Seedstars Expansion Program to Emerging Markets 2018: a merge of two worlds


After a successful experience last year, the Seedstars Expansion Program to emerging markets is expanding. This year, Vaud-based startups are invited to an open competition that will allow up to 10 of them to go on a fully-sponsored 4-day program to three Seedstars Regional Summits in Perú, Côte d’Ivoire and Thailand.

The Seedstars Expansion Program is an application-only opportunity supported by the Office for Economic Affairs and Innovation (SPEI), in collaboration with Innovaud, CVCI and Lausanne Région, which allows early-stage startups based in Vaud and with a focus in new technologies as well as a strong interest in reaching out emerging markets, to enable and implement their expansion in fast-growing economies. This year, all costs of the participation, including the 4-days trip to the Seedstars Regional Summits, are funded by the partners in the initiative.

Selected startups will have the chance to participate in one of the three Seedstars Regional Summits: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (November 30, 2018); Bangkok, Thailand (November 30, 2018); and Lima, Peru (December 6, 2018) and to engage in various activities such as a bootcamp, an investor forum, the Summit and a day to explore the local startup ecosystem. Selected startups will also be offered the opportunity to participate to the upcoming Seedstars Summit 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Startups must apply online here.

August 31st – deadline for applications (finalists will be notified mid-September)

September 10th – preselection

September 20th – finalists will pitch in in Lausanne, in front of a jury with 3 members (SPEI, CVCI and Seedstars)

October 15th – winners announcement

Switzerland and startups: the perfect fit

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It is known that Switzerland is, by many metrics, the most innovative country in the world and Vaud is contributing a lot to this status quo. A quarter of the 100 top Swiss startups is based in the Canton, including 6 of the 10 top best ones in 2017, as well as about 2,000 high-tech companies. Vaud also ranked 1st in fundraising, for the 4th consecutive year. Vaud-based startups raised CHF 1.2bn over the past 5 years, of which CHF 298 million in 2017 and, most importantly, the 14 biggest startups based in Vaud have created about 180 jobs.

The Office for Economic Affairs and Innovation (SPEI) has contributed about CHF 26 million since 2012 in financial incentives to support startups/SMEs in their economic development. For Raphäel Conz, Head of the SPEI,supporting Seedstars is a great way to share experiences with some of the brightest entrepreneurs from emerging markets. Taking our startups abroad to fast growing scenes is a relevant way to inspire them by learning from people who are successfully building ideas to tackle real life problems and to expand their businesses to the most promising markets in the world, in terms of consumption and growth.”

Back in 2017 and following the latest Seedstars Summit edition, the SPEI and Seedstars had already joined forces and invited 16 startups based in Vaud to become a part of an immersive experience in emerging markets. On that scope, 7 startups went to two Seedstars Regional Summits: LATAM (Mexico) and Africa (Mozambique). Jean Baptiste Heinzer, from the Board of Directors of Swiss Fresh Water and who took part in the Seedstars World Regional Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, said that “the conference was a high point in terms of meetings and networking. It was really interesting for us to be confronted with present and future entrepreneurial Africa, with visions so different from those we’re used to.” The experiment was a success and the partners decided to continue the collaboration by inviting another round of Vaud-based startups to participate at the Seedstars World 2018 tour.

“For Seedstars, talent is everywhere. We believe that if we want to have an impact on billions of lives and be serious in our mission we need to make talents, ideas and people grow and go beyond their own borders. This partnership with SPEI, in collaboration with Innovaud, CVCI and Lausanne Région is the perfect opportunity to jump into a “merge of both worlds” initiative with our strongest partners “at home”, whom have been supportive of us and our mission for long”, explains Alisée de Tonnac, CEO of Seedstars

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