It’s inevitable there will be the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Google or Facebook, the question is; where in the world will they come from? As the cost of innovation decreases and governments all over the world invest in startups to try and create the next Silicon Valley, entrepreneurship and startup culture is now a global story where more people than ever are plugged in and switched on.

In association with our sponsors i/o Ventures, Tropo and Endeavor we are launching Startup World - a global competition to find the world’s most innovative startups. We will be holding pitching competitions in 36 cities world wide with the winners of the regional heats flying to Silicon Valley to battle it out in the grand final amongst a panel of expert judges to be crowned the world’s best startup.

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Much like competing on American Idol, selling a business idea requires raw talent, mastery of the material, and command performance. So this year we’ve launched Startup World — our global answer to the hit singing competition.

Whilst there’s certainly advantages to building startups in Silicon Valley due to the sheer amount of entrepreneurs, venture capital and access to talent, startups and entrepreneurship are movements happening all over the world.

We have partnered with local accelerators and organizations in each city to help us put on the regional pitch events, for example in Chile, Startup Chile, the US, Startup America, the UK Seedcamp and Startup Britain, Canada Startup Canada and in Rwanda the Digital Opportunity Trust. You can see a full list of partners and advisors here: 

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Why are we doing this?

Silicon Valley is the highest producer of technology companies in the world, but as the cost of innovation comes down entrepreneurs all over the planet having the tools they need to get startups off the ground and reaching a global consumer base online. While most media is currently focusing on Silicon Valley, we want to shine a light on entrepreneurs in emerging markets and give their technology a place on the world stage in front of international media.

What are the criteria for entry?

  • To enter Startup World, your startup must have been launched within the last 2 years
  • If your startup has received external funding, it can only be funding up to $2M USD
  • You must have a demonstrable product or service
  • You must be prepared to talk about your product and service in public and have it demonstrated and recorded for public broadcast
  • Pitch and application documents must be in English or you must provide a translator
  • The startup can be across any field; clean tech or consumer tech for example, but must be for profit

The Prizes 

Regional heat winners will receive:

  • Subsidized flight to San Francisco and a chance to pitch in front of world renowned investors
  • International media coverage

The Startup World champion will receive:

  • Crowned as Startup World’s Global Winner
  • International media coverage
  • A three-month incubation period at i/o Ventures worth $30,000

If you’re in San Francisco tonight  you can come to our launch event where you will hear about the current state of startup culture globally, with a great list of speakers including author Sarah Lacy who wrote a book on global startup culture; Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos. Sign up here

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Coming to a city near you? To apply all you need to do is answer 10 questions about your startup. Applications will open up continent by continent, starting with South America. Check our blog to see when applications are open. Got a question or want to sponsor email info@startupworld.tv