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Startup stars head for Seedstars

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After a year of roaming the world and analysing startup ecosystems in fast growing economies, Seedstars is poised to announce the winners of the largest emerging markets startup competition. 

The Seedstars Summit, taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 12 April, will host more than 60 handpicked startups from Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Spanning a wide variety of verticals, from Fintech and Insuretech to Edtech, Med/Biotech and Agri-tech to Cleantech and High/Nano-tech, they will meet in the SwissTech Convention Center to compete for up to $1M in equity investment.

The 2018 edition is expected to attract startups enthusiasts, investors, business angels, government officials, incubators, NGOs and journalists from around the world.

According to Seedstars, 84% of the world’s population is located in emerging markets and 59% of global GDP comes from these markets, suggesting emerging markets are the future. By 2025, it is expected, annual consumption in emerging markets will reach $30-trillion? And two-thirds of the global growth is coming from emerging markets.

Consequently, Seedstars has been connecting with the digital change makers of the emerging world, to provide them with access to high growth opportunities. The fifth edition of Seedstars Summit will address crucial questions: where do we want to be five years from now regarding technology and innovation? How will the entrepreneurship from fast-growing markets impact the world economy?

The event is being hosted with the help of partners like Innovaud, City of Lausanne, Enel, School of Management Fribourg (HEG Fribourg) & TRECC (Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities program, part of the Jacobs Foundation), BBVA, Tag Heuer, Merck KGaA and CVCI (Chambre Vaudoise du Commerce et de l’Industrie).

The 2017 Seedstars Summit saw more than 1 000 attendees, around 60 startup finalists and 116 investors, who took part in more than 450 one-on-one meetings. Speakers included Bob Collymore , CEO of Safaricom, and Alexander Galitsky , Managing Partner of Almaz Capital. The Best Woman Entrepreneur prize was awarded to Monica Abarca, from qAIRa, an air-pollution monitoring drone from Peru, while the most Innovative Startup prize was presented to PiQuant , a South Korean hardware startup dedicated to decreasing the harmful impact of chemicals in food. Mario Jordan Fetalino III, CEO of Acudeen Technologies in Philippines, was named the Seedstars Global winner .

Over 70 experts from world renowned companies spent the first two days of this week mentoring the selected entrepreneurs, providing them with in-depth insights and business mentorship. An Investor Forum will happen on Wednesday, when the startups will present their one minute pitches, and attend the one-on-one meetings with Swiss and international investors, curated by Seedstars.

Keynote speakers include Gwendolyn Regina , who most recently spearheaded Mashable’s global expansion into Asia; CEO of AppsTech Rebecca Enonchong , representing Africa; Tallis Gomes , one of the most outstanding references for entrepreneurship in Latin America. A fish-farmer-turned-agriculture-tech-entrepreneur, Gibran Huzaifah, founder of eFishery in Indonesia, will also speak.

Investors include Ace & Company, Omidyar Network , Index Ventures and 500 startups.

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Naspers feeds into Latin America’s tech funding

Movile will get $400m funding from the SA-based technology investment giant for iFood expansion.

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Movile is to receive US$500-million in funding for iFood in the largest tech funding in Latin America to date. Naspers and Innova Capital have committed to invest $400m of new capital into Movile to use for further investment in iFood, the leading online food delivery platform in Latin America, of which Movile is a majority shareholder.  

Movile and Just Eat have already invested $100m in iFood during 2018. iFood’s extraordinary growth and the vast market opportunity in Brazil and more broadly in Latin America has driven the increased investment commitment. 

iFood’s monthly orders in Brazil have fed more than 9 million customers in the past twelve months, 16 times the nearest online competitor, in terms of daily active users. This means its partner restaurants are serving the biggest population of consumers ordering food in Latin America. iFood has 50 000 restaurant partners and uses 120 000 couriers. 

The increased investment commitment from Naspers, Innova and Movile is expected to accelerate growth, speed up product development and innovation, and fuel geographical expansion for iFood across the region. The company’s vision is to gain deeper knowledge of consumers through artificial intelligence technology, to personalise the food delivery experience – and at a reduced price, because of improved logistics. 

“Movile is very fortunate to have long-term investors who have supported us for the past decade to help achieve our goal of transforming the lives of more than one billion people and thus we are able to continually back iFood to ensure it remains the market leader,” said Fabricio Bloisi, Movile CEO. 

“Our entire ecosystem of companies is focused on allocating resources and energy towards our one billion people goal. iFood is leading the way, fueling unprecedented growth through its innovative technology platform, providing consumers, couriers and restaurants with the best experience in food ordering and delivery.”  

Larry Illg, CEO of Naspers Ventures, said: “iFood has established itself as a technology leader in Latin America and its success stacks up with some of the most innovative food companies that are leading regions in North America, Europe and Asia.  We have been impressed by their execution in Brazil and remain committed to backing the company on its path to transform the entire food chain to better serve consumers.” 

Online food delivery is experiencing massive expansion globally. According to latest reported results, Grubhub grew daily average orders 39% year-on-year, reaching over 416 000 orders per day. In Latin America, iFood has reached 390 000 orders per day just in Brazil in the last week of October, compared with 183 000 in October 2017, representing 109% growth.

iFood CEO Carlos Moyses said: “We want our consumers to have an amazing delivery experience from the moment they order their food to the moment it arrives. Our partners – the restaurants and delivery fleet – make that happen by living our purpose of improving people’s lives using our services.

“iFood exists for our customers and, with an increased investment commitment of this size, we will be able to build out our state of the art technology platform, and increase our courier and restaurant partners to even better serve our current and future customers in Latin America.”

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Hide your sheep, Spyro is reigniting

Spyro, the iconic purple dragon that entertained living rooms worldwide in the late ‘90s, is making a return with the release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

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Spyro Reignited Trilogy introduces players to a fully remastered game collection with a re-imagined cast of characters, animations, environments, new lighting and recreated cinematics—all inHD.  Now fans can explore more than 100 lush environments filled with new detail, that brings the Dragon Realms and Avalar to life . The trilogy is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro and the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X.

South African distributors Megarom provided the followjng information:

In Spyro Reignited Trilogy, lead developer Toys For Bob is giving fans an all scaled-up version of the original three Spyro games that started it all, Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, but with a modern-day feel that makes it fresh and fun for today’s player. Adding to the fun, voice actor Tom Kenny is returning to the franchise as the voice of Spyro in all three remastered games. Longtime fans will be treated to Toys For Bob’s reimagined version of the classic soundtracks, in addition to an all-new title-screen theme from original soundtrack composer Stewart Copeland.

Additionally, the new game brings an in-game audio feature that allows players to switch between the original and the newly remastered soundtracks, for those who want a more classic gameplay experience. Players can simply fly in to the “options menu” at any time during gameplay, unleash their preferred nostalgic or scaled-up groove, and glide right back into the Spyro action without losing saved data.

“It’s been a real pleasure to bring back one of most iconic video game characters of all time through the Spyro Reignited Trilogy,” said Paul Yan, Co-Studio Head at Toys For Bob. “We’ve poured everything we’ve got into making sure every detail was done right to deliver a great Spyro experience for fans. We hope players will have as much fun revisiting the Spyro world and characters as we did remastering them.”

In the road up to the official release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, created a first-of-its-kind, life-sized, fire-breathing and talking Spyro Dragon drone. The drone took off from “Stone Hill” castle near New York City, spreading his wings across the U.S. to explore the cities and iconic landscapes that resemble levels and themes from the original Spyro games. As part of the tour, the Spyro drone chased sheep, fired up some BBQ and delivered an early copy of Spyro Reignited Trilogy to fellow O.G. and entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg. Highlights from the Spyro drone’s delivery to Snoop Dogg can be found here.

“Fans have been asking Activision to bring Spyro back for some time now. The response to Spyro Reignited Trilogy has been great thus far, and we’re absolutely thrilled that we’re able to continue to reimagine and reinvigorate some of the most iconic videogames and characters of all time with our remastered experiences,” said Steve Young, Chief Revenue Officer at Activision. “With this year being the 20th anniversary of Spyro, there’s no better time to pay homage to everyone’s favorite purple dragon.”

The Spyro community is invited to geek out and elevate their fandom even further through the elite global partnerships from the Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group (ABCPG). Collaborations with Funko, Traly Pins, Exquisite Gaming, KidRobot, USAopoly, Trends International, Rubber Road, and Changes have created new avenues for fans to share their love for the return of Spyro, the original roast master. Spyro consumer products across apparel, collectibles, figurines and more are now available at retailers worldwide. Fans can also take advantage of the GameStop exclusive Spyro TOTAKU Collection.

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