Seedstars World, the biggest startup competition focused only in emerging markets, closed its fifth edition with a huge celebratory Seedstars Summit. After covering 65+ countries during 2017, Seedstars invited and sponsored the coming of 65+ local startup winners to Lausanne, Switzerland, where they had the chance to compete for different prizes, up to $1 million in equity investment and the title of Seedstars Global Winner.
Much more than a conference, the Seedstars Summit is an opportunity for stakeholders in impact investment, tech and entrepreneurship in and from emerging markets to network and profit from a unique hands-on growth experience. Startups participated in a two-day bootcamp; a private Investor Forum where they had the chance to pitch to be considered one of the 12 finalists to compete on the main stage and attended more than 700 one-on-one sessions with investors. On the Summit Day, the finalist startups pitched on the main stage in front of more than 1,000 hand-picked participants, investors, startup enthusiasts and some of the most prominent names of tech and entrepreneurship in emerging markets.The jury, an international panel which included Benjamin Benaïm , from Seedstars, Nikunj Jinsi and Theta Capital Group decided that this year’s investment will go to Agrocenta from Ghana. Francis Obirikorang founded Agrocenta having in mind to create an online sales platform that could connect smallholder farmers directly to an online market which has wider geographic size to sell their commodities. According to Pierre-Alain Masson, co-founder at Seedstars, “ Agrocenta won this prize because of the disruption they are creating in the farming industry. It’s very important that investors know that talent is everywhere and that the way startups and tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets are addressing the underlying social challenges in their home countries, be it agriculture or access to finance, basic education, healthcare or energy supply is a tremendous business trend and opportunity.”
For Francis Obirikorang, “winning at the Seedstars Summit will have an enormous impact in my company’s growth and success for the next years. I am sure that, just like other previous winners, it will open funding, learning and growth opportunities. In emerging economies, we lack not only the infrastructure, but also access to some fundamental tools like networking and mentoring. Seedstars team is spreading the word about our talent and ideas to their international network dedicated to impact investment and I know I’ll be able to profit from this. Can’t wait to start building on this momentum!”
On top of the $500,000 investment prize for the Seedstars Global Winner, Seedstars and its partners awarded 7 additional prizes:
● EDVES , from Nigeria, was awarded the Transforming Education Prize, by TRECC (Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities) and School of Management Fribourg (HEG Fribourg), winning a ccess to the Seedstars Growth Program worth $50,000.
● Finchat Technologies , from Singapore, won the BBVA Open Innovation Prize , receiving an opportunity to participate at their annual BBVA Open Summit in Madrid and network with the most relevant players from their international fintech network
● Solar Freeze , from Kenya, was the winner of the Africa Energy Prize by Enel X, which rewards the startup for its innovative solution to provide solar-powered cold storage units to smallholder farmers with no need for grid connection in Sub-Saharan Africa. Solar Freeze won access to a three-month programme worth $50,000 in acceleration services.
● EMGuidance , from South Africa, was awarded the Health Tech prize by Merck. The prize combines joining Merck Accelerator with financial support of up to €50,000 and office space at the Merck Innovation Center, mentoring, and coaching.
● TAG Heuer , Seedstars World official time keeper, decided to partner with Seedstars Summit to highlight the role of women entrepreneurs in their own ecosystems and awarded Medsaf, from Nigeria, the Best Woman Entrepreneur prize.
● Alquilando, from Argentina, won the Time Saviour Prize, by TAG Heuer, for their solution to simplify rental process, minimize risk and guarantee rent payments on time, considered to be the one which allows users to save more time of their lives.
● Innovation Prize, also by TAG Heuer, was awarded to CMED from Bangladesh.
● Public Prize: one of the highlights of the day is when the public gets to vote for its favourite startup. This year, the Office for Economic Affairs (SPECo) has decided to power it by bestowing the winner, Junkbot Robotics , with a premium gift from Veuve Clicquot, a company from Switzerland and all the support from Canton de Vaud in the future.