As the world's leading startup event for emerging countries gears up to begin, we take a look at 8 MENA startups that made it to the finals and will be competing this Thursday in Lausanne.
Today, 57 percent of the world's GDP comes from emerging markets; 87 percent of the world’s population lives in emerging markets and 80 percent of the world's smartphones will be in emerging markets by 2020. Capitalising on the boundless opportunities these regions offer – which is often downplayed in the media narrative – the Seedstars Summit is bringing together over 70 startups from entrepreneurial hubs around the world to compete for equity investment of up to $500,000 this weekend in Switzerland – and CairoScene is going to be there.
The summit, which focuses on investing in the most promising startups across emerging markets, launched its fourth edition in April 2016, with regional teams travelling through four continents – with an unforgettable stop at Egypt’s Techne Summit – to scout for the world’s most thriving business ideas. After 9 months on the road, at the summit on April 6th, 2017 at the SwissTech Center in Lausanne (EPFL), the grand Seedstars World Global Winner will be selected and receive up to $500,000 in equity investment.
On stage and through its panels, the summit will feature Linkedin's founding team, innovation leaders from Google, Amazon, IBM, as well as the investors of Alibaba, Spotify and GoCardless. Some of the most buzz-worthy speakers include Bob Collymore, CEO of the biggest telecom company in Kenya, Safaricom; Jean-Claude Biver, CEO and chairman of Hublot; and innovator Alexander Galitsky, managing partner of Almaz Capital. And amongst the glitter, the glamour, and the hope condensed on stage, at bootcamps, and pitching events, eight game-changing Arab startups will be bringing their A-game.
Tutorama (Egypt): Having created a huge buzz long before they even launched their final website, the educational platform for people to find tutors online closed its first round of investment last October, after making waves across global and local competitions, from Upscale to the prestigious MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup, and now finally to the Seedstars World Summit itself.
Democrance (Lebanon): Kicking off with a bold mission and a steadfast vision, Democrance aims to make insurance available to a wider population by engaging insurance companies and mobile network operators. The startup claims to be the first microinsurance partner in the Middle East and North Africa, providing cutting-edge proprietary financial technology solutions to open the door to the under-served segments across the region. Will they become the next Grameen Bank?
Maker Brane (Lebanon): Their proposition is as wicked as the toys they set off to create: “it's physical like LEGO and hackable like Minecraft. If you're an inventor, creator, or maker, or just want to have fun building crazy mashups, you'll love it,” their website claims. The company creates Branes, aka little modules that allow people to build basically anything and connect anything to anything - including other Branes or LEGO parts.
Meddy (Qatar): Similarly to Egypt’s Vezeeta, the platform offers Qataris an online place where people can find all the information they need about doctors before choosing one; providing necessary knowledge for people to make informed health decisions.
Mind Rockets Inc (Jordan): Mind Rockets develops assistive technological solutions for the hearing impaired and hard of hearing worldwide. Avatars deliver instant translations from text and speech to sign language, helping provide engagement and independence for the deaf community.
Asafeer Education Technologies (UAE): Focusing on Arabic-language content, the educational startup develops a smarter, cost-efficient way for children to learn to read.
Evey Technologies (Tunisia): Evey is a web and mobile platform that helps communities make real time votes and surveys in order to increase engagement, interactivity and to facilitate decision making. The app has already garnered more than 5,000 downloads and currently boasts over 500 users.
Dalil (Algeria): Focusing on the visually impaired, Dalil is an object recognition and navigation system for people to go about their lives and interact with the objects and people they are not able to see.