12 International Startups to Look Out For

Blackbox Connect 14th Graduating Class

Blackbox Connect is a two-week, residential program designed to immerse international startup founders in the Silicon Valley culture. It gives founders a foundation of knowledge and access to the expertise they need to expand their vision and scale their company globally. What startups joined this time?

The first Blackbox Connect of 2016 and the 14th edition since our inception ended two weeks ago. Now that the dust has settled, all our graduates are returning back to their home countries with a broader horizon and an optimistic sense of possibility. For some people the amount of learning that happens in two weeks of Blackbox Connect comes as a surprise. We, on the other hand, have become used to it and have full trust in our formula. Bringing a wide variety of interesting and ambitious startups from around the world and putting them together to interact with the thought leaders of Silicon Valley works every single time. During this time, a unique exchange of ideas, thoughts and experiences takes place which defines the Blackbox experience.

This edition, we selected 12 different startups from 8 countries. From IoT to Ed Tech, Medical Devices, and Drones, every startup brought something new which everyone can learn from.

“The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realises” — Daniel Burrus in Wired Magazine


Backed by our trusted partner Tekes 🇫🇮

Cozify is a home automation product, which unifies the user experience of various smart devices by bringing them under one, super-easy mobile user interface. Cozify enables service providers such as insurance companies, telecom operators and utilities make the most of their customer potential. With an advanced smart home offering, it is possible to create new revenue streams, reduce churn and leverage core business. It’s founded by two very experienced tech entrepreneurs from Finland, Antti Vihavainen & Kimmo Ruotoistenmäki.

Kimmo Ruotoistenmäki shows the device during the Startup Showcase


Backed by our trusted partner ITU Gate 🇹🇷🇮

HangaarLabs is building V-Sight, wearable software platform, to help enterprises transform their workforce into smart workforce and increase efficiency with integrating wearables into the enterprise’s business flow. Cihat Kahraman & Ismet Ozmen from Turkey are cofounders of this venture and they hope to build the technologies of the future that would enable more efficiency in the workplace.

Cihat presents HangaarLabs
This year we were fortunate enough to have not one but two Education Technology startups run by super Canadian women!


Representing Canada’s East Coast 🇨🇦

Eyeread can be described as a fitbit for K-3 children. It is a reading coach designed to help children become more engaged, read more often and with confidence, and ultimately turn them into successful human beings. And it does it all without subjecting children to testing or boring games, while giving parents actionable information. Julia Rivard Dexter & Leah Skerry from Canada are the power women behind this project and have proved their ability in multiple successful business ventures before as well.

Leah talks about Eyeread’s educational plans


Representing Canada’s West Coast 🇨🇦

Prollster’s patent-pending “social learning” platform increases retention and enhances learning outcome, enabling online learning to monetize more effectively at scale — and enabling lifelong learners to capitalize on their educational investments. As a B2B SaaS ed tech company, they sell their product to higher education and corporate training providers. Karen Bakker from Canada, who’s currently a visiting professor at Stanford, hopes to use Prollster to make online learning more engaging.

Karen presents Prollster
“We’ve invested in 2 drone companies in the past 60 days” — Niko Bonatsos, Partner at General Catalyst.

Next Automated Robots

Backed by our trusted partner LebNet 🇱🇧

Next Automated Robots is an innovative startup with a long term vision of integrating drones in various industries. NAR develops an autonomous network of smart Vertical Take-Off & Landing drones for rapid forest fire detection and alert. This innovative platform allows firefighters and green area protectors to stay updated when battling wildfires, for safe and efficient wildfire management. Cofounders Charlie El Khoury & Nicolas Zaatar from Lebanon have both experienced the disastrous effects of a wildfire and want to make sure that lives will never be at stake.

Charlie with a picture of NAR’s impressive drone

OneDrop Diagnostics

Backed by our trusted partner Neode 🇨🇭

1Drop Diagnostics provides laboratory quality medical diagnostics from a single drop of blood within minutes. It is a cutting edge life science company combining the best techniques from microfluidics, biochemistry, photonics and nanotechnology to build high performance point-of-care diagnostics devices. They aim to increase access to quality healthcare by providing laboratory quality, easy to use, and immediate medical diagnostics. Luc Gervais, who is based out of Switzerland, is an experienced bionanotechnology researcher who is looking to dramatically lower costs of medical diagnostics.

Luc on the future of affordable medical diagnostics


Israel Represent 🇮🇱

SafeBeyond is a storage platform for the delivery of posthumous messages. It is a trigger-based platform for creating personal messages and digital information, to be delivered at a later date, enabling people to be present in their loved ones’ lives even after they’re gone and get control on their digital identities. Founder Moran Zur, from Israel, started working on SafeBeyond with passion after his wife’s life was threatened by cancer. He wanted to make sure she could still be a part of his children’s lives. He’s always happy to let audiences know that she’s very happy and healthy now.

Moran from SafeBeyond


Israel Represent 🇮🇱

IronScales focuses on turning Awareness into mitigation. It is a comprehensive phishing mitigation solution designed to protect enterprises from cyber attacks. Based on gamified training programs and a unique crowd wisdom approach, IronTraps’ automatic mitigation response is immediately executed when a phishing attack is reported by employees. IronTraps has been proven effective by leading global corporations. Eyal Benishti & Gil Hazaz, from Israel, are bringing years of experience on board to IronScales.

Eyal and Gil answer questions from our judges


Backed by our trusted partner LebNet 🇱🇧

Rational Pixels is a video Ad solution to boost content monetisation and creativity. Rational Pixels started when 2 obsessed computer vision guys, Constantinos Constantinopoulos & Rida Sadek from Lebanon, developed a disruptive technology. A technology that would save creators from insufficient monetisation, brands from limited exposure, viewers from skipped Ads. How? While uploading and viewing videos, Ads will be smoothly embedded . Their reward is a free creative content. The aim is to provide comfortable real-time product placement in videos.

Constantinos & Rida on Rational Pixels


Pakistan Represent 🇵🇰

WCCF Tech strives to be the fastest and most detailed news resource on the web for the latest on high-end computer hardware, software, gaming and mobile technology. Saad Muhammad, from Pakistan, was CTO when he bought the company from his cofounders as they planned to closed it down. In just a few years he’s managed to make WCCF one of the most influential tech publications in the world serving millions of users. If that’s not impressive enough, they’re among the 50 most commented websites on the World Wide Web ahead on websites like Business Insider.

WCCF founder, Saad, shares impressive numbers


India Represent 🇮🇳

NonMovingInventory is a B2B Marketplace for industries/vendors to Buy/Sell Non Moving Inventory. It’s a real game-changer in the world of manufacturing industries. It’s an idea that will help industries earn back from the unused inventory that would otherwise go to waste. Anyone can be a buyer but sellers are hand-picked and registered users of their portal. Vinav Bhanawat from idea, a serial entrepreneur with a fashion label & a software company, is behind this grand new idea.

Vinav happily sharing the NonMovingInventory story


Backed by our trusted partner Tekes 🇫🇮

FastFingers is the core product from the Finnish team of Janne Takalo & Juho Kinnunen. It makes sharing on touch screen device fast, easy and intriguing. They’ve built a software which allows users to easily share content on their mobile devices at a single touch. They’re already working with some big names like Rovio and are expecting to build their technology into a an existing mobile OS.

Janne and Juho are all about fast sharing with FastFingers

It’s been another phenomenal edition of Blackbox Connect and we’ve learnt a lot from the amazing companies who’ve just joined our global network of Blackbox graduates. Just like every other Blackbox Connect, Edition 14 was unique (first time in San Francisco) but still carried the same charm that makes the Blackbox experience unique.

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