LATIN AMERICA • SEEDSTARS WORLD
FEBRUARY 19, 2021
COVID 19 arrived in Latin America in February when Brazil confirmed its first case. Since then, the region has been one of the most affected in the world. Brazil alone has counted over 7 million cases as of now. The disease came to affect an already fragile region jeopardizing its economic growth and social development.
The direct consequences are clear, with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) indicating a rise in unemployment - 11.6 million more unemployed in 2020, compared to 2019. Further indicators reveal grim numbers: a rise in poverty levels by at least 4.4 percent points (28.7 million more people), with the International Monetary Fund anticipating the region’s economy to contract by an estimated 8.1 percent this year - when prior to the pandemic the GDP was expected to grow at a rate of 1.8 in 2020.
From a social point of view, overcrowded living conditions that don’t allow working from home, a lack of sanitary conditions that could potentially lead to further infections, an increase in informal work, often not regulated and without access to social security, an increment in unpaid domestic work, mostly assumed by women and girls, a cut on household income that puts at stake education opportunities and forces youngster to enter the labor market prematurely, are all serious conditions that put an already vulnerable part of LATAM’s population in a severe position.
Pushing through the pandemic, inspiring entrepreneurs are addressing challenges and using the current situations added motivation to help their local economies reach new levels of development and change. Therefore, Seedstars is happy to bring the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 local winners for the LATAM region.
Most businesses in LATAM use contact-based biometric machines and spreadsheets for managing time and attendance. Companies have to manually consolidate attendance data from logbooks or fingerprint scanners for processing payroll. Due to the pandemic, contact-based fingerprint biometrics have decreased in use as they have been identified as focal points of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. That’s why SIA, based in Panama and led by Christian Garcia, has developed a simple-to-use cloud software to help companies with time management & scheduling, HR requests, and employee/employer connectivity through an app where employees timestamp using facial recognition. The app runs on generic devices, like tablets and mobile phones, and the solution intends to save companies between 2% to 8% monthly on payroll errors.
From Chile, Javier Graterol brings Cuantix, a B2B company helping socially conscious organizations understand, manage, and communicate their social impact in a simple and accessible way through software and specialized support. In the process, Cuantix will also provide the tools so that the beneficiaries themselves get involved in the process, closing a gap that separates the people that want to do good, from the people that need it.
COGNITIVA, the third startup winning in the field of Enterprise Tech, was born with the objective of closing LATAM’s gap of industrial competitiveness compared with Asia, Europe, and North America, which in the medium and long run may cause obstacles on the boost of employment, innovation, and quality of life to the whole LATAM society. The company from Ecuador created a full ecosystem of operational management digital tools based on IoT, IA, and cyber-presence, to boost performance, transparency, security, and synchrony of LATAM's Industrial companies. CEO Paúl Rivera heads a team of 4 passionate professionals (half women) that work to bring development and economic empowerment to the region.
The World Health Organization reveals that half of the world’s population still lack access to essential health services. Despite the growing life expectancy and the lowering of infant mortality numbers, access to healthcare in the LATAM region is still unequal. Some countries still lack the right number of health workers, training, or appropriate facilities. The costs that health services have on families’ budgets are also clear, according to the Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean: households cover more than one-third of healthcare costs through direct payments and almost 95 million people have catastrophic health-care expenses. Furthermore, 12 million become impoverished as a result of expenditure on health.
Bitmec comes into the picture with a bundle of telemedicine hardware and software that facilitates access to quality medical care. Managed by David Barac, the Guatemalan startup, gathers data that will then be converted into actionable information for decision making for providers, intermediaries, and governments, through the integration of AI. Clear information and data is core in healthcare, and that’s why PEGASI is committed to making medical information accessible, clear, and useful for clinicians and patients in the developing world while tracking epidemic and endemic diseases and creating actionable insights that help strengthen healthcare systems. “In regions such as Latin America, over 70% of clinical information remains unstructured and adverse events affect 1 in every 10 hospitalized patients, due to unclear, inaccessible or insecure information”, says the CEO Luis Santiago. The startup came up with a platform that increases patients' access to better and efficient healthcare while driving collective healthcare improvement through the use of data. The reduction in public and private health costs may also be significant and will ultimately help to rationalize resources and facilities, so scarce in certain communities.
In the Fintech world, and with the premise of fighting financial illiteracy, Alfi from Peru transforms users into sustainable financial clients using gamification and behavioral economics. In a region where half of the population is in-debt and more than half is outside of the financial system, the company’s final goal is to provide “financial education for all”. “We know that a lot of effort has been made to educate people, but there hasn't really been a long-term impact. Financial Education is latent throughout the life cycle of people and promotes better financial decisions to improve their well-being”, says CEO Victor Morales.
The winner Own The Trip from the Dominican Republic wants to be a game-changer in terms of how people plan their leisure and business trips. The technological platform aims at improving the way people plan their trips while providing visibility to high-quality travel professionals. The idea is to connect custom trip requests with travel professionals who curate, quote, and send offers that travelers can book directly on Own The Trip’s website. The website brings the factor of uniqueness and customization into the equation while promoting the work of local tourism professionals and companies and consequently, helps to bring up their revenues. The company led by Avanthi Reddy Obulreddigari currently operates in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
The pandemic changed drastically the way learning happens, with the prioritization of long-distance and study at home solutions - including testing. And EduSynch from Brazil came into the game to help. Offering an online platform designed for educational institutions to deliver exams remotely, securely, and at scale, the system works hand-in-hand with educational outfits around the world helping to test students in many ways, from high-stakes admissions testing, that grant students entry into universities or colleges, to midterms and finals. Consequently, this creation allows institutions to keep the flow of students relatively normal and lets students do their exams normally and proceed with their coursework, deterring the education system from stopping.
By improving industrial competitiveness and productivity, by providing decentralized health services and analyzing essential health data, financially educating uninformed communities, allowing the tourism sector access to empowering platforms, and not allowing the education systems to come to a halt, these startups are pushing forward solutions that will not only serve the ones how directly use them but the entire LATAM region. They create jobs, foster economies, advance the acquisition of knowledge and ultimately, these companies, led by people for people, will help the region improve its living standards.
15 startups from the LATAM region will compete to represent their country at the Regional Finals of the Seedstars World Competition. Tune in on February 8-10 to catch these innovative startups go head to head in the Seedstars Regional Stage.
Follow Seedstars on Facebook to watch the broadcast online.
GLOBAL • EDUCATION & CONSULTING
Startups are Bringing Digital Education to Emerging Markets
Digital education is making education more accessible, affordable and valuable for students across emerging markets.
AFRICA • FINANCIAL SERVICES
Why Bridging The Financial Inclusion Gap Includes Education On Financial Literacy
QuickCheck not only bridges the financial inclusion gap but also educates people about financial instruments and the risks related to loans and overindebtedness as financial literacy isn’t part of the curriculum in many countries.
The Grand Finale of the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 is here!
The Grand Finale of the Seedstars World competition is here! Discover the most promising startups of the largest startup competition in emerging markets.
GLOBAL • AGRICULTURE
Improving Efficiency and Sustainability of Farming Businesses Through Digital Solutions
Gamaya leverages the agronomy and crop knowledge of our partners and uses remote sensing technology to reach scalability.
Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 announces Malaysian FinTech startup Finology as Global Winner of $500K funding
After almost a year-long virtual run, the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 announced this year’s Global Winner, Malaysian FinTech startup Finology, a startup that enables seamless access to financial products via the use of proprietary technology
GLOBAL • EDUCATION & CONSULTING
Early Childhood Development for a Better Society
Ensuring early childhood development and wellbeing means a better society down the line, and technological solutions can help not only children but also parents, caregivers, and teachers.
GLOBAL • WATER & SANITATION
Water Preservation As Means To Living In A More Sustainable Way
An idea born when Ramzi had to prepare his child’s bottle at 3 in the morning that changed it all and set off a passion to improve global water management.
GLOBAL • ENERGY & NATURAL RESOURCES
Startups Have Recognized the Importance of Climate Action
We can’t afford to passively observe climate change anymore. Check out how these startups are working on their solutions.
GLOBAL • AGRICULTURE
How Blockchain Can Help To Create Sustainable And Transparent Supply Chains
Pierre-Yves Bridel and Peter Gustavsson went on to create OriginFood in 2018, a startup that develops solutions for tracking, tracing and certifying food products, based on blockchain technology.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA • EDUCATION & CONSULTING
How Learning From Every Single Person You Meet Can Change Your Life
We spoke with Hossam Taher, CEO of Orcas, an app that helps learners in K-12 discover the best tutors in their area.
GLOBAL • AGRICULTURE
FoodTech in the Grand Finale
Find out how startups are revolutionizing Food and AgriTech by tuning into the Grand Finale, in partnership with VAUD.
GLOBAL • OTHER
Why Women in Entrepreneurship Isn’t Just a Catchphrase
We believe that gender equality shouldn’t just be a buzzword pulled out in March. Find out who this year's winner of the Women Entrepreneur Prize is.
GLOBAL • ECOSYSTEM ENABLER
Vaud is the Leading European Innovation Ecosystem: Here is How You Can Fit Right In
Seedstars has organized a webinar in partnership with the canton of Vaud on how they can help companies leverage government support for starting or expanding their business in Switzerland or Europe.
GLOBAL • FOOD & BEVERAGES
Innovation in FoodTech as a Way to Stop World Hunger
It may seem unbelievable that in 2021, when humanity has come such a long way in terms of technology and innovation, world hunger is still an issue.
GLOBAL • TECH
Discover Canton of Vaud as a leading European center for Innovation in Switzerland
You're invited to attend this webinar where you'll learn about our region as well as opportunities for potentially expanding your business and benefit from our innovation & start-up ecosystem.
AFRICA • OTHER
Women Empowerment and Gender Equality in Africa
Watch now an amazing panel discussion on Women Empowerment and Gender Equality in Africa.
ASIA • OTHER
Women Empowerment and Gender Equality in Asia
Learn more about Women Empowerment and Gender Equality in Asia.
LATIN AMERICA • OTHER
Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship in Latin America
Watch now an amazing panel discussion in Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship in Latin America.
GLOBAL • TECH
Take a Closer Look at the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 Grand Finale
The 2020/21 edition of the Seedstars World Competition Grand Finale will be the second one held completely online. To find out more about the agenda and speakers keep reading and don’t forget to register for the Grand Finale
GLOBAL • TECH
Seven themes of the Seedstars World 2020/21 Grand Finale
The seven themes we are tackling this time are: 21st-century education, women empowerment, climate action, childhood development, FoodTech, EdTech, and ICT Accessibility.
GLOBAL • TECH
The five startup finalists of the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21
These five startups have proven that no matter how difficult times may get, innovation is still at the forefront. We can’t wait to see them at the Grand Finale
AFRICA • AUTOMOTIVE
The most promising startups from Africa are here!
The winner from Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, or Ivory Coast will get the chance to pitch with other startups globally for an investment of up to $500k.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE • FINANCIAL SERVICES
Watch the best startups from CEE pitching!
Finalists from Uzbekistan, Russia, Georgia, and Armenia are battling for the chance to represent their region in the Grand Finale of the Competition