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of citizens to connect, of people without a physical address, of children without access to a proper education, of people without access to financial services, of people without access to healthcare, of devices that will be connected, of dollars of value creation,

OF OPPORTUNITIES TO SEIZE?


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

AN IDEA BORN IN SWITZERLAND

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead -

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

“The love for what we do is the main reason why we have stuck together for the past 4 years and why we should still be growing bigger, better, and stronger in the next 40… heck,... 400 years to come?” Alisée de Tonnac, CEO of Seedstars World, the exclusive startup competition of Seedstars Group

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Four years ago, we set out to travel the world with one vision, to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Now, with four years of hard work behind us, we are still only at 1% of achieving this vision. Our niche represents 85% of the entire population, leaving us with the opportunity to impact billions of lives. At the same time, slowly, but certainly, the intangible becomes tangible. It becomes tangible when cities seek out the opportunity to have a Seedstars local chapter, when the startups every year become more and more the rising stars, when the mindset of international and domestic investors shifts, when governments are committed to the long-term solutions, when thousands of hungry, talented people apply to participate in our vision, and more personally, when blue Seedstars hoodies are worn proudly on all corners of the globe.

We will measure our group’s success in the sustainability of our investments, but we will also measure our personal growth by how much fun we had in achieving the remaining 99% of our vision. I realise it might sound like another “how to be happy” statement, but it truly is all about the journey. The end game, as it states so clearly, is an ending. And because all good things comes to an end, we want to make sure every step of the way is profound, challenging, and definitely worth it. The love for what we do is the main reason why we have stuck together for the past 4 years and why we should still be growing bigger, better and stronger in the next 40… heck,... 400 years to come? Every year, we keep on making sure that this idea, this company, this vision, is bigger than ourselves. And if the Seedstars machine we have been building for the past years and we will be fine tuning for a life time permits it, there is nothing stopping us from achieving impact in nothing less than billions...

Are you in?

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Welcome to Switzerland...

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As the communication agency of the Swiss government abroad, Presence Switzerland promotes the image of the country and to show its strengths. We are very lucky to have positive clichées associated whith us, from cheese to watches, to banking, to mountains. But innovation is not the first asset linked to Switzerland, if we are even though years ranked as the world leader in this field. Maybe are the clichées to hard to compete. But the universities and private companies keep investing in R&D and a mainly liberal approach allows innovation. One of the most valuable Swiss asset is most probably the capacity of working with others. As a small country, we are used to work with the bigger ones and are good at balancing different cultures to reach our goals. Supporting Seedstars World is a great way to share experiences with the best new entrepreneurs from emerging markets. Welcoming them to Lausanne shows how these countries matter to Switzerland and how we can be a place to meet. The concentration of talents and international organisations in the area allows these few days to be as productive as possible. And of course to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings ! As we like to say, we are very proud of our tradition of innovation. And we are looking forward to sharing and to dream of the world of tomorrow.

“enjoy the beauty of the surroundings!” Ambassador

Nicolas Bideau Head of Presence Switzerland seedstars.com

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

It is our pleasure to host the Seedstars Summit in Lausanne once again, and showcase our region to all the international guests for what it really is: a direct connection with world-class academic and research institutes, a dense network of internationally oriented SMEs and innovative startups, and a vibrant location offering favorable conditions to expand your business.

- We boast an effective network of partners to provide your company with specialized coaching and business support, networking opportunities with major actors in your field and specific funding for startups?.

WELCOME TO THE CANTON OF VAUD! Are you a startup, a scale-up or an SME wanting to develop technology-based innovations within your company?

We couldn’t be more happy to welcome you in this hotbed of innovation, and are looking forward to seeing how we can help you develop your business!

- There are six incubators and innovation parks suitable to develop your ideas and business, pooling local infrastructure and technical skills?

With more than 570 projects that we have supported just in the last year, innovative people always find fertile ground to develop their ideas here. DID YOU KNOW, THAT: - One-third of the 100 top Swiss startups are based in the canton of Vaud? Including 5 of the 10 best ones in 2016, there are about 2,000 high-tech companies established in the canton. - Vaud startups raised the highest amount of venture capital funds in Switzerland in 2016, reaching CHF 462 millions? 8

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Vaud startups raised the highest amount of venture capital funds in Switzerland Mr Philippe Leuba Minister of Economic Affairs and Sport State of Vaud


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

… and to Canton of Vaud: a vibrant location to move your innovation forward and strengthen your business.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Seedstars Vision Share of population aged under 30, by region: 2030 70%

Source:

Euromonitor Internacional

60% 50% 40%

20% 10% 0%

Population (Millions)

30%

Middle East & Africa

World

Latin America

Asia Pacific

Australasia

North America

Western Europe

Eastern Europe

Emerging Markets are at the center of the map! An ‘emerging market’ is any country that has many 563 of a developed market, but does not characteristics yet meet the standards to be considered ‘developed' by the Market Classification Framework.

Smartphone users (Millions)

Emerging markets are centers of innovation. Nigeria, Colombia, and Indonesia are no longer symbols of corruption, drug wars, or overpopulation, but actual incubators of talented entrepreneurs. By 2034, 95% of the world’s population will be in emerging markets 220

and in just three years from now, in 2020, 80% of all smartphones will be located in emerging markets. Moreover, 89.8% of the world population under 30 years of age live in these regions, which represents a huge pool of untapped talent. It was only last year when the Chinese economist, Zhu Min, and Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, claimed, “People will remember 2015 as the year emerging markets took half of the global GDP.”

It is no longer the West vs. the Rest, 65 58 as the Rest is slowly taking over 60 the West... China 10

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India

indonesia

Russia

Brazil

16

14

Argentina

South Africa


50%

ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

40%

10% 0%

Impacting people's lives in Emerging Markets Middle World Technology Latin Asia Australasia North Western Eastern through & Entrepreneurship East America Pacific America Europe Europe & Africa

Smartphones users in emerging markets (estimates for 2016) 563

Source:

Statista.com

Smartphone users (Millions)

20%

Population (Millions)

30%

220

65 China

India

indonesia

60

58

Russia

Brazil

16

14

Argentina

South Africa

Source: Market Realist, “E-Commerce in Emerging Markets: The Biggest Growth Opportunity�

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Seedstars Vision GDP can be one indicator to understand the level of life satisfaction. Indeed, higher GDP per capita equals higher life expectancy & satisfaction. Compared to North America and Europe, emerging markets find themselves with themselves with much lower GDP per capita and arguably inferior life satisfaction. However, that's an opportunity to change the status quo in these regions! 12

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Now, let's take an even closer look. If you compare South Korea to Nigeria, back in 1965, the difference between the GDP per capita was two-fold. Looking at the situation today, that gap is 22x bigger.

What made such a difference? How did South Korea achieve this?


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Impacting people's lives in Emerging Markets through Technology & Entrepreneurship

GDP per capita

NORTH AMERICA $25,000

This is the oportunity $20,000

$15,000

EUROPE & CENTRAL ASIA $10,000

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBEAN EAST ASIA & PACIFIC MIDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA

$5,000

SUB SAHARAN AFRICA SOUTH ASIA 1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

200

2005

2010

KOREA 24,565

$25,000

GDP per capita (constant 2000 US$)

$20,000

$15,000

$10,000

22x

$5,000

2x

24,565 1,098

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

200

2005

2010

NIGERIA 1,098

Source: World Bank seedstars.com

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GDP per capi

500 400

ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Seedstars Vision 300 200 100

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

Secondary GER (%)

Education

GDP per capita

Secondary education gross enrolment ratio, 1971 to 2010 Rep. of Korea Tunisia Colombia Ghana 100 D. R. Congo 120

80

60

GDP per capita (constant US$; 1971 = 100)

1970

900

Economic growth Rep. of Korea Tunisia Colombia Ghana D. R. Congo

800 700 600 500 400 300

40

200 20

100

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

1970

2010

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

NOTE: The top figure is normalized with the year 1971 set to 100.

The government initiated a very clear strategy of specialising the workforce in higher value added services, such as electronics (everybody knows Samsung, right?). Even nowadays, it continues to have a clear strategy to build niche expertise. Second, it deployed a range of mechanisms to develop the necessary skills in advance and invested heavily into education. As we can see from the graphic on the right, education has a direct impact on the GDP per capita.

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Secondary education gross enrolment ratio, 1971 to 2010

EVERY SPENT ON EDUCATION Rep. of Korea 120 DOLLAR Tunisia GENERATES 10-15 DOLLARS IN ECONOMIC GROWTH. Colombia Ghana 100 This investment not only creates jobs, but balances D. R. Congo higher value-added jobs with manufacturing and labour 80 intensive jobs. It is important to point out that many times when we discuss the issue of unemployment in emerging markets, we tend to 60 focus solely on unemployment, however, there is a huge need to put greater emphasis and attention on the 40 proportion of unstable jobs. Secondary GER (%)

Without going into too much detail on all the reasons as to why this shift happened in South Korea, let's look at two major forces: that of the public sector and private sector.

THE20OBJECTIVE IS TO FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE OF MOVING FROM UNSTABLE JOBS TO STABLE ONES. Throughout of development, South 1970 1975 all 1980stages 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Korea NOTE: attempts strike a balance between The top to figure is normalized with the year 1971 labour set to 100. intensive, lower skill industries that provide jobs for many, and more knowledge intensive industries that require higher levels of skills.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Impacting people's lives in Emerging Markets through Technology & Entrepreneurship

Labor force by job status

504 35

382 Unemployed

34

Vulnerable jobs

241

Stable jobs

107

2010

161

Million people

308

2020

Source: UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2012, “Youth and skills: Putting education to work” McKinsey Global Institute, “Africa at Work: Job creation and Inclusive Growth”

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Seedstars Vision

Now, let's look at the private sector. This is where we can have an impact. Over the next decade, more than 1 billion young people will enter the global labour market and 90% of these jobs will be created by the private sector, fueled by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including startups. Looking at an example of the US, companies that are less than 5 years old, startups, and SMEs are the ones that are creating the most jobs. Zooming in even further, when one compares the job creation between microenterprises, SMEs, and high growth markets, the SMEs create the most jobs. Seedstars is focusing on these companies. According to the innovation foundation Nesta, in the UK, 6% of firms create 50% of new jobs and GDP growth. Indeed, high growth companies = high impact. ...and these are the 6% Seedstars is going after!

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Impacting people's lives in Emerging Markets through Technology & Entrepreneurship

Young companies create the most jobs (US example) 200+ jobs

2 - 3 jobs Vulnerable jobs

20 - 30 jobs A new SME

High growth SME growing into a large firm

Source: US Census Bureau Business Dynamics Statistics Nesta Research Summary, “The Vital 6 Percent, How High-Growth Innovative Businesses Generate Prosperity and Jobs” Endeavor Insight, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and Omidyar Network, “Why Becoming Large Matters, How Scalable, High-Growth Entrepreneurs Can Help Solve the Jobs Crisis” The Economist Special Report, “The Walled World of Work”

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Seedstars Vision And the high impact is nearly always thanks to technology. Technology is changing the world, and we are still at the beginning of seeing its effects, having an unprecedented impact on millions, billions, of people at a speed never reached before. Remember, it took us over 100 years to get to one billion consumers and less than 10 years to reach a billion smartphone users. In developed markets, we tend to say that technology destroys jobs, but what about jobs that don’t even exist yet? The reality is that soon, 60% of today's population will be working in jobs that don’t exist yet. Let’s take the example of retail: There are fewer

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retail outlets in APAC than other regions. Currently, the ratio of consumers to retail outlet in the USA is 1000 to 1 vs. over 90,000 people for every retail outlet in the APAC region. Trends predict that the solution to balancing the need for more retail options will not necessarily be more retail outlets, but more e-commerce. A whole economy of solutions will be built around it. Therefore, technology will not only create new types of jobs at an unprecedented speed; it will also give access to (new) services to millions of people. Not only e-commerce, but all sectors and industries! And when we see that the Rwandese government is right now modifying its aerial regulations to allow


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Impacting people's lives in Emerging Markets through Technology & Entrepreneurship cargo drones to fly over the city of Kigali, we wonder if innovation will not be taking place in these markets. A foundation to start from for the next generation of technology. THIS BOOK WILL ALLOW YOU TO MEET AND UNDERSTAND AMAZING ENTREPRENEURS AND TECHNOLOGIES ACROSS THE DIFFERENT CONTINENTS THAT ARE WORKING HARD TO HAVE AN IMPACT. You see, never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Higher speed, higher reach 1400 1200

8

100

REGION

2013

World

2014

Growth

$1,563.8 bn $1,943.1 bn

24.0%

Asia-Pacific

$533.8 bn

$770.0 bn

44.3%

Europe

$497.9 bn

$567.0 bn

13.9%

North America

$466.0 bn

$522.9 bn

12.2%

Latin America

$31.6 bn

$37.4 bn

18.2%

MENA

$17.3 bn

$21.0 bn

21.5%

B2C e-commerce turnover, growth and market share per region

## Number of years to reach 1 billion

22 8 14

49

1 billion users

110

800 600 400 200

Number of years since introduction

0 0

5

10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110

Smartphones

Facebook

Internet

Mobile

Television

Telephone

Source: Business Insider UK, “It Took 75 Years for the Telephone to Reach 100 Million Users...and It Took Candy Crush Saga 15 months” Signature Global Asset Management, “Big Bad BABA: The Rise of Alibaba in China” Ecommerce Foundation Press Release, “Global E-Commerce Turnover Grew by 24.0% to Reach $1,943bn in 2014” Rwanda Droneport, “Aerospace Technologies Application in African Agriculture”

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

SEEDSTARS MACHINE

Now that we're clear with

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CONNECT SEEDSTARS WORLD Finding the best entrepreneurs in emerging markets through an inviteonly pitch competition in 65+ countries with 5 regional summits and a global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland SEEDSPACE NETWORK Connecting coworking communities who host entrepreneurs that solve emerging markets largest problems, with over 25 coworking spaces around the world that believe in our mission SEEDSTARS ONLINE COMMUNITY Keeping our network of the most impactful ecosystem players engaged and connected, with over 2000 of our closest public & private partners, startups, investors, incubators/accelerators and coworking spaces from 65+ markets


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

the why, here's our how. BUILD

INVEST

SEEDSTARS ACADEMY Six month long training and mentoring for top local talents to build profitable and impactful companies with Seedstars - it’s 90% learning by doing, 100% no nonsense.

SEEDSTARS INVEST Investing in the most promising companies with a laser-focus on profitability, high-growth, sustainability and impact. The main sectors for us are financial services, education, health, agriculture, energy and real SEEDSTARS GROWTH estate, where we see a high Accelerating the business level of disruption through growth of early-stage technology and a high companies sourced mostly number of people that could by Seedstars World be impacted by it. by investing in them, developing their skills and network through a 3 months program.

The main value proposition is our strict, execution focused methodology, and the unfair advantage of connecting the startups with key stakeholders in their respective industries

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

CONNECTING

75

Seedstars Impact Report

Seedstars World’s team traveled to 63 countries and 75 ecosystems in 2016 to find the best seed-stage tech entrepreneurs and to support the ecosystem development.

IMPACTING PEOPLE’S LIVES IN EMERGING MARKETS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

4,560

21,827

Days spent in local ecosystems by travelling teams

Local, regional and global Seedstars event attendees

Alumni Employees 90 80

Regional Summits

Satellite Events

Country Events

70

At Seedstars, we recognize two things: that technology has the power to change millions of lives, faster than ever, and that entrepreneurship has the power to tackle the world’s biggest, toughest problems. We are happy to report on the impact and progress we have had thus far...here’s to not stopping anytime soon!

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60 50 40 30 20 10 0

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2,645

8,014

Media articles mentioning Seedstars

Completed startup applications for Seedstars World


THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR EMERGING MARKETS

BUILDING

INVESTING IN

COMPANIES FROM SCRATCH

WINNERS OF SEEDSTARS WORLD

9

11

We recruit and train entrepreneurs to build tech ventures using our company building methodology

In 2016 we launched batch 1 of the Growth Program, a 3 month acceleration and investment initiative that will kick-start our regional VC funds.

10

20

2,960

2,418

Companies accelerated in the 3 month Seedstars Growth program

Fellows trained in the 6 month Seedstars Academy program

Investor jury hours during Seedstars World pitch events

Investors in the Seedstars Network

Startups Screened 1200

2013 Alumni

2014 Alumni

5000

2015 Alumni

4500

1000

4000 3500

800

3000

600

2500 2000

400

1500 1000

200

500 0

Jun 2013

Dec 2013

Jun 2014

Dec 2014

Jun 2015

Dec 2015

Jun 2016

Dec 2016

0

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

100

5,249

1,086

$61mn

Aspiring entrepreneurs trained in Seedstars Launchpad weekends

Expert mentoring hours provided during Seedstars Bootcamps

Introductions to Seedstars World Alumni made to investors

Raised by the 110 alumni of Seedstars World

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80

NUMBER OF STARTUPS

70

ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

60 80

12000

NUMBER OF STARTUPS

USD

50

70

10000

40

60 30

8000

50

20 40

6000 10

30

4000

0

20 2000

10 0

Who did we find along the way in 2016?

Finance / Payments 80 70

100000

60

90000

50

Education

0

Wellness Advertising Enterprise / Health and marketing services

USD

80000

30

0

MENA

Africa

80000

USD

10000

EMPLOYEES

30000

4

20000 HIGHEST ECOSYSTEM AVERAGE:

4000

10000 3 $75,222 0

30000

2000

Asia

LatAm IN2 PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

20000 Education

Let’s take a closer look... Asia

0 1

Wellness Advertising Enterprise / Health and marketing services

LatAm

CEE

MENA

0

Africa

100000

USD

90000

7

CEE

MENA

CEE

LatAm

Asia

MENA

Africa

Asia

CEE

LatAm

Africa

MENA EMPLOYEES

6

80000

5 100%

70000 60000

4 80% 3

50000 40000 30000

60% 2

20000

1 40%

10000 0

Asia

40000 REVENUE PER STARTUP 5 WAS AVERAGE

50000

10000 Finance / Payments 0

U

90000 LatAm

70000revenue 7 Monthly 60000 6 $5,994 50000

6000

60000

20 40000 10

Wellness Advertising Enterprise / Health and marketing services

8000

70000 40

Education

100000 CEE

12000

NUMBER OF STARTUPS

Finance / Payments

Asia

LatAm

CEE

MENA

Africa

0 20%

Asia

CEE

Employees Asia Africa Total of 3,025 100%

LatAm

Africa

MENA

CEE

MENA

LatAm

0%

EMPLOYEES HIRED BY STARTUPS 80%

HIGHEST ECOSYSTEM AVERAGE:

14 people

60%

IN SHANGHAI, CHINA

40%

20%

24

seedstars.com 0% Asia

Africa

CEE

MENA

LatAm

Africa


USD

12000

USD

ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

10000 80

8000

70 6000

10000

60

4000

40

6000

30 0

LatAm

Asia

MENA

Africa 2000

10 0

6

Finance / Payments

EMPLOYEES

Education

90000 MOST POPULAR SECTOR IS

3

Finance / Payments 70000 23 sectors LatAm

Africa

1

0

Asia

LatAm

CEE

80

MENA

0

Africa

Asia

12000

NUMBER OF STARTUPS

70

80%

EMPLOYEES

2

MENA

10000

100%

Africa

3

40000

30000 Asia 20000CEE

MENA

countries

4

50000 OVERALL, THE STARTUPS OPERATED IN

0

Asia

62

5

60000

1

LatAm

6

80000

2

CEE

7

USD

4

applications

0

Wellness Advertising Enterprise / Health and marketing services

100000 Sectors

5

4,000

4000

20 CEE

7

USD

pitching startups

8000

50

2000

630

12000

NUMBER OF STARTUPS

CEE

LatAm

Africa

MENA USD

10000

60

100%

60%

8000

50 40

40%

20%

6000 80%

30

4000

20 2000

10

0%

60%

40%

0

0

Finance Education Wellness Advertising Enterprise Asia CEE / HealthMENA LatAm services / PaymentsAfrica and marketing

Women (co)founders 90000 16.3% 80000

100000

20%

USD

ON AVERAGE

CEE

LatAm

Asia

Funding 7 0% Asia Africa 6 $41,927,319

MENA

EMPLOYEES

CEE

MENA

LatAm

RAISED BY THE STARTUPS SO FAR 5

70000 60000

HIGHEST ECOSYSTEM AVERAGE:

4 HIGHEST ECOSYSTEM AVERAGE:

18.4%

3 $406,345

50000 40000 30000

IN LATAM

IN 2 SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

20000

1

10000 0

Africa

Asia

LatAm

CEE

MENA

Africa

0

Asia

CEE

LatAm

Africa MENA seedstars.com

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Get to know the Seedstars World team scouting for the best tech entrepreneurs across Africa, Asia, LatAm, MENA and CEE:

The Seedstars

TEAM in numbers

I bet you didn’t know...

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

10 PEOPLE, 10 COUNTRIES, 4 CONTINENTS We are a team of 10 people, coming from 10 countries and 4 continents. Ethiopia Austria United Kingdom Slovakia Switzerland Netherlands Peru Ukraine United States Mexico

200’000 KM/YEAR

$2 HAIRCUT FOR FREE 7 HOURS DRIVING 10 MIN. SWIMING Igor, from the MENA/ CEE team, drove for a total of 7 hours, all just to swim in the Caspian Sea for 10 minutes.

1 MEAL = $0.50

8 MONTH / 19 CITY

Marcello from the Africa team travelled an incredible total of 200’000 km this year!!

Nick, from SSW Asia, scored the cheapest meal of the global tour, for only $0.50!

Juliane and Romulo only paid for one single night of accommodation during their 8-month19-city tour across Latam!

Nick was able to hitchhike twice in one day, as people in Kuala Lumpur, a city built for cars, pitied his roadside stroll.

Romulo brought a Bialetti coffee maker with him to every country, so he could make coffee for himself and Juliane every morning.

Tiffany experienced the amazing hospitality in Georgia when her 70 year old neighbour gave her a framed painting from her wall, and still calls her up to skype till this day!

Selam from the Africa team found the cheapest haircut of the tour for $2, besides from Tiffany who became so friendly with the salon owner, that she got hers for free!

18 CITIES ON FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS NIGHT Claudia and Selam went out every Friday and Saturday night in the 18 cities they visited across Africa.

Igor and Tiffany did the most cities of any regional team, with the 22 events they organized across MENA and CEE.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

64

FINALISTS

SEEDSTARS WORLD STARTUP STATS Finalists of 2016 Acudeen (Philippines) Aikio (Mali) Akiba (Uganda) Apli (Mexico) Asafeer Education (United Arab Emirates) BlackBOX TV (Mozambique) Blue-loop (Costa Rica) Bua.Space (Botswana) Chalkboard Education (Ghana) Creative eLearning (Sri Lanka) Criptext (Ecuador) Dalil (Algeria) Democrance (Bahrain) Digital Royal Net Solution (Myanmar) Dr CADx (Zimbabwe) Earlyone (Armenia) EdgePoint Digital (Tanzania) Edupass (Dominican Republic) Etudesk (Côte d’Ivoire) Evey (Tunisia) FairAgora (Thailand) Fentury (Moldova) Field Buzz (Bangladesh) GL3SH (Ukraine) GliaCloud (Taiwan) Graphene Healthcare (Singapore) Hulubet (Ethiopia) IDWork (South Africa) iNuka Pap (Kenya) Kangpe (Nigeria) Kasha (Rwanda) Kostoom (Indonesia) 28

seedstars.com

Kundi (Poland) Kvotter (Azerbaijan) Makerbrane (Lebanon) Meddy (Bahrain) Mesfix (Colombia) MimosaTEK (Vietnam) Mind Rockets (Jordan) MindPax (Czech Republic) My Taste Guide (Australia) MyCash Online (Malaysia) PiQuant (South Korea) qAIRa Nano+7 (Peru) QueroQuitar (Brazil) Raye7 (Egypt) REDOXIGEN (Panama) Segmentify (Turkey) Smart Satu (Kazakhstan) SmartPoll (Argentina) Sur3D (Uruguay) TalkBank.io (Russia) TAME (Pakistan) TapChief (India) TrainFES (Chile) Treepex (Georgia) Tutorama (Egypt) uHoo (Hong Kong) UltraGrupo.com (Bolivia) VIP Health Care (China) Visualise VR (Nepal) Wi-Connect (Angola) Wutiko (Senegal)


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

54

The Finalists of 2015

36

The Finalists of 2014

20

The Finalists of 2013

FINALISTS

FINALISTS

FINALISTS

Airshop (Côte d’Ivoire) AlemHealth (United Arab Emirates) Asoriba (Ghana) BitNexo (China) BoxBike (Bolivia) Cinemad.tv (Chile) Couper (Singapore) Cuestionarix.com (Ecuador) Diseclar SAS (Colombia) doctHERs (Pakistan) Dronee (Azerbaijan) Easy Carros (Brazil) Ecoisme (Ukraine) Eggbun Education (South Korea) Eora 3D (Australia) Evreka (Turkey) Eye Care Plus (Armenia) ezCloud (Vietnam) Farrow Ventures (Mexico) Fidel (Ethiopia) Fliiby (Serbia) Flimper (Argentina) Giraffe (South Africa) Good Meal Hunting (Philippines) GPSGAY (Uruguay) IKNEWIT (Malaysia) Illuminum Greenhouses (Kenya)

6degrees (Singapore) AidBits (Palestine) Beam (Ghana) Busportal (Peru) Channelkit (Russia) eFishery (Indonesia) Feesheh (Jordan) FirstJob (Chile) GoFar (Australia) Green Energy (Nigeria) KinTrans (UAE) Krowdpop (South Korea) Lumkani (South Africa) Machina (Mexico) Manads (Azerbaijan) myVLE (Morocco) Myki (Lebanon) OkHi (Kenya)

Chilindo (Thailand) dockPHP (Singapore) Flitto (South Korea) FoYo (Rwanda) GUST Pay (South Africa) HackerEarth (India) Jayride (Australia) Jooist (Kenya) JXJ Tech (China) Kudo (Brazil)

InterShip UG (Uganda) ioGrow (Algeria) Jobartis (Angola) Juabar (Tanzania) Madvisor (Bangladesh) MapTasking (Panama) Mergims (Rwanda) Mashvisor (Palestine) Merchandiser (Lebanon) Modisar (Botswana) Moovi (Mozambique) MyQ (Nigeria) Omniup (Morocco) ProSehat (Indonesia) Slidebean (Costa Rica) Smart X Lab (Taiwan) SmartBeen (Iran) SolarizEgypt (Egypt) Strike (India) Talkpush (Hong Kong) Texel (Russia) TICKEY (Bulgaria) TopDocs (Thailand) U.M.S ‘Queen’ (Myanmar) Urbaner (Peru) VoLo (Senegal) Yaqut (Jordan)

OnePay Pte. Ltd. (Japan) Ploog (Brazil) Prisync (Turkey) QSearch (Taiwan) Remit (Uganda) Rumarocket (China) Salarium (Philippines) Scandid (India) SoloLearn (Armenia) Spectator (Serbia) SOMTOU (Senegal) Tapway (Malaysia) The Other Guys (Argentina) TorQue (Rwanda) Triip.me (Vietnam) USETIME (Colombia) VDecoration (Iran) WashBox (Thailand)

Locarise (Japan) NeWo (Azerbaijan) PingStamp (Mexico) Retail Tower (Ghana) SimplePay (Nigeria) Totus Power (Chile) TourBud (UAE) Vimantra (China) WayRay (Russia) Wideo (Argentina) seedstars.com

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9 Ways to Travelhack the System: How Seedstars World travels in emerging markets #1 Become a master packer Since you are constantly on the move, everything needs to fit in one suitcase of maximum 18 kilos. Therefore, packing is not just a strategy but an art that one should master sooner rather than later. Luckily for you, we have learned from our mistakes. Therefore, only bring along clothes that don’t wrinkle, and ideally all in similar colours, to save you some headache when doing laundry. In addition, save space in your luggage by rolling your clothes instead of folding them (and remember to put socks in the shoes!)

#2 Research your flights When we are not travelling for work, we travel for pleasure. And when you travel for pleasure, there is nothing fun about having to pay for expensive flight tickets. Essentially, there are 2 techniques to get cheaper flights: Hidden City Booking: Say you want to go from New York to Paris, but flights to Paris are very expensive. Because airline ticketing systems are strange, you might find that a flight to Paris is more expensive than a flight to another city (say London) through Paris. When you book a hidden city ticket, you basically book New York - Paris - London but get off in Paris without taking your flight to London. This trick only works on one-way flights without checked luggage, since airlines cancel all subsequent flight segments if you don’t use one, and they usually check luggage through to your final destination. You don’t want to find yourself in Paris with your luggage in London. Two one-ways: Sometimes booking two separate one-way tickets (usually on different airlines) can be cheaper than a single round trip ticket. Always look for that option before booking round trips.

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Seedstars World teams are known as a tough bunch to pin down. Each person spends about 8 months of the year traveling as a digital nomad to an average of 17 countries across Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. We asked them to share their tried and tested travel hacks, tips and lessons learned that could help anyone to save money, time and stress!

#3 Be smart about airlines, alliances & Frequent Flyer programs For the average traveler, it might take a while to understand why someone can travel first class, shower in a plane, access all airport lounges, and have gold status on most airlines without having flown with most of these airlines before. And all of this, for the same price as flying economy. Now, only one smart travel hacker in the Seedstars team managed to do this. But for those who don’t have a lot of time to spare and no natural passion for travel hacking, you can make your traveling life slightly more comfortable by playing your cards right. The secret: status and miles. While status gives you priority boarding, priority check-in, lounge access, etc., miles can give you free flights and upgrades. You can accumulate more miles faster by staying with one alliance, booking smartly, and picking the right frequent flyer program. Of course, this is very dependent on which continent you are traveling in, but the general rule of thumb is that you look for a frequent flyer program where it is easy to accumulate miles, and one that has a reasonable amount of airlines connected to it that are active in your region or cross-region. One example is Ethiopia Airlines, the biggest airline in Africa connecting flights within the continent and beyond through Star Alliance that has 28 airlines as members. Imagine you are in Europe flying Brussels Airlines, a week later you use Ethiopian Airlines and after that South African Airlines. This means you are still collecting points for the same Alliance: Star Alliance.

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#4 Navigate the airports You either like the airport, or you don’t. Either way, if you are on a busy schedule, you might not have time to wait around in a queue in case you didn’t manage to get your status just yet. In that case: fake it until you make it. Go to the business class check-in desk, take the priority security line (unless there is an old/sick person in front of you.. be polite still), and stand in the priority boarding line. Why? Because no one really ever checks. If someone does catch you, you can always say you didn’t know and go back to the queue where you belong (sorry… not sorry).

#5 Navigate the country One of the most important things to do when you arrive in a country is to make sure you don’t get lost. You should learn how to say “left, right, straight and backward” in the local language if you want to navigate around because there is no such thing as an address in many emerging markets. For that reason, never leave the airport without a local sim card and internet. You will need it to make your phone call to find out where you live, but more importantly to browse the internet (you are a digital nomad after all…). And just in case, always download google maps offline or get the offline map app maps.me.

#6 Cash is king! Credit cards are always useful for the following reasons: Chances are, the debit card of your country will not work everywhere, some credit cards allow you to save more miles (refer to #3), and some credit cards will offer you insurance for things such as purchase protection. Also, never change your money at the airports! The best way is to withdraw large amounts of cash just once per country on an ATM. Otherwise, you end up paying loads for withdrawal fees. Also, make sure you have some “Western” currencies, such as euros and dollars, for emergencies, as they are easier to exchange in most countries.

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#7 Respect the culture Always remember that you are a guest in someone’s country. Be polite, respectful and on your best behaviour. Most locals will make an effort to make you feel at home, but if you really want to make friends fast and get things done, learn some words in a local language. Besides, in some countries, specific words are a crucial part of the culture, such as the word “Inshallah”(‘God willing,’ ‘if God is willing’) when you travel around in MENA. In other regions like CEE, you can easily blend in by doing simple things that you might already do at home, such as picking up that vodka ;)

#8 Find your way around food Go where the locals go! Want to assess if a street food stall is legit? Look at the number of local people around - the more people, the safer the food! (This is still completely at your own risk, though :)) In case you are a digital nomad, and you do have some important meetings to attend, never eat at a restaurant you haven’t been before, as it is better to be safe than sorry.

#9 Charge! Always, always, always charge your devices overnight. You never know when you are going to experience a power cut nor how long it may last! And if you are a techie, you should buy a hand charger for your phones.

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Laurent le Moal arrived in PayU early this year, but he’s no stranger to digital payments and emerging markets. He concluded an 11-year career at PayPal as Vice-President and General Manager for Continental Europe where he successfully led the launch of PayPal in Africa, Israel, the Middle-East, and Russia. As the CEO, his primary role was to embrace the challenge of running PayU, a leading online payment service provider, working in 16 high-growth markets across the world. PayU is part of Naspers, a global internet and entertainment group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. In an interview with Seedstars, Laurent admits that what makes PayU stand out from other players is the true focus on emerging high-growth markets supported by a very local approach to take the most out of each market. That strategy is an example of how mergers and acquisitions can work – PayU is the result of a combination of local and fruitful startups and e-commerce properties acquired by Naspers, put together to build one global company. “I must say the unique part of it is that the founders are all still present in the team,” explains Laurent.

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How became a Global Player by Investing in Emerging Markets


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NASPERS A BIG COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE? LM: Our connection is an asset for two reasons: with Naspers being one of the biggest technology investors in emerging markets (invested in companies such as Flipkart, India’s leading e-commerce marketplace, OLX, the world’s leading classifieds platform or Movile, the leading mobile commerce and content platform in Latin America), and most people still don’t know this, we have the opportunity to use their resources for our own M&A. Naspers is also a major shareholder in many e-commerce websites, which makes it easier for us to establish contacts and start discussions in these markets. WHY HIGH GROWTH/EMERGING MARKETS? LM: It began with a historical incentive. Naspers started in South Africa and represents the story of a group that has reinvented itself from being a traditional media company to a global group present in digital media, e-commerce, payments, and more. It always focused on growing markets in Africa and then took big bets in other emerging markets where few were the ones willing to take these bets.

WHAT ARE THE MOST ATTRACTIVE COUNTRIES TO YOU? LM: When talking about payments and financial inclusion in general, definitely India and China. They are big single markets where there is not one local player completely established, with very high economic growth (according to the Asian Developement Bank, the projected growth rate in 2016 of 6.6% in China and 7.4% in India) and mobile penetration. Just in 2020, according to the GSMA report “The Mobile Economy Asia Pacific,” we expect 245 million new mobile users in China and 195 million in India. I would also add Latin America, where you have a huge opportunity in terms of cross-border transactions. When analysing a new market, we look at: expected consumers base, mobile penetration, potential for cross-border transactions, maturity of financial players and legislation. We tend to think about the USA or the UK everytime we talk about fintech, however the biggest disruption is coming from emerging markets like India or China. To give you an idea, in India they have been truly progressive in terms of regulation, where right now there are already 23 banking licenses operating.

For instance, fifteen years ago, Naspers took one of its biggest bets, investing in Tencent in China. Back then, no one was doing something similar and, for Naspers, it absolutely paid off. According to Livemint report, they invested $34 million on the Chinese startup and today that stake is worth $88 billion.

Nonetheless, there are other new markets with potential: Southeast Asia, more specifically Indonesia and the Philippines. Or Iran, which is just starting to open up, and I expect a huge boom in terms of e-commerce in the next 3 years.

And why are still so many opportunities passing over the players? Fear of the many risks and maybe they don’t believe the markets are big enough or they don’t properly grasp the potential of these markets in the years to come.

HOW DO YOU DEVELOP A LOCAL APPROACH BEING A GLOBAL PLAYER? LM: The model we have is very local, each region has the flexibility to customize its product. PayU in many ways is actually a group of startups acquired that are operating in their local markets. There’s no point for us to come to a new market and start from scratch, when we already have an existing team and business running it successfully. For us, it made sense as it was quicker and more efficient. Indeed, you are able to keep the best of both worlds: the passion from the entrepreneurs and the resources and synergies of a big Group. seedstars.com

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IT MUST BE HARD TO KEEP SUCH A DIVERSE TEAM MOTIVATED. LM: It isn’t easy, but one motivation comes from PayU being a global player. We are truly trying to create a global platform that differs greatly from the players coming from the USA and Europe. This sense of purpose in the local environment whilst playing at a global level makes the motivation unique: each local team keeps its regional unfair advantage whilst also being part of something bigger! TALKING ABOUT INNOVATION, WHAT ARE THE TRENDS IN THE FINTECH INDUSTRY? LM: Fintech is a very broad term, I always organize it in four segments: payments, lending, wealth management and digital banking. All the different startups I see now scaling and being successful are not only worrying about providing a quality service, but focusing on the data they are using. It’s all about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data access.

ANY ADVICE FOR THE FINTECH ENTREPRENEURS EXPANDING TO NEW EMERGING MARKETS? LM: First of all, It’s important for people to understand that financial services aren’t easy. You don’t wake up one morning, start coding and have a product. It takes much more than that. As for the expansion to emerging markets, like Russia or India, you have to be very clear regarding what is it that you want to achieve. You have to spend as much time as possible understanding what’s different in this market in terms of financial services, consumer habits, regulation, lobbying, etc. and then define what is the best entry strategy. And, keep in mind that this is not a short term play! But like in every other business, there is no one-size fits all. Everybody has to find his own way.

They are also coming up with different models in terms of business partnerships, especially in the case of e-commerce, where it’s still a bit difficult to scale up a business because of the increasing customer acquisition cost. And lastly, the geographical expansion – they are identifying the growth potential and expanding their businesses to new markets. WHAT ABOUT THE CHALLENGES? LM: The industry is still heavily regulated, as most of the markets are not acting like India. There’s also a key question every player asks itself: how do you scale your business to embrace tens of millions of customers? YOU PARTNERED WITH SEEDSTARS TO BRING THE “PAYU FINTECH PRIZE”. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN THE STARTUPS APPLYING FOR THIS PRIZE? LM: We are truly looking for bright people. What are the great teams out there trying to solve problems like access to financial services and how we can help them? Since this is a competition, we want to reward the best team, but that’s where we go a bit further – we help these entrepreneurs not only financially, but also in terms of expertise, access to our distribution channels and more. 36

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Laurent le Moal


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“What makes PayU stand out from other players is the true focus on emerging high-growth markets, upported by a very local approach. “ seedstars.com

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Seedstars Index Framework The strength of global startup ecosystems is a key concern for Seedstars as it impacts our business on multiple fronts. Be it in our goal of Connecting, Building or Investing, our ability to operate effectively is directly tied to the stage of development of each ecosystem. Without enough stakeholders, we can’t connect; without appropriate talents, we can’t build; and without an attractive opportunity, we can’t invest. As such, our interest in measuring the status of each ecosystem and helping with the development is both a key concern to Seedstars from an economic advancement standpoint, and from a business operations standpoint. Now in it’s third edition, the Seedstars Index (SSI) continues to measure the quality, potential and maturity of the startup ecosystems visited by

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the Seedstars teams in 2016. In total, the teams visited and assessed 66 ecosystems in 63 countries and collected feedback from over 400 expert stakeholder meetings and over 1000 entrepreneur survey responses which form the basis of the output of the SSI and also provides valuable perspectives for the reader. Our extensive on-the-ground coverage continues to be the key factor setting apart the SSI from other indices and the SSI is the only index we know of where the researchers visit and are able to compare first-hand the differences between each ecosystem. Additionally, the SSI is the only index in the world focusing on rising startup ecosystems which have the most need for measurement and improvement. The pillars of the SSI remain unchanged and are the three factors we believe are fundamental in building a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem: Culture, Environment and Opportunity. These three pillars form the foundations of a startup ecosystem and permit Success cases which are both the desired output and the catalyst of an ecosystem. The underlying factors and weights of the SSI 2016 have evolved as we continue to improve the methodology through research and analyses. We believe this version of SSI is more robust than ever.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

ENVIRONMENT

ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEMS

SUCCESS CULTURE

OPPORTUNITY

The key concepts to understand for any reader are the three core pillars and the desired output, which are explained in brief as follows: CULTURE If the right culture doesn’t exist, no one will even consider entrepreneurship as an option and new ventures won’t take shape. An entrepreneurial mindset is critical, while a fear of failure can be crippling. ENVIRONMENT Without a conducive environment, new ventures will be suffocated by harsh business conditions. If administration and legal systems are not facilitative, business and investment will suffer. Most of us take reliable internet and electricity for granted, but imagine the difficulty added to a new venture when this is not the case.

OPPORTUNITY No venture can thrive without an opportunity to grow in local and foreign markets, which requires talented team members, expert mentoring and funding. SUCCESS Successful businesses provide employment opportunities and economic growth, and therefore should be the targeted output for any ecosystem. Success is also the catalyst of an ecosystem as triumphant entrepreneurs lead by example, become role models, invest, mentor and lobby for change. Successful entrepreneurs can impact all three elements in the SSI and accelerate change. Success breeds success.

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Continual Development of the SSI

A deeper look at the construction 3 pillars, 8 factors, 20 sub-factors

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1. INDEX STRUCTURE

True to our entrepreneurial beliefs, the MVP version of the SSI we did in 2014 has been challenged and improved for the last two years. Most notably, the extensive research and analysis done in 2016 led to the inclusion of 5 new sub-factors, changes to the scoring methodology of existing factors and a complete revamp of the weights. The new factors added include a “Community Collaboration/ Openness” score added to the “Culture” pillar. We have also further nuanced the “Opportunity” pillar by inserting the following factors: “Talent” and “Market Receptiveness”. The full list of sub-factors of the SSI, the weights and source of data is given on the next double page. seedstars.com

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PILLARS [WEIGHT]

"FACTORS [WEIGHT]"

MINDSET [49%]

CULTURE [32%] COMMUNITY DYNAMISM [51%]

INFRASTRUCTURE [46%] ENVIRONMENT [29%] INSTITUTIONS [54%]

TALENT [25%]

OPPORTUNITY [39%]

FUNDING [29%] TRAINING & MENTORING [29%]

MARKET [17%]

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SUB-FACTOR WEIGHT CONSIDERATION

HOW SUB-FACTOR IS MEASURED

LOW

Custom Data from LinkedIn

HIGH

SSW on the ground research

LOW

SSW on the ground research

HIGH

SSW on the ground research

"SSW EVENT VARIETY SCORE [28%]"

HIGH

SSW on the ground research

SSW MEDIA FREQUENCY SCORE [17%]

MEDIUM

SSW on the ground research

SSW MEDIA COVERAGE SCORE [17%]

MEDIUM

SSW on the ground research

WEF GCI TECHNOLOGICAL READINESS [50%]

MEDIUM

WEF GCI

WEF GCI INFRASTRUCTURE [50%]

MEDIUM

WEF GCI

WEF GCI INSTITUTIONS INDEX [29%]

LOW

WEF GCI

WORLD BANK “DOING BUSINESS” [71%]

HIGH

WEF GCI

WEF GCI HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING [38%]

HIGH

WEF GCI

WEF INNOVATION INDEX [38%]

HIGH

WEF GCI

"SSW TALENT SCORE [24%]"

MEDIUM

WEF GCI FINANCIAL MARKET DEVELOPMENT [50%]

HIGH

WEF GCI

HIGH

SSW on the ground research

HIGH

SSW on the ground research

LOW

WEF GCI

"WEF MARKET SIZE [56%]"

HIGH

WEF GCI

MARKET RECEPTIVENESS [22%]

LOW

SSW on the ground research

"SUB-FACTORS [WEIGHT]" SSW ENTREPRENEUR DENSITY [29%] SSW ENTREPRENEUR MINDSET [71%] SSW COMMUNITY COLLABORATION / OPENNESS [10%] SSW EVENT FREQUENCY SCORE [28%]

SSW ACCESS TO FUNDING SCORE [50%] "SSW TRAINING & MENTORING SCORE [100%]" WEF GOODS MARKET EFFICIENCY [22%]

SSW on the ground research


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

1. INDEX STRUCTURE SUB-FACTOR DESCRIPTION The percentage of entrepreneurs listed in LinkedIn. The attractiveness of entrepreneurship as a career choice and the level of fear of failure The collaboration and openness among stakeholders in the ecosystem The frequency of tech/startup events in the ecosystem The variety of tech/startup events in the ecosystem Mainstream and niche media coverage frequency of local startups and innovation Media distribution of local startups and innovation articles Technological readiness as major driver of productivity and prosperity: Internet bandwidth and subscriptions, active mobile subscriptions, % of internet users The quality and availability of transport, electricity, water and communications infrastructure. The efficiency and transparency of public administration, independance of the judiciary, property rights, physical security, business ethics Ease of starting a business, paying taxes, enforcing contracts, dealing with construction permits, registering property, resolving insolvency, etc. Quality and quantity of graduate students and quality and availability of on-the-job training Company and University spending on R&D, availability of science and engineers, patent application, government procurement of advanced technologies, capacity for innovation Compatibility and availability of talent in the ecosystem. Ease of access to loans, Venture Capital availability, efficiency, stability and trustworthiness of the financial and banking system Presence of investor chain: local & regional VCs, seed funds,angels, crowdfunding, accelerators, government Quality of governmental training schemes, accelerators & incubators Domestic and foreign competition, prevalence of trade barriers and demand conditions Domestic and Foreign Market Size, Export as a percentage of GDP to indicate potential economies of scale opportunities Market receptiveness of startup goods and services seedstars.com

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2. SOURCES OF DATA

3. INDEX WEIGHTS AND SCORING

We believe the best way to measure the health of an ecosystem is to listen to the views of those who live and breathe in them. The SSI is a culmination of all the feedback that the Seedstars team gained through their travels and interactions with over 400 local stakeholders in the 66 cities around the world.

Based on more substantial research than the previous editions, the SSI 2016 has changed from an equal weighting to a differential weighting. Not all factors contribute to the success of an ecosystem in the same proportion and as such, the weights were nuanced to reflect this consideration.

These interactions provide the most objective and reliable feedback of the startup ecosystems and permit the team to rate each startup ecosystem from 1 to 5 across 10 factors as shown in the table above. One sub-factor is based on custom data. This means over half of the sub-factors are based on proprietary research and scoring methodology.

Analysing the breakdown of the weight, it is important to note that the proprietary Seedstars Scores, evaluated through on-the-ground interviews, made up 48% of the total SSI score. The primary research and data forms an important part of the index scoring. Secondary data from WEF GCI, World Bank and LinkedIn made up the remaining 52%.

The remaining 9 sub-factors are generated from existing data sources including the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index (WEF GCI) 2016/2017 and the World Bank Doing Business 2016 Report.

We also believe that the growth potential of a startup ecosystem is exponential. Therefore, we have changed from equal scoring methodology to one that increases exponentially. This means that if an ecosystem is rated one level higher than another ecosystem for a factor, it is given an unproportionally higher score for that sub-factor. The basis of the SSI scoring is that Silicon Valley is always given 100 points for each sub-factor. Scores can go above 100 if the situation is deemed more favourable than in Silicon Valley. For the proprietary sub-factors, scores of 10, 20, 30, 50 and 80 were allocated for ratings of 1 to 5 respectively. For the scoring of the external data, the scores were benchmarked to 100 for Silicon Valley, USA.

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4. NEW CITIES COVERED A total of 18 cities were added to the SSI 2016; 2 from LATAM, 4 from Asia, 5 from Africa, 2 from MENA and 5 from CEE. 6 cities were taken out the list as they were not part of the 2016 tour which brings the final number of cities this year to 66 cities in 63 countries. LATAM

Asia

Africa

MENA

CEE

Bamako, Mali

Manama, Bahrain

Astana, Kazakhstan

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Durban, South Africa

Tunis, Tunisia

Chisinau, Moldova

Islamabad, Pakistan

Harare, Zimbabwe

Casablanca, Morocco

Prague, Czech Republic

Kathmandu, Nepal

Johannesburg, South Africa

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories

Tbilisi, Georgia

Hanoi, Vietnam

Soweto, South Africa

Rio de janeiro, Colombo, Sri Brazil Lanka Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Karachi, Pakistan

Warsaw, Poland

Belgrade, Serbia

Sofia, Bulgaria Cities added and cities removed from the SSI 2016 ( abc... = removed) seedstars.com

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The Global Results of the SSI 2016

The Highs and Lows 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20

**Silicon Valley, United States **Singapore, Singapore **Seoul, Korea **Dubai, United Arab Emirates Cape town, South Africa Santiago, Chile **Hong Kong, Hong Kong Warsaw, Poland Mexico City, Mexico Moscow, Russian Federation Istanbul, Turkey **Sydney, Australia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Prague, Czech Republic **Taipei, Taiwan Bangalore, India Beirut, Lebanon Nairobi, Kenya Cairo, Egypt **Lausanne, Switzerland Sao Paulo, Brazil Bangkok, Thailand Amman, Jordan Kiev, Ukraine Buenos Aires, Argentina Bogota, Colombia Montevideo, Uruguay Johannesburg, South Africa Shanghai, China **Manama, Bahrain Kigali, Rwanda Yerevan, Armenia Lima, Peru Astana, Kazakhstan

10

Region

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Average SSI Score

CEE

57.5

Asia

56.4

MENA

56.3

Latam

53.7

Africa

46.4

Developed

69.1

Developing

51.3

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The top three slots of the SSI 2016 are filled by the “developed” nation ecosystems - Singapore, Seoul and Dubai. But not all of the developed nation ecosystems came out on top. Hong Kong came in 6th but Sydney, Taipei and Lausanne lagged lower in the index. While our focus is on emerging markets, we do cover a handful of these developed economies when their startup ecosystems are still young and emerging and often on a good route to access surrounding developing markets. Once again, each region has its “champion” ecosystem ranking highly in the index which fits


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Developed VS developing With the influence of various categorisations, we assigned the “developed” categorisation to countries with a GDP / Capita over $35,000 which includes: Singapore, Dubai, Lausanne, Hong Kong, Manama, Sydney, Taipei, Seoul. Culture

Environment

Opportunity

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Jakarta, Indonesia Tehran, Iran Manila, Philippines San Jose, Costa Rica Lagos, Nigeria Soweto, South Africa Rio de janeiro, Brazil Tbilisi, Georgia Kampala, Uganda Accra, Ghana Panama, Panama Durban, South Africa Colombo, Sri Lanka Chisinau, Moldova Tunis, Tunisia Baku, Azerbaijan Abidjan, Ivory Coast Quito, Ecuador Dhaka, Bangladesh Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Gaborone, Botswana Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Islamabad, Pakistan Maputo, Mozambique Dakar, Senegal Santa Cruz, Bolivia Harare, Zimbabwe Algiers, Algeria Kathmandu, Nepal Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Bamako, Mali Yangon, Myanmar Luanda, Angola

SSI 2016

** Developed countries

with the accepted industry consensus. Cape Town for Africa, Santiago for Latam, Singapore for Asia, Dubai for MENA. Only CEE has a less clear cut choice with Poland, Moscow and Istanbul ranking similarly. The SSI 2016 “developing” nation ecosystem podium includes Cape Town, Santiago and Warsaw. All three are among our top 10 outperformers when comparing the SSI to GDP/Capita and score well across the board.

But there is nothing to stop the ecosystem players banding together and creating an “outperforming” ecosystem vs GDP/Capita. However, the reality is that the bottom 20 ecosystems in the index are all underperformers. Our hope is that the ecosystem players can band together, make entrepreneurship an agenda item and become outperformers and instruments of economic development in the years to come.

At the bottom of the index, conflict, civil war, dictatorship, famine and extreme poverty are often top of the agenda rather than entrepreneurship. seedstars.com

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100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20

0

**Silicon Valley, United States Cape town, South Africa Beirut, Lebanon Warsaw, Poland Nairobi, Kenya **Singapore, Singapore Istanbul, Turkey **Seoul, Korea Kiev, Ukraine Santiago, Chile Sao Paulo, Brazil Moscow, Russian Federation Bangalore, India Mexico City, Mexico Cairo, Egypt **Dubai, United Arab Emirates Buenos Aires, Argentina Lagos, Nigeria Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Prague, Czech Republic Amman, Jordan Johannesburg, South Africa **Hong Kong, Hong Kong Bangkok, Thailand Lima, Peru **Sydney, Australia Bogota, Colombia Kigali, Rwanda Tehran, Iran Dhaka, Bangladesh Yerevan, Armenia Accra, Ghana Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

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CULTURE

The first pillar

“Culture” is the most complicated pillar to measure and requires seven proprietary and qualitative factors such as mindset, events and media to evaluate. The playing field in this dimension is leveled as progress can be made by grassroot initiatives with little investment and no political intervention. However, it is also the factor where the overall average across all the countries is the lowest, at just 37 out of 100. It is also the area in which Silicon Valley has the biggest advantage with a 32 point lead on Cape Town. The sheer energy, cultural acceptance, celebration of failure and household name tech billionaires in the United States has not come close to being replicated anywhere else in the world. But there are always some ecosystems that are getting it right. Beirut comes in 2nd in the Culture metric while it’s ranked 16th globally. Nairobi makes it to 4th while it’s down in 17th globally. And Kiev

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Kampala, Uganda Manila, Philippines Montevideo, Uruguay Chisinau, Moldova Jakarta, Indonesia Rio de janeiro, Brazil San Jose, Costa Rica **Taipei, Taiwan Soweto, South Africa **Manama, Bahrain **Lausanne, Switzerland Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Maputo, Mozambique Colombo, Sri Lanka Shanghai, China Abidjan, Ivory Coast Tunis, Tunisia Astana, Kazakhstan Islamabad, Pakistan Harare, Zimbabwe Dakar, Senegal Quito, Ecuador Baku, Azerbaijan Tbilisi, Georgia Santa Cruz, Bolivia Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Yangon, Myanmar Panama, Panama Durban, South Africa Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Kathmandu, Nepal Luanda, Angola Gaborone, Botswana Bamako, Mali Algiers, Algeria

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ranks 8th versus a global rank of 23rd. What sets them apart? Beirut is the longstanding media hub in the region, they originated startup journalism in MENA and export both conferences and events. The buzzing local ecosystem can be attributed to the pioneering Circular 331 initiative, which incentivizes commercial banks to invest in tech startups, accelerators and VC firms. The Central Bank guarantees up to three quarters of the value of the investment, diminishing the risks associated with investing in startups, and injecting the equivalent of $400 million into the startup ecosystem. The results of this initiative are tangible in the many accelerators, incubators, and creative clusters that thrive in the country. Nairobi is considered by many people as the epicenter of the African startup ecosystem. It gave

birth to the iHub, the first co-working space on the continent and has been consistently attracting and increasingly producing great entrepreneurial talent and success stories that shine both on the continent as well as internationally. Kiev has developed quickly following a couple of big exits (eg. Looksery was acquired for $150 milion by Snapchat, Ericpol by Ericsson, Maxymiser by Oracle, and Jeapie by Canada’s Mobify), a makerspace boom and the opening of several IT clusters. All of this was done with private initiatives, but the government has recently also announced the establishment of a tech fund of funds. Kiev has also become the center of R&D for a lot of European and American companies with over 100,000 developers officially working nationwide (some say the actual number of developers is like 300,000).

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120 100 80 60 40 20

**Singapore, Singapore **Hong Kong, Hong Kong **Lausanne, Switzerland **Dubai, United Arab Emirates **Silicon Valley, United States **Sydney, Australia **Taipei, Taiwan **Seoul, Korea Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Prague, Czech Republic **Manama, Bahrain Santiago, Chile Warsaw, Poland Tbilisi, Georgia Astana, Kazakhstan Moscow, Russian Federation Montevideo, Uruguay Panama, Panama Bangkok, Thailand Baku, Azerbaijan San Jose, Costa Rica Cape town, South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa Soweto, South Africa Durban, South Africa Shanghai, China Yerevan, Armenia Istanbul, Turkey Mexico City, Mexico Kigali, Rwanda Chisinau, Moldova Bogota, Colombia Amman, Jordan

0

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

The third pillar,“Opportunity” requires nine subfactors including talent, funding, training & mentoring and the market size. It is the most important pillar in the index accounting for 39% of the overall weight. Some of these sub-factors can be impacted in the short term with stakeholder intervention (eg. access to funding) while others require government intervention (e.g. higher education) or are inherent to the country (eg. market size). 50

the United States share some common similarities like the small population, a high GDP per capita, low debt ratio and a remarkably strong legal and administrative environment. This pillar is the hardest one for the ecosystem stakeholders to influence as all the initiatives require

**Si l i con Val l ey, Uni ted States **Si ngapore, Si ngapore Mexi co Ci ty, Mexi co **Seoul , Korea Santi ago, Chi l e Cai ro, Egypt Bangal ore, Indi a Cape town, South Afri ca Moscow, Russi an Federati on **Dubai , Uni ted Arab Emi rates **Tai pei , Tai wan Shanghai , Chi na Prague, Czech Republ i c **Hong Kong, Hong Kong **Sydney, Austral i a Bei rut, Lebanon Amman, Jordan Kual a Lumpur, Mal aysi a Istanbul , Turkey Warsaw, Pol and Bangkok, Thai l and Nai robi , Kenya Bogota, Col ombi a **Lausanne, Swi tzerl and Sao Paul o, Brazi l Montevi deo, Uruguay Buenos Ai res, Argenti na **Manama, Bahrai n Ki ev, Ukrai ne Astana, Kazakhstan Johannesburg, South Afri ca Ho Chi Mi nh, Vi etnam Ki gal i , Rwanda

The “Environment” pillar is easier to calculate with 4 sub-factors using data from the WEF and World Bank that evaluate institution efficiency, ease of doing business, infrastructure and technological readiness. This is the only pillar where Silicon Valley is not positioned first. All 4 countries which are ahead of

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Mexico City comes in 2nd for this Pillar but 9th overall. Mexico is the biggest nation in the spanishspeaking Latin America and this provides an attractive market to test and scale businesses to other countries of the region. Because of its proximity to the USA, Mexico has easy access to funding and quality mentors for its startups. For instance, it is usual to see investors and mentors take a 4 hour flight from San Francisco to the Mexican capital


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Gaborone, Botswana Jakarta, Indonesia Tunis, Tunisia Lima, Peru Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Sao Paulo, Brazil Rio de janeiro, Brazil Kiev, Ukraine Colombo, Sri Lanka Tehran, Iran Nairobi, Kenya Bangalore, India Manila, Philippines Quito, Ecuador Buenos Aires, Argentina Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Accra, Ghana Cairo, Egypt Abidjan, Ivory Coast Beirut, Lebanon Dakar, Senegal Kampala, Uganda Algiers, Algeria Bamako, Mali Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Kathmandu, Nepal Santa Cruz, Bolivia Islamabad, Pakistan Maputo, Mozambique Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Harare, Zimbabwe Lagos, Nigeria Dhaka, Bangladesh Yangon, Myanmar Luanda, Angola

Environment - the Second Pillar

buy-in from top government, a long-term time horizon and significant budget considerations. Few countries have shown as much progress in this pillar as Rwanda, where the President Kagame’s Vision 2020 program launched in 2000 is having a major impact. The plan to transition towards a knowledge-based country

has seen an investment of over $100 million in a 4,500 kilometer fiber optic network, the rolling out of a 4G LTE program nationwide, a One Laptop Per Child program and experimentation with drones for delivery. Not many countries can boast such a range of initiatives in such a short period of time.

Mani l a, Phi l i ppi nes Ri o de janei ro, Brazi l Lagos, Ni geri a Jakarta, Indonesi a Kampal a, Uganda Li ma, Peru Tehran, Iran Yerevan, Armeni a Col ombo, Sri Lanka Soweto, South Afri ca Durban, South Afri ca San Jose, Costa Ri ca Panama, Panama Abi djan, Ivory Coast Accra, Ghana Tuni s, Tuni si a Tbi l i si , Georgi a Qui to, Ecuador Dar es Sal aam, Tanzani a Al gi ers, Al geri a Isl amabad, Paki stan Dhaka, Bangl adesh Baku, Azerbai jan Gaborone, Botswana Maputo, Mozambi que Harare, Zi mbabwe Dakar, Senegal Santa Cruz, Bol i vi a Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Chi si nau, Mol dova Addi s Ababa, Ethi opi a Kathmandu, Nepal Bamako, Mal i Yangon, Myanmar Luanda, Angol a

Opportunity - the Third Pillar

for meetings with startups or an important event, or to choose the city as their headquarters, such as the USA accelerator, 500 startups, who has its only office outside the USA in Mexico City. Cairo comes in 5th for Opportunity but 18th overall, due to its large addressable local market of over 80 million residents, the largest in the region, and a plethora of resources for entrepreneurs from GREEK campus to the legendary RiseUp conference which

takes place every December and draws visitors from around the world. Accelerators like Flat6Labs were some of the earliest and most established in the region and resources like Cairo Angels ensure that there is access to fundraising. While corruption and a weak currency are still factors to contend with, they also provide ample room for startups to come in and maneuver past the red tape and produce services that can easily be exported. seedstars.com

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SSI score 2017

100

Silicon Valley, United States

Singapore, Singapore

80 Seoul, Korea Cape town, South Africa

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Santiago, Chile

Hong Kong, Hong Kong Warsaw, Poland Mexico City, Mexico Moscow, Russian Federation Bangalore, Istanbul, Turkey Sydney, Australia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia India Cairo, Egypt Taipei, Taiwan Beirut, Lebanon Prague, Czech Republic Nairobi, Kenya Lausanne, Switzerland Sao Paulo, Brazil Bangkok, Thailand Amman, Jordan Bogota, Colombia Buenos Aires, Argentina Kiev, Ukraine Montevideo, Uruguay Johannesburg, South Africa Manama, Bahrain Shanghai, China Jakarta, Indonesia Kigali, Rwanda Yerevan, Armenia Lima, Peru Astana, Kazakhstan Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam San Jose, Costa Rica Tehran, Iran Lagos, Nigeria Rio de janeiro, Brazil Manila, Philippines Soweto, South Africa Kampala, Uganda Colombo, Sri Lanka Durban, South Africa Panama, Panama Chisinau, Accra, Ghana Moldova Baku, Azerbaijan Abidjan, Ivory Coast Quito, Ecuador Tunis, Tunisia Tbilisi, Georgia Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Dhaka, Bangladesh Dakar, Senegal Gaborone, Botswana Maputo, Mozambique Islamabad, Pakistan Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Harare, Zimbabwe Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Bamako, Mali

Santa Cruz, Bolivia Kathmandu, Nepal

The graph shows the over and under performance of all the 67 startup ecosystems in relation to economic development

Yangon, Myanmar

10000

40

Algiers, Algeria

Luanda, Angola

0

60

20000

30000

40000

50000

60000

70000

80000

20

90000

GDP based on purchasing-power-parity per capita 2016 (source IMF)

SSI vs GDP Our research shows that the development of a startup ecosystem is highly correlated with the GDP per capita of a country as demonstrated by a correlation coefficient of 0.7. By regressing SSI against GDP, we can identify whether the cities are under or over performing relative to their GDP. Countries falling above the line indicate an ecosystem that is outperforming expectations while those below the line show an underperformance. 52

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The top 10 outperformers in order include: Cape Town, Nairobi, Bangalore, Mexico City, Santiago, Cairo, Istanbul, Kiev, Seoul, Warsaw. The top 10 underperformers starting with the worst include: Luanda, Yangon, Algiers, Manama, Santo Domingo, Lausanne, Gaborone, Bamako, Kathmandu, Addis Ababa.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Accelerating Ecosystem Development - what we can all do about it Part of our mission at Seedstars is to support local startup ecosystems to become vibrant hubs offering resources and opportunities for entrepreneurs to thrive. We do our part to accelerate this progress by connecting, building and investing around the globe. But we are not alone and represent only one out of seven types of stakeholders in a startup community that have contributions to make. To better explain what the seven stakeholders, in an ecosystem, must do at each stage of development, we invited David Shelters, the author of Building Startup Ecosystems: "Introducing The Vibrancy Rating" to share his insights. David has more than two decades of experience as an entrepreneur,

startup advisor, mentor, writer and speaker. He was an early community builder in Thailand where he continues to be an active participant and advocate for the local start-up community, which has emerged as one of the most vibrant in Southeast Asia.

As we progress further into the information age, technology and innovation play an increasingly important role in economic development, social development and the quality of life in every corner of the world. Tech entrepreneurship is the driving force behind such innovation-driven transformations. A question various startup organizations and governments attempt to answer is:

David Shelters Author of Building Startup Ecosystems & Policy Advisor on Entrepreneurship seedstars.com

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TECH ENTREPRENEURSHIP

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How do we foster tech entrepreneurship? To answer this question, the study of the development of startup ecosystems has attained greater importance and urgency. There are a few underlying principles that are important to note. First, the vibrancy of a startup ecosystem is based on the availability and accessibility of financial, knowledge-based and relational resources. Second, there are seven primary players in a startup ecosystem, each with a contributing role to play, including: entrepreneurs, early-stage investors, media, startup organizations, universities, corporations and government. To determine the optimal contributions of each startup player at a given point of time, it is necessary to identify development stages of an ecosystem as the availability of resources and the role of each startup player evolve. The five progressive development stages I assigned include: 1. No community

2. Community building

3. Dysfunctional Community

4. Functional community

5. Vibrant community

Once the development stage is defined, each of the seven stakeholders can act effectively and even create synergistic benefits. To help each stakeholder take the right step at each stage, I developed a framework listing some of the key policies. The following is a portion of a matrix highlighting the “good practices� of four of the players most representative of the Seedstars World community. 54

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STAGE STAKEHOLDER

2 CONSTRUCTION (COMMUNITY BUILDING)

- Assume leadership of communitybuilding process - Establish TECH Informal ENTREPRENEURS Working Groups - Volunteer to Spread Entrepreneurial Awareness

EARLY-STAGE INVESTORS

- Educate Oneself on Early-Stage Investing - Learn Start-Up Culture & Processes (i.e. Lean & Agile) - Attend communitybuilding events

- Initiate Entrepreneurial Awareness Programs Organize START-UP ORGANIZATIONS Team Building Activities - Share Best Practices w/ Community Builders

CORPORATIONS

- Identify Internal Innovation Gaps - Learn Start-Up Culture & Processes (i.e. Lean & Agile) - Establish Mentoring Programs for Local Entrepreneurs

3 CONSCIOUS (DYSFUNCTIONAL COMMUNITY)

4 COLLABORATION (FUNCTIONAL COMMUNITY)

5 CHOICE (VIBRANT COMMUNITY)

- Become Community Ambassadors - Launch Community Blogs & Forums

- Become Mentors, Speakers & Panelists Crowd Sourcing - Engage w/ Regulators & Policymakers

- Join Startup Boards - Become Angel Investors - Promote on Global Stage

- Serve as Mentors Publicly announce any investments Organize into Angel Groups

- Serve as Board Advisors - Open Accelerator Programs - Active StartUp Event Participation

- Champion & Manage Portfolios of Start-Ups Crowd Funding Participation

- Organize CommunityBuilding Events - Establish Local Start-Up Competitions - Establish Mentor-Matching Programs

- Organize Collaborative Activities Participation in International Competitions Offer access to global networks

- Showcase Local Community on Global Stage Integrate into Global Startup Ecosystem

- Establish Corporate Incubators Financial Sponsorship of Start-Ups Sponsor & Host Startup Events

- Establish Corporate Accelerators - Engage in Strategic Partnerships Corporate VC's

- Acquire Successful Start-Ups Assist Portfolio Companies w/ Growth Strategies

Excerpt from the book Building Startup Ecosystems. Full version available at https://www.amazon.com/David-Shelters/e/B00DIF3O16.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

TECH ENTREPRENEURSHIP

To demonstrate how the matrix of policies can be implemented, let me describe the various startup players in Thailand during the progressive development stages. During the Construction (Community-Building) Stage, it was entrepreneurs that assumed the leadership role organizing Bar Camps, reaching out to neighboring startup communities, launching tech blogs and establishing an IT Startup Association of Thailand. This bottom-up approach has been a hallmark of the Thai startup ecosystem through much of its development.

During the Conscious (Dysfunctional Community) Stage it was startup organizations that burst onto the scene with the opening of the first co-working spaces and the proliferation of community-building events organized by both newly established local and recently arriving global startup organizations. Local startup organizations included Thumbs Up and their Start It Up Power It Up events, BKK Entrepreneurs and their monthly BKK Entrepreneurs and Web Mob events and the first Agile Tour Conference organized by the local Agile 66 group. Global organizations that arrived at this time and made huge contributions to the community building efforts included Mobile Monday, Global Entrepreneurship Weekend, Three Day Startup, the e27-organized Echelon Conferences and, last but not least, Seedstars World.

During the Collaborative (Functional) Stage investors predominantly participated as speakers at start-up tech conferences, pitch judges at pitch events and mentors at the numerous incubator and accelerator programs that began to proliferate during this time of rapid community expansion. Angel investor groups began to appear such as the Iyara Fund and Bangkok Venture Club.

Recently there has been increasing evidence that the Thai startup ecosystem is approaching the Choice (Vibrancy) Stage with heightened engagement between the corporate community and startup community. Such heightened engagement includes a dramatic spike in corporate startup event sponsorships, a large uptick in the number of corporate VC’s and accelerator programs beyond the big telcos, the forging of strategic partnerships with local startups and lobbying support for public policies and programs in support of startups. This increased corporate engagement and support has also attracted government support and as is illustrated throughout my book the bottom-up approach creates a more sustainable snowball effect as the actions of one startup player triggers actions by others and increased collaboration among the players also creates synergistic benefits that further supports local startups which is what a startup ecosystem is all about.

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SUCCESS

The catalyst of an ecosystem Success is both the desired output and the catalyst of the SSI. It is what we and all ecosystems stakeholders are (or should be if they aren’t!) striving to facilitate. Success can come in many forms but for us, it is the high-growth, financially sustainable companies that have been shown to create over 50% of job growth in the UK, for example. Success is not an easy metric to quantify (although we’re working on this for future editions of the SSI) but you definitely know it when you see it. Few have gone to such length to demonstrate the impact “success” can have on an ecosystem as the two Wharton School authors of "Making Entrepreneurship Contagious", who demonstrate that successful startup entrepreneurs have a massive impact on the ecosystem by mentoring new entrepreneurs, investing capital, offering a helping hand and starting new companies themselves. In fact, they managed to link 80% of all startups in Buenos Aires back to three big success stories MercadoLibre, Patagon and Officenet. The problem can be that major government and aid funded

ecosystem initiatives target the big numbered vanity metrics rather than focusing on just one “success” that can catalyse the entire ecosystem as was the case in Buenos Aires. Bringing “success” back into context of the SSI, it’s easy to demonstrate the catalyst effect on each of the three pillars. In Culture, a success story can inspire young entrepreneurs and impact the cultural acceptance of entrepreneurship by influencing older generations to change their perspective. The Environment is harder for a successful entrepreneur to impact in the short term, but they are more likely to reach an audience with the government policy makers and be able to lobby for the benefit of the rest of the startup community. The Opportunity pillar is influenced when the successful entrepreneur becomes a mentor, launches new ventures, begins investing and trains more and more employees to a higher standard deepening the talent pool. In our survey, we asked the entrepreneurs in each ecosystem which success stories they admired. In countries at the bottom of the SSI like Angola, Yangon, Algiers and Gaborone, the majority responded with “None” or named seed-stage startups that are far from success stories. Whereas in countries at the top of the SSI, like South Africa, names like Snapscan, Yoco, WooCommerce rolled off and not one person responded negatively. This may be anecdotal evidence, but just put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur in a nascent ecosystem with no success stories. They are not only pioneering a new business, but the whole entrepreneurship journey. Just one success can go a long way to changing the ecosystem dynamics and we are a bit surprised there isn’t an “adopt a success story” movement setup yet to help those ecosystems in need. Maybe we’ll just have to do it ourselves!

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Out of all countries we ranked, Switzerland would come in just seventh. We talked with Rico Baldegger of the Haute Ecole de Gestion, Fribourg, about the general state of Swiss startup ecosystem and what factors can account for this. Looking at the Environment pillar, Switzerland does well as expected thanks to the stable, efficient and active engagement of the government. Whether it has been for its neutrality throughout histor y, or generally smar t government initiatives, Switzerland is currently one of the most prosperous countries in the world, and has the necessary resources and willingness to provide continuous support to the local startup scene. “Over the past ten years, Switzerland heavily invested into entrepreneurship,” remarks Mr. Baldegger.

For the past 5 years, Switzerland has been topping the charts of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) study as the world leader in innovation, performing particularly well in three areas: creative outputs, knowledge and technology outputs, and business sophistication. And for the past 5 years, no other country came even close to overthrowing it. But how does Switzerland perform on our SSI scale? 58

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“Parliament also developed a ‘Startup Agenda’, the aim of which is to provide a clear stack of services aimed to incentivise startups and facilitate their work. This can range from tax breaks, start-up capital or incentives for foreign investors to come into the country. In general, we see great sophistication in Switzerland’s links between government, the private sector and universities – the fundamental ties in the domain of innovation.” The ease of doing business is still something that needs to be boosted by lowering bureaucratic hurdles, but in general, the country is on a good path. HOW ABOUT OPPORTUNITY? While the country comes in second, it still excels in the R&D spending and the quality of scientific research institutions providing an abundance of talent and a capacity to innovate. Switzerland also prides itself with a dense presence of exceptional universities, such as HEC Lausanne, EPFL or University of Fribourg, which are steadfastly deploying armies of fresh graduates, skilled in business, finances or engineering. As Mr. Baldegger explains, “we believe that universities should provide a platform for connecting entrepreneurship and technology.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

SO HOW ABOUT SWITZERLAND AND STARTUPS? That is why, at campuses, you can easily find innovation labs, providing students a place to explore and experiment with interdisciplinary projects.” Like Singapore, Switzerland lacks in market size, which can be seen as a challenge, but also becomes a strength for companies who pass the first hurdle and have an ingrained “think global” mentality. The convenience of the geographical location is not to be neglected either. Being located in the center of Europe, the market is a perfect testing ground for anyone aiming to expand in the region. “We are seeing a lot of companies from countries such as Mexico and Brazil looking in our direction. The multicultural environment allows you to test your product within different demographics, and give you a better sense which market would make sense for future expansion,” says Mr. Baldegger. In addition to that, despite the highest number of millionaires per capita in the world (13.5%), the funding scene for startups isn’t yet active enough and deals are few and far between. Dedicated government support, convenient geographical location, colourful demographic characteristics and exceptional education all put Switzerland on the top position as a launchpad for new startups. SO WHICH INDUSTRIES RESONATE THE MOST WITH THE LOCAL STARTUP SCENE? It should come as no surprise that high tech always tops the charts. Whether it is Fintech, MedTech or CleanTech, the traditional industries have left a deep footprint in the minds of Swiss entrepreneurs.

According to Mr. Baldegger, it might have something to do with the typical profile of the local entrepreneur, who is “usually someone in their mid-thirties, who has considerable expertise in a specific industry, and decides to launch his own company. We see this profile appearing especially in the FinTech industry, where the majority of the newly started FinTech companies are lead by former bankers. MedTech and CleanTech are also good examples, since it takes a significant level of expertise and industry experience to launch a successful high tech company.” Ranking only on 31th position, culture remains Switzerland’s largest challenge. The Swiss are traditionally risk averse, which can also be demonstrated by them having one of the lowest rates of home ownership, which inherently requires borrowing and risk. Failure is definitely not something the Swiss are comfortable with, but also that is slowly changing. From what we have seen, it all boils down to what entrepreneurs can do with the resources that are available to them and their personal motivation. Switzerland has more than enough to offer in terms of environment. AND IN TERMS OF PERSONAL MOTIVATION? As Mr. Baldegger concludes: “At Fribourg, we often say that we are not here to educate people. We are here to inspire them. Because at the end, it is not the question of money or who you know, but of self-motivation, self-improvement and personal enrichment. And that is what we are striving to provide.”

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MENA The conditions in MENA are extreme, from the weather to the spectrum of resources. In the last century, the population growth and the rate of urbanization skyrocketed. The discovery of oil in the 1930’s set in motion a state of constant and rapid change across the region. This change persists today as individuals have never been more capable of creating change and impact.

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The vast technological tools at their disposal have made every stakeholder capable of implementing, sharing, and scaling ideas. This is critical in MENA where 60% of the population is under the age of 25 years old. This contingency is wired and connected with record-setting social media consumption; Saudi Arabia boasts the highest Twitter usage per capita, while 14.5 million hours of video viewing on YouTube ranks the Arab World first globally. It is becoming commonplace to see more new online businesses than offline businesses.

In the region, entrepreneurship has become almost compulsory; Kuwait has a $6.6 billion entrepreneurship fund and Lebanon’s $450 million initiative specifically targets startups. Every government is asking themselves: “What should I be doing? Am I doing enough for entrepreneurship?” The huge push across the region is palpable, as more MENA startups are making it to the global stage: RIEGO, 2nd place in Seedstars Beirut competition was a finalist at Slush, Raye7, a 2nd place winner from Cairo placed 2nd at the Mobile World Congress, and our Amman winner MindRockets was a finalist in a global accelerator K-Startup Grand Challenge in Seoul, Korea with leading technology giants. These success stories correlate with the tremendous amount of private and public initiatives; startup needs are increasingly being met, from media coverage to mentorship and financing.

Tiffany Obser Regional Manager for MENA and CEE

In the following pages, let’s delve into this dynamic region! seedstars.com

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MENA IS... Population:

Internet penetration

E-commerce Smartphone size penetration

Young population:

23,3 %

3,8 %

Syria:

Egypt:

GDP growth

0.2 bn

53 %

$27 bn

22,7 %

Iran:

82 m

Iran:

40,1 %

Turkey:

Jordan:

51 %

33 %

3,8 %

Bahrain:

Kuwait:

Bahrain:

Iran:

Qatar:

Saudi Arabia:

1,3 m

2,3 %

$6,34 bn $225 m

14 %

16 %

1,1 %

Source: The Online Project (TOP), Worldbank, Youthpolicy.org, European Investment Bank, Arabnet

On social media Saudi Arabia boasts the highest Twitter usage per capita, while 14.5 million hours of video viewing on YouTube ranks the Arab World first globally. Educated Educational enrollment rates are high, with nearly universal access at the primary level and nearly 70% enrollment at the secondary level.

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Developing In the past two decades, the maternal mortality rates in MENA fell by 60%, the largest decline in the world. Young 60% of the population is under the age of 25 years old, making this one of the most youthful regions in the world. Informal The size of the informal economy in MENA has been estimated as equivalent to 33% of GDP on average.


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‌ and in terms of Seedstars Index? 100

Culture

Environment

Opportunity

90 SSI 2017

80 70 60 50 40 30 20

Algiers, Algeria

Tunis, Tunisia

Tehran, Iran

**Manama, Bahrain

Amman, Jordan

Cairo, Egypt

Beirut, Lebanon

0

**Dubai, United Arab Emirates

10

Dubai comes in the global top 3 including developed markets. Beirut, Cairo and Amman are competing closely in 16th, 18th and 23rd in the SSI and all outperforming well. Algiers is one of the worst under performers globally. In the upcoming pages, let’s then have a more detailed look into how are the individual startup ecosystems shaped! seedstars.com

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Zooming in on the Middle East By Tiffany Obser

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Tunisia

Jordan

Tunisia is a bright spot on the MENA startup map. The diaspora is very active and returning to Tunis after the Arab Spring to build the ecosystem in different capacities through mentoring, establishing funds, and setting up coworking spaces and accelerators. Founders Institutes, Enpact, Cogite, and Flat6labs are just a handful of examples, but the feeling of goodwill on the ground is palpable. For a small country that is a melting pot of Arab and French culture, they are strategically located to take advantage of their geographic and cultural access to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

Jordan built the first MENA incubator in 1993, and their early efforts laid the groundwork for a varied and established startup ecosystem. The country has no natural resources, putting the focus resolutely on human resources. Queen Rania has established several initiatives to support women and social entrepreneurs. Fadi Ghandour, the pioneering founder of MENA’s most successful startup, Aramex, has also played an integral role in building the ecosystem and supporting founders and social entrepreneurs. For the population size, Jordan has an extraordinary talent pool of resourceful and global thinkers working with scalable ideas.

Turkey

Algeria

At the crossroads of Europe and MENA, Turkey benefits from the overlap of talents and perspectives and has cultivated an entrepreneurial mindset that is uniquely its own. The country has a tremendous amount of support from the private and public sector, demonstrating their investment might with a bona fide investor population. There are 500 certified angel investors in the country and you can easily find european investors as well as investors from the Levant. The government also provides equity-free $50'000 grants for students and hubs like T-Jump. Recently there have been several large series B rounds like Parachute and big exits, which is always the benchmark for success.

With a population of 40 million people, Algeria presents an enormous and mostly untapped market. The country has recently adopted e-payment systems, completely bypassing credit cards, making it a perfect example of leapfrogging. While the regulatory environment is very strict, making it hard to bring resources across borders, it is also a blue ocean. Once the necessary approvals are obtained, pioneering startups face little competition. Progressive ministers have also made entrepreneurship their personal prerogative, bolstering support for early-stage startups. They are supporting accelerators and telecoms like Djezzy, which have been extremely active to take the startup scene quickly from zero to one. seedstars.com

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Zooming in on the Middle East By Tiffany Obser

Lebanon With the startup media heavyweights Wamda and Arabnet based in Beirut, the startup scene is bolstered by great press coverage, an influx of startup personalities, and a constant circuit of events and conferences. Entrepreneurship is in the Lebanese DNA, and there is also an emphasis on internationalization as programs like UK Lebanon Tech Hub bring Lebanese startups to new markets. The growing startup ecosystem can partially be attributed to the revolutionary Circular 331 government policy to incentivize commercial banks to back entrepreneurship, guaranteeing 75% of the value of each investment towards accelerator, tech startups, incubators, and venture capital firms.

Egypt GREEK Campus and RiseUp have put Egypt at the center of the startup ecosystem. As the most populous country in the region, startups have a large market to address, and entrepreneurship has great potential to create jobs and solve high impact problems. Seedstars also hosted a Seedspace Global FinTech Week with Flat6Labs at the launch of the first Barclays Fintech Accelerator. With 90% of Egyptians unbanked (nearly 80 million people), we are eager to see the repercussions of these initiatives on the financial sector.

United Arab Emirates The UAE has emerged as an international startup capital attracting entrepreneurial expats from around the world in the same way as Startup Chile, without paying the $100'000 sticker price per startup. Where the government invested billions in building glass towers and malls to rival Asia and the Guinness Book of World Records, they are now investing their resources to build entrepreneurs with the same gusto. The ease of doing business has entrepreneurs flocking from neighboring countries to register their companies, and the regulatory environment is one area where the UAE really excels. The private sector is also getting on the bandwagon, from accelerators like TURN8 and magnates like Mohamed Alabbar, the founder of Emaar Properties, the largest real estate conglomerate in MENA, who is launching a $1bn e-commerce platform to create more homegrown tech giants. The population of startups, investors, and startup exits are all on the rise. 66

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Qatar Qatar is leading the GCC in transitioning to an innovation driven economy with liberalisation initiatives like special economic zones, access to financing, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. The resource curse of the abundant oil actually plays a role in deterring entrepreneurs. GCC nationals are entitled to generous employment, education, and health care packages, which raises the opportunity costs for entrepreneurs considering leaving the establishment. The guaranteed sixfigure starting salaries can discourage citizens from pursuing riskier ventures like startups.


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GCC region The self-described Silicon Gulf has no shortage of resources. Bahrain and the neighboring GCC countries are leaping and bounding from the cumulative efforts of public and private agencies. Bahrain has a wide range of fundraising options and agencies dedicated to financing and angel investing. Kuwait initiated a $6.6 bilion National Fund for SME Development, and Saudi Arabia has established a $100 bilion tech investment fund with the Japanese Telecom firm Softbank. Similarly, King Abdullah University of Technology and 9/10th accelerator were created partly as resources for native entrepreneurs, especially students who return from studying abroad every year. Where copy-paste clones and science projects dominated the pool five years ago, now there is a pipeline of startups. seedstars.com

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THE BENEFITS OF WORKING IN THE MIDDLE EAST THROUGH THE EYES OF ENTREPRENEURS 68

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3asafeer (UAE)

Mind Rockets (Jordan)

A Smarter, Cost Efficient Way to Read For School Students

Mind Rockets develops assistive technologies for the deaf community, using avatars to deliver speech/ text to sign language interpretation

“There is a lot of potential in the region; it’s a fresh market. You can grow fast with a great product & service because the customers are not used to it. As for Dubai, the ecosystem for startups is amazing, and the other countries in the region are also catching up.”

Amro Abu-Hmeidan, CEO

Segmentify (Turkey) Boosting online store sales by offering personalized product recommendations & business insights “The region boasts a very large market size, and e-commerce and SaaS are growing quickly. The startup scene is still relatively new, but very hot, and all the stakeholders are very collaborative.”

Ergin EroĞlu, co-founder & CTO

Dalil (Algeria) An object recognition & navigation system for the visually impaired “The area is witnessing a huge growth in terms of tech. This convinced us to create our venture in the area, since it will get the right push to achieve a more global vision.”

Islam Azeddine Mennouchi,

“We are lucky to be working in MENA, where the markets are still emerging with plenty of future potential. There is an abundance of resources; natural, financial, and most importantly, human resources. All that needs to happen now is for the right people to meet and collaborate! Given that the entire region is speaking in one language, we expect great developments to occur in the near future, in unprecedented scales.”

Malek Zuaiter, Business Developer

Democrance (UAE) Democratizing insurance by making it accessible to the lower-income population of MENA through their mobile phone. “Dubai is the best hub to start a company targeting the Middle East markets since the regional headquarters of the companies we work with and the majority of investors are based there. You also have access to good technology and talent. The UAE are a good “shop window” for innovations across the region, as other countries often take inspiration from what happens in Dubai.”

Michele Grosso, founder & CEO

Founder

Evey (Tunisia)

Meddy (Qatar)

A web & mobile platform that helps community managers realize real time votes / surveys with automated data analysis

Helps patients find best doctors based on patient reviews & credentials, and doctors find new patients effectively “MENA is a relatively new place for startups, and the ecosystem is quite nascent. Considering the fact that the MENA population is growing rapidly and the market is still untapped, there are lot of opportunities for disruption and making an impact.”

“The cultural context MENA is very typical. The language, the habits and the traditions create opportunities that only startups from the region can understand. Evey has a very strong cultural positioning in the MENA region.”

Noomen Lahimer, founder & CEO

Haris Aghadi, co-founder & CEO

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“What attracted me It was the opportunity and the raw nature of Interview with the founder of MAGNiTT,

Philip Bahoshy MAGNiTT, the online platform launched by IraqiBritish entrepreneur and former investment banker Philip Bahoshy, came as a welcome change to the Middle East. Despite the region’s buzzing and vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem, many new business owners didn’t have an online resource to turn to when searching for experienced mentors, funding opportunities or tech talent in general. We sat down with Philip to understand what motivated him to start MAGNiTT, as well as his incomparable insights into the MENA region. WHAT WAS YOUR AMBITION FOR CREATING MAGNITT? WHAT MARKET GAPS DID YOU IDENTIFY? PB: Unlike in the USA, Europe or Asia, startups in MENA struggle in isolation. Many of the players were focused on offline events and support, with very limited engagement through an online platform. With an increased interest from governments, corporates, investors and entrepreneurs in the startup space, I wanted to create the reference point for startups to be able to get relevant information on the startup ecosystem in MENA. AS A EUROPEAN NATIVE, WHAT DREW YOU TO MENA? PB: Apart from my Middle Eastern origins, it was the opportunity and raw nature of the ecosystem

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that drew my interest…MENA has a population size similar to the USA, which is a great opportunity for regional startups. But at the same time this creates its biggest challenge—it is made up of some 17/18 countries. Scaling a product across all these countries, setting up legal entities, catering for different demographics, diverse spending power and varying internet infrastructure is quite daunting. Being able to create a defensible product that caters to the needs and requirements of the region, such as the two unicorns of the region Careem (ride hailing app) and Souq (online market place) managed to do, creates a startup of strength. It also provides a future exit opportunity to be acquired by global players interested in regional expansion. The key is then to think of creation of at least a regional product, but definitely not just a local one! SHARE SOME SUCCESS STORIES THAT HAVE STEMMED FROM THE CREATION OF MAGNITT. PB: To date, we have seen several success stories including funding, hiring and networking. We have had over 10 startups successfully receive angel funding thanks to connections made on our platform and facilitated 400+ applications to regional VCs. We are also finding out that our job board is extremely popular with 350+ job applications completed. The


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in MENA? the ecosystem...” startup scene is heating up, and there is a lot of talent looking for roles in this industry. Finally, we look to bring startups closer to unique opportunities, such as our white label for the amazing STEP conference last year and free participation at startup events like ArabNet, Endeavor Scale Up & DSO. WHICH COUNTRIES SHOULD WE WATCH? WHICH CITIES ARE MAKING THE GREATEST STRIDES? PB: All countries across the region are paying more attention to the importance of diversifying their economies and empowering the youth to start their own businesses. The usual ABCD: Amman, Beirut, Cairo and Dubai lead the way thus far with the majority of startups historically coming from these locations. In fact, 50% of startups on MAGNiTT come from the UAE alone. Having said that, there are multiple government and corporate initiatives across countries in MENA to foster and grow innovation. Bahrain continues to encourage entrepreneurship through changes in regulation to foster innovation with particular focus on Fintech. ArabNet last year held their first event in Kuwait, and several banks are pushing to support the development of a startup culture. In Qatar, the Challenge 22 initiative and DIC events look to raise awareness not only locally but regionally and globally for startup events. Saudi

Arabia is also beating many accelerator programs and VCs, along with the central bank looking to incentivize early stage investing in startups. The whole region is prime for development of the startup scene. MENA GOVERNMENTS AND WEALTH FUNDS ARE STARTING TO TAKE A HUGE INTEREST, WITH SAUDI ARABIA’S NEWLY ANNOUNCED $100BN TECH INVESTMENT FUND AND MANY OTHERS FOLLOWING. WHAT ARE THE MAIN IMPLICATIONS OF THAT FOR MENA STARTUPS? “Awareness for the region is a big positive. We would love to see the emergence of more funds and investment in the region. Last year we had $875 million in funding, the majority of which was towards Careem and Souq. Overtime, I expect the upward trend to continue with more startups emerging as global competition. Through MAGNiTT, we continue to see interest from international stakeholders in the MENA startup scene, and we are happy to accommodate them and promote their activity. Increased transparency and competition in all areas of the ecosystem ultimately benefits the startups and their founders.”

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1. LISTEN; DON’T REACT Feedback is the most useful source of support for any startup. At the same time, it can also be overbearing. Avoid the urge to react to each piece of feedback you receive. Internalize it, let it settle in, and then work out how to use it. Too many entrepreneurs feel the need to immediately defend or react to the advice.

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2. TAKE TIME AND PERSEVERE If you believe you have a successful venture, be ready to commit a minimum of five to seven years (if not more) to making it happen. Unfortunately, too many people naively believe you can make a billion dollar company in a year or two, when it actually takes a year or two just to work out which direction you are walking towards.


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Philip Bahoshy’s 4 key advices for entrepreneurs 3. BE AGILE An entrepreneur’s biggest advantage is their ability to be agile and change course based on feedback. If a lot of people say something is wrong with your offering, then it may not be a bad idea to address it. Don’t stay overly dear to any given concept. At a minimum, explore the implications of changing and how it will affect your proposition.

4. SOLVE A PROBLEM Never stop questioning whether something is an actual problem or if you are finding a problem that matches a solution you have come up with. Test the concept with users. The best people to test with are people you don’t know. Friends and family are likely to have a bias towards making you happy!

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Tiffany Obser Regional Manager for MENA and CEE

CEE

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The journey through CEE The major themes that on the quest to source the emerged over the course of best entrepreneurs was akin the year in CEE were to cutting a cross-section 1. the proliferation of through each country— “bots” which will upend witnessing the brightest and the way we compute most determined minds, 2. the further interviewing you come to understand of virtual reality and the challenges with which physical reality, and the society is grappling and 3. technology for learn what is driving and structural change, solving motivating entrepreneurs. broader societal issues like monitoring health, It also reveals how wellmedical conditions, and equipped entrepreneurs are to execute and embrace the food safety. critical thinking and problem Join us on this exciting solving that are integral to journey across Central navigating to success. and Eastern Europe!

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CEE IS... Population:

Internet penetration

E-commerce Smartphone size penetration

Young population:

GDP growth

300 m

70,1%

$120 bn

41,8%

15,21%

2.9%

Russia:

Estonia:

Russia:

Poland:

Albania:

Romania:

146 m

84,2%

$17.47 bn

41,2%

18,4%

3,7%

Estonia:

Ukraine:

Ukraine:

Ukraine:

Bulgaria:

Poland:

1,3 m

43,4%

$2 bn

27%

13,4%

2,5%

Source: OECD, Ceebusinessportal.eu, Payments Market Review 2016

Educated Every year, CEE produces 1.2 million graduates, many of them with working proficiency in altogether 40 languages, which they use on a daily basis. Trusting 80% of population in Lithuania, 71% in Poland and 85% in Serbia are willing to try new payment methods. Cybersafe The region is at the forefront of antivirus protection technology. Avast and AVG, for instance, account for roughly 25% of the global market share. 76

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Smart In the OECD's rankings, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Latvia are all in the top 30 countries with the best scores in mathematics. Inventive The first electronic computer, first digital watch, automatic steam espresso coffee machine, the jet engine, insulin, CD-ROM and many other inventions have their origins in CEE.


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… and in terms of Seedstars Index? Three cities in the global SSI rank among the top 10 and none in the bottom 10! Central and Eastern European ecosystems also have the highest of all regional averages. 100

Culture

90

Environment

80

Opportunity SSI 2017

70 60 50 40 30 20

Baku, Azerbaijan

Chisinau, Moldova

Tbilisi, Georgia

Astana, Kazakhstan

Yerevan, Armenia

Kiev, Ukraine

Prague, Czech Republic

Istanbul, Turkey

Moscow, Russian Federation

0

Warsaw, Poland

10

“There's one thing that makes Russia stand out and that's the abundance of technical talent. This attracts foreign companies to hire their engineers from Russia and establish their R&D centres here. We could expect growth of companies in big data and artificial intelligence, fintech, telemedicine services. Educational services are also on the rise.” Valentin Dombrovsky, Travelabs, SSW Ambassador for Russia

“Many steps have been taken to develop the Georgian ecosystem. First, the government became actively involved and is financing the startups within the Startup Georgia program. Second, last year we have witnessed an opening of the country’s first TechPark in Tbilisi and the second one in Zugdidi, Third, we boast some of the lowest taxes worldwide standing at 9th position with 16.4% total tax rate, And last, but not least, our geographic location is strategic in terms of access to foreign markets, and we have competitive, young and cheap labor force” Gocha Nikolaishvili, Natia Parekhelashvili, SSW Ambassadors for Georgia seedstars.com

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Three hottest trends in entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe By Tiffany Obser

1) The Rise of the “Bots” Today robots are affectionately called “bots.” Powered by artificial intelligence, bots allow users to perform daily tasks such as checking the weather or booking flights via a messaging platform. We’re heralding a new era of conversational interface. Where the computer screen and mouse have been the protocol for accessing computing power, chat bots make computing conversational. The rapid advances in AI converted what was once a Watson pipedream into commonplace tech. We are indeed approaching a screen-less and mouse-less future of computing. Mid-2016 we began to see the first wave of startups in CEE harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence in the form of “bots.” Since then, the news headlines have been buzzing. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella declared “Bots are the new apps”, Facebook will be launching a “bot store” 78

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to supersede the app store marketplace, and the Economist is calling bots “the next frontier.” Bots promise to change the way we access computing, and the interface also opens a new realm of possibilities for the way companies engage with customers and the types of tasks that can be performed. Their likeness to messaging apps lower the bar to access customers, demonstrating some of the highest engagement and growth. In some ways, bots have manifest in the way we anticipated robots would: to accelerate production and replicate human labor. With their knack for quickly completing repetitive tasks, bots fulfill a niche—optimizing the workforce and eliminating redundant work. Artificial Employee from Russia does exactly this with their mission to “free employees from routine tasks,” ostensibly derived from tedious excel work. Bots have also materialized with incredible ingenuity, creating unforeseen utility. Talkbank.io from Moscow is a chatbot for a virtual bank that eliminates the need for a physical banking branch.


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Mobile phone users can manage their money with a bot to pay, save, and transfer simply by opening a messaging app. Barriers to banking are minimized encouraging more accessible and effective financial management without the laborious process of logging into banking portals or visiting physical sites. The ramifications are tremendous in emerging markets where large portions of the population are unbanked and the costs of servicing low-income customers with traditional banking services is too onerous.

2) Virtual Reality & Artificial intelligence While chatbots might one day make screens obsolete, entrepreneurs are also wrestling with how to laminate physical and digital realms. CEE startups prove that material innovation is critical not only in the composition of molecular structure, but in how materials are conceived as a conduit between realms via screens, physical armatures, and even scanners. Abyss Glass Group from Warsaw has produced an AI mirror that not only displays information with an embedded screen; it is also highly intelligent taking cues and responding. In the gym the mirrors, sensors can post your vital statistics, and in the bathroom it can correct the way you brush your teeth. Intelligent sensors can also detect feelings; when people look at mirrors, they reveal feelings and expressions and this data can be coded and mined for consumer insights. The Digital Showroom by Texel also interlaces the physical and digital with their highly precise portable scanner. They pitched their hardware with the premise that they could scan your body and immediately after that print a 3D model figurine. Now, six months later, they’ve made it a shopping mall attraction, where customers can get scanned and receive clothing suggestions tailored to their body type.

The retailers build digital catalogs of body types to better approximate sizing and inventory, but the real innovation comes from Digital Showroom’s ability to superimpose these 3D body scans onto animations. By mapping our bodies with millions of data points, they can project a 3D scan onto an Olympian doing backflips or the main character of a movie.

3) Solving Societal Ills Outside of the fantastic world of screens and bots, CEE startups are also grappling with critical problems like pollution, energy shortages, and drought. Entrepreneurs are reacting to these largescale issues typically reserved for government budgets. BioSens from Ukraine was built on the premise that food safety is a critical issue costing billions annually. BioSens eliminates laboratories and personnel, providing rapid diagnostics for identifying and measuring aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin A1 at the source. They develop sensors provide on-sight results in 20 minutes as opposed to seven days in a lab. MindPax from the Czech Republic is tackling a global healthcare predicament. Bipolar and schizophrenic disorder plague individuals the world over, afflicting 2% of the population. Both diseases are challenging to treat and result in hospitalization with unsuccessful treatment. The results are burdensome and costly. Mindpax has designed a Fitbit for psychiatry to empower patients and their doctors so they can manage their diagnosis and prevent relapses. If startups are a prism for understanding the larger societal leanings in CEE, it is clear that impact of newfound technologies will touch on all facets of life from chores and recreation to medical care and regulation.

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The CEE region countries are varied in their sizes and maturity of the entrepreneurship scenes, but one thing is consistent: the strength of the entrepreneurs. Countries like Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic consistently demonstrate the prowess of CEE talents. Even the latecomers, such as Georgia and Azerbaijan, boast strong engineers typical for the former Soviet Republics. Ukraine is a paradise for hardware products. This country has a strong tech educational system and very affordable prices to build, test and produce hardware prototypes.

Azerbaijan has one of the most advanced infrastructures in the region. Did you know that every single village there has fiber optics internet?

Georgia always impresses us for its progressive policies. Their government jumped from the lowest on the list to one of the best performers for ease of doing business by, for example, successfully, erradicating corruption just within a couple of years.

After the worldwide success of SocialBakers, GoodData, and Avast, there was a boom of tech startups in the Czech Republic, which shifted the mindset of young entrepreneurs to go global from day one.

Armenia’s TUMO Center is something that we always provide as an example of diversifying the fossil dependent economies. It’s a free of charge digital media learning center for 12-18-year-olds in Yerevan to learn from media professionals and explore the intersection of technology and art. Armenia has one of the strongest ties with its diaspora. Russian Federation is the most diverse startup ecosystem, filled to the brim with serial entrepreneurs building globally competing startups, and coming not only from Moscow! Poland is topping the list of the most aggressively growing startup scene. Its huge talent base is a result of strong tech education in universities, which started at the beginning of the 2000s.

Kazakhstan has the biggest influence of the government in the development of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region: various grants, acceleration programs and funds are sponsored or supported by quasi governmental organizations like NATD, Atameken and DAMU. Besides organizing Expo2017 in Astana, the president has personally indicated that the country is moving toward a new type of economy with a broad use of IT solutions and digitalization of most industries. With one of the fastest internet connections in Europe, high level of electronic communications infrastructure and alignment with the EU legal framework, Moldova is a testing ground for new mobile communications technologies. For instance, 4G technology was implemented in Moldova in 2012.

After traveling to 10 countries and screening 1000+ applications, we came out with a list of one sentence statements that describes one of the most remarkable feature of each country. Those facts were both shocking and inspiring for us during our work ventures and life adventures. 80

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Startup ecosystems of Central and Eastern Europe in a nutshell seedstars.com

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“Go global or stay local. Based in Bulgaria, Max Gurvits has a diverse professional and cultural background. He speaks 5 languages and has lived, studied, and worked all around the world. Itʼs often said that “travel broadens the mind,” and in Max’s case, it rings true. Starting as an entrepreneur, he became a VC at a comparatively young age and was also on the founding team of Eleven Startup Accelerator in Sofia, the largest acceleration program and seed fund in the Balkans region. MAX, CAN YOU TELL US HOW INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES INFLUENCED YOUR APPROACH TO INVESTMENT? MG: You could say I was lucky from the start. Born in Moscow, my parents moved to Latin America, the USA, then Holland, so by the time I was 11, I spent a few years in each place. I had grown accustomed to feeling at home practically anywhere, and it encouraged me to travel for my studies, as well as jobs after I turned 18. I believe it was this mindset that made it easier for me to build and support companies across borders. HOW DID YOU EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY, PARTICULARLY EARLY IN YOUR CAREER, TO MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL? MG: It kind of happened automatically. My first business was a law firm, dedicated to providing individuals and small businesses “affordable and accessible” legal services. We started in late 2008, and it was logical to move online after some initial validation in our hometown, Amsterdam. We didnʼt 82

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really know what “startup” meant or how cool it already had become in the USA. In Europe, the startup movement was barely noticeable outside London. Learning quickly and finding investors and advisors who understood web-based products helped us to scale the company to a point where it got acquired in 2011. It was only after that experience that I understood the power of scalable tech products and dedicated myself to working with entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe to build local ventures. WHAT MADE YOUR ONLINE LEGAL FIRM SUCH A SUCCESS? MG: At the time when we started, the market was so young and undisrupted that law firms actually liked working with us because they could offload their capacity to us at bargain rates when their workloads were high. By the end, we had several hundred recurring clients, mostly SMEs and individual entrepreneurs, and a back-office of nearly a hundred lawyers that were working on cases as freelancers. Our front office was a small group of very young and inexperienced lawyers who were doing the simple clerk work, which is what the majority of law firms do anyways. Interestingly enough, we got acquired by the law firms who delegated their work to us and noticed that we were eating their lunch. It would be far more difficult today. HISTORICALLY, CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE DIDN’T HAVE THE ECONOMIC PROSPERITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ITS TALENT POOL. HOW DID YOU PERCEIVE THE ONSET OF STARTUPS IN THE REGION? MG: In 2008, Silicon Valley was all about moving eyeballs from traditional tools and media towards mobile and the web, and anyone who got a million users was declared a success. Four years down the line, that number went up to 10 million, but


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

still, if you could build an app that would get those users, or would get 50,000 people to pay $5 every month, it was a win. For us, the idea was simple. In CEE you can build such apps as easy as in the USA, and at a much cheaper cost. So we set out investing in such projects, but we quickly learned that while the region was abundant with tech talent, it was not the case for business development. Marketing, sales, strategy, hiring, all these qualities are completely absent in the region, which would never allow you to build a successful tech venture. While we set out to solve that problem, the market caught up. DID YOU SEE ANY SHIFT IN THE TRENDS IN THE MEANTIME? MG: Nobody is really interested in simple apps anymore. It is 2017, and it is all about hard tech, as the challenge is to move large companies and governments to digital technologies first validated by the “app” startups a few years ago. Now, all we care about is machine learning, robotics, big data, and so forth. I see it as quite a paradoxical situation because while we were trying to build up business skills, our main advantage (tech skills) has become much less relevant and competitive. Letʼs see how this pans out, but generally, Iʼm more skeptical now of building tech in the region than I was six years ago. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT TYPE OF STARTUPS CAN THE REGION “PRODUCE”? MG: There are two ways to go about startups; do something global, and use local cost advantages to scale up, or do something local, copying something that works elsewhere, and just execute well. In both cases, you need to be able to implement the business part well in the environment you are targeting. So either build global tech and execute Silicon-

Valley-style or build local solutions and take them to market faster than anyone else can. Realistically, I believe that the first model will have a few successes in this region, but the second one will happen much more often. GIVEN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT MAKES CEE A UNIQUE MARKET? MG: Thereʼs plenty of tech talent. Period. I think thatʼs the main benefit. Some of the CEE countries are part of the European Union, but still, have much lower costs for development than countries in Western Europe. Armenia and Moldova are also well integrated within the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Republics) and can, therefore, serve as an outsourcing destination. Overall, CEE is a difficult place. It is too developed to be purely a dump-price low- quality outsourcing destination, but too underdeveloped to be a wholesome hub of entrepreneurship or a market for technology in its own right. YOU HAVE BEEN ACTIVE AS AN ANGEL INVESTOR FOR A FEW YEARS NOW. WHAT IS YOUR MAIN TAKE ON THE ROLE OF INVESTORS IN THE STARTUP WORLD? MG: I believe the real value of investors is their experience building companies and a great network. Investing is a very cyclical game: you do it after some entrepreneurial success and for a limited time, before you go back to business. What kind of business you go back to and at what level, depends on your success as an investor. But in the end, you canʼt do it forever, youʼll start to lose your magic. Thatʼs why Iʼm also phasing out of VC and angel investing and going back to building a company.

But that is story for another time :)

Both approaches work.” seedstars.com

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Africa Africa’s entrepreneurship and innovation landscape has succeeded in creating new markets where many global giants have failed. Take mobile payments which is just gaining ground in the western world, but is old news for many SubSaharan countries. The most popular choice remains M-Pesa, with 30 million users and processing 6 billion transactions in 2016 at a peak rate of 529 per second. Note: Throughout this book, reference to Africa considers only Sub-Saharan Africa. North Africa is included in MENA. 84

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Sub-Saharan Africa is now home to some 1.2 billion inhabitants with its current population of 200 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 set to double by 2045. No wonder more and more entrepreneurs are rising and solving themselves some of the major pains in their regions, creating solutions that are innovative, cheap and fast, such as using technology to be able to provide healthcare at only $1 a month.

Meanwhile, widespread corruption and the political and social unrest remains a challenge in many African countries. However over the past years the continent has proven that it can overcome these challenges and governments seem to start seeing benefits of technology and entrepreneurship. Ivory Coast turned itself into the continent’s fastest growing economy, Rwanda - home to the world’s first drone airport - looks to a tech revolution to create an equal society and Senegal will soon begin using a digital currency which serves as another opportunity for fintech to help emerging markets leapfrog traditional banking systems and bring financial inclusion to more people. In 2016 we have also seen an uptick in startup investment on the continent with African startups raising over $360 million. Savvy investors weren’t the only ones spotting potential in the tech entrepreneurship game. As the continent rises, foundations and major donors are taking notice and upping their game to invest in technology and entrepreneurship as a driver for change. Our local SSW Tanzania winner Jamii will be expanding across Africa, on the back of $250,000 grant money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, while philantrophic investors such as Omidyar Network, invested in SSW Ghana finalist Landmapp. Seeing more foundations, impact investors and philanthropic investors actively investing in Sub-Saharan Africa promises both financial returns and intentional, measurable social returns. This chapter is about showing you the immense potential of the African continent as well as the people and companies who are on the ground building, supporting and scaling innovation. Particularly in 2016, they will remember how a group of this smart young startup entrepreneurs are on the forefront of this historic transformation, not only challenging Africa as a continent, but the entire world.

Claudia Makadristo Regional Manager for Africa

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vc-funding-raisedafrican-tech-startups-totals-record-cyril-collon seedstars.com

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AFRICA IS... Population:

Internet penetration

E-commerce Smartphone size: penetration

Young population:

1.1 bn

28%

$1.4 bn

23%

27%

Nigeria:

Kenya:

Nigeria:

South Africa: Zimbabwe:

GDP Growth

5,4%

CĂ´te d'Ivoire:

185 m

68,4%

$12 mn

37%

36%

Gambia:

Congo:

Tanzania:

Uganda:

South Africa: South Africa:

2m

1%

$8 m

4%

29%

7,9%

0,1%

Source: OECD, Ceebusinessportal.eu, Payments Market Review 2016

Growing Africa will be home to 40% of the world's children by 2050. In addition, the UN estimates that the whole population will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. Leading Approximately 50% of all global mobile money services are in Africa, bringing the continent to the top place. Progressive In 12 countries across Africa, 85% of people believe that their family is better off because they have mobile phones. 86

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Creating jobs Indirect job creation by digital technologies is massive. In Kenya, the M-Pesa mobile money system creates employment for more than 80,000 agents. Motivated Africa has the highest entrepreneurial intention when it comes to starting a business within the next three years, compared to the other continents.


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… and in terms of Seedstars Index? Cape Town tops the SSI for the developing markets for 2016! However the African region as a whole is very much in development, containing 6 of the bottom 10 ecosystems and scoring the lowest regional average. 100

Culture

90

Environment

Opportunity

80

SSI 2017

70 60 50 40 30 20

Luanda, Angola

Bamako, Mali

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Harare, Zimbabwe

Dakar, Senegal

Maputo, Mozambique

Gaborone, Botswana

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Durban, South Africa

Accra, Ghana

Kampala, Uganda

Soweto, South Africa

Lagos, Nigeria

Kigali, Rwanda

Johannesburg, South Africa

Nairobi, Kenya

0

Cape town, South Africa

10

“Collaboration between players in the ecosystem is key. One of the major developments in Tanzania is that we managed to organise the first tech event, Sahara Sparks, that brought together all the players in the ecosystem, and people from the government and the private sector.” Maryam Hamisi Mgonja, Buni Innovation Hub, SSW Ambassador for Tanzania

“A major development in the ecosystem in 2016 is the increase in Zimbabwean entrepreneurs that have been internationally recognised. This trend has inspired other Zimbabwean entrepreneurs to prototype their solutions.” Tadzoka Pswarayi, Impact Hub Harare, SSW Ambassador for Zimbabwe

“Aside from innovation and hub spaces being opened in the capital and two other main cities, in 2016 the ecosystems also saw the largest investment raised in the history of the ecosystem in Ghana, reaching almost $9m.” Kelechi Victor Ofoegbu, Impact Hub Accra, SSW Ambassador for Ghana seedstars.com

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THE RISING STARTUP ECOSYSTEMS

While Accra’s internet café “Busy Internet” gave a home to the first African digital entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship activity across the African continent has been gaining steam ever since the iHub’s doors opened in Nairobi in 2010, putting entrepreneurship in Africa on the global map. A lot has happened since then, but 2016 was a pivotal year in the African startup story since it proved the tech space across the continent can breed, develop and sustain globally competitive businesses. From the many events that have shaped the continent in 2016, here are a few main ones to highlight:

1. International attention

2. Pan-African startups

In many investor’s eyes, Africa is not their first thought when it comes to looking for innovation and new technology that can change the world. However, in 2016, internationally renowned entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg visited major startup hubs on the continent, and major accelerators such as Ycombinator, 500startups, and TechStars have opened their doors to African startups. Beyond that, companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft have doubled down on their efforts to support and grow African startups.

In 2016, a significant number of African startups started graduating past the startup stage to become successful businesses with massive impact. Companies like iRoko, in Nigeria, are disrupting the market by bringing Internet TV to the market. Companies like Branch, in Kenya, are changing how credit scoring is done for people without bank accounts. WhereIsMyTransport, in South Africa, is disrupting how people get around congested cities.

This increased attention has led to over $360 million (including North Africa) invested in startups across the continent and the number of startups receiving investment increasing by 17%, with the countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana and Tanzania leading this trend. Investors in African startups are both local and international, but we are seeing a rise in local investors who are shifting their investment strategy from traditional investments, such as real estate, into startups and innovative technologies.

We have also seen substantial acquisition activities, such as Kenya’s direct Pay Online Group acquiring South Africa’s PayGate, Kenya’s eatout.co.ke acquiring Uganda’s donedeal.ke or South Africa’s Silvertree Capital acquiring Nigeria’s DealDey. These are just a few examples of companies taking the M&A route to achieve scale across the continent. Other companies have used the traditional funding to reach their pan-African vision. Most notably, Nigeria’s talent accelerator Andela raised $24 million to grow to Kenya and South Africa, and Uber used its war chest to expand to over 10 countries across the continent. What all these companies have in common is that they have demonstrated that they can have a repeatable impact across the continent.

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2016: The year for African startups 3. The rise of small ecosystems

4. Government involvement

While the lion’s share of startup activity in Africa is still focused on the big countries, some smaller ecosystems are starting to produce high quality startups and support systems with global ambitions. As an example, Impact Hub, the global hub network, recently opened in Bamako, the capital of Mali. The hub is offering opportunities to network, learn, start and grow a business and we’re already seeing promising companies come from there, such as Aikio corp, a local startup building a platform for medical professionals to transmit medical tests and results to patients safely.

In 2016, we saw impor tant government involvement across the startup space in Africa. Governments like the one of Rwanda have massively simplified their regulations around starting and growing businesses, allowing entrepreneurs to open up a business in no time and without unnecessary paperwork and red tape. In addition, the government is driving a digitization and innovation agenda that has seen the country launch its first nationwide drone delivery program and a fully digital citizen service portal.

Following that example, there is almost no country on the continent today that does not have co-working spaces, incubators or some sort of entrepreneurship ecosystem. From Zambia to Mauritania to South Sudan and Libya, even the smaller countries are slowly building out a strong foundation to enable entrepreneurs to start and grow successful technology businesses independently of their location.

Other governments haven’t been sleeping either: Kenya has announced that it will introduce the first mobile-money government bond that will allow citizens to buy government bonds through mobile money. Lastly, some governments are also looking into digital currencies and blockchain, such as Senegal, which are working on a digital equivalent to the West African Franc. Seeing the incredible growth of startups on the continent in 2016 and before, we are incredibly excited to see what 2017 has in store. This year, we will cover 25+ countries across the continent with the goal to discover and support more startups from all corners of Africa than ever before. seedstars.com

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There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree: Insights in the Mozambican startup scene By Tiago Borges Coelho

Talking about emerging markets and their startup ecosystems is a tricky proposition, as lack of context, generalizations, and biases can often distort realities. To avoid doing a disservice to my fellow entrepreneurs, I am presenting here my own passionate view on the Mozambican startup scene, startup trends, sprinkled with some historical and cultural insights into context. 90

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Mozambique is a sub-Saharan Lusophone country with around 26 million people, of which almost 50% are illiterate and live with less than $1.25 a day. We gained our independence 40 years ago. We had an intense civil war that lasted 16 years and ended in 1992. Still today we have unrest and sporadic armed conflict. In a nutshell, we are one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world. I like to say we leaped over industrialization and went straight to a service economy, but the truth is only the wealthy 10% of Mozambicans are serviced, the rest have to make due. These are reasons enough to feel hopeless. However, it is a fertile ground for disruption and innovation, and a young, tech-savvy generation is seizing the opportunity. I would argue that an intrinsic part of the Mozambican DNA is finding solutions or “ways” like we call them, and there are two local terms that can corroborate this. The first is “desenrascar,” meaning "make it work in a haphazard way," one of our greatest qualities, ingenuity, and produces some spectacular results, like the tin can projector or the homemade car. The other is “bolada,” often meaning to gain a lot quickly in a deal at someone else's expense, which highlights one of our poorest qualities, self-interest, which results in corruption and hinders our economy. Luckily, our startup ecosystem seems to be following the ingenuity path, but local entrepreneurs need to understand the old local saying “there are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree,” to create successful businesses. By following this principle, we personally managed to create some local success stories: emprego.co.mz, the country’s largest online job board, which just expanded to Angola, and the recently released biscate.co.mz, a platform for recruiting informal tradesmen. These are just our own examples, while actually there is a plethora of local startups spanning many fields.

Due to the deficient service economy, many startups are stepping into areas like transportation, education, and employment, by leveraging the ubiquitous nature of IT to fill a gap where there are few institutionalized alternatives. A trend towards entertainment and retail is also emerging, as these are easier to serve using IT solutions, although the consumer market for them is very limited. Over the past few years, we have noticed a massive increase in the quality of startups, as universities churn out more IT graduates, local startup events get more popular, and more founders share their insights and knowledge. Perhaps the only upside of the current financial crisis, is the need to innovate becomes ever more apparent. The local youth is clearly interested in creating startups and becoming entrepreneurs, but they are lacking structured training, mentoring, networking, and physical spaces to meet and develop their products into businesses. Luckily, a group of dynamic individuals have been pushing to develop the ecosystem. The girls at IdeiaLab tirelessly motivate and train young entrepreneurs, especially women, inspiring them to follow their dreams. Also noteworthy are the initiatives of MozDevz, the local “gang” of young developers who regularly meet at IdearioHub and promote training sessions at universities. Finally, there are also more institutionalised organisations like ANJE, the national association of young entrepreneurs, and the state initiative IPEME, who provide networking and financial incentives. As you can see, the startup scene is becoming a vibrant ecosystem that is tackling some of the biggest challenges the country is facing, and development agencies, donors, and investors are taking notice. Now, we just need them to become serious about it and invest in our future, because in the end, we can all benefit from those tasty coconuts at the top of the palm tree.

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“Go Hard or... They came, they saw, and they conquered. Giraffe placed first at the South African local event in 2015, and after becoming the Seedstars World Global winner last year and receiving an investment from Omidyar Network and Seedstars, Seedstars World interviewed its co-founder and head of product, Shafin Anwarsha, to reflect on their development since the competition. One thing is for sure: Giraffe is reaching new heights. For those of you who have not been with us last year, Giraffe is a revolutionary mobile recruitment service that aims to reduce unemployment in emerging markets by enabling businesses to hire medium-skilled staff faster and cheaper than any other way, and by connecting jobseekers with opportunities for free. Giraffe’s free mobile app (which works on any cell phone) enables medium-skilled jobseekers to create a CV on their phone for free. Employers can submit a simple staff request on Giraffe’s website- www.giraffe.co.za, and Giraffe’s intelligent matching algorithm automatically identifies suitable candidates and sends them an SMS with details of the job opportunity. Giraffe then automatically schedules interviews for the employer as soon as 48 hours after receiving the request. The automated mobile platform offers employers an extremely streamlined, effective recruitment solution that is faster and cheaper than any other service, and offers jobseekers the easiest and cheapest way to access opportunities. 92

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MANY PEOPLE KNOW GIRAFFE, BUT NOT NECESSARILY THE PEOPLE BEHIND IT. COULD YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL JOURNEY? SA: I’ve always had a massive passion for technology and its incredible ability to change the way we live and impact our lives. It had always been my dream to be involved in a project that could use technology for good and help people, so when the idea for Giraffe came up, I knew I had to drop everything else to pursue it. Fortunately for me, my manager at the time and Giraffe co-founder, Anish, was just as interested and passionate about Giraffe’s vision as I was. After many months of planning and iterations of the idea, we finally built up the courage to quit our jobs and pursue Giraffe, and have never looked back since. LOOKING BACK AT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE SINCE WINNING THE SEEDSTARS WORLD GLOBAL SUMMIT, WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN HIGHLIGHTS? SA: Giraffe has been doing amazingly well - we have grown to more than 300,000 jobseekers now registered on the platform, with many businesses across multiple industries now using the service, including the likes of Pizza Hut, Standard Bank, Uber, Merchants, and many other big brands. We’ve also expanded out of Johannesburg and now have a national footprint in South Africa. We have also closed strategic partnerships with Standard Bank and Vodacom, the leading business bank and mobile operator in South Africa respectively, which has helped us gain quick access to market and create strong brand credibility. On top of this, we have gone on to close our first round of seed funding from Omidyar Network. But perhaps most significantly, we started monetizing the product in early 2016 and have seen strong support and growth from our customers, which has been great validation for us.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EMERGING MARKETS

Go Home” HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS BEYOND REVENUE? SA: From day one, our most important metric is the number of jobseekers we are able to help – whether that’s getting them a job, sending them to an interview, helping create a CV or even providing resources to educate them about workplace and interview etiquette. And every day that we are able to continue doing this, we consider a success for us. DO YOU THINK THE SOUTH AFRICAN MARKET IS EASILY ADOPTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND PURCHASING FROM INNOVATIVE BUSINESSES? SA: Yes and no. We’ve seen that in the consumer space, customers are a lot more willing to try new things, whether it’s because it provides actual utility or even if it’s simply “cool”. In the B2B space however, we’ve seen businesses be a lot more concerned about their bottom-line being their primary motivation to any decision. Additionally however, businesses are generally stuck in their old way and as a result, relatively more resistive to change, making the sell more difficult, but not impossible.

WHAT IS THE MAIN ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS? SA: Before you try to scale, try and build a good product that customers love. However, always keep in mind that you one day will have to scale and how you eventually would want to go about it from both a technical and operational perspective. However, something that is more important is your team. Yes you need to have an idea that solves a real problem, a product that can scale and a sizeable addressable market that could create an attractive business one day. But for me, all of that is irrelevant unless you have an extremely strong core team that works perfectly together and is able to execute according to plan. Make sure you take time to form a team of only A-class players that have both the necessary skillset but importantly, are also completely aligned with and believe in the long-term vision of your company. This will make or break your company. The final thing I’d say is that the startup journey is long and difficult one, so make sure you are extremely passionate about what you are doing and you understand the financial implications of doing a startup. You need this to enjoy the many highs, but also to help you through the numerous lows.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MAIN CHALLENGES FOR GIRAFFE IN THE PAST YEAR AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN GENERAL ARE BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR IN AFRICA? SA: I’d say two of the biggest challenges for startups in Africa are access to funding – especially at the seed-stage where there seems to be very few angels or institutional investors with the right understanding and risk profile needed – and access to talent given the limited supply and high demand for talent. Hiring in particular has been a challenge for us especially at the early stages where it’s been difficult to find candidates that ticks all the boxes – highly capable, truly understands the risks and rewards of a startup and wants to work in one, and willing to earn less than market in the short-term. seedstars.com

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6 partners in Africa that believe in Seedstars World

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Trecc

Standard Bank

In 2016, Seedstars World partnered with TRECC, an Abidjan-based coalition of public and private stake- holders focused on improving the quality of education in Côte d’Ivoire. TRECC has partnered with Seedstars as one of its many efforts to support the local education ecosystem through the encouragement of innovative education solutions and social enterprises as drivers of change.

Standard Bank is ideally positioned to provide access to market opportunities for incubated businesses through its own value chain, as well as that of its corporate banking base through regular showcase events and Demo Days. The main drive of the Standard Bank Incubators is to produce sustainable companies that will have a positive impact on the economy and its value chain.

TRECC is also the initiator and sponsor of the Transforming Education Prize, which is a $50k prize to the be awarded through Seedstars World’s global competitions to the best startup in the education space with the goal to enhance education for communities in rural areas. In addition, TRECC has awarded $1,000 to the best idea in their Rural Distribution Idea contest.

Standard Bank has partnered with Seedstars World in over 7 countries and our goal of creating access to opportunities for entrepreneurs aligns perfectly well with Standard Bank’s vision of being the best partner for entrepreneurs and small businesses across Africa. Success stories like partnership with last year’s global winner, Giraffe, are just the beginning of a long term partnership to help grow Africa’s entrepreneurs.

Microsoft Microsoft4Afrika seeks to ignite African innovation for the continent and for the world. Our partnership with Microsoft represents their commitment to work closely with African entrepreneurial talents across the Sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate their development. As Amrote Abdella, the Regional Director at Microsoft, said: “I am confident that these young entrepreneurs will have a true impact on the continent’s future.”

Intel This year, we have been also collaborating with Intel on the “Intel Solutions Challenge” to find the best startups in Hardware, IoT, Cloud and Analytics, with the goal of inviting them to a prestigious Demo Day with internal and external partners who will provide the best startups with access to market and funding.

Orange Brussels Airlines Launched by Brussels Airlines, TAKEOFF is a new entrepreneurship platform that supports the most promising tech startups in Africa and contributes to the development of African technology entrepreneurship in a meaningful and significant way. Working with Seedstars World, TAKEOFF supports the winners from our startup competitions in 6 Brussels Airlines African destinations – Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Senegal and Rwanda.

Orange was a strategic partner in Africa and the Middle-East, with its 110+ million customers. It’s main objective is to play a leading role in supporting the digital transformation of the African continent and to be a major partner to the whole digital ecosystem, from startups to large companies. With the strong support from Orange, we are proud to discover and provide support to startups at our events across Africa.

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ASIA

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Seedstars Summit caps off an incredible fourth tour around Asia. The continent continues to be the fastest growing economy in the world, and China and India lead the charge to justify the claim that the 21st century will be the ‘Asian century’. However, on our journey, two notable trends stick out. First, the region is shedding its stereotype of the ‘copy and paste’ continent fast. We’ve seen cutting-edge tech technologies firmly present in the new wave of startups: from innovative IoT to commercial VR/AR to AI, we are no longer seeing a dominance of ‘the airbnb of the Philippines’ or the ‘whatsapp for Thailand’ (lucrative though they may be!). These innovative products have often come from young, frontier markets.


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Secondly, we’ve seen a significant shift in the mindset of young entrepreneurs. More and more young people are developing products and turning to startups rather than traditional career paths. We've even even received several applications from students already building their first or second startup, including 15-year-old teenagers in Myanmar and 16-year-old Pakistanis.

With an incredibly young average population, and success stories inspiring the next generation, the floodgates are about to open. Nick Feneck Regional Manager for Asia seedstars.com

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ASIA IS... Internet penetration

E-commerce Smartphone size penetration

45% (p. rate) $1,057 bn 28%

Young population:

24,7%

South Korea: China

South Korea: Philippines:

Turkmenistan: Vietnam:

Pakistan:

92,1% 15%

$426 bn 88% $4,9 bn

11%

GDP Growth

Population:

6,3%

4,4 bn

Myanmar:

China:

31%

8,1%

1,266 m

Hong Kong:

Japan:

Bhutan:

16%

0,5%

750,125

Source: United Nations, WorldAtlas, eMarketer, Global Information Technology Report (GITR)

Big More than 4.4 billion people live in Asia, that's roughly 60% of the world's total population.

Raising Seedstars alumni from Asia have raised more funding together than the alumni from all the other regions, with an average of $828,000 per startup.

Super (cities) Shanghai, Beijing, Istanbul, Karachi, Mumbai, Guangzhou and Delhi are 7 of the world’s Leading 10 largest cities by population. Singapore, together with Hong Kong and South Korea, are ranked among the top ten Shopping most “technologically ready” China surpassed the USA as countries in the world. the strongest country in terms of e-commerce turnover last year, with €405 billion. 98

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… and in terms of Seedstars Index? Asia’s developed market ecosystems fill 3 of the top 10 spots, while Yangon and Nepal occupy the bottom 10 of the SSI. Kuala Lumpur wins in the developing markets category, with Bangalore closely in its tail. Bangalore is also the most outperforming country in Asia. 100 Culture

Environment

Opportunity

90

SSI 2017

80 70 60 50 40 30 20

Yangon, Myanmar

Kathmandu, Nepal

Islamabad, Pakistan

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Manila, Philippines

Jakarta, Indonesia

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Shanghai, China

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangalore, India

**Taipei, Taiwan

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

**Sydney, Australia

**Hong Kong, Hong Kong

**Seoul, Korea

0

**Singapore, Singapore

10

“Thailand is an especially fertile ground for entrepreneurship because its population is willing to experiment with new products & services and the market is large enough for initial product launch. Other factors that play to the country’s advantage are political resilience and economic stability, strong infrastructure in major cities and inexpensive labor cost.” Paul Ark, Digital Ventures, SSW Ambassador for Thailand seedstars.com

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Zooming on Asia’s co-working spaces Most prestigious: Dreamplex

Most unusual: Too fast to sleep

(HO CHI MINH CITY)

(BANGKOK)

Dreamplex made the headlines when it hosted President Obama in June last year. The co-working space hasn’t looked back since, offering a great venue and in-house support to local and expat startups.

A space that houses 6 spaces in one: this coworking space is as vast as it is unusual. Spanning across 2-3 floors, and plenty of secret hideaways, this is a great spot that actively encourages long stints. With a 24 hour policy too, you can put the long stint to the test.

Best alfresco space: Dreamplus (SEOUL) A great hub in the heart of Gangnam in Seoul, this co-working space is predominantly an accelerator providing mentorship and global network access to the startups. But the real selling point is their roof which overlooks the city and the neighbouring park, and offers a much-needed respite from the dedicated workers down below.

Most homely: Construkt (BANGALORE) It is easy to see why this co-working space creates such a good family atmosphere: it doubles up as a co-living space (a ‘startup hostel’) and guests must be approved based on their application. The space, in trendy Indiranagar, attracts entrepreneurs from all over India (and beyond). When we arrived, one entrepreneur was casually playing Beethoven in his dorm on his violin.

Slickest space: Collision8 (SINGAPORE) This great, slick new co-working space in the heart of Singapore opened only last year. It has in abundance everything you’d want from a coworking space: light, space, plugs, private corners and a view of Marina Bay Sands that can’t be beat.

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Looking behind the of remittance platforms By Katarina Szulenyiova Nurol scrolled through his gallery and pulled up a picture of a run-down row of cardboard houses perched on the bank of a still, muddy canal. “This is where they wash their clothes, and themselves. And here, you can see the shop.”

However, since we always run our events in the capital cities, we rarely get to experience what exactly the typical unbanked user looks like. With Nurol’s photos, everything became more real.

Another picture followed, this time of a slightly bigger hut; a fan nailed to the thin wall, a TV set plastered on the counter, and one poster hanging lopsidedly in the corner. What exactly constituted it as a shop escaped my understanding, but I let him talk.

THE FACE OF THE END CUSTOMER “We are focusing on the blue-collar workers hired for construction, manufacturing, plantation work, as drivers, or domestic help,” explains Mehedi Hasan, the CEO of MyCash Online, an e-Marketplace for migrant workers, and the winner of Seedstars Kuala Lumpur.

“This is where the factory workers gather once the day is over, to buy some drinks and chat with the shop owner. We trained him to become our mobile sales person, and he helps us run things in this settlement. With his help, the workers can deposit their wages in a bank account, and send the money to their families back home.”

With Malaysians reluctant to take up menial jobs, Malaysia is one of Asia’s largest importers of foreign labour. As a relatively wealthy nation, the country attracts people from neighbouring countries, such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar, who seek stability and better economic opportunities to provide for their families back home.

STUNNED, I STARED AT THE SCREEN. SO THIS IS WHAT THE MYTHICAL WORLD OF “REMITTANCES” ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE? With Seedstars World, we stumble across remittance solutions almost every week. In Africa alone, three of our previous local winners are trying to tackle this ubiquitous issue in various ways, from value-based remittances (Mergims), to mobile money transfers (remit.ug), all the way to bitcoin (Beam Remit).

According to the World Bank, foreign workers form Malaysia’s third-largest community, at around 19% of the total population, displacing the Indian community from the top three.

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And more than half of these foreign workers are undocumented. “It is exactly this demographic that we are targeting. The majority of these people are not able to open bank accounts, because their monthly incomes do not reach the necessary amount of 2,000 Ringgit required by the local banks.”


THE RISING STARTUP ECOSYSTEMS

screen

However, while the minimum wage in Malaysia ranges between 900 ringgit to 1000 ringgit, depending on the specific state, the majority of the migrant workers still earn more money than they would back home. In the United Arab Emirates, where migrant workers constitute up to 85% of the entire population, the employers pay the foreign workers in the form of a prepaid card. In Malaysia, most of the employees get their wages in cash, which they bring back home and store somewhere in a closet. This allows them to have the cash handy for everyday smaller expenses, such as topping up their mobile phones or purchasing food. Things get a bit trickier when they need larger amounts. “Take the case of buying a flight ticket,” says Nurol Shamrat, the company’s CFO. “AirAsia, and many other carriers, provide their cheapest flight tickets online to be purchased with a credit card. However, since the migrant workers don’t have bank accounts, the only option for them is to take their stacked cash and find the nearest travel agent to book their flights. And as you can imagine, the agents in physical stores will never offer them the same deals that you and I could find online, since they have to cover their own intermediary costs. At the end, you end

up with people with below average salaries trying to book flights home that are way overpriced.” That is where MyCash Online comes into play. Structured as a virtual bank account, the migrant workers can deposit their cash with a trained mobile sales person, or “MPS”, who is usually a small shop owner (like the one in Nurol’s picture) located in each of the workers’ settlements. Specially trained to use MyCash Online, the MPS can transform the cash from the workers into mobile points, which the workers use to purchase local or international mobile top-ups, buy bus tickets, or pay their electricity bills back home. The platform is available in 6 local languages (Indonesian, Chinese, Filipino, Nepalese, Bengali, and Indian), and, just in the last 8 months, more than 50,000 migrants used the service to complete 188,000 transactions, worth a total of 3.5 million ringgits. SO, WHAT ABOUT REMITTANCES? Things get more complicated when talking about international money transfers. As mentioned before, the majority of the workers moved to Malaysia with the vision of sustaining their families back home. According to the Asian Development Bank, from 2005 to 2013, remittances from migrant workers in the region nearly tripled, reaching an astonishing $246 billion.

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Looking behind the screen of remittance platforms

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By agreeing to the partnership, it opened up the previously unreachable population of migrant workers living in rural areas, and brought them online. The digitalisation of the entire process made things much faster as well.

BUT WITHOUT A BANK ACCOUNT, HOW CAN THE WORKERS GO ABOUT IT? “With remittances, their options are quite limited,” explains Nurol. “They can either go themselves, and visit the licensed money changers in the larger cities, or trust their money to a local friend or supervisor to deposit on their behalf. In the case of the latter, it does not come as a surprise if the family never sees the money again...”

AT THE SAME TIME, THIS IS STILL A SLIGHT GREY AREA. AS MENTIONED EARLIER, ALMOST HALF OF THE MIGRANT WORKERS IN MALAYSIA ARE UNDOCUMENTED. NOW, IF YOU PROVIDE REMITTANCE SERVICES TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, DOESN’T IT MAKE YOUR SERVICE ILLEGAL AS WELL? “Not necessarily. We always make sure that everything we do is lawful,” says Nurol. “There is an “interesting” regulation that allows the undocumented migrant workers in Malaysia to remit up to 3,000 ringgit providing just their passport, without a valid working permit. And considering very few of them can actually send more than that, it makes it very easy for us to facilitate remittances legally.” WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US? We have spent almost two hours chatting with the MyCash team, playing around with their app and website, and learning more about their ambitious plans for the future.

MyCash Online has a solution for this as well. Thanks to a partnership with Metro Exchange, all the workers need to do is ask their local MPS to deposit their money through the platform on their behalf, without any additional hassle.

Word about the product is already spreading like wildfire among workers, and now employers want to use the platform to pay their employees online, eliminating the tedious process of dealing with cash. Recently, the team also started working with AirAsia & AIIS Solutions on a CSR initiative that would allow them to provide discounted flights to migrants to return back home.

The authentication mechanism that protects Metro Exchange from potentially remitting fraudulent money, is photo verification. In order to create an account, MyCash Online users need to submit their passport details, and whenever they deposit money to the MPS, he takes their picture, which the MyCash team then compares with the passport photo. If the two don’t match, the transaction simply doesn’t go through.

AND WHAT IS THE TEAM MOST PROUD OF? “It is amazing to see the unbanked migrants comfortable with virtual money, completely leapfrogging the stage of credit cards. But we are not stopping there. We want to help the underprivileged population access technology and inject their hard earned money into the local economy, rather than keeping it in a closet. The beauty of our platform is that It is accessible to everybody,” Mehedi smiles.

AND HOW HARD WAS IT TO GET THE REMITTANCE HOUSE ON BOARD? According to Mehedi, not hard at all. Considering that Metro Exchange customers were mostly walkins to their physical branches, the opportunity to partner with MyCash Online was a clear win.

“We are bringing innovation to anyone.”

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The New Frontiers: 1. Sri Lanka Sri Lanka has recently exploded on the tech startup scene, with representation at international conferences in Malaysia, Singapore, Silicon Valley and Europe. The reason is simple: the ecosystem is producing innovative and revenue-generating tech products that can rival any of those in the region! Impacted by the Civil War that ended in 2009 and drawing natural comparisons to India (which is a far larger and more mature market), Sri Lanka has recently set its sights as a dominant force on the Asian tech scene. STRENGTHS: The ecosystem’s main strength lies quite simply in their startups. White-label professional development platforms, the social network for audio, personal digital butler service, the startups originating from Sri Lanka are innovative and diverse. None more so than HypeHash, the world’s first #Hashtag monetization platform for designers, which secured angel investment from AngelHack and recently became Sri Lanka’s first EVER startup to secure mentoring from Y Combinator in Silicon Valley. The support of startups is also increasing, both with local initiatives from SLASSCOM and Startup SriLanka, and an increasing international footprint. Another strength? The investor scene has yet to catch up! Arguably startups can enter the market quicker than investor vehicles, so the recent surge in quality startups has left a hole in available funds. Matrix Partners and the Lankan Angel Network are two notable exceptions to this, but with increased attention from Indian, Singaporean and USA VCs, it is clear the market is hot. CHALLENGES: The main challenge for investing in Sri Lankan startups is the market size. Sadly, with a relatively rigid economy and small population, international expansion and perhaps even re-incorporation may be seen as a necessary feature for a startup’s long-term and lucrative success. 106

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4 Asian emerging markets... As of August 2016, there are 33 unicorns in China, 7 in India and 3 in Singapore. By no means the only metric to judge talent, but unicorns give a pretty good indication of the potential of an ecosystem. These 3 ecosystems remain the dominant forces in APAC and South Asia in producing high quality startups. Understandably, these 3 ecosystems are also teeming with investors, both local and international.


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However, for the intrepid investor, they may wish to keep an eye on these 4 frontier markets, which we believe either have or will start producing quality startups without the same competition from investors. These markets currently fall under the radar for most investors, but we expect them to turn some heads. Watch this space! 2. Myanmar In case you haven’t heard, Myanmar now is a country open for business. Its economy is dominated by strong conglomerates and corporates in very traditional businesses: real estate, finance, military and minerals to name a few. The startup scene is tiny, but will explode this year. In our eyes, these conditions demonstrate just why this will happen: - FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY IN THE WORLD - A HIGH PENETRATION OF SMART PHONES - FASTEST GROWING INTERNET PENETRATION IN THE WORLD - A LIQUID ECONOMY - GIVEN THAT MONEY IS MOSTLY STORED AT CASH, IT IS SPENT FREELY. - 55% OF THE POPULATION IS UNDER 30-YEAR-OLD. STRENGTHS: The opportunities. Take an industry: healthcare, education, tourism or real estate. There is a very good chance that this industry still has not been penetrated effectively by the digital age. In our Seedstars Yangon competition last year, 7 out of 8 of the pitching startups scored full marks in the ‘pain intensity’ of the product. Where there are problems, there are opportunities. Fintech especially is a sector that will prove to be very lucrative. The hardest challenge will be to

convince/predict consumer behaviour, who have been understandably jaded by the banks since the banking crisis of 2003. This has taken time to recover, and consumers may be resistant to adopt new technologies, but when only 16% of adults have bank accounts, there is huge potential. Finally, the VC scene is tiny, with most local investors coming from the Private Equity space, unfamiliar with structuring venture capital deals to startups. The only VCs active are based abroad, and there have been increasing visits from investors from Singapore, Japan and Thailand. CHALLENGES: Currently, sadly the talent is not quite there yet. Much more support is needed, both in terms of mentoring and in terms of ecosystem building, but the groundwork has been made. But the groundwork has been made. Phandeyaar recently started their (and the country’s) first accelerator program this year. There are a handful of co-working spaces being established, and the private sector is becoming increasingly active (AYA Bank, Ooredoo, KBZ to name a few). We expect the increase of ecosystem supporters (government, corporates) and ecosystem builders (incubators, communities, accelerators, coworking) to result in a new wave of high quality Myanmar startups. seedstars.com

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3. Bangladesh

4. Pakistan

Supported by a progressive State ICT division, the ecosystem is now looking to raise its profile internationally. Last year’s Digital World 2016 brought together high profile local and international speakers in a huge conference that demonstrated the vision and talent from the ecosystem. Brand ‘Digital Bangladesh’ is taking charge and forms part of the ambitious plans for Vision 2021, including using technology to improve social and economic conditions significantly.

The country is the 6th largest in the world and boosts a strong and growing economy. However, it is also the region’s best kept secret in that little is reported on the quality of technical products being created across the country. The winner of our Seedstars competition in Pakistan, TAME, is a wearable tech that sends pulses to neutralise tremors ("Tremor" is a disorder which causes the victims' bodies to shake due to which they are unable to do even the most basic tasks by themselves. It affects over 280 million people around the world). This product was incepted, created and manufactured in Pakistan. They have zero direct competitors, including Europe and the USA.

STRENGTHS: A country that has been traditionally strong for IT and outsourcing is starting to capitalise on its technical talent to create innovative products. In particular, in line with the country’s vision, the startups are penetrating sectors within social impact. Healthcare and education are particularly well represented, and half of our finalists for our competition came from within the impact space. The amount of ecosystem suppor ters is increasing (especially by the State and Telcos), as are efforts in fostering international ties (to the USA and Asia predominantly). VCs from Singapore and India are keeping a closer eye on the ecosystem, whose strong diaspora seems to be working to its advantage in marketing products overseas and offering greater visibility. CHALLENGES: The ecosystem is still constrained by bureaucracy. It is near to impossible to move money in or out the country (even products such as Transferwise are a no go). It also ranks poorly in the ‘ease of doing business’, coming in at 176th out of 190 countries. However, we expect these conditions to improve as the State is becoming more active, and strong efforts are being made on all sides.

STRENGTHS: The startups tick a number of usual boxes for early stage startup investments: strong technical talent, innovative ideas, scalable reach, large market sizes. Health-tech is particularly strong, and the country’s young engineers have combined the strong traditional focus on healthcare and medicine to create products that can have large social impact (such as Bliinda: a motion sensored white can for the blind, and Qury Technologies: an IoT box that can measure vitals for remote, rural communities). CHALLENGES The ecosystem is still nascent, and needs a lot of support for it to flourish. Despite the strong technical ability within the startups, the commercial awareness and business acumen for the most part is to be found wanting. Organisations like JumpStart Pakistan are effective in hosting events, providing mentoring and co-working, but there are not enough like them. The ecosystem is still poorly supported by the government and corporates, although we expect the latter to take a more active role this year. Finally, politics sadly frustrate growth, with onerous immigration/visa regulations and the international media’s negative image of Pakistan, impacting on international business.

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has invested over $40 million in 1,300 businesses since 2010. Forbes also described Mexico as “hotbed” for startups. Mexico's startup & venture capital funds in 2015 amounted to 88 transactions for a total amount of $2.3 billion, positioning themselves as the second most active market after Brazil.

LATAM For the past four years, at Seedstars, we have witnessed much more than football and salsa coming out of Latin America. The Guardian recently wrote an article on the “Chilecon Valley,” globally famous for its accelerator Startup Chile, which 110

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What was initiated in Chile back in 2010 seemed like the launch of an official race within the continent with one government after the other establishing its initiatives to fund the flourishing ecosystems - Colombia with Innpulsa in 2012, Mexico with Inadem (the National Institute of Entrepreneurs) in 2013, and Peru with Startup Peru the same year. Following suit, Argentina & Dominican Republic came up with a set of similar initiatives last year. In the meantime, in the private sector, VC investment has steadily increased across the continent, an average of 46% each year for the past five years. Fostering access to quality education for all and integrating technological skills in the curriculum


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are the next steps to increasing the pool of talents. A perfect example of this initiative would be the Peruvian organization Laboratoria, founded in 2013, which hope to bring coding to all women in the country. The market opportunities are also significant. Latin America accounts for 8.62% of the world’s population, which are the most avid social media users, making up 20% of Facebook’s user base. In the next five years, 300 million more Latinos will come online. When you combine their devotion to learning, increased market opportunities, and unparalleled connectivity with a rising interest in entrepreneurship, you can only imagine a bright future ahead? We are excited to share with you some of the ambitious entrepreneurs we've met along our journey, from crowd factoring to 3D printing, to drones cleaning the air.

It is time for the world to see Latin America through our lens, and it is time for Latin America to start believing in itself! Vamos juntos? Juliane Butty Regional Manager for LATAM

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LATAM IS... Population

Internet penetration

E-commerce Smartphone size penetration

Young population:

Bolivia

0.6 bn

61,5%

$46 bn

44,9%

Brazil

Costa Rica

Brazil

Chile

22,7%

GDP growth

-0.7% Mexico

206 m

86,9%

$16.28 bn

65%

31%

2,1%

Uruguay

Honduras

Peru:

Peru:

Cuba

Argentina:

3.3 m

30.4%

$0.9 bn

25%

20%

-3,5%

Source: Internet Growth Statistics, comScore’s, Gemalto, Mckinsey: Urban world, Nielsen report.

Connected Latin America has the first place in growth of Internet users with a rise of 12% last year. Consuming 87% of the Internet users in LATAM watch videos online. Surfing fast 5G technology already reaches an average penetration of 16.18%, lead by Uruguay with 65%.

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Urban: Latin America is the most urbanized region in the world with approximately 80% of its 600 million inhabitants living in cities. On screens In 2016, 83% of viewers choose smartphones to watch video content compared to any other platform.


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‌ and in terms of Seedstars Index? Santiago takes the runner up spot for developing markets globally and Mexico City also ranks into the top 10. The most underperforming startup ecosystem is Santa Cruz, which also sits in the bottom 10. 100

Culture

90

Environment

Opportunity SSI 2017

80 70 60 50 40 30 20

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Quito, Ecuador

Panama, Panama

Rio de janeiro, Brazil

San Jose, Costa Rica

Lima, Peru

Montevideo, Uruguay

Bogota, Colombia

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Mexico City, Mexico

Santiago, Chile

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5 tips on how to build a successful startup

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After traveling the world for the past four years, we have stumbled upon numbers and numbers of talented entrepreneurs, and it makes us incredibly proud to see them grow every time we go back. So, what are the main recommendations of our Latin American entrepreneurs for building a successful startup?

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1. LISTEN TO OTHERS “Listen to advisors, mentors, investors, partners & the most (not everyone) people you can. But in the end of the day, no one knows your business, your clients, your vision and your reality like you. Learn with others, follow your own.”

Fernando Saddi - Easy Carros - Brazil

2. LOVE WHAT YOU DO

3. HAVE THE BEST TEAM POSSIBLE “Succeeding as an entrepreneur is not creating a startup, but a company with great people that you love to work with.”

Lucas Glustman - Flimper - Argentina

“Building a company is one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life, but it's also the hardest one. Remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint; don’t burn yourself out!“

“There is not one way to success for emerging market star tups, but building a solid and multidisciplinary team should be your foundation. Being open-minded and thinking globally are your frameworks; and surrounding yourself with people and especially their experiences, your roof.”

Jose Caya

Juan Manuel Yañez

- Slidebean - Costa Rica

“Building something from scratch is an incredible experience—out of nothing, you can create products and solutions that millions of people use. But between starting a business and reaching success, there is a lot to learn, problems to solve and difficulties to endure. Be sure to know that before you start and be willing to go through it - in other words, be sure to love what you’re doing so that the tough times will make it worthwhile!”

Fernando Saddi - Easy Carros - Brazil

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- Cinemad.tv - Chile


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4. FOLLOW THE MONEY

5. FOCUS!

“Monetize early. The purpose of any business is to make money. The only way to find your ideal customers (product-market fit), is drawing a line between free users, and the people who are actually willing to pay with their own money for your product. Apply the Lean Startup approach to your marketing and sales teams as well. Test a campaign, measure, learn and replicate.”

“Time is your most valuable resource. Focus time on what matters: your team, your product, and your customers. Focus on your core strengths but also be willing to consider that your assumptions could be wrong. Being teachable and willing to consider perspectives that challenge your hypothesis is essential.”

Jose Caya

- Pig.gi - Mexico

Isaac Phillips

- Slidebean - Costa Rica

“Ensure that what you are getting paid is enough to build the starting blocks, and deliver. Look at your financials month to month. Focus on having enough income to pay for your team, and that your team is enough to build what you need to build. When you have a team that can deliver and enough sales to pay for them; then you can start planning for scale. Think of organic growth. Investment cash burns every day, while sales income is yours to keep.”

Vittorio Calcagno - MapTasking - Panama

“Growing your business into profitability is all about consistency and patience. At Cuestionarix we always take a lean approach to trying new things to make our business grow, however, we never lose focus from our main objectives, and we make sure to question how and why are we dedicating efforts to new growth initiatives. Focused experimentation will always be part of our strategy.”

Sebastián Nankervis - Cuestionarix - Ecuador

“If you look at big businesses they mostly grow a) organically, b) with a few select marketing channels executed extremely well and c) great products that have well-thought viral effects. So solve a real problem, build a great product and execute few things really well.”

Fernando Saddi - Easy Carros - Brazil

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5 Reasons to look at Dominican Republic for your business By Juliane Butty

Five centuries after Christopher Colombus, Seedstars set up foot on Santo Domingo for the very first time, adding the Caribbean to its map of emerging tech hubs. Great News! Traveling to a paradisiac island to look for promising startups across beaches, coconut and colorful fishes sounded like a dream.

And while we were very excited to go to the Dominican Republic for its incredible bio-ecosystem and fairytale landscapes, we never expected to find an El Dorado of opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship as well. Under st andably, the Dominic an st ar tup ecosystem is still at an early stage. For example, you will not yet find many investors willing to bet on the island’s talent pool, nor established public and private support structures for entrepreneurs. But things are starting to move, and besides those shortcomings, the Dominican Republic is definitely a place to consider for doing business.

Here is why: 1. Talent pool is on the rise Unlike in many other Latin American countries, education is affordable. While in the rural areas, the access to quality education is still lacking, the island nevertheless shelters very talented people, such as excellent programmers, webmasters and designers from well known tech institutions (INTEC and ITLA). At the same time, students are often encouraged and supported to study abroad. As matter of fact, our Dominican winner, Luis Sena, created Edupass, a platform to help students navigate the complex process of studying abroad, after he had himself studied in London and ‌Switzerland. By the way, did you know that the first university on the entire continent was set up in the Dominican Republic? It was the St. Thomas Aquinas University, founded in 1538 in Santo Domingo.

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2. Favourable business environment The county is ranked 109 out of 190 for Ease of doing business. Nevertheless, there are still some advantages to the Dominican Republic that we should not overlook. The overall tax rate is about 42.4%, slightly lower than the continent’s average (46.3%). At the same time, while it generally takes about 30 days to open a business in Latin America, in Dominican Republic you can set up a company in about 14.5 days. The country also benefits from free trade zone with North & Central America and Europe, and has strong appetite for imported goods & technology. Last but not least, the Dominican Republic has the second largest economy in the Caribbeans and Central America, with a GDP close to $70 billion (first economy is Mexico with $1.14 trillion).

3. Geopolitical advantage Directly related to business opportunities, the island is geographically gifted. Its location between the United States, Central and South America and Europe, make it a strategic hub for trade. It can be easily accessed by air or by sea. Indeed, the coastline is covered by busy seaports, used especially for commercial shipping and touristic cruises. Situated just 2 hours by flight from Miami, average 4 hours from Latin American countries and about 8 hours from Europe, it is sprinkled with more than 30 airports, 8 of which are international.

4. Connectivity at its best T he countr y benefits from an excellent telecommunication infrastructure, known for being one of the best in LATAM. Internet is widely available, even in the guaguas (pronounced wawa), the local mini vans used for public transportation - a must try for everybody who wants to enjoy a very local experience. And all of this while in Switzerland we are still waiting for free wifi in the train.

5. Up and coming startup ecosystem The startup ecosystem - almost non-existent until now - is moving ahead. A couple of serial entrepreneurs and angel investors have just launched programs to support entrepreneurs, such as Coworking.do, a coworking & business services platform in the heart of Santo Domingo, or Labocaproject in Cabarete, a co-working & incubator for sustainable and tech companies. The public sector is also waking up. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce created an official network of mentors for entrepreneurs and only last year, the government launched a dedicated program to create a strong digital ecosystem, called Digital Republic. Thanks to its geographical position, its business opportunities and the talented and hard working people building the future of the island, the Dominican Republic is definitely a place to watch out for in the coming years!

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5 largest accelerators Today, LATAM is a driving force in innovation, home to more than 76 accelerator programs despite that the concerted effort to create an entrepreneurial culture is relatively new compared to other parts of the world. In 2015, Chile led the results with having the highest amount of funded startups - 442 (representing over $15 million invested). Brazil followed close behind with 297 funded startups and $5.5 million invested. Brazil also houses the most numerous accelerator programs, with 26 programs currently running. Mexico came in third with around 306 invested startups and just a bit over than $3 million invested. Up to this point, accelerators have shown that the results in Latin America are very promising. As this community and infrastructure continues to grow, they feed its own success. Once the GUST Latam Accelerator Report 2016 comes out, we expect to see these numbers skyrocket. 120

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Startup Chile $40 MILLION INVESTED Public fund of Chile Star tup Chile is one of the most diverse accelerators accepting startups from any country and every industry. They are 100% funded by the Chilean government and offer equity-free investments. Their recent focus has been on increasing the profits and sustainability of their startups in order to add more value to the Chilean economy. 1450 STARTUPS ACCELERATED

Nxtp.Labs $60 MILLION INVESTED Mixed fund from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay Nxtp.Labs has partnered with teams from more than 15 countries, and have invested in 174 companies in just over five years of operations. 174 STARTUPS ACCELERATED


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in Latin America Wayra

Startup Mexico

$110 MILLION INVESTED WORLDWIDE Private fund with investors from Europe, Argentina, Chile, Brasil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico

$840,000 INVESTED Mixed fund from Mexico

Wayra promotes open innovation, consulting and training services, focusing on projects that develop products and solutions for their business. It was founded by Telefonica Group (one of the largest private telecommunications companies in the world)

Startup Mexico is working to position Mexico as a bridge of innovation and economic engine between Latin America and the most developed markets, allowing entrepreneurial projects in the region to reach financial opportunities in more mature ecosystems. 150 STARTUPS ACCELERATED

660 STARTUPS ACCELERATED WITHIN LATAM

The Startup Farm $1 MILLION INVESTED Mixed fund from Brazil The Startup Farm’s philosophy is always to support the entrepreneur. If a decision is wrong for the entrepreneur, this decision is also bad for the ecosystem. 246 STARTUPS ACCELERATED

With more than 76 active accelerator programs boosting Latin American economies, narrowing down the top 5 was a rigorous selection process. Therefore, make sure to also to keep an eye out for these honorable mentions: Incutex (Argentina), Ace (Brasil), Ingenio (Uruguay), Incuba UC (Chile), Kruger labs (Ecuador), and Carao Ventures (Costa Rica)!

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Crowdfunding + Factoring? SSW: SIMPLY, TO START; WHAT IS THE PROBLEM THAT MESFIX TACKLES, AND HOW DOES IT DO SO?

FT: Yes, in Colombia, crowdfunding is very strictly regulated. The financial sector in Colombia is actually the third most strictly regulated in the world.

Felipe Tascon: It all started because of how hard it is for SMEs to get financial products in Colombia and in Latin America in general. To give you a sense of the magnitude of the problem, 95% of all companies in Colombia are SMEs, and 90% of all these SMEs have no access to traditional banking systems, which results in huge financing gaps for these companies.

Mesfix is currently the only financial crowdfunding business in Colombia that is both legal and scaleable. To deal with the legal particularities, we worked for three years to establish a legal and technological framework that enables every transaction to take place directly between the bank account of the investor and the bank account of the SME whose receivable they are buying.

Mesfix addresses this gap through our online ‘crowdfactoring’ marketplace that helps connect SMEs in need of financing, to a community of people interested in investing. This combines the benefit of crowdfunding, namely that it is usually easier to raise $100k from 100 people than to raise $100k from the traditional banking system, with the benefits of factoring, which helps companies increase their cash flow. This system establishes a win-win situation for both parties, and allows us to create an unbeatable investment product. Anyone can invest, for as little as $100, and we offer high yields to our investors, up to 17% a year. SSW: THE COMBINATION OF CROWDFUNDING AND FACTORING IS A V ERY INTRIGUING ONE, BUT COLOMBIA POSES A CHALLENGING LEGAL ENVIRONMENT FOR CROWDFUNDING ENDEAVOURS- HOW DOES THIS AFFECT MESFIX, AND HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH IT?

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In this way, Mesfix never touches the money and avoids being subject to crowdfunding regulation. This direct investor-to-SME structure also allows us to be lean, fast, and completely transparent, and avoid moral hazard for investors. SSW: WHAT PROCESSES DOES MESFIX HAVE IN PLACE TO MINIMIZE RISK FOR INVESTORS? FT: Our main driver for risk is the commercial relationship between SMEs and their clients. We match all the last 6 months of invoices that have been paid to the SMEs, and match this with their bank account statement and the credit on their accounts, so that we know that the companys’ debtors are actually paying and when they are paying. Actually, right now, we are trying to switch to an automated, online process for this, as up to now it has been very manual. However, this was also purposefully done like this, so that we could


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Crowdfactoring: An innovative financing solution for SMEs in Latam To dig more deeply into the challenges and opportunities of Fintech in Latam, we talked to Felipe Tascon, the founder and CEO of Mesfix, about how he combines crowdfunding and factoring in order to increase cash flow for SMEs desperately in need of it, and to simultaneously create a lucrative investment product for investors.

better understand the importance of each individual variable and process that we will be automating. The aim between now and 2018 is to have this process take five to ten minutes instead of one to two days, as it is the case now. SSW: HOW RECEPTIVE HAVE COLOMBIAN COMPANIES AND INVESTORS BEEN TO THIS CONCEPT OF CROWDFACTORING, AND WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BEST TOOLS TO REACH THEM? FT: Last year we worked really hard to reach investors, which worked best through Facebook and Google. We actually did this so well that we stopped advertising in November, because we had more money on the marketplace than we needed. So now the focus will be on getting invoices into the market. This is another reason why we are working so hard on automating the receivables screening, so that it becomes very lean and easy for companies to use. We now have over 400 active investors and are servicing 60 companies in the marketplace. The big challenge for this year will be to have at least 200 companies, and find the perfect balance between the size of the tickets of the invoices and how many companies to have as clients. SSW: WHAT PLANS TO SCALE DOES MESFIX HAVE TO REACH THESE GOALS YOU’VE MENTIONED, AND WHERE DO YOU SEE THE COMPANY IN THE COMING YEARS?

FT: The good thing about financial markets is that they are huge. There is no need or rush to jump into another market. In 2016 in Colombia alone, there was a factoring market of 15 billion dollars, up from 2 billion in 2011; so factoring is taking off and there is a lot of space to grow. We will be staying in Colombia for at least another year and a half to allow the product and our processes to mature. However, due to our partnership with PayU (Seedstars World Fintech Partner) where all transactions happen through them, we can basically jump into any new country where PayU is active while avoiding all of the country-specific crowdfunding regulation. So, depending on how fast we grow in Colombia, we are thinking about Mexico and implementing international crowdfactoring. International crowdfactoring would allow, for example, Americans to invest in invoices from companies exporting to Latam and benefit from arbitrage. But to pull this off we would need higher capital investments. Given that factoring is starting to develop as a product and that there is a continued big financing gap for SMEs that crowdfactoring can perfectly address, it is the right time for crowdfactoring. All the governments are starting to pay attention to fintech in Latam, the impact of crowdfactoring is huge, and is perfectly aligned with improving the economy and impacting the people who need it most- it’s a win-win concept. We are very confident about the future.

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Thank you, Throughout the book, we talked about the insights into the emerging markets, innovative technology trends, and the impressive startups we had the chance to meet on the road. We mentioned our corporate partners, and we mentioned the accelerators and co-working spaces. However, none of our work would have been possible without one more piece of the puzzle. Our Ambassadors. They are the people who work with us throughout the year, often behind Joel Epalanga

Since most of us didn’t get into Angola, we are happy to have you here with us in Geneva! We really appreciate all of the work that you put into making the event in Luanda a success. Let’s do this again in 2017!

Thabo Theron

the scenes, with one single objective - to help their local ecosystems get the international attention they deserve. Times and again, we have been impressed and humbled by their unwavering commitment to their local startup scenes, and unending commitment to make our vision possible. So here is a huge thank you to all of you, who have made our journey around the world possible! We would not be here today without you.

your beautiful energy and support. We cannot wait to come back to the city of thousand hills!

Dean Cannell

You guys have been there from our earliest days in SA. Thank you for being a part of our journey!

Maryam Mgonja

Don’t get lost on a Friday night again... you never know where you might end up! Thank you so much for helping us organize the SSW Botswana event!

Maryam, you are a rockstar and an inspiration. We wouldn’t have done any of our work in Dar without you. Looking forward to see you soon <3

Rites Massamba

Look out for Uganda! We were truly humbled by the talent we saw in Uganda. Thank you for supporting us. Because of you, we are able to work with all of these amazing entrepreneurs that will not only shape Uganda, but the future of Africa.

Thank you so much for all of your support in Abidjan. We are still waiting for you to organize “Seedstars Coffee” in Abidjan!

Frederico Silva

Thanks for all the support! It’s not every day that we get to have rockstar entrepreneurs as ambassadors.

Tunde Akinnuwa

Thank you so much for the support in Lagos. We cannot wait to come back!

Aphrodice Mutangana

You made us feel so welcome and at home. Thank you so much for

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Richard Zulu

Tadzoka Pswarayi

Remember the weekend we spent making food in the kitchen? Let’s not do that ever again! A big thank you for all of the effort you and the team put into making the event extra special. The ecosystem is still young, but I am sure that with committed entrepreneurship supporters like you, the ecosystem will grow fast!

Markos Lemma

Thank you so much to you and the whole team for being a constant support and great friend.

Babacar Birane

The only ambassador we never got to meet! Nevertheless, thank you for your support, even if it was from afar, we could still feel your presence!

Victor Kelechi

Victor, you made our stay in Accra waaaaay more fun and exciting. Thank you for opening your doors and sleeping on the floor that whole week. Thank you also for accepting our precious gift for you ;) Can’t wait to see you again. And happy that you can finally see yourself (inside joke).

Mohamed Keita

Thank you so much for your humble hospitality. For showing us your very young startup ecosystem and for letting us be part of it.

Nathan Millard

Thanks for all your support Nathan, here’s looking ahead to 2017!

Mangala Karunaratne

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Ambassadors! forward to seeing what we can achieve in 2017.

Nicha Ark

Thanks so much to both of you Paul, Nicha! Your dedication to the startup scene in Thailand is SO inspirational, and we look forward to building for 2017 :)

Shahriar Rahman

Thanks for all your hard work Shahriar, I hope you have finally caught back your sleep!

Jean Liu

Thank-you, Jean, for supporting our mission, and your generosity.

Prateek Khare

Thanks for your support, Prateek, and backing us with your colleagues!

Yansen Kamto

Thanks for building on our relationship, Yansen, and for your generosity during our stay in Jakarta.

Alina Salimbayeva

THANKS for everything Alina, for your support, friendship and kind accommodation of course :)

Zor Maung

Cheers Zor for making Seedstars a success in Myanmar! Couldn’t have done it without you. And for showing us a great time in Yangon!

Allen Tuladhar

Thank you, Allen, for pioneering Seedstars in Nepal! We look forward to building on this year.

Khurram Mujtaba

Thanks Khurram for your immense generosity and support, I can only hope we can repay you for your kindness :)

Yipei Lee

Thanks for all your support, Yipei. Three years of collaboration behind us, and your drive and dedication are just as mindblowing as they were at the beginning. Here is to even more stinky tofu experiences in the years to come :)

Imran Baghirov

Thanks to you and the wonderful Fidan we were able to pull of a great event, event despite the inaugural Formula1 and Enrique Iglesias concert on the same day! Thank you again for the amazing hospitality and supporting us since day 1 of Seedstars. It means so much. We are truly grateful to have you in our family!

Maria Nemciuc

Thanks to the whole team for making our first event in Moldova a success. We loved the whole experience from the vineyard tour and all the highlights from Chisinau! We really felt the pulse of the whole startup community, thank you for bringing us to the center of it! All of our expectations were surpassed.

Artashes Vardanian

Thank you for wining and dining us during our stay, we are so impressed with your city, the startups, and the surroundings. Thank you for organizing the press conference, catering and so many details of the event. We were really impressed with the turnout and hope we can build upon it this year!

Evgeny Frolov

Thank you for all the positive vibes back in August and for hosting us in your space in Prague. We are very grateful for your hard work and all of the amazing introductions you made on our behalf!

Gocha Nikolaishvili and Natia Parekhelashvili

Thank you for all the amazing hospitality in Tbilisi, we were overwhelmed by your generosity and we simply adored your delicious food! Georgia is a magical place and the entrepreneurs are very promising. Thanks especially for organizing weeks of bootcamps leading up to the event, the startups really benefited from this.

Pavel Koktyshev

You were instrumental in organizing an amazing event in Kazakhstan. Thank you for all of your efforts, we are so grateful for the dedication of your team to pull off such an exquisite bootcamp and Summit! The time in snowy Borovoe and Astana were truly magical.

Valentin Dombrovskiy and Michael Demidov

Thanks a ton for your tremendous efforts in supporting Seedstars for 4 years in a row, and for everything you do for us in Moscow. We’re so grateful to have you as a longstanding partner!

Alena Kalibaba

Thank you for taking on the crazy task of hosting 3 events in Ukraine, we are so grateful for all of your personal efforts you made to make those events successful! It was incredible to have Seedstars in Dnepr and Odessa for the first time, expanding the footprint on the ground and impacting more entrepreneurs.

Joao Fernández

Joao, thank you so much for the incredible company touring around Panama City in a car late at night!

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Fabrizio Tozzi

Hector Gusmao

Walter Mendez

Rafael Garcia

Juan Yanez

Tomas Costanzo and IDF team

Thanks so much, Fabrizio, for always sharing your amazing Brazilian vibes! Walter, thank you so much not just for the airport transfer, but for that incredible amazing meal in El Camba and for saving us from the Bolivian police! Juan, thanks so so much for being always there for us and your incredible designs before, during and after the event!

Alejandro Gomez

Thank you so much, Alejandro, for being a great friend, host, dancer and for the intro to bandeja paisa!

Carolina Palma

Carolina, thanks a lot for your excellent and flawless work despite never having met you in person!

Jose Checo

Thanks so much, JosĂŠ, for hosting us in Dominican Republic, showing us the city and introducing us to mofongo! Great times :)

Andrea Durango

Andrea, thanks a lot for your amazing initiative, hard work and availability in Ecuador and Argentina!

Daniela Peralvo

Daniela, your commitment to helping us out during SSW Quito was just incredible, thank you so much!

Marcela Zetina

Marce, thanks so much for your commitment during SSW Mexico despite the fact that you were not even in the country!

Jorge Jaime

Jorge Jaime, thanks a lot for your great support and help during our first event ever of the tour!

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Hector, thanks so much for the amazing time we had in Brazil! Rafael, you and your team have been an incredible support during our stay in Montevideo! Thanks a lot!

Thank you for you dedicated work, for welcoming us in your beautiful coworking and for your support in making the first Latam Summit happen!

Zahra Ghanbari

Thank you for making us feel at home in Bahrain over our many weeks together! We are so grateful that you included us in your community and gave so much of your personal time and energy into making the events a success. We also loved cruising around with you in Manama, almost as much as the events themselves :) We hope you know you always have a second home in USA and Ukraine!!

Ellie Akhrass

SSW MENA is incredibly grateful for your support. In addition to hosting us at what must be the most beautiful co-working space in the region, we would like to thank you, Houssein, and Hana for the tremendous hospitality and your personal dedication to our events.

Tarek El Kady

Thank you for hosting us at Techne Summit and bringing us to Alexandria for the first time! We were overwhelmed by the caliber of the participants, speakers and the event and wish you continued success in Egypt. We were grateful to be part of such a momentous event!

Chams-Eddine Bezzitouni and Sofiane Chaib

Though only half our team made it to Algeria, we were really grateful for your ongoing support throughout the year! Thank you for organizing such a grand Seedstars competition, and your warmth and hospitality on the ground!

Pouya Kondori and Kaveh Goudarzi

Thank you for all the amazing hospitality in Tehran, organizing the beautiful hotel for us and all the amazing excursions! Tehran, its surrounding mountains, and entrepreneurs are all very impressive. We only wish we could have stayed longer! Thanks a ton for your tremendous efforts in supporting Seedstars for 3 years in a row! We are extremely lucky to have such an ambassador as you in Iran!

Majd Afaghani

Thank you for hosting us in Jordan and showing us an amazing time in your country! It was great fun to be roommates and colleagues! The deep conversations and homecooked meals made the trip so unique, thank you for letting us tag along!

Kenza Lahlou

Thank you for supporting us from the beginning in Morocco! Your energy is contagious.

Amina Zeghal

We are so grateful for the tremendous energy you put into making our first event in Tunisia a success! From the partners and speakers you introduced us to and all the times you hosted us at your home, we are so thankful for your hospitality and enthusiasm towards building the startup ecosystem in Tunis!


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Thank you, Partners! We want to thank every one of our global, regional and local partners. It is thanks to your help that we can impact the world’s startup ecosystems. First of all, we are very grateful to all our Swiss partners, such as Canton de Vaud, the School of Management Fribourg, Presence Suisse and EPFL, thanks to whom we are always able to showcase Switzerland in its most innovative light. Special thanks also goes to Jacobs Foundation, PayU, Intel, Orange and Hublot, for their extensive support across the regions and for awarding such inspirational prizes to the entrepreneurs. We are also grateful for the extensive support of the Swiss Embassies, Swissnex offices and Swiss Chamber of Commerces around the world. The Asia Team would like to thank AYA Bank, BetterStories, BitSpace, Consilium Law Corporation, Collision8, Danone, Digital Ventures, G3 Partners, Google For Entrepreneurs, Hubba, Institute for Information Industry Taiwan, ICTA Sri Lanka, International Trade Center, Indosat Ooredoo, JumpStart Pakistan, Kibar, MAS Holding, Microsoft Innovation Centre Nepal, MindValley, Mitr Phol, Ooredoo, Platform5, Quest Venture Partners, Siam Discovery, SCG, Startup Sri Lanka and XNode, Procomer. The Latin American Tema would like to thank Ahoy Berlin, AIESEC, Banco del Progreso, Bancoldex, BBVA, BID Ecuador, BlaBla car, Falcondo, Grant Thornton, IBM, Ministerio de Producción Argentina, Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable Argentina, NxtpLabs, Presidencia de la Nación Argentina, Phyex, Samsung, Socialab, Start Co-work, Startup Chile, Swissnex, TecLatam, Universidad Católica Santa María La Antigua, Uruguay XXI, Victorinox Peru, VisaNet Perú and Wayra. The Africa team would like to thank Africa 2.0, Africa Innovation Prize, Africa's Talking, Brussels Airlines, CNBC Africa, Deloitte, Entreprenium Foundation,

FALAB, Google, GSMA, ICT Chamber, Inkomoko, Intel, JICA, Jumia Food, Klabs, Mara Group, Mergims, Microsoft4Afrika, Orange, Positivo BHG, Reach for Change, Rwanda Development Board, Safe Motos, The Office Rwanda, Tigo and TRECC/Jacobs Foundation. The CEE / MENA team would like to thank #tceh, Aliiance Group Holding, Amir Watches, ATIC, Azercell, Barama, Business Information Agency, Chasopys, Coworking space, Krizovatka, Geneva Business School, Georgia Innovation and Technology Agency, Google Campus, GSIP, HSE Inc., Huawei, KMF, Microsoft, Microsoft Innovation Center, MOST, Pasha Bank, SUP Accelerator, TechHub, US Embassy in Astana, USAID and Verny Capital for their support in Central and Eastern Europe. The same team would also like to thank 9/10th Accelerator, Ahlia University, Arabnet, Aramex, Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain Polytechnic, Batelco, BIG Orange, Business & Decision, CH9, Cogite, Dauphine University, Enpact, Flat6Labs, in5, Jahesh, KAUST, Magnitt, Microsoft, Ministry of Industry Commerce and Tourism, Oasis500, Rahrovan, Rowad, Saudi Aramco, StartersHub, Tamkeen, Techne Summit, Telnet, The Hive, TURN8, UK Lebanon Tech Hub, Ulysse Trading & Industrial Co. and Wamda for their support in the Middle East and North Africa. None of our 66 winners would have been here without your help and advice, and we are proud to have been able to bring, once again, the top talent emerging markets have to offer. And last, but not least, we would like to thank all the inspiring entrepreneurs who joined us at Seedstars World events. We are so proud of your achievements, determination, and for proving to the world that startups have no borders and that talent truly IS everywhere.

We are honoured to have been a part of your journey. seedstars.com

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Billions of opportunities  

An annual Seedstars report on the state of entrepreneurship in emerging markets