Best young entrepreneurs in 2022 revealed: Gen Z goes to space

On a mission to support the growing number of young talented entrepreneurs, Wise, a global technology company building the best way to move money around the world, has identified the most promising young founders across Europe. Now in its 5th year, the 20 Under 20competition helps young entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.  

The finalists  showcased a range of exciting businesses, challenging the status quo in their field through innovative products and solutions —  from tackling issues in the education sector with an exam correction platform, to helping older people access better care. A growing year on year trend is thinking green and building solutions for a sustainable future, from zero waste cosmetics to bike accessories from recycled materials, designed to encourage a more eco-friendly way of transport. 

This year’s cohort of the most promising young entrepreneurs was chosen by a world-class panel of investors and business experts, including Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, former Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Roxanne Varza from Paris’s startup hub Station F, and Terri Duhon, NED and Risk Chair, Morgan Stanley International and Independent NED, Wise.

The winner, 19 year old Julian Fernández Barcellona was awarded £25,000 for his business, FOSSA Systems, which uses IoT and a satellite network to allow industrial companies to monitor their assets from space.

In addition, 20 Under 20 gave Special Awards to the most promising EdTech, Social Enterprise and Greentech: Pau Pavon for his exam marking platform Examfy, Elis Hodzic for his company HappyLife, the “Airbnb” of healthcare, and Miguel Garcia-Rubio for his zero-waste cosmetics brand.

Several entrepreneurs from the UK featured among the finalists, highlighting its thriving startup scene. Flynn Blackie impressed with his marketing company MOD Digital, James Skipworth presented his data management Saas Cydekik, along with Joseph Johnston and his business Evolution E-commerce, a sustainable e-commerce platform, and Rory Mclaughlan with Shirt in a Box, a company that sends mystery football shirts to sports lovers. 

Prizes for all talented founders include £1 million worth of fee-free transfers with Wise Business to expand their companies across borders, expert mentoring from world leading entrepreneurs, investors and experts, and networking with fellow finalists and judges. 

Wise co-founder and 20 Under 20 Chairman Taavet Hinrikus said: "This year’s Wise 20 Under 20 shows yet again just how talented today's young entrepreneurs are. They’re driven by social and environmental causes and are building smart solutions to the problems that our world faces. I’d like to especially congratulate our winner Julian, whose satellite constellation business FOSSA Systems has hit many milestones already, and we’re excited to see what comes next for him.

“Though a pan-European competition, a fifth of this year’s finalists come from the UK, exemplifying the creativity and thriving startup scene that the UK is known for. I’m impressed with all of their businesses and have no doubt that they'll thrive as part of the next generation of British success stories." 

About 20 Under 20 

See the full Class of 2022 here

See all the judges here

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account people and businesses can hold over 50 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable technology companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

16 million people and businesses use Wise, which processes over €10 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers over €1.6 billion a year.

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