Seedstars World, the global startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes kicked off its third edition last month. During the next 6 months, the Seedstars World regional teams will look for the best locally-grown startups all over the world, hosting local competitions and events in over 50 countries. The regional winners will be invited back to Switzerland in March 2016 to compete for one of the three equity investments of USD 500K each.
More than 1,500 startups from Eastern and Central Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America had previously applied to participate in Seedstars World. After 36 countries last year, Seedstars World will cover over 50 countries in total this year. Countries such as Algeria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Myanmar, Panama, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ukraine and Uruguay have been added to the 2015 roster.
In addition to the investment prizes, Seedstars World has launched several partnerships, one of which is with Inmarsat, the leading provider of mobile satellite communications services and AP-Swiss, the Ambassador Platform of ESA, the European Space Agency, and the Swiss Space Office. During its world tour, Seedstars World will seek to source the most innovative startups «powered by satellites». During the final event in March, the best startup leveraging these technologies will be awarded the Space Prize, a USD 50K grant from these companies and benefit from their invaluable industry know-how and technological expertise. “We have always thought about expanding the competition to add more value to the participating startups. Inmarsat and AP-Swiss are the perfect partners to support new ventures in Space technologies.” explains Alisée de Tonnac, Seedstars World CEO.
Inmarsat and AP-Swiss are particularly interested in developing applications using broadband telecommunications provided by satellites. As José Achache, the Managing Director of AP-Swiss explains: “Space can fix and help connect rural areas with little or no Internet connection and bring specific applications such as e-banking, e-learning or e-health. This partnership with Seedstars World will allow us to tap into resources from all around the world. We are especially eager to see companies solving their local and regional problems with technology powered by satellites, and invite them to develop their services partly or fully in Switzerland.” With the rise of the adoption of the mobile phone and increasingly lower prices for smartphones, resulting with 80% of the world’s smartphones projected to be in emerging markets by 2019 according to the GSMA, the growth potential for satellite powered applications is enormous.