April 6th 2017, SwissTech Convention Center at EPFL, Lausanne

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND, March 23, 2017 – Did you know that 57% of the Global GDP is located in emerging markets[1]? Or that USD 770 billion was the B2C e-commerce turnover in Asia Pacific, representing 43% of world market share[2] and that 80% of all smartphones will be located in Emerging Markets, by 2020[3]?
We believe it is fundamental that companies access these high growth opportunities and get the first mover advantage, so with the support of partners such as the SPECo, PayU, TRECC, Intel, ACE & Company, FedEx, BBVA, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), we’ll be hosting the Seedstars Summit to address how technology and innovation from emerging markets will be impacting businesses in the next decade. The highlight of the event will be the final ceremony of the Seedstars World competition, where up to USD 500’000 of equity investment will be awarded to our winners, as well as SaaS prizes worth over USD 90’000 for each winning startup from over 20 partners.

Last year, the Seedstars Summit gathered 1000 guests from 55+ countries, where the 53 startup finalists gathered together with 100+ mentors and investors, culminating in 400 one-on-one meetings. Important prizes and investments were made such as the co-investment by Seedstars and Omidyar, into the Seedstars World global winner, Giraffe, representing South Africa.

For this year’s fourth edition, 65 handpicked startups from 65 countries will be flying over to Switzerland together with other European entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, HNWIs, family offices, corporate executives, business angels, government officials, journalists and startup enthusiasts to join us for this unique experience. The event will take place on April 6th at the SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne, where up to USD 500’000 in equity investment will be made in the “Seedstars World Global Winner”. The best startups in categories such as FinTech, Education, Intel Solutions, Most Innovative Startup, Best Woman Entrepreneur as well as the Public Vote Winner will also be awarded investments and other prizes by top industry leaders.
THE COMPETITION – 5’000 startups from Eastern and Central Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America applied to participate in Seedstars World this year.  Among the amazing startups we have encountered are some incredible stories such as MyCash Online, winner for Malaysia, who created an e-Marketplace specifically designed for migrants living in Malaysia and Singapore to purchase products without online banking; Dalil our winner from Algeria whose founder is visually impaired and designed an object recognition and navigation system to help people deal with the same condition and Jamii offering a mobile micro-health insurance product for the low income and informal sector population at just $1 per month.

List of cities visited in 2016 with Seedstars World Competition:

SEEDSTARS BOOTCAMP & SEMIFINALS (April 3 – 5) – 65 finalists will be coming to Switzerland to participate in a two-day bootcamp where international investors like Ace & Company, Naspers and Turn8, mentors from top accelerators like The Founder’s Institute, TechStars​ and 500startups, as well as top firms such as Google, IBM, Amazon and SwissRe, will coach these entrepreneurs on their business models, pitching skills and growth strategy. The semifinals will be held during Investor Forum, where the startups will not only pitch in front of international investors but participate in one-on-one’s with these investors (400 sessions were organised last year), will eliminate most of the startups from the competition. Only the top 12 startups will take part in the final round, the following day, during the Seedstars Summit. The Investor Forum will be followed with an Investor invite only dinner powered by Ace & Company.

THE SUMMIT & FINAL CEREMONY (April 6) – In addition to the final ceremony, where several prizes and investments will be announced, the aim of the Summit is to discuss how to do business in emerging markets and the opportunities in building technology companies. The Summit will kick off with workshops and panels covering a wide range of topics such as: “Digital health & Bio Hacking”, “Cross Border Ecommerce”, “Mobile Operators <3 Startups”, “Banking in Low interest Rate Environment | Creating Opportunities” etc. During the final ceremony of Seedstars Summit, other than the final pitches, top speakers will join us on the mainstage to provide valuable insights on their businesses and investments. Among the speakers are:

Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, the company that launched revolutionary services such as M-PESA (so mobile users could transfer money via sms) and Kipozeki, which enabled non-smartphone users to access email and online chat;

Kamran Elahian, serial entrepreneur, whose companies produced a total market cap of over 8 billion USD;

Alexander Galitsky, one of the pioneers of wifi and VPN networks and a well-known investor and entrepreneur;

Jean-Claude Biver, the Chairman & CEO of Hublot, one of the most well-known innovators in the Swiss watch industry;

Anisha Singh, the CEO of mydala, India’s largest local services marketing platform, present in 209 Indian cities and with 28 million registered users;

Marc Gruber, VP of EPFL, ranked as the worldwide #1 researcher in entrepreneurship.

Other high-profile attendees include the investors of Alibaba, Spotify, GoCardless and Khan Academy, and who invested in startups who got acquired by Oculus/Facebook, Google, Unilever, Warner and more. Over 1 billion USD of assets under management will be represented at the Seedstars Summit.


From a fintech platform that makes insurance affordable and accessible to the lower-income population and adds value to insurers and distributors, to as app that connects patients to doctors 24/7 via app, web or sms, we have found true innovators, determined and ready to take on the future, tackle real life challenges, and, ultimately, change the world. We are proud to count a wide range of sectors, such as health, agriTech, energy and education. Enterprise services, FinTech and consumer services are the main sectors represented this year.

Some of our successful regional winners include:

Apli (LATAM) is an on-demand jobs platform to use technology to match 20 million under-employed Mexicans with 1 billion annual missed days of work.

EdgePoint (Africa) allows Africans to discuss health issues quickly and confidentially with verified doctors 24/7 via SMS, mobile app or web within minutes.

My Cash Online (Asia) is an online e-Marketplace specifically designed for massive pools of migrants in Malaysia and Singapore who do not have access to a bank.

Democrance (MENA) is on a mission to democratize insurance by making it accessible to the lower income-population of MENA through their mobile phone. (CEE) is a virtual bank with prepaid card and AI chatbox in messenger, so users can manage their money via messenger.


 In addition to the investment by Seedstars of up to USD 500’000 for the Seedstars World Global Winner, the FinTech investment track powered by PayU, will offer a chance for investment to the best FinTech startup, access to the Seedstars Growth program and 5 tickets to Silicon Valley for a FinTech tour. In partnership with TRECC, a grant of USD 50k will be awarded to the best startup with the goal to enhance education for communities in rural areas. Finally, Hublot, official Timekeeper of Seedstars Summit, will award two emblematic watches – prize for the most innovative startup and the best woman entrepreneur of the Seedstars World 4th edition.


 Tickets are invitation-only: people interested can request a ticket HERE

Media accreditations are available upon request. Please register HERE

“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb

Seedstars is a Swiss based group of companies which has the goal of impacting people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Seedstars connects stakeholders within these ecosystems, builds companies from scratch with public and private partners and invests in high growth startups. Through different activities of startup scouting, company building and acceleration programs, the team has now access to entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, corporations and government officials from 60+ countries. The Seedstars group includes Seedstars World, a worldwide startup competition, sourcing in 60+ emerging markets the top talent from these regions; Seedstars Growth, a three month virtual acceleration program; Seedspace a network of coworking and co-living spaces now in 25+ countries and Seedstars Academy, a six months program to train aspiring local entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses.

[1]IMF, World Economic Outlook 2014

[2]European Commission, Global B2C E-commerce Report 2015

[3]GMSA, Smartphone forecasts and assumptions, 2007-2020