it's done. You have to continue to innovate, recreate, and look forward," Serena said.

Venus shared her experience in the interior design business and her role as a co-founder of an AI company for interior design. She talked about the initial discomfort of raising money and how her sports background helped her navigate the business world. Both sisters agreed that their sports experiences provided valuable lessons that were applicable in their business endeavors.

The discussion also touched on their collaboration with Shares, a company aimed at democratizing investment opportunities. "We want to invest in diversity, not only in people but in ideas, helping the 90% of the world, not just the elite 2-10%,” Serena shared. They discussed the importance of making smart, informed financial decisions and creating a safe environment for investors to learn and grow.

For both sisters, winning goes beyond just professional success; it encompasses happiness, health, strong relationships, and the ability to pursue one's passions. They stressed that true success is holistic, involving personal fulfillment as well as professional achievements. “When you're lucky enough to get to choose what you want to do and you get to pursue that, that's winning,” Venus declared.

future of content From left: Pierre Louette, Linda Yaccarino, Kevin Mayer, David Kenny. Photo credit: VivaTech

The Future of Content

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, cutting-edge technologies are revolutionizing every step of the way content is conceived, consumed, and distributed. In this session, our media experts share their insights and strategies to navigate the opportunities and challenges of the evolving digital landscape.

The panelists began on the hot topic of misinformation. Fact-checking is key to fighting misinformation in an area where “Truth has become a disputable object” as Hannah Arendt once predicted. Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X explained, “We at X are radically dedicated to training our models with the truth.”

“One of the most sophisticated beautiful tools that exists today out of X is called Community Notes. Think of it as a global collective intelligence, which is a community-led effort that fights misinformation. We have just surpassed 500,000 community noters in the world, in 70 countries in almost 20 languages''.

Pierre Louette strongly advocated the need to hire, keep, and give a future to journalists producing high-quality news, which are the ingredients of a good democratic debate. “When local newspapers disappear people vote less and less. We strongly believe that independent press is at the forefront of keeping democracy alive. For that we need to find a good business model.” But independent press has been disrupted by digital transformation. “In the last 10 years, the French press has lost 50% of its advertising revenues that went to Google and META. The current model is not sustainable for the first producer of the news,” he added.

On the other hand, it is a great time to be a creator. Creators now have ways to fully express themselves thanks to new technologies (AR, VR). Kevin Mayer, Co-CEO & Founder of Candle Media explained, “There are platforms that allow them to create high-quality programming targeted to the right audience through recommendation engines.” Content commerce community really works.

Tech sophistication has liberated content so everyone can be a creator. “When Twitter was acquired by Elon, it was basically a 140 characters messaging app,” said Yaccarino. “Now less than 18 months later, that our video capabilities have become so sophisticated, we probably got over 150,000 creators on the platform and paid out over 50 million dollars in ad-sharing relationships with those creators.”

The panelists also mentioned the power of live events, like sports and music, that bring people together in real-time, creating shared experiences that are increasingly valuable in a fragmented digital landscape.

Jaroslaw (Jarek) Kutylowski Jaroslaw (Jarek) Kutylowski. Photo credit: VivaTech

Founder’s Story: Empowering the World with Language AI

This session dived into the story behind one of Europe's leading AI companies, DeepL, and how they made it to the global stage with Jaroslaw (Jarek) Kutylowski, the Founder & CEO.

Kutylowski discussed Deepl's journey as a one of the leading machine translation providers worldwide and spoke about their recent 00 million funding round with Atomico partner Laura Connell. Kutylowski emphasized the importance of choosing long-term investors to support DeepL's growth. DeepL’s product-led growth strategy involved zero marketing spend for the first four years, relying instead on the product's quality and word-of-mouth. "We have not invested a dollar in marketing for the first four years of the company, not a single dollar," he expressed.

Kutylowski highlighted the significant role of accurate and secure translations in enterprise settings, where quality is critical “Safety and security are crucial; some customers translate their quarterly earning reports with us, trusting our technology as the safer option."

He also spoke about the company's global expansion, starting from Germany, and its focus on scaling internal culture and talent. Future plans include enhancing spoken language translation and continuing to address complex communication needs for large organizations. This underscored DeepL's commitment to breaking down language barriers and advancing AI-driven translation technology.

where will gen ai take us From left: Daphné Leprince-Ringuet, Isabelle Ryl, Thomas Wolf, Gabriela Ramos, Connor Leahy. Photo credit: VivaTech

Where Will GenAI Take Us in the Next Decade?

In the past 18 months, generative AI has hit the ground running. As it is increasingly integrated in our daily lives, a recent McKinsey report estimates that the technology could add up to .4 trillion to the global economy. GenAI is moving fast, which begs the question: just how far can - and should - it go? From the new capabilities smarter models could unlock, to the technical obstacles paving the road and the biggest potential beneficiaries, this session explores the next frontier for this revolutionary technology.

The emphasis was on collaboration between governments, businesses, and international organizations to ensure AI's benefits are maximized and its risks minimized.

Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, emphasized that AI's challenges are systemic rather than purely technical, affecting labor markets, international competition, and social dynamics. She suggested that the key lies in better policy-making and regulations, ensuring transparency, accountability, and inclusive development. “What do we need these technologies for? They have been developed for profit-making purposes. Within the limits of the possible, it can not only be about profit.”

She argued for more proactive and adaptive regulation, using the example of the US and EU's efforts to regulate AI. She highlighted the necessity of having preemptive measures to address AI's impact.

Thomas Wolf, Co-founder & Chief Scientist Officer at Hugging Face, emphasized the need to use AI for good while keeping the tech and human aspects seperate. “We humanize, we anthropomorphize these models more and more and that's very bad. That's the worst thing we can do today for the public mindset and education around AI.”

africatech awards winners 2024 AfricaTech winners on Stage One. Photo credit: VivaTech

AfricaTech Awards Winners Announced

After pitching this morning on the AfricaTech Lab, the winners of this year’s three AfricaTech Awards were announced on Stage One this afternoon. In the climate tech category was Schoolz, a startup from Egypt with a goal of promoting eco-friendly transportation for a cleaner, healthier planet. In the fintech category was Inclusivity Solutions, reigning from South Africa and making appropriate and affordable insurance accessible to emerging consumers. In the health tech category was Thalia Psychotherapy, a startup from Kenya addressing the vast mental health crisis in Africa

See You Tomorrow!

Even if the B2B days of VivaTech 2024 are already over, there is so much to explore on the final day of VivaTech tomorrow for our general public day. Catch the breaking news on our social media: Instagram, X, TikTok, and LinkedIn.

Don’t forget to add the hashtag #VivaTech so we can see how you are spending your time at Europe’s biggest startup and tech event.

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