Tokamak Energy & Synthace named World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers

Two UKI2S portfolio companies recognised amongst world’s most innovative companies

UKI2S companies Tokamak Energy and Synthace join the ranks of global giants Google, Dropbox and Mozilla as winners of the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer award.

Each year, World Economic Forum (WEF) and a selection committee of academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives select the world’s most promising Technology Pioneers. These early-stage companies are selected for their potential to significantly impact business and society through new technologies.

In 2016 Synthace, which provides next generation software and processes to exponentially improve productivity in bioscience, was selected as a WEF Technology Pioneer for its ability to better engineer biology for health, food, energy and manufacturing. Synthace also gained further distinction by being the only UK company in 2016 to have been selected.

Central to Synthace’s technology is a high-level programming language for biology, designed to make simple, reproducible and scalable workflows that are easily automated and shared. Using Antha, Synthace’s powerful software and operating system, biologists around the world can dramatically improve, streamline and run biological experimentation and manufacturing processes, help turn biodesigns into desperately needed new solutions to heal, feed and fuel the growing world population. The company spun out of University College London, is already serving customers across the pharmaceutical, agriscience and industrial biotechnology industries.

“We welcome Synthace in this group of extraordinary pioneers,” said Fulvia Montresor, Head of Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum. “Synthace is among those companies that help shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. Through the platform of the World Economic Forum, it will be able to scale and share its technology and achieve a larger impact.”

The year prior Tokamak Energy garnered a 2015 Technology Pioneer award to accelerate the development of cost-effective, clean energy from fusion. Tokamak Energy aims to accelerate the development of fusion energy by combining two emerging technologies – spherical tokamaks and high-temperature superconductors. Tokamaks are the most advanced fusion concept in the world, but recent progress has been slow and we need to take an innovative approach to developing fusion faster. Their business model is based on agility and “open innovation” – working collaboratively with engineering companies, research laboratories and universities, whilst ensuring that they retain the ownership of crucial intellectual property.

“To be recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer alongside so many other innovative ideas (both past and present) is a great endorsement of our approach to realising a future energy source for the world,” said David Kingham, Chief Executive Officer, Tokamak Energy. “The world needs a clean base-load energy solution that is abundant, safe and CO2-free.  Fusion is one of the few options available and we believe it is critical to find the quickest, most cost-effective and realistic pathway to fusion energy.”

The Technology Pioneers are mostly active in IT, health (MedTech), food, energy, environment, financial services (fintech) and production. The Technology Pioneers were selected from among hundreds of applicants by a selection committee of academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives. Notable members of the 2015 and 2016 committee include Jeffrey M. Drazen (Editor-in-Chief, The New England Journal of Medicine),  Arianna Huffington (founder, Huffington Post), and Sang Yup Lee (Distinguished Professor and Director, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). The committee based its decisions on criteria including innovation, potential impact, working prototype, viability and leadership. Past recipients include Google (2001), Wikimedia (2007), Mozilla (2007), Kickstarter (2011) and Airbnb (2013).

More information about Technology Pioneers can be found here: