Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

What is Seedstars International?

We are an industry-agnostic venture capital fund that invests in pre-seed to Series A companies across emerging and frontier markets that can deliver top-tier venture capital returns and enable social and economic benefits. The Fund is part of the Seedstars group, founded in 2012 in Switzerland.

Why emerging and frontier markets?

The emerging markets grow 2.5x faster on average than the developed ones, yet they still face a $2.5 trillion annual investment gap. This is where we come in! Seedstars International invests in pre-seed and seed stage technology ventures across the global south. With 85% of the world’s population living across emerging markets, we see this as an opportunity to improve billions of lives by ensuring access to proper financial services, healthcare, education and much more.

Is Seedstars International an accelerator?

No. Seedstars International is a global pre-seed and seed stage venture capital fund. We do however believe that capital is a commodity and our real value is in helping portfolio companies implement a growth team and methodology. We want to help startups spend their capital wisely and make sure it’s driving growth.

What is Seedstars’ stance on diversity and inclusion?

Since 2018, Seedstars has been actively working on gender equality within its core activities including investing. We align our investing activities with the 2x challenge to mobilize capital towards female led startups. To date, Seedstars has supported 600+ women-led enterprises, has invested in 14 female co-founded businesses and is additionally working on gender equality when it comes to the investment team, mentors, jury members, and training delivery experts. Seedstars as a company has a gender ratio of 53% Female and 47% male.

I’m an investor, can I make a referral?

Absolutely, please send an email to [email protected] including a pitch deck, key traction data and a brief summary of why you believe this is a good investment opportunity.

Investment criteria

What regions do you invest in?

Emerging and frontier markets are our focus. We’ve invested in over 30 countries across Latam, Africa, MENA, CEE and Asia (excluding China).

What stage do you invest at? Do you invest in Series A rounds?

Our sweet spot is at the pre-seed, seed and pre-series A.

What sectors do you invest in?

Seedstars International invests in a broad range of sectors including B2B, B2C, marketplaces, Fintech, Edtech, Healthtech and Agritech. We don’t invest in biotech, hardware or capital intensive businesses.

What are the selection criteria?

  • Stage: pre-seed, seed, pre-series A
  • Traction: ±6 months of consistent growth
  • Sector: all sectors with asset light business models
  • Core market: any emerging or frontier market (excluding China)

How fast is your decision-making process?

After your application, we'll aim to respond within a week if we are interested in talking. Our process then includes a first call of 30 mins to get to know you. Followed by a second round interview with the whole founding team. After that we can go to the investment committee and give you an answer. Our process can be completed in 1-2 weeks if necessary.

Do you lead rounds?

Yes, absolutely! There is no downside to applying more than once. Some of our portfolio companies were not accepted at first but decided to work on their business and came back stronger.

Should I apply again if I am rejected?

Yes, absolutely! There is no downside to applying more than once. Some of our portfolio companies were not accepted at first but decided to work on their business and came back stronger.

What other programs does Seedstars have to help get me ready for an investment?

Please find more information on other Seedstars programs here.

Portfolio support

What else do you provide apart from capital?

Capital is a commodity. Knowing how to turn it into growth is not. Our main aim with each portfolio company is to transfer knowledge, tools and processes so that you can run growth like professionals. We do this with the Growth Program. In addition to this we support portfolio companies in fundraising, network, recruiting and PR.

How do your portfolio companies rate your support?

We measure and track the satisfaction and support we are able to deliver carefully. The Growth Program’s net promoter score (NPS) is 83%.

What is the Growth Program?

The Growth Program takes place twice a year (January and July), lasts 3 months, is run virtually and is unique for our portfolio companies. We don’t just coach the CEO. The full growth team is involved in the process that is designed to help early stage ventures build a growth team and implement a growth methodology.

What’s included:

  • A personal growth mentor
  • Exclusive webinars and fireside chats
  • Proprietary tools and frameworks
  • Networking with other growth teams

How does mentorship within the Program work?

Our Growth EiR Jon Attwell (ex Naspers) will pair you with a Growth Mentor such as Peiran (ex Careem), Harrison (ex Skyscanner) or Anuj (author of “Growth Hacking for Dummies”). Your mentor will support you to build a growth team and implement a ‘growth methodology’ to drive sustainable growth and help raise Series A funding. On top of this, you’ll have access to our +1300 strong expert network for specific needs you have.

Do you help startups with fundraising along the way?

Yes, of course. Our investment team will support you to raise your next round. While we can follow up with up to $500k, we will connect you with our 800+ member investor network. In addition, we have repeatedly supported founders in preparing for their upcoming financings by providing deck reviews, fundraising material guidance,strategy overviews and cap table reviews.

Over 60% of portfolio companies have gone on to raise follow-on funding from investors like Sequoia, FJLabs, IFC, Magma, Salkantay, Algebra, Global Ventures, 4DX, Lateral Capital, Wavemaker, Gobi etc.

Do you help your companies hire?

Yes, we do. We will be always happy to find you the right talents especially for the growth team. We will be promoting your job opening on our career board as well as on social media and other distribution channels.

Investment terms

What is your standard deal?

Our first ticket is $50-100k depending on your stage. Normally we come in at the pre-seed or seed stage. Our follow-on ticket is up to $500k.

Does it cost us to participate in the Growth Program?

Yes – we charge $20k per company, but these fees are deducted from our investment. Our average first investment is $50-100k. These program fees help to cover the basic costs of running the Growth Program like paying mentors and program managers and also provide all the support services described above.

Is it fair to take a program fee from the startups?

Yes, many early stage funds do this to cover the costs of running a professional support platform. This is not our “business model” but rather a fee to cover the costs of operating a supportive seed stage fund. Our business model is helping scale up and exit regional/global tech startups. By having an equity position we are fully aligned and highly incentivised to support you over the long-term with your growth.

Ready to submit your pitch?