The founders of South African cryptocurrency investment platform Africrypt have disappeared along with $3.6 billion (R51.4 billion) worth of Bitcoin, according to a report….
Seedstars World is a competition of startups across emerging markets. Last year, it roamed 20 countries to organise as many local competitions. Each city’s winner was then flown to Geneva for a grand finale where they would meet investors and secure funding.
This year, the competition is on again, curating the best startups in places like Ramallah, West Bank; Kampala, Uganda; or Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. Among the numerous pitches, some look really bold, and all show how innovative the developing countries can be.
WayRay: Better driving with augmented reality
Augmented reality has been a long-time hype for early adopters, but it’s hard to see the first mass-market use of this technology. WayRay, a startup from Moscow, invented a smart windshield, where information on the road and the environment would be displayed as a layer on the glass itself. As the startup boasts on their website “This is a gadget that turns your car into a spaceship”, even though the value is more on safety.
The Care Voice: the Foursquare (or Yelp) for healthcare
In Shanghai, the team from Seedstars gave the second place to the Care Voice, an amazing app which helps users to better chose their healthcare practicionners and places. Similar in design to a Yelp or a Foursquare, it helps users to rate doctors (on skills such as Listening, Explaining, Diagnostic and Treatment) as well as hospitals. This is a true boon in countries like China or India where fake doctors and sanitary scandals have broken the trust between patients and health institutions.
GustPay: a connected wristabands for gigs and events
Yes, we all love festivals, events, and music, and yes, we’re all moaning when the time comes to queue ages for a single beer ticket. South African GustPay may be solving this. The team designed a connected wristband which stores the ticket (and makes the initial queue/security screening faster), but also money thanks to a dedicated smartphone app and embedded NFC, so that it’s possible to buy some drinks at the bar without cash.
Totus Power: a low-cost battery pack for classrooms in poor countries
If the developed world struggles with the battery life of smartphones, it’s even more pressing in developing markets. Schools, for instance, rarely have enough power to light a room and have computers to run, hence the innovation of Totus Power, a company based in Chile. Their battery pack called Jupiter6 is built with non-toxic materials only – as there’s often no recycling process for batteries in emerging markets. You can charge it for 3h, and it will be able to deliver power for a computer for 6 hours.
The common points between these innovations from Russia, South Africa, Chile and China is that they are extremely innovative, playing with concepts and technologies such as augmented reality, connected objects or community-powered platforms.
Seedstars is now in the midst of its second year of competition, and the second finale will take place in Switzerland early February, 2015.
Image by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via Flickr