This year's Global Entrepreneurship Week includes 165 countries and roughly 10 million people. One of its marquee events is the annual Startup Open competition, a global competition that gives entrepreneurs a virtual stage in which to pitch their ideas. This year, founders from 101 countries submitted 1,018 start-ups for consideration. Seventy-three percent are from outside the United States.
Featured here are some of tomorrow's most promising from around the globe — the 2016 Startup Open finalists. These 10 finalists will connect with mentors over the next four weeks before the winner is announced on Jan. 5. The winner receives a free trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, where they will present on stage at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.
BrighTap is a smart water meter sensor that monitors water quality and consumption. The internet-of-things (IOT) meter can be attached to any standard water tap, pipe or hose and helps users enjoy cleaner water while reducing their water bills.
BrighTap provides data of water quality and consumed water quantities using analytic algorithms and turbine technology that measures water flow with accuracy to +/-4 percent. The product's display shows real-time data and also stores it for tracking through a monitoring system.
BrighTap was co-founded by CEO Konstantin Berezin, who has a background in consumer electronics, hi-tech and environment solutions, along with CTO Ariel Drach and COO Alex Sudak.
MeetHere is an application created to simplify the process of choosing a meeting location between friends and colleagues. The app uses the GPS tracking function on smartphones to calculate the equidistant point between any number of users who wish to meet and locates the nearest meeting locations in a certain radius.
The app's users can choose between a variety of locations, including libraries, cafés and restaurants, for either social or professional purposes. After the location has been chosen, the application gives users the option to automatically send a text alerting each member in the group of the specified meeting spot.
The company was founded by high school students: Kushagra Singh, now the company's CEO; along with Manshu Sharma, Sarah Zhou and Jacob Zipper.
OneTest Diagnostics, United Kingdom
OneTest Diagnostics is a Cambridge-based biotech start-up developing a novel method of tracking response of cancer to therapy. Its point-of-care diagnostic device monitors the proportion of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in a patient's blood sample to determine how a patient is responding to therapy.
OneTest's novel approach removes the month-long wait and high costs associated with tracking this ctDNA by sequencing and allows clinicians to monitor treatment response in near real time, leading to rapid decision-making on choice of therapy. This enhanced monitoring guides personalized treatment, leading to improved patient quality of life and increased survival rates. OneTest Diagnostics currently targets colorectal cancer, with the option to further develop the product for monitoring a wide range of cancers.
The company was founded by John Cassidy, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, along with a group of fellow Cambridge students and students from King's College.
Freshy is a cloud and mobile platform that is intended to solve the global challenge of food waste, which makes up more than 50 percent of total waste. Of this waste, 23 percent is ready-made food that could be eaten but is routinely thrown away due to "made fresh daily" policies.
Freshy allows businesses to sell precooked food instead of throwing it away, while customers benefit from discounts and help environmental sustainability. Users can elect to receive push notifications based on their location and personal food preferences.
The company was founded by CEO Anatoliy Gatt, a former iOS developer, along with CFO Valeria Lobanova, CMO Svetlana Mitrakhovich and COO Gleb Eliseev.
Openwater.in provides a water-treatment solution in the form of an open-water filter. Citizens of developing and underdeveloped nations face the problem of procuring clean water every day. The start-up has developed a technology that can treat water from just about any source — including sewage, standing water and industrial effluents — to produce potable water.
Openwater.in provides a large low-cost, zero-maintenance throughput system that allows communities to reuse water, thereby reducing their dependence on conventional sources. Its technology uses electric fields to polarize impurities in water and then filters them through a simple sieve.
The company was founded by Dr. Sanjiv Sambandan, an assistant professor in the Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics at the Indian Institute of Science.
QEYE provides automatic quality inspection systems using machine vision technology for industries that typically follow manual procedures. The Egyptian start-up uses a smart industrial camera to target production quality improvements in textiles, plastic, paper, packaging and many other industries in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
QEYE customizes its solutions according to industry specifications and customer needs. While it specializes in machine vision, it is working to introduce chemical imaging based on multispectral and hyperspectral technologies.
The company was co-founded by three engineering graduates of Zagazig University — CEO Mahmoud AbdelAziz, CTO Mahmoud Kotb and Soha Samy.
Marini Naturals, Kenya
Marini Naturals is East Africa's first hair-care line that caters exclusively to women with natural African hair and all women with Afro-textured hair. It is the first company in its market to introduce purchasing of its products through the simple use of mobile phone short-code technology.
Marini Naturals formulates, manufactures, designs and sells a full set of products for a natural hair regimen, including sulfate-free shampoos, detangling leave-in conditioners, curling gels, curling butters, moisturizers and potent hair-growth oils. With products in East and Central Africa, as well as France, the company focuses its social media efforts on educating women on how to care for natural hair.
Michelle Ntalami, the founder of Marini Naturals, started the company when she couldn't find any local products for natural hair care and started developing her own homemade products in her bathroom.
Karz is an app that provides drivers with adapted real-time alerts about their dangerous driving behavior, distracted driving and road conditions around them. It also reports and tracks this data to help educate and improve driving proficiency.
Karz aims to reduce car accidents by alerting the driver in real-time on 75 percent of car accident causes. The app is for any driver but can be especially useful for insurance companies in determining reduced rates for distraction-free driving as well as for teenage drivers and their worried parents.
The start-up was founded by Danny Lahav, a serial entrepreneur from Israel with an engineering background and multiple patents to his name.
Boltt Sports Technologies, India
Boltt Sports Technologies makes wearable technology that combines the power of fitness tracking with artificial intelligence. It helps users get health and fitness coaching so they can make the most out of their workouts, recovery periods and nutrition choices.
The wearables, which can be worn together, include connected shoes that capture accurate biomechanical data on running, activity and training; a fitness tracker that records steps, distance, heart rate and other fitness metrics; and a stride sensor, which helps accurately calculate distance and intensity of exercises. The A.I. technology grabs the data and hunts for hidden patterns, which provide actionable insights — meaning the user will receive real-time coaching and personalized guidance on health and fitness choices. The gear is developed in partnership with Garmin.
The company was co-founded by a brother-sister team from Delhi, India. CEO Arnav Kishore was a young, international tennis player before founding two start-ups with CMO Aayushi Kishore, who has a masters in economics from Sri Ram College of Commerce.
Cookies and Cookies, Colombia
Cookies and Cookies is a cookie laboratory with a scientific theme for its customers to experience the "mad science" in its products. With two stores in Cartagena, Colombia, the start-up offers customers the ability to personalize their orders by adding custom toppings and ingredients.
Cookies and Cookies targets children and is pursuing a franchising model — like Build-a-Bear for cookies — with a scientific environment in shopping malls where kids wear lab coats, goggles and use laboratory flasks to create their desired product. They are currently in negotiations to open five locations throughout the United States and four more in Colombia.
The founders are Karen Carvajalino, Daniela Carvajalino and Stephanie Carvajalino, three sisters from Colombia who currently attend Kennesaw State University in Georgia.