Seedstars Around The World 2013
In 2013, Seedstars World was born, aimed at finding the best startups from the world’s emerging markets. We identified 20 technological hubs and began compiling a list of the best startups that these locations have to offer, who were later invited to pitch their ideas at the Seedstars World regional competition rounds. For this purpose, we travelled to new frontiers, some of which most entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley probably have never heard of. What started as a fantastic business opportunity quickly became a global adventure for us, as we met some of the world’s most talented people and visited exciting and flourishing locations.
Our journey began in Moscow, which quickly set the tone for the rest of our international pitching events. The differences between emerging and established startup ecosystems were palpable and this impression was further reinforced when we held the competition in Dubai and continued on to Africa. We identified five African destinations, to adequately cover the amount of talent and quality present.
In the span of mere months, we discovered how the variations in cultural, social and economic characteristics of these places figure prominently in the emergence of unique startup cultures. For example, several tech entrepreneurs articulated a desire to improve their respective societies through their startup ideas. Other tech hubs emphasize environmental impact since their locations are more vulnerable to the adverse natural conditions. We were also moved by the sheer determination of startups in Azerbaijan to succeed even despite there being only one incubator in the entire country. Hence, it is a tremendous source of pride for us at Seedstars to know that we are helping these startups make a difference in their communities.
Upcoming startup societies
The Seedstars World route was systematic since we opted to schedule pitching events in regional centers. Our events are clustered according to continents. For example, we completed the Asian leg of the regional rounds from May to August. In two months, we covered Bangalore, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo (and Sydney afterwards, since it is a stone’s throw away from the region). These are tech hotbeds. Much has been written about the dynamism and the trajectory of startup development in this region and we were not disappointed. We found not only extremely good startup ideas but also discovered a matured and an entrenched startup culture. This was expected but we were not prepared to find truly sophisticated tech ecosystems. The Asian brand is typified by an efficiency and swiftness which optimizes construction and prototyping processes. At this stage, there is also a tangible evidence of the role of education, the quality and quantity of manpower and the strong presence of angel investors who truly believe in the potential of the startup industry. Certainly, we had the sense that the startup concept is no longer a novel phenomenon for Asians. There are numerous hackathons, demo events, competitions, government programs and other initiatives. It will not be surprising when one of these days the next Silicon Valley actually springs out of this part of the world. We would have declared this with utter conviction had we not proceeded on completing our global trek in Latin America.
The legendary Latino temperament is palpable in the Latin American startup ecosystems. Startup entrepreneurs demonstrated a strong drive and hunger to create outstanding products. While this is also true elsewhere, what sets Latin America apart is the manner by which it was complemented to an equal degree by policy networks. We found that many Latin American governments are deeply involved in developing their startup industries. This is, for instance, where the popular Start-Up Chile was born, a brainchild and pet project of the government of Chile. A race of sorts has emerged: Cities like Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Mexico City are in a mad scramble to become the Latin American version of the Silicon Valley. The entrepreneurs and startups are the ultimate beneficiaries in the process. There are already numerous success stories in this region and the startups are merely biding their time to take the world by storm!
The final stage
As the year draws to a close, so do the Seedstars World regional competition rounds. The winners in these events will compete for the Seedstars World Best Startup 2013. They represent the exceptional talents and boundless startup potential we have discovered in the process. We have met accelerators and investors of all types and colors. These individuals, teams, groups and organizations informed and enriched our view of the startup world. Not only do we believe the winners of the regional competitions are incredibly talented and have a great business model, their aspirations and potential to become the global startup industry’s next big thing is truly inspirational. It is this boundless energy that will make the Seedstars World Final Event in Geneva, on the 4th of February, very exciting. So make sure to join us as we crown the world’s brightest and best startup! If you are interested, find more about the world finals here!
Head of Seedstars World 2014 at Seedstars World