CELEBRATE | November 17, 2016

GEN Announces Top 10 Startup Open Finalists

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Finalists receive mentoring, compete for spot at 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa

The Global Entrepreneurship Network announced today the top 10 finalists for Startup Open – a global competition to find some of the most promising young startups in the world.

The announcement comes during Global Entrepreneurship Week, a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship by roughly 10 million people in 165 countries around the world. Startup Open is one of the marquee GEW events, which gives entrepreneurs a virtual stage in which to pitch their ideas, receive feedback and compete for mentoring – to help move their startup forward.

“These individuals and cofounder teams are innovators on the verge of becoming industry disruptors – you see their promise and that they are ready to take their ventures to the next level,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “This group of entrepreneurs, and others like them, are driving economic growth and social value in all economies and cultures of the world.”

The top 10 finalists include, in no particular order: (Read below for full startup descriptions)

This year, the top 10 were selected from more than 1,000 founders from 101 countries – and nearly three out of every four founders are from outside the United States. The finalists hail from eight different countries including Israel (2), India (2), Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Malta, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This is the seventh year for the competition, and a preference was given to entrepreneurs from any industry with a new business that has yet to raise any outside capital from angel investors, venture capital firms or other formal sources of seed funding.

These finalists will automatically gain membership in the GEN Starters Club, a community of talented founders with access to GEN mentors, enhanced exposure and curated networking opportunities at special events around the world. They will also connect with mentors over the next four weeks before the winner is announced on Jan. 5.

The Startup Open winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, where they will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2017. The GEC brings together entrepreneurs, investors, global leaders and startup champions from more than 160 countries to explore the best ways to build and strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems. As part of the experience, the Startup Open winner will have the opportunity to showcase his or her startup on a global scale and meet with potential collaborators, mentors and others to help the startup grow.

Full descriptions of the top 10 Startup Open finalists:

BrighTap by Bwareit

BrighTap is a smart water meter sensor and 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%.  The product’s display shows real-time data and also stores it for tracking through a monitoring system.

Bwareit was co-founded by Konstantin Berezin (CEO) who has a background in consumer electronics, hi-tech and environment solutions experience, along with Ariel Drach (CTO) and Alex Sudak (COO).



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.

meetHere 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 Kush Singh, the chief of Radiology Services at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, as CEO, with Manshu Sharma and Jacob Zipper, two college students/engineers focused on IOS and Android, respectively.


OneTest Diagnostics
United Kingdom

OneTest Diagnostics is a Cambridge-based biotech startup developing a novel method of tracking response of cancer to therapy. Its point-of-care diagnostic device monitors the proportion of circulating tumour 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 personalised 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 PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom along with fellow Cambridge students Evaline Tsai, Emil Hewage and Harry Clifford along with King’s College PhD candidate Nirmesh Patel.



Freshy is a cloud and mobile platform, which is intended to solve the global challenge of food waste, which makes up over 50% of total waste. Of this waste, 23% is ready-made food which could be eaten, but is routinely thrown away due to “made fresh daily” policies.

Freshy allows businesses to sell pre-cooked 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 Anatoliy Gatt (CEO) who worked as an iOS developer for 3+ years for a number of eastern European companies along with Valeria Lobanova (CFO), Svetlana Mitrakhovich (CMO) and Gleb Eliseev (COO).



Openwater.in provides a water treatment solution in the form of an openwater filter. Citizens of developing and underdeveloped nations face the problem of procuring clean water every day. The startup 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 provides a low cost, zero maintenance, large throughput system which allows communities to reuse water thus reducing their dependence on conventional sources. Its technology uses electric fields to polarize impurities in water and 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.


Boltt Sports Technologies

Boltt Sports Technologies is a ‘wearables’ technology that combines the power of fitness tracking with artificial intelligence technology that interprets data and provides practical health and fitness ‘coaching’ for users to get the most out of their workouts, recovery periods and nutrition choices. Boltt wearables are products that empower people to live fitter and healthier lifestyles.

The wearables, which can be worn together, include connected shoes that capture accurate bio-mechanical 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 AI technology grabs the data and hunts for hidden patterns, which provide actionable insights — meaning the user will receive real-time coaching and suggestions from the system, providing personalized guidance on health and fitness. The gear is developed in partnership with Garmin.

The company was co-founded by a brother-sister team from Delhi, India. Arnav Kishore (CEO) was a young, international tennis player before founding two startups with Aayushi Kishore (CMO) who has a Masters in Economics from Sri Ram College of Commerce.



QEYE provides automatic quality inspection systems using machine vision technology for industries that typically follow manual procedures. The Egyptian startup 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 cofounded by two graduates -- Mahmoud AbdelAziz, CEO, and Soha Samy, Software Engineer – and one faculty member -- Mahmoud Kotb, CTO -- of Zagazig University in southeastern Egypt.


Marini Naturals

Marini Naturals is East Africa's first haircare line – and amongst the pioneers throughout the continent -- that caters exclusively to women of natural, African hair and all women of Afro-textured hair. It is the first company in its market to introduce purchasing of its products through the simple use of mobile phone shortcode 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 mixing her own home-made 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 startup was founded by Danny Lahav, a serial entrepreneur from Israel with an engineering background and multiple patents to his name.


Cookies and Cookies

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 startup 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 Carvalajino, three sisters from Colombia who currently attend Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Jessica is a former multimedia journalist with a background in print and online media. At the Global Entrepreneurship Network, she created daily… About the author