In our mission to help accelerate born global startups, we have brought 15 successful startups to Silicon Valley for the 8th edition of our Blackbox Connect. Check out their pitch overview, milestones and founder bios:
Alauna (Abdo Assem & Sherif Nafie) — Egypt
First online auction platform that addresses the challenges of late e- commerce adoption and online payment in the MENA region. alauna solves the problem leveraging SMS existing and saturated (feature) mobile services and carrier billing for payment and identity authentication.
With 10K+ monthly users in their first three months, alauna is bringing e- commerce to late technology adopters starting with the MENA region.
Abdo started his career working for an NGO in Egypt and France, later moved to technology and worked at Cisco in Saudi Arabia & Egypt for 3 years before starting alauna. Sherif has 8 years of rich regional leadership experience in various roles focusing on supply chain at Ericsson in the Middle East as well as North Africa.
Bidstalk (Vaibhav Gupta) — Singapore
Bidstalk is a comprehensive mobile advertising and app monetization platform. The company provides intuitive and data-driven white-label solutions such as demand side platform (DSP) and a real time biding (RTB) ad-exchange for native mobile advertising.
Bidstalk is generating over $50K/month in revenues without any marketing efforts and is looking to raise money and expand to several markets.
Vaibhav, a native of India and a serial entrepreneur in various advertising technologies, has bootstrapped his last business into over $100M in revenue. He has held multiple leadership roles with advertising.com (AOL), GoLive and Airpush.
Cialfo — (Rohan Pasari & Stanley Chia Dingli) — Singapore
Cialfo is a student application optimization platform for higher education. They have helped over 200 students with their applications to Top 20 US and UK colleges such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Wharton, Oxford among others. The company is building a full online gamified platform to help students ace the SAT tests and get into their dream college with minimum effort.
Listed among the 20 Hottest Singapore Startups 2014 by Singapore Business Review, the company has already generated over $600,000 in revenues. They are now self-financing their tech developments and beta testing the comprehensive online platform to serve students worldwide. Their vision is to provide equal opportunities for students globally to get into top colleges.
Rohan is a native of India, bringing his passion to transform education, domain expertise and international education experience to lead the online product development of the company. Stanley graduated from Nanyang Technological University with honors, and is now a purposeful social entrepreneur, with several leadership roles such as youth ambassador to the UNESCO Youth Forum among others. He is currently leading the operational workings of the company.
Dragdis (Domas Sabockis) — Lithuania
Dragdis is the most intuitive content organization and sharing tool that allows you to drag and drop images, links, selected text, videos or GIFs to private folders that appear on the right of the screen the second you start dragging anything. With 46K users and over 2M pieces of content stored since launching less than four months ago, Dragdis is expanding quickly across various international markets.
Dragdis raised 200,000 euros seed round from Practica Capital in 2013 and with half of that money built and launched the web app. Currently Dragdis employs a team of 6 people.
Domas has a curious mind and is extremely passionate about new technologies, user experience, aesthetic design and marketing. He’s worked as a Creative at BTL advertising agency in Vilnius where he was faced with the problem that Dragdis solves.
Guidecentral (Gaston Irigoyen & Israel San Jose) — Ireland
Guidecentral helps crafters share and monetize their DIY projects through an intuitive mobile app that produces well-packaged and beautifully designed instructables.
Launching a year ago and with over 100k members, Guidecentral has been featured by Apple and helps crafters earn up to 25% more revenues by establishing an emotional connection with their audience and driving more traffic to their shops.
Gaston, a native of Argentina, was one of Google’s first employees in Latin America and helped launch the YouTube Partner Program in Europe. An experienced entrepreneur, he sold an app business to KIA motors and has been featured in Forbes’ 35 under 35 list. Israel, originally from Spain, was a technology professor and researcher and won two European innovation awards for his work in robotics and home automation. He’s been leading app development teams for the last four years.
Hubbr (Bo Jorgensen & Pau Larsen) — Denmark
Hubbr is a next generation messaging service for online collaboration and project management. Hubbr helps individuals in workgroups organize their online conversations across messaging channels so messages become directly actionable. It automatically detects and assigns tasks from a simple chat box that integrates seamlessly with project management tools and other popular communications apps.
Hubbr is currently beta-testing as the first messaging tool that provides 2-way integration with Trello, a popular project management tool with exponential growth in user adoption.
Pau, a serial entrepreneur, successfully managed complex technology projects for clients around the world. Bo was an award-winning university researcher before jumping to the corporate world to design and implement tools for global application.
Mi media Manzana (Pedro Neira and Cesar Hoshi) — Peru
Mi Media Manzana is the first online (long term) dating platform for Latin America that takes on the cultural challenge of online dating and lack of simple payment methods. Their goal is to create happier long term couples by using their own localized algorithm, which has been built based on feedback from over 4,000 phone calls.
Beginning nine months ago with over 70,000 registered users and 56% growth of paying customers each month in its early launch, Mi Media Manzana, has attracted a strong customer base and is focused on further expanding and launching their mobile strategy.
Pedro is a serial entrepreneur who successfully built, grew and sold the first online real-estate marketplace in Peru, now generating sales of several million dollars. Cesar has managed a budget of over $500K in Online Marketing and was one of twenty students selected by Google for the first program of Google Student Ambassadors Latin America.
MyPreciousLife (Marina Detienne) — France
My Precious Life is a personal notebook on iPhone to track places to go, events to attend, books to read, moments of life to grasp in images, texts, sounds and maps. The app pioneered a pictorial filing system and won multiple design awards.
The B2C freemium platform currently captures 20,000 users and is actively focused on further user acquisition and data analytics.
French Native, Cofounder and CEO of My Precious Life, Marina has lived in London, Yeu island, New York and Paris. She holds an MBA in Business Administration & Marketing and is an active blogger. Prior to My Precious Life, Marina worked for various companies in the entertainment industry, including Universal Music.
Novertur (Florent Schlaeppi and Luca Salzano) — Switzerland
Novertur helps small and mid-sized enterprises in their internationalization process with finding relevant and trustworthy trade partners abroad through their patent pending matchmaking algorithm.
With 4000 registered SMEs, Novertur successfully matches businesses with relevant partners in foreign markets.
Florent founded his first business at the age of 19. Following several years working at eBay, he founded Novertur. After brief experiences in marketing and public management, Luca rapidly embraced entrepreneurship to create Novertur.
Place I Live (Šarünas Legeckas) — Lithuania
A location based platform designed to provide “smart” neighborhood information in cities, Place I Live aggregates content from open data sources, social media and their own user generated information. The data is then analysed through their unique algorithm to be able to provide neighborhood rankings within a city.
The company has launched their beta in Vilnius, Berlin, London, Chicago and San Francisco and is already generating revenue by licensing their data to real estate companies.
Sarunas is an entrepreneur with an educational background in Physics, which was followed by an MBA in Innovation and Enterprise Management (Newcastle University, UK). Prior to Place I Live, Sarunas worked across different companies and founded a few organizations (Project Management Institute, Baltic Project Management Forum) and has a strong background in international business development and digital projects.
Predictvia (Ernesto Olivo and Kelwin Fernandez) — Venezuela
Predictvia is a predictive analytics platform that creates virtual DNA of users and objects to help businesses predict current customer base (and non-customers as well) to optimize the cost of customer acquisition.
Launched first self-serve product allowing businesses to generate revenues stickily and only focusing on Twitter data. They were already successful in predicting their clients’ potential customers with over 90% accuracy.
Ernesto, has 12+ years of experience working for companies such as Accenture, Neoris and Lowe & Partners. Kelwin is a recognized awards winning researcher in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
SEMFOX (David Urbansky and Simon Schabel) — Germany
SEMFOX’s semantic product search for online shops understands customer demands formulated in everyday language.
Already having successful beta customers in the consumer electronics and fashion market, SEMFOX plans to expand to other markets such as Cars, Real Estate, and Pharmaceutical industries.
David, has a PhD in Computer Science in automatic extraction and assessment of entities on the Web from the Dresden University of Technology. Simon has a Computer Science graduate degree from Dresden University of Technology as well. He focuses on marketing and sales of the technology.
StatAce (Todd Kazakov and Christian Mladenov) — Bulgaria
StatAce is a web platform that empowers data scientists to build advanced analytics webapps. What Tableau is for pivot tables and graphs, StatAce is for advanced models like clustering, decision trees, and neural networks. Data scientists in medium and large organizations often waste time manually rerunning analyses for decision makers. With StatAce, data scientists are able to build intuitive analytics applications in hours instead of weeks, allowing anyone within the organization to get advanced analytics insights.
Their early beta version has 400 active users with which they validated the market. They are now working to deploy StatAce in a Fortune 500 company, and have another one in the pipeline. Initially they target the FMCG sector.
Christian has more than eight years experience in data analysis, software development and project management at HP, Agilent Technologies and UBS. Todd is a CS graduate from the University of Birmingham. Prior to StatAce, he worked at Amadeus, where he was responsible for optimizing the faring and pricing algorithms.
XGEAR (Kamran Butt and Ahmed Khalid) — Pakistan
XGear extends the capabilities of existing OBD port to connect all onboard in-vehicle computers to create a new layer of communication to fetch data from all sensors and pass it on to a predictive modeling engine to see anomalies to generate actionable alerts. Data is presented in a human readable format; GPS enables real-time tracking and mapping of car events trucks and fleets.
XGear started a private beta with two fleets in Asia and has logged over 80K miles of users insights. They are now looking to collaborate with other fleet managers to further develop and help optimize their operations.
Kamran has been developing cutting edge web applications for over eight years, and his passion to innovate has enabled him to create a custom development framework to streamline the development processes. Ahmed has over eight years of experience in data networks working with various companies and has a Masters in Wireless Networks from University of London with major focus on Vehicular Adhoc Networks and their optimization and wrote a book on this subject. His passion for cars drove him to this venture.
Xompass (Francisco Soto and Andres Ulloa) — Chile
Track and analysis tool for machinery such as energy generators and water pumps
Xompass is a cloud-based Intelligence Operation System for midsize Asset Companies used to track, analyze and measure efficiency level of Industrial midsize plant of any Asset such as data from sensors on energy generators, water pumps and other M2M networks.
Francisco is an entrepreneur and manager of 27 researchers at UTFSM University. He has extensive global experience in business with US, EU and Asia partners. Francisco also holds a patent in mining equipment and wrote a book on Innovation & technology transfers. Andres holds a BSEE and is passionate about technology and ever since high school has been learning and working on embedded systems and now PCB design and M2M communications.