Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, came to Kazakhstan on December 3rd, 2016 to host the inaugural Seedstars CEE Regional Summit at KAZGUU University in Astana.

The Regional Summit was the culmination of Seedstars’ work to develop the CEE entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the year. The event brought together startups from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia, Iran, Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Moldova to pitch in front of an audience of 300 investors, media, and entrepreneurial representatives. All of the participants were the winners from their respective countries and following the CEE Regional Summit they will travel to the Global Summit in Switzerland in April to represent the region as they compete with 65 startup winners from around the world for investments and prizes over $500K.

The CEE Regional Summit will commence with a bootcamp for the participating startups and culminate with a Conference and Pitch event on December 3rd that will feature the startup pitches, keynotes, and panel discussions that will engage a range of topics and ideas pertinent to entrepreneurs in the region. The conference will showcase success stories of entrepreneurs who scaled globally and look into the success factors that enable entrepreneurs to compete successfully on the world stage.

Before the Conference, Seedstars World hosted a 2-day invite-only Bootcamp at Rixos Borovoe for over a dozen startups (all winners from the 2016 Seedstars World competition across the region) who worked with world-class local and international mentors on improving their business models, honing their growth strategy and mastering the investor pitch. Mentors and investors will came from the USA, Russia, Belarus, Europe and the broader CEE region. Also, this year’s program will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to be selected for the Seedstars Growth program, a seed investment that comes together with a four-month acceleration program for early stage startups.

“We are eager to host the inaugural CEE Regional Summit and bring together startups, entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem players to help increase connections across the continent and accelerate the growth of CEE-born global businesses, says Tiffany Obser, Senior Associate for CEE and MENA at Seedstars World, “We are very inspired by the dynamism of the entrepreneurs and the breadth and sophistication of the businesses we’ve seen coming out of the CEE Region.”

CEE Startups

The participating startups came from a wide range of sectors: Treepex from Georgia is a green loyalty program offering to plant a tree in your name if you buy a products through the program, Kvotter from Azerbaijan is quote sharing mobile social network, for readers to instantly stock and share the quotes from any source, by app, from Russia is a first virtual bank with prepaid card and AI chatbot in Telegram messenger which allows to manage money via chat, Earlyone from Armenia is a unique solution that helps millions of businesses save up to $30K yearly and reduces customers’ waiting time spent in the line, 2nate from Iran is the leading crowdfunding platform which helps social activists and entrepreneurs to raise money for their goals in Iran, MyStay is a second place winner from Czech Republic — the app which helps to deal with the communication highway between hotels and guests, enhancing the relationship between them, boosts revenue and better ratings, Glash from Ukraine is a first video stabilization technology that runs on GoPro and smartphones, Fentury from Moldova is a personal finance advisor app that makes you understand your money and improve your future planning.

Startups from Kazakhstan

The best startups from Kazakhstan took part in the event as well: Cloudmaker with web portal allowing residents to easily manage housing service requests and evaluate quality of work, Diodey is a smart LED lighting which allows people to have quality lighting, to control it by smartphones and save the cost of electricity up to 80%, IRC “Almaty” makes Smart Sleep to help people sleep deeper, faster and better, Smart Pay is a payment system for online and offline merchants, Power WiFi is a unique power router with virtual SIM which helps to keep phones fully charged and get the best data plans across the world, Smart Satu is an online ordering platform for shops & suppliers with features for order sending, inventory management & analytics, Kelin is anonymous social network for future and current wives, Giftsensor is a gift recommendation service, Piroq is a service evaluating the driving behaviour and gives discounts from insurance and other companies for good driving, and Smart Shelf Solutions helps to control the points of sale and improve results without leaving the office.

The Seedstars Global Summit features industry-specific tracks in parallel to the general Seedstars World competition prize, similar to the 500,000 USD travel-specific prize awarded at last year’s summit. The Jacobs Foundation is also offering a grant of 50,000 CHF for product customization or a pilot project in the francophone market. The past winning participants of Seedstars World have raised over 33M USD together cumulatively, providing employment to over 885 employees around the world.

“Seedstars World is a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs pulling the spotlight from Silicon Valley and Western Europe. We honestly think the best way to have an impact in emerging countries is by investing and promoting entrepreneurship” explains Alisee de Tonnac, Seedstars World CEO. “We look forward to seeing how the different startup scenes have evolved in a year and the new startups in the country.”