All roads led to Lausanne on April 5, 2019 where over 1,000 people, among them were entrepreneurs, startups, investors, mentors and corporate bodies, took part in the grand finale of the 6th edition of Global Seedstars Summit to select the winner of the 2019 Global prize.
And the Global Seedstars Winner of the $500,000 in equity prize is Blended, founded by Federico Hernandez, the leading schools platform in Latin America that improves communication between schools and families with a simple technology.
It would be recalled that Agrocenta, founded by Francis Obirikorang a Ghanaian won the prize last year
After covering over 80 countries throughout 2018 with local and regional competitions, Seedstars invited all winners to Switzerland to compete for different prizes, including $500,000 prize in equity investment and the title of Seedstars Global Winner.
The Seedstars Summit is not only a conference but an opportunity for stakeholders active in impact investment, tech and entrepreneurship to network and benefit from a unique hands-on growth experience.
During two days, April 2nd and 3rd, bootcamp, in which startups participated, supported by more than 60 experts to reach the next stage – Private Investor Forum – which took place on 4 April when 12 finalists were selected to compete on the main stage. On the Summit Day - April 5th - the startups delivered 3-minute pitches on the main stage in front of more than 1,000 hand-picked ecosystem builders, corporates, investors, startup enthusiasts representing some of the most prominent names of tech and entrepreneurship in emerging markets.
Among the 12 finalists four came from Africa, they were: Labeskey/Schoolap from DRC, Iyeza from South Africa, Medsaf from Nigeria and 7keema (MENA) from Egypt. At the end, Blended emerged the Seedstars Global Winner.
“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 all over the world. Seedstars work is fundamental in showcasing that great companies exist everywhere.” says Hernandez, CFO & Founder of Blended – a mobile communication platform connecting schools with families in Latin America. With a user friendly collaborative interface, they optimize communication, and improve learning results with state-of-the-art technology at an affordable cost.
According to Pierre-Alain Masson co-founder at Seedstars: “We are very proud to be supporting all these entrepreneurs and we’ll continue to expand our activities with the launch of new acceleration and training programs across the world. We’ll also be announcing more funding to these unbelievable entrepreneurs that we have seen on stage all week.”
On top of the $500,000 investment prize for the Seedstars Global Winner, Seedstars and its partners awarded 7 additional prizes three of the prizes went to Africa. The seven are:
1. Public Prize by Vaud: SPEI allowed the Summit attendees to vote for the best tech start-ups among the Seedstars Global Competition winners. YNMO from Saudi Arabia got the vote with SaaS that allows disabilities service providers including schools, centers & clinics to design and monitor individualized treatment plans.
2. Labeskey / Schoolap, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, won the Transforming Education Prize by TRECC and the School of Management Fribourg, winning access to the Seedstars Growth Program worth $50,000. The online platform provides tools to improve the education system with school administration management modules.
3. TAG Heuer, Seedstars World official timekeeper, partnered with Seedstars Summit to reward the Innovation Prize to Wobot. The Indian startup allows companies to automate their surveillance systems with Artificial Intelligence.
4. 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 their web platform for the delivery of Human PapillomaVirus (HPV) vaccine to young women.
5. Also with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Seedstars Malaria Challenge was awarded to Medsaf, through their platform, the Nigerian startup connects pharmacies and hospitals with safe and cost-effective medication.
6. Merck with Seedstars, 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.
7. 7keema, the first on-demand home nursing services of its kind from Egypt, won the Rising Tide Foundation Empowerment Prize. They won access to the Seedstars Growth Program as well as an equity investment.
In order to have true impact Seedstars can count on the support of great partners like: SPEI, School of Management Fribourg, TRECC, TAG Heuer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rising Tide Foundation, EPFL, CVCI, Lausanne Région and Ville de Lausanne, Nespresso.
Additionally, 8 startups from developed markets looking to expand or solve problems in emerging markets pitched on the Breakout Stage. Tag Heuer crowned DOT Glasses winner and Noisypeak runner-up. hiLyte came out third and was supported by Logitech.
Seedstars is proud to announce its partnership with First Growth Ventures' founders Tamim El Zein and Maxime Bouan to launch a $100mn sub-Saharan Africa venture fund. The fund will focus on early stage investments from US$250,000 to US$ 5 million in the most promising innovative ventures across sectors and countries. The fund is the first of a series of regional funds Seedstars will launch in the coming years to continue the mission of accelerating and supporting entrepreneurs at all stages.
Below are the 23 startups from Africa who came to Switzerland for the final. (For a larger view: Please right mouse click on the image and open it in a new tab)