• Switzerland's news in English

Geneva group's contest gives 'lift' to startups

Malcolm Curtis · 2 Feb 2015, 10:24

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Protect Swiss waterways or lose our fish': WWF
Photo: Richi Stadelmann/WWF

Eighty-five percent of fish species in Switzerland are under threat, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

SBB pilots new annual pass – costing 12,200 francs
The 'door-to-door' pass includes use of an electric car. Photo: SBB

Swiss federal railways (SBB) is looking for 100 people willing to pilot a new annual transport pass that includes use of an electric car.

Immigration to Switzerland falls as emigration rises
File photo: The Local

Immigration in Switzerland has fallen considerably this year, according to official figures.

Wawrinka aces his way into Basel quarterfinals
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The home favourite returns to the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors for the first time in five years.

Illegal immigrant dies after setting himself on fire
The victim was treated at University Hospital Zurich. Photo: University Hospital Zurich

The 45-year-old Tunisian was threatened with deportation.

Swiss government rejects call for second immigration vote
Photo: Justus Blumer/Christophe G

The Swiss government has rejected a popular initiative calling for a revote on plans to limit immigration.

Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available