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Seedstars: a platform for startups in emerging markets to learn and connect

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Connecting over 85 countries and ecosystems, Seedstars is gearing up for its annual LatAm Summit in Lima, Peru on December 6 ahead of its flagship world summit next April in Switzerland.

The invite-only Seedstars LatAm Summit is a place for startups in emerging markets to learn and connect and to come away with more opportunities than ever before.

“Only 44% of impact investment is directed toward emerging markets”

seedstars startups emerging markets
Juliane Butty

The Sociable spoke with Juliane Butty, Seedstars Regional Manager for LatAm and the Caribbean, who explained that the LatAm Summit acts as a jumping-off point for stakeholders in the region where they can showcase their talents.

Butty explained that the LatAm Summit is a place where startups “get to learn, discover new tech, and come away with new best practices” by connecting with the all right people under one roof.

For emerging markets like those in Latin America, Seedstars provides a place where mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs alike are part of a community that understands the needs, restrictions, and resources that are particular to each region.

“In emerging markets, so far, there is not enough investible deal flow. Indeed, only 44% of impact investment is directed toward emerging markets,” said Butty.

“Our bet is that by being on the ground we will have a better and faster chance to change this ratio. Just to give a concrete example, it’s very hard to have access to reliable data from emerging market ecosystems online. Look at Crunchbase or Pitchbook, they mainly have data from developed countries investors & startups. As an investor, we need better data to be able to see where there are opportunities.

“We are willing to invest in having this presence on the ground in order to have better investment later, better understanding and more opportunities.”

Benefits to startups include:

  • Having a great place to connect.
  • Organized 1-on-1 meetings between entrepreneurs, investors and mentors.
  • Business and investment opportunities.
  • Discovering new tech and finding new best practices.
  • A place to learn how to solve specific problems, (i.e. education, access to finance, catering to the unbanked, etc.).
  • Holding workshops where everyone can share insights and learn from one another.

While these types of benefits could apply to just about any other tech or startup conference, the real measure of their value comes after the events take place. It’s one thing to sit around and talk; it’s another to take action.

“We have mentored over 2,000 startups just in Latin America”

The Seedstars LatAm manager explained the company’s “No BS” approach to action, and highlighted several startups that have gone on to success after participating in the Seedstars LatAm Summit.

For success cases, she has plenty. For example, after having attended the first LatAm Summit in 2016, Ultracasas went on to secure the largest funding round of any startup in the history of Bolivia, of which Seedstars co-invested in the follow-up.

“We have mentored over 2,000 startups just in Latin America. Two years ago, we launched our growth program at a global level, and out of the two batches we did, six startups were from Latin America. Through this program they obtained access to our scale up methodology, personal mentoring and a $30K cash investment. After the program, 87% of the batch got follow-up funding,” said Butty.

“The experience of Seedstars generated a deep knowledge about my business and about me as an entrepreneur”

And at last year’s LatAm Summit in Mexico, Argentina-based startup Alquilando made connections during a 1-on-1 meeting that would later result in an injection of capital.

seedstars startups emerging markets
Carlos Missirian

“The experience of Seedstars generated a deep knowledge about my business and about me as an entrepreneur,” said Alquilando COO Carlos Missirian in Comercio Y Justicia.

The Seedstars LatAm Summit bridges the gap between ecosystems and connects regional stakeholders to promote and foster entrepreneurship & technology in emerging markets as a way to impact people’s lives and reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

“Having a presence on the ground allows us to have a better view of the deal flow in the country and to have a better position to connect the right people together. The aim is to be able to increase the quality and quantity of investible startups,” said Butty.

12 Startups Attending Seedstars LatAm Summit

Lack of funding is one of the key challenges facing startups today, especially in emerging markets where entrepreneurial ecosystems are still a bit shaky.

This year, the Seedstars World tour across Latin America selected 12 startups who will join the Seedstars LatAm Summit and will get a chance to compete for up to $500K in equity investment at the 2019 Seedstars Summit on April 5 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The 12 startups are:

Ecuador
SpeakLiz
About 470M deaf worldwide want to communicate with hearing people, but they speak different languages. SpeakLiz is breaking that barrier forever.

Mexico
Getabed
A Shopify for the independent hotels. The solution helps its clients sell their services without relying on 3rd parties and paying high commissions.

Peru
Rebajatuscuentas.com
RebajaTusCuentas.com is a financial advisor that helps lower the payments a client makes for commercial products.

Argentina
Blended
Blended is the most popular school management system in Argentina.

Dominican Republic
Okus
Okus is a digital tool that functions as a smart assistant for teachers and parents and as a virtual tutor for students.

Colombia
Hometuls
Hometuls delivers a game-changing financing and procurement service for small and middle businesses through an easy-to-use digital platform.

Chile
Queplan.cl
An online platform helping people choose health insurance with the best terms.

Bolivia
Panal Fresh
A fresh food delivery platform.

Costa Rica
Defter Sports
Defter Sports helps Latin American football (soccer) coaches, players and parents to communicate better with each other.

Brazil
Apptite
#1 delivery app that connects chefs and clients who look for healthy meals with fresh ingredients.

Panama
Fortesza
A crowdfactoring platform that connects small and middle businesses in need of financial support with investors from all over the world.

Guatemala
Doctor Online
A digital platform that provides immediate remote access to doctors via chat or video conference through any device (Web, iOS, Android) for the insurance industry.

After Seedstars LatAm Summit, the startup teams will be preparing for the global competition at Seedstars Summit in Switzerland.

The event will bring together about 2,000 participants from five regions — Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe — to discuss the burning issues in emerging markets and choose the global winner.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co