Latin America’s entrepreneurs take center stage at this year’s Seedstars World Summit

Startups from five Latin American nations took part in the global competition for emerging markets, including the winner.

Seedstars Innovation Entrepreneurship Latin America Seedstars World Summit 2019. Photo by Valerie Grove.

Argentina’s Blended was crowned the winning startup at this year’s Seedstars World Summit, the tech conference that took place this week in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

The ed-tech startup, which encourages communication between schools and parents through a cloud-based platform, was awarded the grand prize of US$500,000.

Members of the Blended team at the 2019 Seedstars World Summit.

Of the five Latin American startups that attended the summit; representing Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala, four of them made it through to the final rounds of pitching.

With industries ranging from finance, to health tech, insurance, edtech and gastronomy, areas of innovation at the 2019 Seedstars Summit were varied.

Despite not passing through to the final stages of this year’s competition, CEO and co-founder of participating Brazilian startup Apptite Guilherme Parente shared his story with Latin America Reports.

Apptite is an application that aims to connect local chefs with customers looking for healthy, home-cooked food throughout the week. Having identified a gap in the sharing economy for food, the team decided to create a service that could become big enough to rival the likes of Uber for transportation, or AirBnB for accommodation.

Although food delivery apps such as Rappi, Uber Eats and iFood have already achieved resounding success in Latin America, the purpose of Apptite is more than just to deliver food, Parente claims.

The app provides a peer-to-peer service for chefs who specialise in preparing homemade food  in the area of São Paulo to sell to local customers, who then receive the meals delivered to their doors. This way, the app aims to solve logistical, financial and marketing issues for chefs, whilst simultaneously supplying an existing demand.

Apptite also strives to provide a better quality, more up-market service, Parente pointed out.

“80% of our competitors sell things like hamburgers, pizza, tacos and sushi, which are all great for the weekends. They sell food from big, chain restaurants, fast food,” he told Latin America Reports. “Apptite wants to solve the day-to-day problem of food for people,” he added.

Parente described how Apptite focuses on local entrepreneurship, providing different opportunities for chefs to explore new paths, whilst still fulfilling their passions. It also contributes to the concept of a sustainable community, he added, encouraging customers to buy local produce prepared by their neighbors.

Before tackling the rest of Brazil and expanding beyond its borders, however, Parente and his team aim to focus on solidifying their presence in the city of São Paulo. Once sales have increased four of five-fold, he told Latin America Reports, the business will be stable enough to look at larger scale expansion. For now, however, Apptite will continue its steady growth in the Paulista capital.

According to statistics from Seedstars, 84% of the world’s population is located in emerging markets, yet they remain relatively under-funded in comparison to Western counterparts. However, global summits of this nature continue to put startups like Argentina’s Blended on the map, ensuring they receive the investment required for innovation in Latin America to continue to flourish.

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