Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, is returning to Bahrain on December 15th, 2016 to host Seedstars MENA Regional Summit at CH9 Hub in Manama.
The goal for this event is to find the world’s most innovative startups in emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes. Every year ambassadors of Seedstars World travel around the world to organize local pitch competition events in order to find the best startups in each region. In Iran, this event has been held for 3 years now. Blocks, a modular smart watch won the first place and advanced to the world finals in the first year of the event in Iran. For the second year, SmartBeen, an IoT startup which helps greenhouse owners to manage and analyze their greenhouses won the first prize of the event. For the third event which took place in September 2016 in Tehran, 2nate a crowdfunding website took home the first prize of the event and got invited to the global event in Geneva. 2nate will also pitch at Seedstars CEE regional summit as Iran’s representative on December 3rd, 2016 in Kazakhstan.
The Regional Summit is the culmination of Seedstars’ work to develop the MENA entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the year. The event will bring together startups from Tunisia, Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, GCC, and Algeria to pitch in front of an audience of 300 investors, media, and entrepreneurial representatives. All of the participants are the winners from their respective countries and following the MENA Regional Summit they will travel to the Global Summit in Switzerland on April 6 to represent the region as they compete with 65 startup winners from around the world for investments and prizes over $500K.
The MENA Regional Summit will commence with a bootcamp for the participating startups and culminate with a Conference and Pitch event on December 15th that will feature the startup pitches, keynotes ,and panel discussions that will engage a range of topics and ideas pertinent to entrepreneurs in the region. The conference will showcase success stories of entrepreneurs who scaled successfully and look into the success factors as well as the elements that still need to be improved in order to allow a MENA startup to scale and compete on a global stage.
The event speakers include Max Gurvits, Director for CEE, CIS & MENA, Cross Border Angels, Sharif El-Badawi and Hasan Haider, both are Partners at 500 Startups, John Kilmartin, Executive Director ICT at Bahrain EDB, Craig Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Dhahran Techno Valley Company and Alisee de Tonnac, CEO of Seedstars World.
The mentors include Elias Ghanem, High Growth Business Coach at Fintech expert, Ahmad Sufian Bayram, Regional Manager MEA at Techstars, Houssein El Sayed, Business Development Manager at UK Lebanon Tech Hub, Philip Bahoshy, Founder of MAGNiTT and Pierre-Alain Masson, Co-founder of Seedstars.
The event is made possible with the generous sponsorship of the Bahrain Economic Development Board and Tamkeen. Seedstars is coming to Manama with the help of local organiser CH9, a business accelerator in Bahrain, who will be hosting the first Seedstars MENA Regional Summit and promoting Bahrain as a startup hub.
The Seedstars MENA Regional Summit is also the result of the support of Regional Partner Intel, Local Supporters Aramex, MBAN, Tawasul, SMES Bahrain, University of Bahrain Regional Media Partners Arabnet, Wamda, MAGNiTT, as well as Infopartners: Al-Wasat, Bizbahrain, Entrepreneur Middle East, InnMind, MENA Tech, Startup mgzn and TechRasa.
Prior to the the conference, Seedstars World will host a 2 day invite-only Bootcamp for over a dozen startups (all winners from the 2016 Seedstars World competition across the region) who will work with world-class local and international mentors on improving their business models, working on their growth strategy and mastering the investor pitch. Mentors and investors will come from across Africa, Europe, the US and the MENA region. In addition to that, this year’s program will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to be selected for the Seedstars Growth program, a seed investment that comes together with a 4-month acceleration program for early stage startups.
“We are eager to host the inaugural MENA Regional Summit and bring together startups, entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem players to help increase connections across the continent and accelerate the growth of MENA-born global businesses, says Tiffany Obser, Senior Associate for MENA at Seedstars World, “We are very inspired by the dynamism of the entrepreneurs and the breath and sophistication of the businesses we’ve seen coming out of the MENA Region.”
The participating startups come from a wide range of sectors:
- Raye7 from Egypt is carpooling mobile app, where commuters enjoy hassle-free rides with nearby colleagues and acquaintances within verified networks;
- Evey from Tunisia is web & mobile platform that helps community managers realize real-time votes/surveys with automated data analysis;
- Segmentify from Turkey boosts online store’s sales by offering Amazon level personalized product recommendations and business insights;
- Mind Rockets from Jordan develops assistive technologies for the Deaf Community, using avatars to deliver speech/text to sign language interpretation;
- Asafeer Education Technologies from UAE is a smarter, cost-efficient way to teach and track reading skills for school students;
- Meddy from Qatar is a medical platform that helps patients find best doctors based on patient reviews and credentials and doctors find new patients effectively;
- Democrance from UAE’s mission is to democratize insurance by making it accessible to the lower-income population of MENA through their mobile phone;
- Dalil from Algeria is an object recognition and navigation system for visually impaired people.
The Seedstars Global Summit will also feature industry-specific tracks in parallel to the general Seedstars World competition prize, similar to the 500,000 USD travel-specific prize awarded at last year’s summit. The Jacobs Foundation is also offering a grant of 50,000 CHF for product customization or a pilot project in the francophone market. The past winning participants of Seedstars World have raised over 33M USD together cumulatively, providing employment to over 885 employees around the world.
The basic criteria for applicants stipulate that the seed-stage startups have less than 500’000 USD raised, that it has been less than two years since the startup was founded, and that a MVP (minimum viable product) exists. Seedstars World looks for smart startups that solve regional issues and/or develop profitable products for the global market. With partners such as MEST, Google for Entrepreneurs, and Microsoft, Seedstars World identifies fast-growing and pioneering startup scenes and is on the mission to support regional businesses and their growth. “Seedstars World is a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs pulling the spotlight from Silicon Valley and Western Europe. We honestly think the best way to have an impact in emerging countries is by investing and promoting entrepreneurship” explains Alisee de Tonnac, Seedstars World CEO. “We look forward to seeing how the different startup scenes have evolved in a year and the new startups in the country.”