More and more technology-based companies or “startups” are turning to international competitions as an alternative to get financing. Furthermore, it serves as a showcase for potential partners and customers.
The investment context in this type of initiative is in the doldrums: the disbursement of funds fell by 22.3% over the course of 2022 compared to the previous one (latest data available).
Data from the Study of the Private, Entrepreneurial, and Startup Capital Industry in Argentina, conducted by the Argentine Association of Private, Entrepreneurial, and Startup Capital (ARCAP) and Microsoft, during the first half of 2022, showed that the total number of investment rounds was 163 million dollars.
A year earlier, still in the pandemic, in that same period the nascent Argentine startups had “raised” capital for 210 million dollars.
As a result, businessmen and investors have been preparing for a long time challenging conditions in the global market, with declining funding, in a context of lack of liquidity.
In this scenario, international competitions become a prize that worth double: brings them some (only a part) of fresh funds, and also allows them to acquire contacts and visibility.
One of the cases is that of Movedigital urban logistics platform, which won in its category at Digital Innovation Network of the G20.
“It wasn’t a cheap prize, but it was a very powerful external certification that brought investors together on a global scale,” said Antonio Migliore, who founded the firm in October 2018.
What does Moova do? According to its founder, they serve as a meeting point between those who have products to deliver and those who have the physical capacity to do so. “We allow logistics, parcel and postal companies to optimize their vehicle fleets by occupying their empty spaces”, explained Migliore.
For Jairus TradCEO and Co-Founder of Irrigation Management Tools Marketer kilocompetitions for startups do not replace a possible risk capital investment, “but they help to accelerate the business and improve the company’s liquidity”.
Kilimo was created in 2014. With operations in Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Chile, it has raised $3.5 million from investors, based on its proposed compensation model, which allows companies like Google to commercialize savings water, Microsoft or Coca-Cola.
Yet they also bet on competitions: they have been selected as “aquapreneurs” by Uplink, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, which has generated a significant contribution of $190,000.
“In addition, we have added a visibility tremendous. We went to the Davos meeting, where we had the opportunity to get in touch with large companies, which are our counterparts in offset projects. We have also been approached by consultants about what we do and invited to the United Nations meeting on water in New York,” concluded Trad.
For the founders of Wiagroa blockchain-based grain tracking platform, its stake in the Innovation Championship Zurich 2022 It meant a before and an after.
“We have managed to launch a joint working agreement with Zurich to develop new 100% digital insurance solutions for agriculture,” said Ariel Ismirlian, who co-founded the initiative in 2019. They had already arrived with some experience in international competitions: they had been finalist events such as Food technology challenge AND Food Technology 500.
selectivity is a technology start-up in the healthcare sector or “healthtech”, with a focus on fertility treatments, founded in March 2019. In the last twelve months alone, this start-up has been chosen as the startup with the greatest potential for social impact and the most investable in M2D2 One Day Launch Demoheld in the United States, and as a finalist in the World Cup of Entrepreneurs, organized by Global Entrepreneurship NetworkIn Saudi Arabia.
“With our devices, we bring infertility treatment to any ob-gyn office,” said Jonathan Gubspun, founding partner. Although they had already “raised” $960,000 from a group of private investors led by CITES -of Grupo Sancor Seguros-, prizes in international competitions brought them another $50,000 and leads.
“We had access to advice from international industry firms such as Hologic, RedCrow and Alira Health, and access to potential investors and distributors, as well as financial, accounting and HR recruiting services, among others,” Gubspun described.
Outtrip is a tourism “startup” or “travel tech”, specializing in adventure tourism, which brings together travelers with suppliers of the necessary equipment for this activity.
was selected by Starting Chile, a public accelerator in the trans-Andean country, as part of Ignite 5 Generation, last January. “Outtrip will receive an investment of 25 million Chilean pesos, with the possibility of accessing an extension of another 25 million, which that equates to about $62,000”, explained its co-founder Liliana Barck.
“This financing is strategic, above all to continue our commercial expansion in Chile, as well as to increase technological capacity and improve the product,” says the entrepreneur, who had to settle in Santiago de Chile to comply with the company expansion plan, which has already raised $250,000 in previous investment rounds.
An agricultural business technology or “AgTech”, Integrated Agricultural Monitoring System (SIMA), returning directly from an international tender in Colombia with three new customers from that country.
“In October 2022, we were recognized as the best AgTech at the Agstar awards, delivered as part of the Expo Agrofuturo exhibition in Bogotá. And it has allowed us to acquire customers such as the palm producer Aesterra, the corn and soybean producer Agmo and the input distributor Agoservitec,” explained Agustín Rocha, co-founder of the initiative. The SIMA app offers the possibility to monitor plots, perform planting and harvest checks, and access satellite imagery, among other services.”Our latest investment round was $2 million, led by Sancor Seguros Ventures, Xperiment,” concluded Rocha.
Charles Arterburn is a seasoned business journalist for News Rebeat, where he provides comprehensive coverage of the latest trends and developments in the world of finance and economics.