From Latvia to Mongolia: Seedstars Summit CEE United 25 Countries in the Region

Dec. 3, 2019

What did the Seedstars Summit CEE 2019 in Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan bring to the community this year? First and foremost, eight of the most promising startups from the region won their tickets to the global Seedstars Summit 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. They will represent the region at the finals of the Seedstars World competition and compete for the title of the Seedstars Global Winner, and up to USD 500,000 in equity investment.

Meet the winners of the regional competition in Nur-Sultan:

Lingwing.com, Georgia, an online platform for mastering foreign languages offering a unique set of tasks and learning experiences.
Biometric, Kazakhstan, an AI solution that helps people get cash loans in ATMs based on facial recognition technology.
iHotel LLC, Mongolia, helps hoteliers streamline their hotel bookings and increase profitably.
StudyFree, Russia, an online platform that provides support to students by simplifying the admission process.
FOM, Uzbekistan, an online marketplace for pharmaceutical businesses.
Jeff, Latvia, a personal loan advisor that analyses people’s phone metadata, contact information, geolocation, behavioural patterns & third party data and matches them with lenders.
Velvioo, Armenia, offers micro-mobility solutions that allow cities and entrepreneurs to launch their micro-mobility services.
Skyworker, Ukraine, a platform that helps tech companies hire employees 3х faster and 2x cheaper by building their own tech communities online.

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This year, the event gathered 300+ attendees from 25 countries who had a chance to join some of the main events: a private Growth Bootcamp for startups, along with the Investor Forum and Summit Day.

“I liked this event because we had another chance to present our startup to so many great people, and meet new investors and mentors. The Seedstars team was so cheerful and grateful. Kazakhstan is a great country; it's cold, but people were so warm and friendly that we didn’t even feel that cold here.” Nicola Krstic, CTO at CoachCoach, Serbia

Private Growth Bootcamp

The Growth Bootcamp is an educational program designed for the finalists of Seedstars World competition across CEE & Central Asia. The goal of the program is to help startups better understand, design and execute growth processes and assemble a team around that strategy.

The intensive one-day bootcamp was led by Pierre-Alain Masson (Managing Partner at Seedstars) and Agahuseyn Ahmadov (Regional Manager for CEE and Central Asia), who helped entrepreneurs:

  • find the startup’s north-star metric
  • define the AARRR funnel & growth levers
  • setup right experimentation processes within their organizations.

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“This is the coolest event I've been to in terms of people and networking. Seedstars Summit CEE is even better than the accelerator that I visited in Silicon Valley. Mentors and investors were of the highest quality”, Daria Kroshkina, CEO & Founder at StudyFree, Russia.

Investor Forum

The second day of the Summit gathered 20 local and international investors including Aray Bekembayev (Bolt), Alyona Tkachenko (Nommi), Laetitia Monthe (Phillips Health Systems), Patrick Bosteels (Stage-Co), Joseph De Leon (Gravitas Prime), Arsalan Alfred Ni (AV Ventures), Olexander Bondarev (Credo Ventures), Hambardzum Kaghketsyan (SmartGateVC), Kairat Kaliyev (AIFC). Together, they discussed the regional investment scene and defined key steps in promoting Kazakhstan and the region in the international arena.

Participating investors and experts agreed that today it doesn't matter where you are born as long as you are talented and have a vision of where you want to go and what do you want to achieve. Even if the US still remains the place for innovation, Silicon Valley is not a benchmark anymore as there are many success stories coming from all around the world. You can open a company in an emerging market and easily target other markets. Globally, the quality of startups is getting better because there are more resources available and people use tested tools and models; so they fail less often.

“It was an extraordinary experience. Interesting to see so many different projects in one place, so many passionate people. For me, networking is something I find the most valuable from the Summit. I got to know even someone from my hometown that I didn’t know so it’s impressive how Seedstars managed to connect people, here, in Nur-Sultan”.
Aray Bekembayev, Country Manager for Bolt, Kazakhstan.

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Also, during the Investor Forum, the startups had an opportunity to meet those investors in person and discuss potential collaboration and get valuable feedback. The result and culmination of the Forum became a partnership signed between Bas Godska, General Partner of Acrobator.vc and Clockster, cloud-based HR-system to manage employees work time (Kazakhstan).

“I had the great pleasure to sign an advisory board deal with local Seedstars '17 finalist, HRM software startup Clockster PTE LTD. I believe the project can become an excellent player in Asia and beyond!” Bas Godska.

The Summit Day

The last day of the Summit hosted keynote speeches and panel discussions led by experts from global companies, business incubators and VC funds. Espree Devora, Richard Paul Gauthier, Amazon (USA), Jonas Schorr, Urban Impact (Germany), Ramil Mukhoriapov, ChocoFamily (Kazakhstan), Darya Yegorina, CleverBooks (Ireland), Rudradeb Mitra, EFMA and Google Developers (Poland) shared their best practices and knowledge with the attendees.

You can watch all the speeches and startup pitches on our official youtube channel and listen to the podcast of Espree's Devora on iTunes.

jonas schorr

“Doorway to innovation and investment are great ideas and people that need to hear them. Success takes time. Some ideas might not be great ideas initially, but you need to wait, have patience, and find the right audience. You have to act, you need to speak about your ideas, to work on it, to pitch it, to share it because if not, they will stay just ideas.” Richard Paul Gauthier

Also, during this day, startups had a chance to enrich their knowledge in growth hacking with Vincent Tresno, lecturer, Growth Hacking Auditor from Switzerland.

cee summit Kazakhstan

The Seedstars Summit CEE 2019 was organized in partnership with Mayor Office of the City of Nur-Sultan, Astana Innovations. Among the partners that helped make this event happen also were Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) FinTech Hub, Swiss Embassy, VAUD, Seedspace Nur-Sultan, Techchill. AIFC Fintech Hub was chosen as a venue partner of the event. Among the local supporters of the Seedstars Summit CEE were Forbes Kazakhstan, Asia Water, Ulker, and Pascucci coffee.


Apply to the Online Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 and compete to be one of the 10 startups selected for a USD 50K growth program investment with a Global Winner getting up to USD 500K in investment. 

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