Founded in Switzerland in 2012, Seedstars began its journey to discover and support high-potential startups worldwide. Each of the founders of Seedstars has contributed unique experience and skill to identify opportunities in proven technologies and growing markets worldwide.
“In the beginning of the journey, they launched the largest startup pitch competition to discover the most promising high-growth early-stage companies and build a meaningful tech ecosystem in emerging and frontier markets”, explains Samantha Batista, who leads investments in LatAm for Seedstars International Ventures II, the organization’s first direct investing arm.
On the programs side, Seedstars partners with governments, development financial institutions, foundations, corporations, and investors to build solid, healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems that drive purposeful social and economic development. “For example, if a bank in a country in Africa or South East Asia wants to create a program that supports early-stage fintech companies, they provide the capital, and we provide the team and run the program. Therefore, we have two sides, programs and investments,” explains Samantha. Currently, the Seedstars team consists of more than 80 collaborators worldwide.
Pierre-Alain graduated from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, where he founded his first company at age 20. He is a serial entrepreneur and has advised on multiple M&A transactions of over USD $100 million.
He also served as the CFO of an international insurance company and traveled to over 20 countries to launch the world’s first startup competition.
Michael studied business at HEC in Lausanne, Switzerland, then worked in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), accumulating valuable work experience focusing on mid-sized European transactions.
Passionate about technology, taking the step to launch his own company and sell it a few years later was a natural choice. Subsequently, Michael founded Seedstars to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship.
CIO and Manning Partner
Charlie started as a mechanical engineer working on projects like the A380 at Airbus. Seeking a more dynamic career, he changed course through an MBA at Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris and subsequently moved to Geneva and delved into investment management.
Charlie spent four years at BlueOrchard Finance, investing in high-impact financial institutions in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and MENA, and they became a CFA holder.
The entrepreneurial spirit caught up with him in 2013, when Charlie started his venture before joining the founding team of Seedstars at the beginning of 2014.
Alisée de Tonnac
co-founder and co-CEO of Seedstars
Alisée is a member of various company boards and foundations and Switzerland’s Innovation Council. She has been nominated as Social Entrepreneur in Forbes’ 30 under 30 lists, a Wired UK Innovation Fellow, one of Europe’s most influential women in the startup and venture capital space, and one of Refinery29’s 29 Powerful Women.
Type of Investors and Investment Thesis of Seedstars International Ventures
“In terms of the organization’s direct investing arm, Seedstars International Ventures, we are a team of 10. We have our managing partner based in Switzerland, another partner in Indonesia, and then we have team members leading each of the different regions (LatAm, Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East). We have someone leading public relations out of the Philippines, and another leading marketing out of Peru. On the portfolio management and growth side, we have one person in the Netherlands and another in Qatar. We are a 100% remote and global team,” explains Samantha.
Among the LPs of Seedstars International Ventures II, is the Visa Foundation, International Finance Corporation of the United States, The Rockefeller Foundation and Symbiotics, a European investor.
Seedstars International Ventures II has raised its second fund with a target of USD $30 million, and it already has 85% of the target committed.
Their focus is on startups in pre–seed and seed stages. “We are somewhat agnostic but have been investing in B2B, SaaS, and marketplaces lately. Main focus is on models that are trying to digitize antiquated systems, we’ve made 25 investments out of the fund so far, 10 of those in Latin America”, Samantha specifies.
They are looking for startups that share their vision in emerging markets. The amounts of the investment ticket from Seedstars International Ventures II vary with an average of USD $150,000 to USD $350,000. The startup’s profile must align with the funds philosophy and pass a due diligence process. In addition, they consider themselves to be growth experts. Each company that joins their portfolio participates in a tailored growth curriculum with the fund’s growth team.
Seedstars International Ventures’ investment thesis is based on the premise that emerging markets hold the most attractive economic growth opportunities in the coming decades. Within these, they have defined Fintech and the Future of Commerce as the two key opportunities, focusing on B2B models.
In that context, they focus mainly on economies expected to be among the top 20 by GDP in 2050. According to PWC (India #2, Indonesia #4, Brazil #5, Mexico #7, Nigeria #14, Egypt #15, Pakistan #16, Philippines #19, Vietnam #20). 80% of their investments have been made in these markets, including Colombia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Senegal, and Thailand.
At the same time, the financial services sector is one of the most significant market opportunities globally, with BCG estimating that revenues may amount to USD $12.5 trillion, of which fintech controls only 2%. Examples of investment in fintech from Seedstars International Ventures II include Aviva (Mexico), which offers a digital lending solution for 3/4 of the country’s cities with a simple video call, and Fintra (Indonesia), an integrated finance company.
Within its Future of Commerce vertical, Seedstars International II Ventures invests in software and technology that enables buying and selling goods and services, focusing on marketplaces. Whether in consumer goods, automotive, agriculture, or law, Seedstars believes technology can improve price transparency, service levels, and efficiency. Examples of its investments in the future of commerce include Jumba (Kenya), a B2B marketplace for the construction sector, and Supiyid (Egypt), a B2B marketplace for restaurants.
In Latin America, Seedstars International Ventures II is committed to countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, as they see tremendous opportunities in these markets, especially in sectors such as fintech and services for entrepreneurs.
Thus, they plan to make between 30 and 35 investments in the region over the next three years, of which they have already invested in 10 mix of seed and pre-seed companies. Seven of these investments are in Mexico, one in El Salvador, another in Brazil, and one more in Colombia.
“Using a traditional Venture Capital approach, we want to contribute to the local ecosystem. There are not many funds dedicated to investing at the early stages in Latin America. Some funds are even focused on just spanish speaking LatAm, or just Brazil, but rarely both. We strongly believe in the exponential growth potential in countries like Mexico and Brazil in the coming years”, recounts Samantha.
Samantha joined the fund in July of 2022, during the same week as the fund’s first closing. She is originally from the United States. She began her career in VC in 2015. Since 2017, she has been living and working in different LatAm countries. “I always admired Seedstars from afar, and when I heard about the new fund, I was very excited to help in continuing to make an impact in the region through tech”, she concludes.
- Aviva: A startup that grants microloans of up to MX $15,000 pesos to informally employed individuals, analyzing their words and gestures in a video call.
- Flourish FI: Offers engagement solutions that drive saving and loyalty.
- Confiabogado: A technology-enabled, data-driven law firm that resolves common legal problems in Latin America for low/middle-income individuals.
- CuboPago: Payment services platform (POS) to empower small businesses in Central America to grow by collecting payments.
- Airbag: The first HR SaaS for transportation companies. Analyzes, scores, and rewards safe driving habits.
- Alohome: A technology platform that digitizes new housing projects: apartments, houses, and land.
- PEAKR: A digital platform for purchasing departments that addresses critical points in the sourcing process, from the challenges of expanding the supplier network to the ability to obtain instant liquidity on invoices through banking solutions.
- Masu: Raw material supply chain integrator for the manufacturing industry in Latam.
- Bendo: A social commerce marketplace for surplus goods in LATAM.