February 4, 2014 was the Grand and Final Event of Seedstars World 2013/2014. Flitto, the startup based in Seoul bagged the highly coveted top prize in the first ever global competition for startups in the emerging market. The event was held in Geneva, Switzerland and opened the Lift Conference 2014. Out of the 20 regional champions that participated in the final pitching event, Flitto, blazed with a presentation of its amazing translation app that bested even Google Translation in several respects. It was a triumph primarily because it represented what the emerging market has to offer.
[caption id="attachment_4802" align="alignleft" width="400"] On its first year, Seedstars World competition attracted thousands of daring and innovative startups from all over the world.[/caption]
"Suppose, you want to translate a sign: All you have to do is take a picture and upload it to the app," pitched Simon Lee, Flitto's founder. âIn a minute,â he explained, several translations will be made available, sourced from its three million strong user base. Indeed, it is a translation app for just about anything in any language in a system based in crowd sourced information. The jury was thoroughly impressed: it was cool and innovative but it was functional and feasible at the same time. The team behind the startup was able to demonstrate how the solution goes beyond the usefulness and speed of the service. That it can also be a money-making platform where users can be paid and get paid in using the service. This effectively increased the value proposition tenfold.
[caption id="attachment_4806" align="alignright" width="400"] The 2013 edition of the competition has brought entrepreneurs from 20 different countries back to Switzerland.[/caption]
The four other remarkable finalists that rounded up the top five include: RetailTower, a web solution that help both consumers and online merchants; Jayride, a startup based on a fun and unique travelling solution; SimplePay, a mode of online payment for Africa; and, Kudo Learning, a learning application for children. It was a fierce battle that underpinned the diversity and potential of startups in emerging markets. According to Pierre-Alain Masson, co-founder of Seedstars World, this year's crop of startups and ideas revealed before the world how talent and opportunities do not exclusively exist in the Silicon Valley. Rather, there are gems that are waiting to be tapped in unlikely places such as Baku and Lagos or the recognized promising destinations such as Hong Kong, Santiago and Seoul.
During the past year, Seedstars World held regional competitions in 20 cities all over the world. In cooperation with local partners, accelerators and other stakeholders, thousands of startups participated and were screened. The winners in the regional round were brought to Geneva to compete in the final pitching battle.
Aside from discovering the best business model and startup idea, the competition also aims to become a platform for advancing the interests of startups in the emerging markets. Seedstars World will return on April for the 2014 global startup competition.