Seedstars announces its annual Summit under the theme “Billions.” The agenda includes conferences, talks and workshops about how to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through entrepreneurship and technology. The highlight will be the final ceremony of the fourth edition of the Seedstars World competition, where up to USD 500,000 of equity investment will be awarded to one of the 65 regional finalists. Ayiba is a proud media sponsor of the 2017 Seedstars World Summit in Lausanne. Stay tuned for more updates as our founder, Eyitemi Popo, flies to Switzerland to bring you updates on the competition and connect with the African startups.

Described as ”a window into disruption in emerging markets” by Forbes, Seedstars, the global organization with the mission of impacting people’s lives in emerging markets through entrepreneurship and technology, launched its fourth edition of the Seedstars World competition in 2016, backed by an international team of 15 members. They have covered 65+ countries and regions, scouting for the best startups around the world and all 65 finalists have been selected to participate in a three days bootcamp followed by the famous Semi-Finals & Finals. The Seedstars Summit and final ceremony, which is open to public, will take place on April 6th whereby the “Seedstars World Global Winner” will be named and receive up to USD 500,000 in equity investment. Other sectors such as fintech and edtech will also be rewarded with equity investments and grants. The event is expecting around a thousand entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, corporate executives, business angels, government officials, journalists and startup enthusiasts to join for an amazing experience in Switzerland.

The underlying theme of the Summit this year will be Billions. The idea is to discuss how technology and entrepreneurship can impact billions of people’s lives.

Today, there are over 4 billion people without access to the Internet, which in my language means 4 billion potential consumers, opportunities and connected citizens. In the next 4 years alone, nearly half a billion people will come online for the first time. Venturing a bit further into the future, by 2020, 8 out of 10 smartphones will be located in emerging markets. Emerging Markets are at the center of the map!”, explains Alisée de Tonnac.

These markets, getting always more connected and experiencing rapid urbanization, offer virtually billions of possibilities. They push to develop more innovative business models to answer major challenges of our times, such as access to education, unemployment, waste collection, access to finances, health or gender inequality. Despite unfavourable conditions, they manage to break the traditional patterns and create innovative technologies, dedicated to improving people’s lives. With the skilled and talented people already there, often all these regions need is a better access to resources, that have previously been scarce.


During our fourth edition, more than 5,000 startups have applied to participate at the 75 local events around the world. At these events, up to 12 selected startups got the opportunity to pitch in front of a jury panel consisting of five regional, entrepreneurial leaders, and key players in the local ecosystem, such as directors of accelerators, investors or representatives from tech companies, such as Microsoft and Google. In order to apply, the startups must fulfil three criteria:

  1. The startups must be less than two years old;
  2. Received a maximum of 500k USD in funding;
  3. And has an MVP with a regional/global ambition.


After a rigorous and thorough selection process, the startups were invited to present their project in front of the local jury. For each startup, the format was the same: 6 minutes pitch and 4 minutes of questions and answers. It gave them altogether ten minutes to convince the jury, and win a chance to compete at the Seedstars Summit in Lausanne, and represent their country on an international stage.


In addition to the USD 500K investment prize for the Seedstars World Global Winner, the Seedstars group has launched new tracks: the education track thanks to a partnership with Jacobs Foundation / TRECC, where a grant of USD 50k will be awarded to the best startup with the goal to enhance education for communities in rural areas; the fintech track, thanks to a partnership with PayU, which will offer a chance to the best FinTech startup to access to the Seedstars Growth program and award the best three fintech startups with a trip and a booth at the M2020 conference; the Intel Solutions track, thanks to Intel, where Seedstars will be rewarding the best startup in the IT and software solutions. The Seedstars teams were sourcing the best edtech, fintech and IoT startups from around the world, in order to expand the opportunities for the companies providing innovative B2B and B2C solutions for the travel industry.

The prizes include:

    • Seedstars World Global Winner, a USD 500k investment prize to the best startup from the 75 cities visited in 2016. The prize will be awarded on stage by the Office for Economic Affairs from the State of Vaud
    • TRECC Transforming Education Prize, a grant of USD 50,000
    • PayU FinTech Prize, full access to the Seedstars Growth Program
    • Best Woman Entrepreneur, who will receive a Hublot watch
    • Most Innovative Startup, who will receive a Hublot watch

Seedstars also announces more partnerships. Seedstars has partnered again with the Office for Economic Affairs from the State of Vaud to bring the largest entrepreneurship forum for emerging markets to Lausanne, Vaud. This partnership counts as well with the support of Lausanne Region, CVCI and Innovaud. Seedstars is partnering with HUBLOT, the Swiss luxury watchmaker. The famous watch brand will be the official timekeeper of Seedstars Summit and will offer an Hublot watch to the most innovative startup and to the best woman entrepreneur. Seedstars has also closed a partnership with ACE & Company, the leading private equity firm in Switzerland who has invested in known businesses such as Alibaba and GoCardless, to bring some of the most prominent investors to the Seedstars Summit. Finally, Seedstars has also partnered with Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) to bring the top 10 world journalists who write about entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.


75 cities in more than 60 countries answered to the call

From a
new recruitment platform to reduce unemployment in Mexico, to as app that connects patients to doctors 24/7 via app, web or sms, we have found true innovators, determined and ready to take on the future, tackle real life challenges, and, ultimately, change the world. We are proud to count a wide range of sectors, such as health, agriTech, energy and education. Enterprise services, FinTech and consumer services are the main sectors represented this year.

Some of our successful startups (regional winners) include:

Apli (LATAM) is an on-demand jobs platform to use technology to match 20 million under-employed Mexicans with 1 billion annual missed days of work.

EdgePoint (Africa) allows Africans to discuss health issues quickly and confidentially with verified doctors 24/7 via SMS, mobile app or web within minutes.

My Cash Online (Asia) is an online e-Marketplace specifically designed for massive pools of migrants in Malaysia and Singapore who do not have access to a bank.

Democrance (MENA) is on a mission to democratize insurance by making it accessible to the lower income-population of MENA through their mobile phone. (CEE) is a virtual bank with prepaid card and AI chatbox in messenger, so users can manage their money via messenger.

To discover each Seedstars World local chapter in detail, check our website and to get to know our regional winners, consult our startups list.


Seedstars Bootcamp, Monday & Tuesday, April 3rd – 4th, 2017
Investor Forum & Semifinals, Wednesday, April 5th, 2017
The Summit – Final , Thursday, April 6th, 2017


Tickets are invitation-only: people interested can request a ticket HERE

Media accreditations are available upon request. Please register HERE


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Ayiba is a proud media sponsor of the 2017 Seedstars World Summit in Lausanne!