• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Geneva group's contest gives 'lift' to startups

Malcolm Curtis · 2 Feb 2015, 10:24

Published: 02 Feb 2015 10:24 GMT+01:00

Seedstars World is offering an opportunity for 36 finalists from around the world to gain access to $500,000 in equity investment for the winning proposal.

The top startup will be selected during the three-day Lift Conference starting on Wednesday and competing entrepreneurs will be able to pitch their ideas to angel investors at a two-day “boot camp” in Lausanne before, when the top ten are selected.

Attracting more than 1,000 delegates, the annual conference bills itself as “one of Europe’s key events about innovation and digital technologies”.

As such it is a perfect springboard for people with business start-up ideas seeking financial backers, Seedstars representative Lorena Edejer told The Local.

Some of the startups in the running include one from Eygpt that has developed a communications system for deaf and mute people that “translates sign language into voice and text in real time,” she said.

Another one from South Africa is offering a “low-cost fire detection device designed for the slum environment,” Edejer said.

A Nigerian startup is recycling plastic waste and turning it into “car-ready petrol”.

Seedstars SA selected the best startup ideas from 1,500 applications and assessed 500 "pitches" over a nine-month period.

"Our mission is to discover the best startups beyond Silicon Valley and Western Europe, and support these businesses and their development, wherever they may be," the company said in a statement.

"From Ramallah to Sydney, passing by Dakar and Santiago, the startup scene knows no frontiers, without limits to innovation and creativity."

The company ran a similar competition in 2014 but this year is the first time it is collaborating with the Lift Conference.

During the Lausanne boot camp, expert advisers will help the business hopefuls to fine-tune presentations to prospective investors.

Seedstars says it “launches ideas, grows startups and builds companies.”

It employs a dozen people directly and indirectly, investing in what it sees as winning startups with a view too making a healthy financial return.

But “it’s a long-term investment,” Edejer said


“We work more closely with startups than just investing, we’re hands-on,” she said.

Story continues below…

“We follow their projects to the point of hiring people.”

One such example is SimplePay, a Nigerian “mobile money solution” that provides people in that country, which does not have conventional banking services, to make payments in multiple currencies, Edejer said.

Seedstars invested $300,000 in the startup after it was selected from a group of competing business projects in Lagos in 2013.

The company focuses on business ideas from emerging markets, where a few years ago startups were non-existent, Edejer said.

But it also invests in “fast-growing startup scenes” in places like Japan and Australia, she said.

For more information, check this website

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man falls to his death over dropped ski pole
The site of the accident. Photo: Valais cantonal police

Frenchman dies after he went to pick up a dropped ski pole and fell 200 metres down a mountain.

Young migrant injured after jumping from window
The girl was staying in a centre for asylum seekers in Zweisimmen. Photo: Vasile Cotovanu

A 15-year-old girl due to be deported from Switzerland is in hospital after jumping from a window.

Woman faked airport bomb threat over marital tiff
The bomb threat caused a big security alert at Geneva airport. File photo: Richard Juilliart

Wednesday's bomb threat was invented by a woman who wanted to get revenge on her husband’s mistress.

Bencic joins Federer in opting out of Rio

The Swiss is the latest top 20 tennis star to pull out of Olympics.

Swiss sports court heads to Rio Olympics
CAS has relocated from Lausanne (pictured) to Rio to deal with doping matters. Photo: CAS

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has temporarily relocated to Rio so it can make rulings over Olympic doping from the scene.

Police step up security at Geneva airport after tip-off
File photo: eGuide Travel

UPDATE: Police gradually withdraw security measures put in place this morning after an unspecified threat against the building.

Swiss Post gives stamp of approval to Solar Impulse
The new stamp is available from today. Photo: Swiss Post

A new stamp commemorates the incredible journey of two Swiss pilots.

Family of four dies in Swiss motorway crash
The accident happened near Quinto in the canton of Ticino. File photo: Costas Tavernarakis

The accident happened on the A2 in Ticino.

Swiss glacier reveals body of skier missing for 53 years
Morteratsch glacier. Photo: Graubünden police

The 36-year-old German went missing in 1963.

 Federer to miss Rio, rest of season with injury
Federer is recovering from injury. Photo: AFP

Roger Federer will miss the remainder of the season, including next month's Olympic Games in Rio.

File photo: Chase Elliott Clark
Lifestyle
Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
Photo: Katwarn.de
National
Switzerland mulls alarm text message service
Photo: The Local
National
Study: grazing cows are worse for the environment
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Kecko
National
Terror fears trigger Swiss run on guns
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Commune d'Ayent
National
Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
Photo: Swiss Post
National
Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Chris Marquardt
Lifestyle
Police break up dispute over late-night laundry
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
4,585
jobs available