On November 22, a large-scale startup community summit - Seedstars Summit CEE 2019 was held at the Fintech Hub of the Astana International Financial Centre.
The summit gathered on its platform over two hundred participants from 20 countries. Following the summit, the most promising startups were selected to participate in the Seedstars Summit 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland, in order to compete for the title of Seedstars Global Winner. The participating teams will have the opportunity to present their idea on the main stage along with more than 60 startups from around the world and win up to $ 500,000 in equity investments.
The event was supported by the Akimat of Nur Sultan, “Astana Innovations”, Fintech Hub of the AIFC, VAUD and local partners: Embassy of Switzerland, “Seedspace Nur-Sultan”, MOST, as well as “Asia Waters”, “Ulker”, “Pascucci”. The venue for the event was Fintech Hub of the Astana International Financial Center.
On November 21, training for startups from the Seedstars team was held, where akim of the city of Nur-Sultan Altai Kulginov delivered a welcoming speech.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the experts who joined us today. It is very crucial for us to support such events. Just yesterday, our delegation spoke at the “Smartcity Congress” in Barcelona. We saw a lot of ideas for digitalization and a lot of new startup projects. We also met in Minsk with a high-tech park. In addition, we agreed to organize a Smart City congress in Nur Sultan next year. As you can see, it is very important for us to create a city in which it would be comfortable to live, carry out business activities and invest. Therefore, the launch of the AIFC is good news for our investors. Here we have the International Arbitration Center - this is a guarantee of protecting the rights of our investors. I wish you good luck in this event, achieving your goals and finding good partners, ”Kulginov said.
As a part of the summit, the Investors Forum was also held, where startups were conducted with more than 250 face-to-face meetings with leading local and international mentors and investors, including Aray Bekembaev (Bolt), Kairat Kaliev (AIFC), Alyona Tkachenko (Nommi), Letizia Monte (Phillips Health Systems), Patrick Bostils (Stage-Co), Joseph de Leon (Gravitas Prime), Arsalan Alfred Nee (AV Ventures), Alexander Bondarev (Credo Ventures), Hambardzum Kagketsyan (SmartGateVC) and others.
On the day of the summit (November 22), startups presented 3-minute presentations on the main stage in front of more than 200 guests - representatives of corporations, investors, enthusiasts from Central and Eastern Europe and Asia. The summit was also attended by speakers from global companies, business incubators and venture funds Espree Devora, Richard Paul Gaultier from Amazon (USA), Jonas Schorr from Urban Impact (Germany), Ramil Mukhoriapov from ChocoFamily (Kazakhstan), Daria Egorina from CleverBooks (Ireland ) Rudradeb Mitra from EFMA and Google Developers (Poland).
As a result, the jury selected 8 winners among the most promising startups from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Lingwing (Georgia), Biometric (Kazakhstan), iHotel LLC (Mongolia), StudyFree (Russia), FOM (Uzbekistan), Jeff (Latvia), Velvioo (Armenia), Skyworker (Ukraine).
“We practice in biometric modification by face and by fingerprints. In particular, we are engaged in microcredits, money transfers, currency exchange and other financial transactions ... We have become one of the eight startups that have passed to the next stage. And now we are all flying to Switzerland. This is a chance to compete for 500,000$ and the first place, but much what is more important is the direct relation with investors. For three days of the summit, we received interesting feedback from mentors and one of the Philippine investors, his name is Joseph, was very interested in our project, we will conduct a dialogue with him, I hope that we will succeed in developing this business in the Philippines. Another investor from Brazil and one more investor with African ties were also interested in us. Our project is already working in Almaty, we sent two devices to Bishkek. Last August, we had 15,000 users. Currently we have a monthly profit of about 10 million tenge. Now we are negotiating with Kazakhstan Temir Zholy. We also have a project with Kazpost and banks. We automate processes through the terminal: this saves space rent and human labor. I haven’t met any analogues to our startup,” - said Azamat Galymzhanov, technical director of the Kazakhstan Biometric project.
“We are so proud to have with us startups from 15 countries with such innovative ideas and contagious energy. This Summit week was the opportunity for them to acquire qualitative knowledge from our dedicated mentors and confront their business models with investors. Months of work leading up to quite an experience, reuniting an international community around the CEE tech scene,” - Eugenia Shevchenko, the Summit Manager.
According to the organizers of the Seedstars, Kazakhstan was chosen as the final stop for the Seedstars 2019 World Competition for several reasons: state support for the healthy growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, rapid digitalization of the country and development of technology, and, last but not least, an active entrepreneurial community. In addition, Kazakhstan is becoming less dependent on its oil and gas resources and is seeking to explore alternative ways of carrying out business and stimulating the economy. Proved by the state program “Digital Kazakhstan”, which is aimed to develop a holistic digital infrastructure and investing in the training of highly qualified specialists in the field of technology.