Supporting satellite-enabled startups

seedstarsworldThroughout its global tour of emerging markets to find startup entrepreneurs of the future, Seedstars World will be paying particular attention to ideas that could be in with a chance of receiving a $50,000 Space Prize from Inmarsat and AP-Swiss, the Ambassador Platform of the European Space Agency and the Swiss Space Office.

Together with AP-Swiss, we are looking to support innovative technologies or business ideas incorporating satellite connectivity. Along with the grant to help develop the initiative, the winner will also benefit from both companies’ invaluable industry knowledge and technical expertise.

And it doesn’t have to be a project all about space either!

We are especially interested in developing applications that use broadband telecommunications provided by satellites. Areas such as Africa, Middle East, Asia and Latin America are of huge interest because they currently have little or no internet connection in rural and remote areas. Inmarsat is already working with international partners in Sub-Saharan Africa to bring internet connectivity to local communities in Nigeria and Kenya through its I-Sat Digital Frontiers project, funded by the UK Space Agency.

Breaking down barriers

Michele Franci, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat said: “The focus of our work as we deploy next-generation broadband infrastructure is to develop user-friendly enablers and building blocks, to become the application development and delivery platform for a wide range of new uses.

“Seedstars World will help us to connect with people who might not have previously seen satellite as a viable option for their business plans or ideas. We want to break down these barriers in the perception of what satellite connectivity can bring to organisations and communities around the world.”

AP SwissEqually, AP-Swiss currently supports a diverse range of satellite-enabled initiatives such as Geosatis, an electronic bracelet for offenders using GPS systems to locate people, and Sarmap, which uses satellite observations to fight deforestation in Southeast Asia.

Jose Achache, Managing Director of AP-Swiss comments: “Space can fix and help connect rural areas with little or no Internet connection and bring specific applications such as e-banking, e-learning or e-health.

“This partnership with Seedstars World will allow us to tap into resources from all around the world. We are especially eager to see companies solving their local and regional problems with technology powered by satellites, and invite them to develop their services partly or fully in Switzerland.”

As mobile phone use continues to rise and prices increasingly lower, 80% of the world’s smartphones are projected to be in emerging markets by 2019 according to GSMA, making the growth potential for satellite-powered applications enormous.

In addition, because Inmarsat’s satellites are located in geostationary orbit covering the globe without border constrictions, startups in emerging markets taking advantage of this technology will also have huge potential to develop their ideas for a global market.

So how does it work?

Seedstars World aims to positively impact economic development and job creation in emerging markets by promoting, connecting and investing up to $1.5 million in startups through its exclusive competition, which is visiting 50 countries.

Watch the video from the 2014/15 Final last year to get a taste of what the competition is all about.

From 3,000+ applications received, 600 have been selected to come along and pitch at the events. The 50 finalists (one from each event) will then attend the final where the overall winner will be chosen:

  • Startups applied to one of the 50 local events through an online form
  • Local Seedstars World partners have invited 10-15 pre-selected startups to pitch at each event in front of an expert jury and quality audience, including key entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and local institutions
  • The winner of each local event receives a free trip to the final in Switzerland and a selection of tech prizes
  • The final event is a week-long boot camp, international conference and investor forum where the winner will be announced.

Inmarsat and AP-Swiss will be attending some of the events to offer advice and support to startups and demonstrate how satellite connectivity can be used to drive positive economic growth.

For more details of where each event is taking place go to