The Korean ecosystem is buzzing with the news that one of their own, translation service Flitto, has this week been crowned as the best startup in the World at the final of the Seedstars World global startup competition. The team at Seedstars spent almost nine months travelling to 20 different cities across the globe to find the best startups in each region. The regional winners were then invited to the grand final, and offered the chance to pitch for $500k investment.
Following the semi-finals in Geneva, 5 startups were selected to pitch to 400 event participants and the jury members at the Final event. The grand winner was Flitto from South Korea, an innovative crowd sourcing translation platform that gives users access to in their native language. The evening also aimed to discover and better understand the investment opportunities in emerging markets. During the event, three speakers took the stage to confront the audience with incredible insights on the startup scene in Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe and Africa.
After a fantastic initial success over the last 12 months, Seedstars World announced that the team will be organizing its second edition in 2014 and this time in 30 cities!
An intensive bootcamp at EPFL & Five Finalists selected during the semi-final at IMD
The regional winners who had been flying from the four corners of the world had the opportunity to participate in an intensive bootcamp at the leading engineering school EPFL. They attended several mentoring and pitching sessions to ensure the highest quality possible for the semi-finals. Mentors included TedX speaker and Jobzipper’s Peter Vogel, Pierre-Alain Masson, Go-Beyond’s Nadine Reichenthal, Fast Forward Advisors Frank Saviane, BBooster’s Fernando Becerra, Leanstart’s Vincenzo Pallotta, Michael Weber from Seedstars, Nestle’s Christianne Bournival, EPFL’s Nettra Pan, Rajdeep Gahir from Ebay, and Timothee Bardet of Wiine.me, a Seedstars backed startup.
The finalists were Kudo from Brazil, SimplePay from Nigeria, Retail Tower from Ghana, Jayride from Australia and finally Flitto from South Korea. “It was very difficult to choose only five startups as the overall quality of the 20 startups was really impressive!” said jury member Raphael Dana.
South Korean startup Flitto: Winner of Seedstars World Competition
The grand winner of the global competition was Flitto, who were awarded the first Seedstars trophy and crowned the “Seedstars World Best Startup 2013”. Flitto’s pitch included a live demo of the product that wowed the audience with its speed and quality. Flitto has over three millions users from 170 countries, with more than 800,000 translators. “Not only did their product prove to be highly scalable and innovative, it already has huge traction in the global market” said Michael Weber, Seedstars World jury member. Pierre-Alain Masson said of the jury’s decision: “Flitto amazed us with their combination of market scalability and true innovation. Their language translation app is truly groundbreaking and I look forward to our future collaboration.” Simon Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Flitto, talked to us about winning the SSW trophy and what it means to him and his company. “After Seedstars World came to Seoul, and crowned us Regional Winner, doors opened for us and we really gained traction. The publicity it created was also fantastic and this win will take us even further.”
The Seoul event was organized by beSUCCESS, in conjunction with the Seedstars World team and attracted a large number of local startups, demonstrating the hunger with which fledgling Korean teams are embracing the challenges and opportunities that lie in expanding their businesses overseas. Flitto were also chosen as one of the top ten Korean startups that showcased their services in front of a high-profile panel of VCs, including David Lee, Jeff Clavier and three generations of the prolific Draper family, at beGLOBAL in Silicon Valley, another event organized by Korea's top tech startup media and global connector, beSUCCESS.
Another opportunity for Asian startups to shine is beLAUNCH, which will gather 3,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and tech luminaries to discuss global entrepreneurship and build valuable business relationships, as well as presenting excellent investment opportunities. This year beLAUNCH will be held in Seoul, May 14 - 15.
Seedstars World 2014/2015
Over the next nine months Julien Berthomier and Nellie Horn will be traveling to 30 cities hosting the city competitions, which include Istanbul, Moscow, Baku, Teheran, Amman, Dubai, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Bangalore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Singapore, Jakarta, Sydney, Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Lagos, Accra, Dakar, Casablanca, Cape Town, Mexico City, Bogota, Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janerio. Seedstars World co-founder Alisee de Tonnac stated “Seedstars World will hold its worldwide competition every year and grow exponentially to all the corners of the world and put all the fast growing startup scenes on the map! Indeed the objective of Seedstars World is to create THE network for quality entrepreneurs around the world and help entrepreneurs, accelerators/incubators, co-working spaces and investors to interact with one another."
The 20 regional winners
Baku -Newo: NeWo users will be able to discover their surrounding simply by scanning items, buildings, words, locations and whatever they want with the camera and sensors of their smartphones.
Accra -Retail Tower: RetailTower, specializes in creating e-commerce marketing software that helps small and medium size online merchants promote their products and drive traffic through online shopping destination sites.
Kigali -FOYO: Foyo is an application that sends daily SMS to subscribers of the composition of a balanced diet.
Lagos -SimplePay: SimplePay is Nigeria’s answer to secure online payment services.
Nairobi -Jooist: Jooist is a social gaming network for mobile phones that enables users to discover games, play with friends, compare scores and share achievements.
Capetown -Gust Pay: Gust is a quick and easy mobile payment experience that work in shops and at music events using smartphones and NFC wristbands.
Bangalore -Hacker Earth: HackerEarth provides a recruiting solution that combines an applicant tracking system with a skill assessment engine to help companies prevent wrong hires and reduce time wasted in interviews.
Bangkok -Chilindo: Online auction platform for the South East Asian market.
Singapore -Dockphp: NovaTap is a browser based tool to code websites visually!
Hong Kong -Vimantra: Vimantra is a cloud video platform that brings interactive, connected and real time experiences for video broadcasting on all internet connected devices.
Beijing -JXJ Technologies: JXJ provides health service through sensor network and back stage platform. Its terminal is a watch-like mobile phone with sensor embedded to monitor health condition based on China’s traditional pulse theory.
Seoul -Flitto: Flitto is an innovative crowdsourcing translation platform that gives you access to all kinds of contents in your native language.
Tokyo -Locarise: Locarise is an analytics service for bricks and mortar shops that collects anonymous Wi-Fi signals emitted by smart phones and aggregate them to deliver foot traffic metrics.
Sydney -Jayride: Jayride is the online marketplace for land passenger transport that aggregates and books transport with private suppliers. The only bookable transport data set available.
Mexico City -PingStamp: PingStamp provides a complete loyalty platform that helps small & medium merchants to understand and reward customers who love their business.
Santiago -Totus Power: Totus Power provides, to schools lacking power in emerging markets, a battery power pack that is 10X cheaper & 6X more powerful. Totus Power is making this a reality by reusing Lithium Ion technology from electric cars.
Buenos Aires -Wideo: Wideo is a “Do It Yourself” online tool to create animated videos and share feelings, ideas, products or knowledge with the world.
Rio de Janeiro -Kudo: Kudo is a mobile language-learning application for children.