Seedstars World Awards Next Generation Ethiopia’s Tech Enthusiasts

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Addis Ababa, August 23, 2017- On the global scale, startups could mean the next big thing as they contribute to innovation, creating job opportunities, and economic growth. Growing a startup could be really challenging, processing on a thin line of trials and errors, and yet, we have seen many making their way up to be the largest, most successful companies taking over the others and even branching out into bridges for others to follow the lead.

Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes brought this year’s pre-selection rounds to an end and selected seven promising tech startups to pitch at the Seedstars Addis Ababa pitching event that took place at Iceaddis yesterday August 21st, 2017.

On a regional level, Seedstars World is working very closely with Enel Green Power to source the most innovative business models in the energy sectors and ones that are fostering socio-economic development in rural villages in Africa. Up to five best startups in this sector will be invited to an exclusive RES4Africa networking event taking place later this November in Nairobi and compete for an Africa Energy Prize which consists of a financial contribution and a three-month acceleration program for a total value of up to $50,000.

The top startups to advance to the final event for 2017 were:

LangBot: A gamified and AI powered language teaching chatbot

Meda Messenger: An app that will let you chat and transfer money from a single chat screen.

SemayDocs: SemayDocs is a platform that enables a business to digitize and effectively manage documents through automating paper based processes.

smsCrush: Smscrush uses SMS notifications to deliver news and provide services to its users.

SRE: Siree is a device that brings the power of online education to the offline world.

ZayRide: ZayRide is a smartphone app that provides on-demand taxi, ambulance, and delivery services.

The startups pitched their project in front of a jury comprised of Marc Lepage, Africa Knowledge and Innovation advisor at UNDP Ethiopia, Eleni Gabre-madhin, Former CEO at Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and Founder of BlueMoon, Shem Asefaw, Entrepreneur & Angel Investor at ShemTECH Ventures, Eyob Tolina, Director at Schulze Global, and Fanny Dauchez, Associate for Africa at Seedstars World.

“The presentations were interesting but we were expecting to see more original ideas designed to help the society. We need more presentations”, Eleni who was one of the judges said.

“More young people with useful, unique as well as refreshing ideas should come forward. However, what Ice Addis is doing is encouraging”.

Iceaddis was jam-packed with entrepreneurs, Tech enthusiasts and aspiring students of the field having the dream of taking the platform in the coming competitions.

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Last year, in 2016, there were 11 startups selected to participate at the Seedstars World pitching event with the list completed by agri-tech startup Abithrone, taxi app ZayRide, software provider MelaHub, book distribution platform  Addistag Systems, talent finder Stavimer, and events marketplace Hulubet. Hulubet the startup that provides a highly customizable online event aggregator platform, providing a wide-ranging variety of local events across multiple platforms won the competition to represent Ethiopia.

This year, out of the seven selected and six startups that pitched their ideas, Nathnael Gossaye, Founder of LangBot won the competition.

LangBot is a gamified language learning service, where users earn points, badges, level up and compete to get on the leaderboard by learning. Subscribe to daily reminders, review words using a spaced repetition algorithm, translate sentences, and chat with a bot to practice any language. LangBot currently teaches French, but the chat extension can translate to and from 15 languages.

“For the upcoming year, I plan to focus on growing the app through better partnerships and well-organized staff. I want to build my company either in France or Canada where I can work with potential partners.” Nathnael commented.

A graduate of BSc, Computer science from Addis Ababa University, Nathnael has been working as a developer for different companies. He has won different competitions internationally and locally ever since including the Facebook Messenger Bot Challenge of this year under Productivity and Utility.

He also took the lead in the 1776 Challenge Cup, a worldwide tournament for the most promising, innovative startups to win prizes, make connections, and share their vision on a global stage hosted by Iceaddis in partnership. This year, 1776 is partnering with 75 cities.

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