The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines
Commerce + Capital

Identifying and Investing in Entrepreneurs From Emerging Markets

Seedstars travels the globe to discover startups and give them the tools to succeed.


Few tech startups have the resources to travel or even relocate to Silicon Valley, and those that do represent but a small fraction of their many talented, brilliant peers in cities around the world. Is there a better way to get startups from emerging markets networking, pitching and growing?

With this aim in mind, a Swiss organization known as the Seedstars Group created Seedstars World, a series of competitions held in more than 60 countries with a short-term goal of generating investments for the winning startups and a long-term goal of “impact[ing] people’s lives in emerging markets through the promotion and investment in entrepreneurship and technology.”

In 2016, first-round events were held in more than 80 cities across the globe. Qualifiers then advanced to one of five second-round regional events in Asia, Africa (sub-Saharan), the Middle East and North Africa (aka MENA), Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe (aka CEE), where they met investors, incubators, and accelerators, as well as government representatives and regional stakeholders.

More than 70 finalists will soon move on to the Seedstars Summit — the final event held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in April 2017 — where they will attend workshops, mingle with investors, take in panel discussions, and make a five-minute pitch to a jury. The Seedstars World Global Winner receives a prize package consisting of up to US$1 million in equity investment, as well as more in cash and in-kind prizes.

The winner at the Seedstars Summit 2016 was Giraffe, a low-cost mobile recruitment agency service that has attracted over 200,000 job seekers and placed vetted candidates with hundreds of businesses across South Africa.

But regardless of whether they advance to subsequent rounds, startups gain invaluable experiences and exposure. And at every stage, numerous corporate sponsors both facilitate the events and benefit from their involvement with the participants. 

Visit to learn more about the Seedstars Group — which includes the Seedstars Academy, a six-month training program for entrepreneurs; Seedspace, collaborative living and working environments in 17 countries; and the many outstanding startups it has nurtured across the globe.