PH startup Salarium wins $500k Seedstars prize

Philippine payroll service tech startup Salarium on Thursday took home the grand prize of $500,000 after winning the global Seedstars World (SSW) Competition held in Geneva, Switzerland.

A total of 12 Asian startups and 36 companies in total, were competing for at the Seedstars World (SSW) Grand Final Competition. All in all, Asian startups dominated the competition with five of them making it among the 10 finalists.

During its world tour in 2014 more than 1,500 startups from eastern and central Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America applied to participate in Seedstars World. Based in Geneva, Switzerland and founded by Alisee de Tonnac and Pierre-Alain Masson, the competition is supported by the venture builder Seedstars SA.

The jury appeared to be won over by Salarium as it already “gained considerable traction,” with DHL as a signed customer.

“Not only did their product prove to be highly scalable and innovative, it already has a huge traction on the global market,” said Pierre-Alain Masson, Seedstars World jury member.

Salarium CEO Judah Hirsch described the contest as a tough one as all of the entrepreneurs showcased great ideas and impressive business models.

“Winning this is a huge boost of credibility for us, and the connections we established during the SSW Final Event alone will be very helpful for our further success and expansion plans,” Hirsch said.

Besides Salarium, the four other Asian startups were Singapore’s 6Degrees, a self updating phone book; South Korea’s crowd sourcing concert organizer Krowdpop; India’s Scandid app for geolocalized savings and discounts; and Thailand’s Washbox24, an automatized laundry service.

The other finalists were Peruvian travel platform Busportal, Nairobi’s OkHi, the Brazilian hardware device Ploog, Yerevan learning management system Sololearn, and casual gaming studio The Other Guys from Argentina.

Yet the Seedstars World Semi-finalists will be up for funding via the Seedstars World Crowd Fund, which allows European investors to invest with a minimum of 100£. The fund is running via Seedrs — the first crowdfunding platform for funds in Europe (equity crowdfunding).

The 10 finalists pitched their startups in front of an international and prestigious jury including Serendipity Investments’ founder Jose Marin, Marco Corradino, founder of Bravofly Rumbo Group, Kinnevik’s Jessica Thorell, Techstars MD Jens Lapinski, Mountain Partners founder Dr. Cornelius Boersch, Johnny El Hachem, CEO of Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity, and Seedstars and Seedstars World co-founder Pierre-Alain Masson.

Before the semi-finals, the startups took part in an intensive bootcamp at the leading engineering school EPFL, which included pitch training and mentoring session that reexamined each startups business model and financial sustainability.

Mentors included top entrepreneurs such as Chinaccelerator’s Todd Embley and Eventbrite’s Co-founder Renaud Visage, as well as representatives from leading tech companies like Cristina Riesen of Evernote, and Nicolas Bry, the SVP of Innovation at Orange Vallée.

The bootcamp offered exclusive insights into the Lausanne area, which the State Department of the Vaud Canton has been transforming into one of the best European spots for startups over the last years.

“The top ten were truly excellent finalists, but it wasn’t easy choosing from such a wealth of startups,” said Raphael Dana, jury member and CEO of business strategy consultancy Galixo.

Also read: 12 Asian startups gunning for $500k at Seedstars World