Seedstars World Tour Georgia: Winners Announced

This past weekend, the Seedstars World Tour was held in Georgia. It was the competition’s fifth year in the country. Seedstars, a Switzerland-based private initiative, aims to impact emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship.

They currently work in emerging ecosystems in 75 countries in five regions and have been operating the Seedstars World Tour since 2013. Through the international competition, Seedstars aims to educate entrepreneurs and identify the best talents and fresh ideas.

The organization’s newfound emphasis on education this year included the ‘How to Get Investment Ready’ bootcamp for selected startups on Saturday, June 29. Approximately 30 of Georgia’s most promising young startups attended the bootcamp, which was designed to better prepare them to attract and grow investments.

The bootcamp was led by mentors and entrepreneurs who shared their experiences with their younger peers, organized around several key topics, and divided by sector. On Sunday, June 30, the 10 strongest startups, selected as finalists after the bootcamp, traveled to Borjomi to pitch their businesses and vision to potential investors within the World Tour competition.

All 10 finalists who pitched in Borjomi received access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness program – one to three months of free access to an online program that allows startups to plug into a network of peers and investors and watch a library of helpful webinars on hard skills for entrepreneurs.

Startups eligible for participation must have shown a minimum viable product, that they have raised less than 500,000 USD in funding, and that they can demonstrate the potential for regional and global scalability. The competition was open to startups in any field. The major of contestants worldwide during the Seedstars World Tour are in the technology sector, including financial, agricultural, educational, healthcare, and energy-related technologies.

The first place winner of this year’s competition is LingWing, an interactive online platform for language learning. Seedstars called the company’s idea “innovative” and “sustainable.” Second place went to Echolize (Influence Georgia), for its fully automatized influencer marketing platform for searching, negotiating and contracting influencers, while CARU took the third spot for its innovative solution for car repair services that is 100X faster, 100% less stressful and up to 70% cheaper than traditional garages. The other finalists were: Cargon, betobe, Construct Ge, Gymstinct, LiveCaller, Systemjet, and WELY.

The 10 startups pitched their business ideas to a jury of Georgia’s business elite, including Aieti Kukava, CEO of JSC Alliance Group Holding, Giorgi Danelia, Deputy Executive Director of the Partnership Fund, R. Michael Cowgill, President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Malkhaz Dzadzua Investment Committee Member, Young Entrepreneurs School, and Giorgi Tuskia Commercial Director of Orient Logic.

LingWing’s prize, along with three months of access to the Investment Readiness program, is a trip to Kazakhstan in December to attend the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Seedstars regional competition. The five-day event will be primarily focused on learning, including subject-focused boot camps and working with mentors. The startups who are then deemed ready, from each of Seedstars’ five global regions, will go on to the global summit in Switzerland where they will pitch in front of investors to win a grand prize of $500,000 in equity investment, among other awards. Even the startups who are not invited to the global summit will have the opportunity to meet with investors at the regional competition.

Seedstars’ partners in Georgia this year include Alliance Group Capital, USAID, the Business Information Agency, the Georgian Venture Capital Association, Borjomi Likani, the Partnership Fund, Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency, and Startup Georgia. The judges for this year’s pitch competition in Borjomi will be: Agahuseyn Ahmadov, Giorgi Danelia, Deputy Executive Director of the Partnership Fund, R. Michael Cowgill, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, and Aieti Kukava, CEO of JSC Alliance Group Holding.

The competition also featured Lasha Gorgoshidze, Co-Founder of STYX, last year’s winner, and Sandro Kandelaki, Manager of the public business accelerator Spark, who spoke on ways to develop an innovative startup ecosystem in Georgia.

The local Ambassador of Seedstars World, Aieti Kukava, organized the event with Seedstars World’s local partner Alliance Group Holding. Additional support was provided by USAID, G4G, Partnership Fund, GVCA, BIA, StartUp Georgia and media partners.

The Seedstars World Tour is continuing on now to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Agahuseyn Ahmadov, Regional Manager for CEE at Seedstars, said, “We are extremely happy that we met that many promising startups in Georgia and can’t wait to hear their success stories in the near future. We are very excited to come back to Tbilisi next year!”

By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: Seedstars

04 July 2019 17:42