On December 12th, the 9 winning startups from the Seedstars competitions across the MENA region joined the Seedstars MENA Summit for an intensive 2-day boot-camp on the 12th and 13th of December. The startups took part in tailored workshops and meetings with industry leading mentors in preparation for representing their countries at Seedstars Summit in Switzerland to compete for up to USD 1 million in equity investment.
On December 14th, nine of the best startups in the MENA region took the Seedstars MENA stage to present their developments to a diverse crowd of entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and ecosystem enablers from across the Region. Also taking the stage were world renowned keynote speakers and knowledgeable panelists, sharing their experience and expertise with a curious audience.
Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes brought its MENA tour to a successful close with the Seedstars MENA Summit. The event took place on December 14 in CH9 Corporate Hub, where 9 selected startup winners of local events from around the region were invited to present their ideas to a diverse audience.
9 startups from the MENA region showcased their projects and how they can impact the region’s development by leveraging innovative technologies: WNNA (Bahrain), Widebot (Egypt), 3oun (Jordan), General Senses (Kuwait), Vision in Motion (Lebanon), Hooplacar (Morocco), Favizone (Tunisia), Paym.es (Turkey) and Junkbot (UAE). As part of their prize, all 9 winning startups will be participating at Seedstars Summit, taking place in Switzerland in April 2018, a weeklong training program with the opportunity to meet the other 65 winners, as well as investors and mentors from around the world. Traditionally, the final day of the Summit will be dedicated to pitching in front of 1000 attendees, with the possibility of winning up to the USD 1 million equity investment.
At the end of the summit, day prizes were given to some of the startups. Hooplacar, the Moroccan startup was awarded $4000 worth of legal services from Al Tamimi & Company, a leading law firm with offices across the MENA region.
The Summit also featured speakers from Governmental initiatives, global companies, business incubators and VC funds: Kamran Elahian (Innovation Catalyst, Global Innovation Catalyst LLC), Amal Dokhan (Director, BABSON Global Center), Hasan Haider (Venture Partner, 500 Startups), Alisee de Tonnac (CEO, Seedstars World), Simon Galpin (Managing Director, Bahrain Economic Development Board), Judith E. Baker (Economic Officer, U.S. Embassy Manama), Ahmed Fayed (Executive Chairman, General Senses), Sinan Khatib (founder, Sandwich Guys), Dr. Sana Farid (Co-Founder/ CEO, Munfarid), Walid El Saadany (Managing Director, Otlob), Mijbel AlQattan (Venture Partner, Savour Ventures), Zeid Husban (Co-Founder/CEO, POSRocket), Muna Al Shidhani (Project Manager, Sas Center for Virtual Reality), Pakiza Abdulrahman (Manager, Bahrain Economic Development Board), Mohamed Altawash (Chairman, CH9) and Alexander Wiedmer (Partner, Iris Capital Management).
Alisee de Tonnac, CEO at Seedstars, announced that in 2018 they will open new coworking and co-living space in Cairo and Casablanca for startups aimed at developing the people’s lives in the region – Seedspace, that will join the network of such spaces all over the world.
Prior to the Conference, Seedstars World hosted a 2-day invite-only Bootcamp, where 12 startups had over 100 one-to-one meetings with world-class local and international mentors and investors. The Investor Forum brought representatives from 500 Startups, WAED – Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center, Raed ventures, Vision Ventures, Oman Technology Fund, Iris Capital, Financial Horizon Group, Propeller Inc, M2G Innovation, Daal.io, Savour Ventures and other Angel Investors from across the region.
Seedstars MENA Summit was hosted by local ambassador organization CH9 Corporate Hub, with the support of main partners including Startup Bahrain, Bahrain EDB, US Embassy in Manama and, in strategic partnership with Tamkeen. The event was also supported by our global partners: Amazon Web Services, Enel, Merck, and TRECC.
Some Quotes From Attendees
“For the past year, these have been the best quality start-ups I’ve seen in one place” Hussain Almarhoon – Managing Partner at Financial Horizon Group
“This was the first event in my start-up history that was actually effective” Wael El-Ahmady – Founder & CEO of General Senses
“Outstanding job and great execution!” Craig Smith – CEO of Dhahran techno Valley Co.
“Seedstars exceeded my expectations. Usually, I don’t expect much from relatively small events, but Seedstars was efficient, a number of very relevant startups and investors.” Manaf Asfour – Propeller Inc.
“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb
Seedstars is a Swiss-based group of companies which has the goal of impacting people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Seedstars connects stakeholders within these ecosystems, builds companies from scratch with public and private partners and invests in high growth startups. Through different activities of startup scouting, company building and acceleration programs, the team has now access to entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, corporations and government officials from 80+ countries. The Seedstars group includes:
- Seedstars World, a worldwide startup competition, sourcing in 80+ emerging markets the top talent from these regions
- Seedstars Growth, a three month virtual acceleration program
- Seedspace, a network of coworking and co-living spaces now in 25+ countries
- Seedstars Academy, a six months program to train aspiring local entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses, currently running in Egypt, Nigeria and Ivory Coast