“Who is Seedstars?” - with this question, Alisée de Tonnac, Co-Founder and CEO of Seedstars, opened the Seedstars Summit 2019. Who are we and what do we want to achieve? Where are we heading? We hear these questions quite often from different people, who once get an answer, fall in love with our mission and very often, become part of our international network.
During her keynote speech, Alisée gave one short-sentence answer to who we are that perfectly describes our spirit and mission: “We consider ourselves part of an athlete team in the elite section, and we are here to win. That is Seedstars. We are the unexpected seeds hustling for high impact.”
Seedstars Summit is a place and environment where we celebrate entrepreneurship and our achievements. For many years in a row, it has been serving as the meeting point for the innovation, impact and investment.
In 2019, for the 6th edition of the Seedstars Summit, we gathered 1000+ of the brightest minds from all over the world, to discuss and find solutions to the most pressing global issues. This year, we focused on 5 key industries - healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, and finance.
We kicked-off the Summit with a 2-day private startup bootcamp (the 2nd and the 3rd of April) to help 80+ startups refine their strategy and prepare for the pitch competition that took place on the Main Stage on the 5th of April. More than 140 mentors from different corners of the world came to the event to share their knowledge and expertise with startups and help them develop their ideas. What else happened during the Summit? Let’s explore some details : which events took place there, who was with us this year, and of course, who became the Seedstars Global Winner.
The 4th of April
Investors often don’t know whether the idea they invest in will be successful or not. They trust their gut, years of experience and follow their passion. It is all about taking risks, having the ability to adapt and accepting the uncertainty. It’s like a sport.
At this year's Investor Forum, we were happy to host the keynote of Géraldine Fasnacht, a world-renowned freeride snowboarder, base jumper and wingsuit pilot. She is inspired by mountains and explores the most remote places on earth, as much as our investors explore viral tech ideas. At the Forum, Géraldine shared her personal story and gave some tips on risk management and overcoming barriers.
“I had to train hard to compete with the best riders in the world. My biggest passion became my everyday job. The mountains are changing. The snow is always different. I always have to adapt my perfect line.” Géraldine Fasnacht
Another keynote speaker - Fabio Cannavale, CEO of Lastminute.com - shared how he managed to grow his business into a multi-billion company, gave hands-on tips to the founders for better business management, and shared why it’s important for him to invest in emerging markets.
“The founding team of the company is not the team that should scale the company. Find good managers.” Fabio Cannavale, CEO of Lastminute.com
Nothing can describe better the power of the network than our Ambassadors’ community. We are extremely thankful for each and every ambassador who took their time and effort to help us foster entrepreneurial ecosystems in their regions. Every year, we gather all the ambassadors at the Summit to discuss the future steps, their role, and strategy for the upcoming year. We were happy to welcome 36 ambassadors who contributed significantly to the Seedstars growth.
Alec Maurice, Director at Thura Swiss & Seedstars Ambassador in Myanmar, shared his experience of being Seedstars Ambassador and uncovered some peculiarities of Myanmar's entrepreneurial landscape.
The Ambassadors took part in the workshop using the peer-to-peer brainstorm methodology on the topic of "Sustainability of our Role as an Ecosystem Builder" with the aim to improve the visibility of the Seedstars network and make their current role more profitable.
The 5th of April
Main & Breakout Stage
This year, the participants got a double portion of exclusive content as we prepared two stages - the Main and the Breakout Stage. What was the idea behind them? The Main Stage was divided into 5 sectors (Tech Hours): AgriTech, HealthTech, FinTech, EdTech, and CleanTech to strike up the conversation and discuss the latest trends in each industry.
We were lucky to hold the keynote speeches of well-known entrepreneurs and scientists such as Tania Douglas (Professor, University of Cape Town, HealthTech), Freddy Vega (CEO, Platzi, EdTech), Luis Rodrigues (CTO, QuickCheck, FinTech), Ines Hamida Mestiri (Co-founder & COO, Seabex, AgriTech ), Amar Inamdar (Managing Director, KawiSafi Ventures, CleanTech), Maanasa Mendu (16 year-old inventor of Harvest, CleanTech), Sushil Choudhari (CEO & Founder, Scandid/TravelX), and Prashanth Ranganathan (CEO & Founder, PaySense, FinTech).
“We have to always remind ourselves of where we come from and why we are doing this.” Maanasa Mendu.
Meanwhile, the goal of the Breakout Stage was to discuss the current technological breakthroughs around data, AI and blockchain and how they’re shaping up a decentralized society.
Together with Nichapat Ark (angel investor, Openspace Ventures), Javier Rubio (Head of Business Development at BBVA in Switzerland), Vivian Nwakah (Founder of Medsaf) and many more, we tried to find out how technology is becoming key to peace and conflict resolution, what the fundraising opportunities and challenges in emerging markets are, and how startups can tackle them.
How can we convert our knowledge into action? How can we make our lives easier, safer, cleaner and more sustainable? How do we multiply our impact and unite people from all over the world to work on solutions?
We've got an answer for you - bring the brightest minds to our industry-focused workshops. Experts from different countries and backgrounds had the chance to come together and share their expertise and practical knowledge on how to bring quality in education to rural areas, enhance corporate and startup collaboration to integrate plastic waste recycling in their recycling value chain and leverage patient's data with the help of technology, to name just a few.
Without a doubt, the Seedstars Summit was a long-awaited event for the tech startup community from emerging markets. After a year of hard work involving the screening of over 815 startups from across the world, and selecting the best 67, the world finally found out the name of the Seedstars Global Winner - Blended from Argentina, a mobile communication platform connecting schools with families in Latin America.
“The Seedstars experience, I believe, is very important for entrepreneurs. More than the money, I have received so much and taken in so many great ideas from entrepreneurs from all over the world. Seedstars’ work is fundamental in showcasing that great companies exist everywhere”, Federico Hernandez, CFO & Founder of Blended.
Besides the Seedstars Global Winner who won the award of $500K in equity, 7 more winners in different categories and sectors were announced, such as :
- During Summit where attendees had a chance to vote for their favourite tech startup among the Seedstars World Competition winners. The lucky winner of the Public Prize by Vaud became YNMO from Saudi Arabia, a SaaS company that allows disabilities service providers including schools, centers and clinics to design and monitor individualized treatment plans.
- Labeskey / Schoolap from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, won the Transforming Education Prize by TRECC and the School of Management Fribourg. As a prize, the startup got access to the Seedstars Growth Program worth $50,000. The online platform provides tools to improve the education system with school administration management modules.
- TAG Heuer partnered with Seedstars Summit to grant the Innovation Prize to the most innovative business. Wobot, an Indian startup that allows companies to automate their surveillance systems with Artificial Intelligence, took home the award.
- The Seedstars Vaccine Delivery Challenge was awarded to the South African startup Iyeza by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. $10,000 will be provided to improve its web platform for the delivery of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to young women.
- Also together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Seedstars investment team have chosen the winner of the Seedstars Malaria Challenge - Medsaf, a platform connecting pharmacies and hospitals with safe and cost-effective medication in Nigeria.
- Along with Seedstars, Merck awarded the Life Science Prize to Oxpecker Labs from Hong Kong. They will participate in the Merck Acceleration program and scale up their non-invasive sweat sensor to help prevent dehydration and heat strokes.
- The lucky owner of the Rising Tide Foundation Empowerment Prize became 7keema, the first on-demand home nursing services of its kind from Egypt. They won access to the Seedstars Growth Program as well as an equity investment.
But these are not all the winners! After the pitch on the Breakout Stage, 8 startups from developed markets aiming to expand or solve problems in emerging economies received 3 more prizes from our partners.
The Summit would not have been possible without the generous support of our partners: SPEI, School of Management Fribourg, TRECC, TAG Heuer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rising Tide Foundation, EPFL, CVCI, Lausanne Région and Ville de Lausanne, Nespresso. Thanks for shaping the future of emerging markets with us!
That’s a wrap! But only for a while. We are already ready to surprise you with more learning and investment opportunities this year.
And one of such opportunities is the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) through which its participants can get up to 500,000 USD in investment. We decided to challenge the traditional acceleration model by creating a unique and customisable mix designed for startups who are looking to receive investment. IRP, launching on 3 May 2019, is a modernised, democratised non-time-bound curriculum helping founders and their teams to save time and energy in fundraising.
Stay tuned for more updates from us!