Seedstars World Fund: Crowdfunding an Investment Fund for Top Emerging-Market Startups

Imagine playing a part in TV competition shows like “Top Chef” or “Project Runway”—but without having your best charred octopus recipe critiqued in front of a live studio audience, or your model’s dress described as “something a Teletubby would wear to a party.” Instead, you’d sweep in at the end of the show and award a large financial prize to a teary-eyed contestant, while the audience cheered.

alisee-de-tonnacHere’s your chance. The Seedstars World Fund is now crowdfunding a fund to invest in about five top startups sourced from Seedstars’ global startup competition, covering 35 emerging markets and an anticipated 1,500 applicants. Seedstars is managed by co-founder Alisee de Tonnac, who after traveling for a year around the world to set up the first edition of Seedstars World, she now wants to take it to the next level

The contest, now in its second year, involves local selection of contestants, boot camp and final pitching events before a judging panel. In return for investment, startups will provide equity in their businesses. Investors benefit by gaining connections to startup markets outside North America and Western Europe, while startups gain entry to the Seedstars World portfolio and its global network, experience and opportunities for mentoring.

The campaign, hosted on U.K. crowdfunding platform Seedrs, has an investment goal of £325,000 of which £100,400 is already funded. Equity offered is 30.9 percent, and pre-money valuation takes the form of a fund. Investments start at £100.

Seedstars World Fund’s campaign explains,

From April to December 2014, Seedstars World [travelled] to 35 countries to hold startup pitching events in collaboration with key players in the local startup ecosystems such as Startup Bootcamp, Microsoft and IBM. At each event an experienced judging panel [selected] one startup to attend the final of the competition that will be held on 4th February 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. The 35 startups selected for the acclaimed final event spend a week in Geneva to receive coaching, undergo due diligence and attend the global innovation conference to showcase their business.

Seedstars’ website now lists the recently chosen finalists (filter by the Finalists tab). Last year’s winner was SimplePay, which allows any business or consumer with an email address and a bank account to securely, conveniently and cost-effectively send and receive payments online or through their mobile phone, according to their website.

Seedstars logoAs a bonus, all who invest in the Seedstars World Fund will receive a discount code to attend the Seedstars World @ Lift international tech conference and final of the startup competition that takes place Feb. 4-6, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland. The top 10 investors will receive a free VIP pass to the event, which includes speakers such as Renaud Visage, CTO of Eventbrite, and Jesse Moore, managing director and cofounder of M-KOPA Solar.


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