Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes brought its Ukrainian round to a successful close during Seedstars CEE Summit.
The event took place on December 7 in Bel Etage, and 12 selected startups were invited to present their ideas in front of the international jury panel.
The local winner, EVE.calls, conversational intelligent agent for business capable to substitute call centres, was selected the best startup in Ukraine for its disruptive solution. “It was a great challenge for us to create a human-like voice bot. We did about 1.8 million calls during last year. And the results were pretty impressive: most of the customers didn’t realize they were talking to robot,” explains Founder of EVE.calls Oleksiy Skrypka. As a part of the prize, EVE.calls will be participating at Seedstars Summit, taking place in Switzerland in April 2018, a weeklong training program with the opportunity to meet the other 65 winners, as well as investors and mentors from around the world. Traditionally, the final day of the Summit will be dedicated to pitching in front of audience of 1000 attendees, with the possibility of winning up to the USD 500K equity investment.
bNesis with its platform that streamlines API integrations and teaches banks “to talk” to eWallets, scoring, payment and banking systems, came second, and Senstone, stylish wearable for capturing spontaneous ideas on the go based on voice-to-text technology, grabbed the last spot in the top 3. The other startups invited to pitch were VRnet.io, NOSO Inc., TalentScan, Vernu, Hexwix, TvStyle, BotMakers, IRAengine, Docsify.
12 startups pitched in front of a prestigious jury: Ali Karabey (Managing Director, 212), Stephane Gantchev (Partner, LAUNCHub Ventures), Fredrik Andersson (Investment Manager, Seedstars), Igor Semenov (Partner, TA Ventures), Zamir Shukhov (CEO & Partner, Global Venture Alliance), Alexey Mas (IT Digital Advisor & Head of Innovation Lab, Kyivstar).
9 startups from CEE and Central Asia showcased their projects and how they can impact their region’s development by leveraging innovative technologies: WakeMeUp (Azerbaijan), SatisMeter (Czech Republic), TataTunga (Mongolia), Clockster (Kazakhstan), BabyMoon (Moldova), RehabGlove (Georgia), Chessify (Armenia), Marvelmind Robotics (Russian Federation). They got crash-tested by the jury panel that included Cristobal Alonso (CEO, Startup Wise Guys), Olena Boytsun (Investment Lead for CEE region, Omidyar Network) and Marko Srsan (Program Manager | Techstars London, Techstars).
Some of the startups were nominated by the Summit partners: Microsoft named RehabGlove and Clockster as the Best Innovation startups, TechChill & Startup Wise Guys chose Docsify and Senstone to have the Best pitch. LAUNCHub Ventures presented 2 tickets per team to Digitalk conference in Bulgaria for Docsify and Eve.calls. And Kyivstar gave tickets to the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona to Senstone team.
The Summit also featured speakers from global companies, business incubators and VC funds: Suresh Patel (Managing Partner, Iseo Ventures), Dmitry Shymkiv (Deputy Head, Presidential Administration of Ukraine), Christoph Späti (Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor, Swiss Embassy in Ukraine), Max Gurvits (Director for CEE, CIS & MENA, Cross Border Angels), Patrick Bosteels (Founder, Stage-Co), Andreas Slettvoll (Co-Founder, CHOOOSE), Zamir Shukhov (CEO & Partner, Global Venture Alliance), Alena Kalibaba (Ambassador for Ukraine, Seedstars), Olga Polishuk (COO, Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture & Design), Valentina Milanova (Venture Associate, Founders Factory), Hans Mies (Partner, KPMG), Torben Majgaard (CEO & Founder, Ciklum), Yana Krimpe (Founder & CEO, B.EST Solutions), Egita Polanska (Managing Director – Riga, Startup Wise Guys), Jonathan Keane (Contributor, Tech.eu), Stephen King (Partner, Omidyar Network), Igor Ovcharenko (Business Developer, Seedstars), Pavel Bogdanov (General Partner, Almaz Capital), Viktor Tsykunov (ISV Lead in CEE, Microsoft Ukraine), Olena Boytsun (Investment Lead for CEE region, Omidyar Network), Bindi Karia (Innovation Expert + Advisor, Super Connector, Bindi Karia), Lloyd Waldo (Community Manager, StartupYard), Sara Usinger (Entrepreneur in Residence, Spark BA).
Igor Ovcharenko, Business Developer at Seedstars and Seedstars CEE Summit organizer, announced that in 2018 they will open a new coworking and co-living space in Kyiv for startups aimed at developing the people’s lives in the region – Seedspace, that will join the network of such spaces all over the world.
Prior to the Conference, Seedstars World hosted a 2-day invite-only Bootcamp, where 21 startups had over 300 one-to-one meetings with world-class local and international mentors and investors. During these days, the most active technology and business ecosystem players from Europe and Central Asia participated in Civic Tech Workshop, working on new solutions in the civil sector, Investor Forum that brought representatives from 212, 1991 Open Data Incubator, Almaz Capital, Balkan Unlimited, Black Pearl VC, Boomtown Accelerator, Cross Border Angels, Digital Future, Firstminute.Capital, Founders Factory, GVA, Imperious Group, Intel Capital, Khazar Ventures, LAUNCHub Ventures, Omidyar Network, Startup Wise Guys, TA Ventures, Techstars, Tera.vc, TMT Investments, UAngel, Venture Club, Wannabiz, Logitech, Luxoft etc., and Game Changers Forum powered by Smartup Network, that contained roundtable group discussions led by Seedstars World Ambassadors dedicated to various topics, as for example, how to build sustainable startup ecosystems in emerging markets.
Seedstars CEE Summit was hosted by local ambassador organisation Creative Space Chasopys, with support of innovation partner Kyivstar and technology partner Microsoft Ukraine, in strategic partnership with Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, in order to impact startup ecosystem in Ukraine and CEE. The event was also supported by Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, Luxoft, and the global partners: Amazon Web Services, Fribourg School of Management and TRECC.