Seedstars International is an early and seed stage fund active since 2017. Seedstars has invested in 67 technology ventures in 32 countries across the emerging markets. Apart from capital, portfolio companies get access to our vast network of other entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem builders. Additionally, each investee is invited to be part of the unique Seedstars Growth Program.
The program runs for three months and each startup gets paired up with an internationally renowned growth mentor that helps them implement a growth team and process which so far has led to 61% of companies receiving further funding and average annual revenue growth of over 100%.
We talked to our team about the newest batch of investments and asked why these companies managed to attract their attention in these unprecedented times.
Ando is a cloud kitchen startup in Kenya building high-quality food brands.
The team behind Ando is creating digital food brands and reshaping the future of the food & beverage industry, which took a massive hit last year when restaurants around the world closed down due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, online food delivery is expected to have a 14% year on year growth so restaurants will have to adapt to the demand.
Ando is creating food brands for the digital age with menus optimized for delivery, prep time that allows fast dispatch and packaging design to retain the taste profile. They are also working on centralising the supply chain and building a multi-brand kitchen. Their first food brand Khan’s is a hit in Kenya and has been ranked as one of the best culinary experiences in the country.
Ando’s ability to create a high quality experience for users is a result of the team’s combined experience in rapidly scaling digital ventures and the food and beverage space – including c-suite responsibilities at Java House, one of Kenya’s largest coffee shop chains. The team has shown strong traction and the ability to scale without sacrificing on quality.
JinglePay aims to provide financial services to both the unbanked and digital native populations in the MENA region through improved customer experience and tailored features.
Banks have been a staple financial institution for over a century, however almost a third of the world’s adult population remains unbanked. In the MENA region in particular, only 52 % of men and 35 % of women have a bank account. This is also the largest gender gap of any region in the world.
Neobanks could be the solution that break down the barriers and make it easier to open a bank account, request a loan or similar. These are online financial institutions, offering lower fees and a more flexible user experience. Although neobanks are still new to the emerging markets, the global market is expected to hit $394.6 billion by 2026.
Jingle Pay is striving to democratize banking and payments in the UAE. They offer accessible and transparent conventional banking, but also Islamic, shariah certified, services. In fact, they are the first money service business to offer its customers a hybrid model where customers can choose between opening an Islamic account or the conventional alternative. The founding team of Jingle Pay is phenomenal with a c-suite of seasoned financial industry professionals who have launched and managed large-scale retail banking initiatives at companies such as Citibank, Western Union, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Tameer Microfinance, Baringa and PWC.
A simplified digital platform for small restaurants allowing them to advertise and sell food online.
OlaClick is a FoodTech startup targeting restaurants ready to digitise their sales channels. Their solution allows restaurants, regardless of their size, to receive orders via WhatsApp, track various sales data, get feedback from customers, offer promotions and much more, all without paying commission. Unlike traditional players, OlaClick is targeting the 80% of food orders that are still being done via phone calls and is currently used by over 20,000 restaurants across Latin America. Our experience with the founders, which included an ex-Seedstars World Local winner, as well as their incredible ability to rapidly scale to thousands of restaurants across Latin America drove our decision to partner with the team and accompany them in their journey.
As with any industry, technology has helped food and beverage to keep up with the demands of the modern customer. Even if the concept of food delivery has been around for over 25 years, restaurants will have to update their food supply chain and logistic systems in order to be profitable. Nevertheless, with a predicted year-over-year growth of an average 25 % by 2024, and almost 2 billion potential customers, the market opportunity is huge.
Cárbula is an end-to-end marketplace to sell and buy used cars in Latin America.
This startup with a presence in Chile and Argentina has developed a platform dedicated to selling and buying used cars. Every car on the website goes through a rigorous mechanical and visual inspection in which over 200 factors are analyzed. Cárbula’s marketplace offers an easy and secure buying process as well as the best value for money on the market. The team’s clear value proposition, to sell cars at a higher price point than at a traditional agency and within 20 days, unlocks important value for sellers allowing them to capitalize on the equity of an important asset. Carbula’s has proven their ability to rapidly expand to new cities and their vision is to cover 30 major Latin America cities.
Even though used cars make up the majority of car sales (four to one ratio), an overwhelming majority of people still buy cars in person. However, poor market practices and the pandemic have shifted buying habits towards online sales and e-commerce. With a predicted 275.3 million used car units sold by 2030 there is a big market opportunity for challengers in this space to satisfy customer needs. This opportunity is particularly exciting in Emerging Markets as the LAMEA (Latin America, Middle East and Africa) region is expected to experience the highest growth globally in used car units sold.
MyRobin is a workforce management hub providing companies with on-demand blue-collar workers while addressing retention issues through benefits and training.
IT and other digital jobs have been highly sought after on the job market. This has influenced changes in the workforce structure in Asia, but has also contributed towards a shortage of manual and mechanical workers which affected large manufacturing hubs like China. Additionally, workers in Asia have to combat poor working conditions and employment vulnerability which affects more than 900 million men and women.
MyRobin connects companies with over 2 million workers in Indonesia. Their platform filters through the applicants according to their work experience, location, specific skills and matches them to short-term roles where they can excel. MyRobin manages all aspects of the company-employee relationship allowing them to leverage data-driven processes to upskill and incentivize workers to deliver high-quality performance. The company serves major organisations including Lazada, Shipper, Shopee, Anteranja and Dagangan.
Showcase provides online social sellers with a full suite of services from product sourcing, content management, technology & catalogue, warehousing & operations, logistics, marketing and payments.
Showcase uses the concept of social selling to connect brands with sellers, making the process easier and more transparent on both sides. Social selling is a technique that allows individuals to identify prospects and use their existing social connections to drive sales and earn commissions. Where does it all happen- social media of course!
Using the Showcase app makes the process of finding reliable brands easy and the startup handles the logistics such as storage, shipping and payments thus making it possible for anyone to start a business with no investment. Given the fact that there are over 3 billion people on social media and that salespeople engaged in social selling outperfowm peers that are not social selling by 78%, enabling platforms such as Showcase have a huge opportunity to unlock value for all stakeholders in the ecosystem. With a team of highly experienced e-commerce entrepreneurs and executives Showcase is well positioned to set the standard in this market.
Omnibiz is a digital distribution platform connecting FMCG manufacturers to small scale retailers.
While global retailers have been making their way towards emerging markets, the small and medium sized local businesses have been surprisingly resilient, especially those that are selling essential goods. Street vendors, kiosks, neighbourhood shops and smaller supermarkets are integral parts of communities across the world.
Omnibiz believes that local businesses should have access to the high-quality logistics infrastructure that global retailers leverage to quickly gain market share. They have worked with thousands of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises connecting them to retailers and distributors of FMCG goods. Through their platform these small shops can digitally order inventory to be delivered directly at their shop, saving them costly trips to markets and helping them improve margins. At the same time, Omnibiz is able to leverage this relationship to digitise customers and provide important data insights to suppliers. Their solution has been recognized by other investors as well and they have recently raised $3 million dollars in seed round to expand to other markets.
Oraan is digitising saving committees (ROSCAs) as a way to onboard women into the financial system in Pakistan creating the first female-focussed neobank in the region.
There are few topics that make people as uncomfortable as money. Talking about money is often discouraged whether it is with friends and family or co-workers, and financial literacy is generally low with most people only having basic knowledge of financial concepts and behaviours. Additionally, due to low wages and high costs of living investing and saving are a distant thought for many. This is especially relevant to women who are often excluded from the formal economy and among the 740 million women working in informal economies. According to a World Bank report, only around 11 % of women in Pakistan have bank accounts and access to financial services.
Oraan is taking a traditional concept, saving committees, and digitizing it. Saving committees usually involve a group of people coming together for a predetermined period of time and each person contributes a certain amount of money towards a pool of funds. By allowing individuals to join digital groups Oraan can give unbanked individuals access to other financial services, such as e-wallets, and can help them create a credit record to improve access to financial services. They have matched thousands of people with committees and helped them save up for education, starting their own businesses, buying a car and much more. The platform currently works with over 9,000 users and has a large waiting list of 300,000 potential users ready to join them as they scale.
These companies are tackling some of the burning issues in their respective markets. To stay up to date with their progress sign up for our newsletter. To get in touch with the companies please email email@example.com.