Braille Smartwatch Wins Get in the Ring Startup Competition

DOT’s braille smartwatch won the prestigious startup competition ‘Get in the Ring’ on Tuesday night. This year 5000 startups from 80 countries took part, of which only 22 startups were chosen to take up the challenge for the world title fight in Medellín, Colombia.

“Our device targets 285 million blind people around the world. Get in the Ring is a global competion with global exposure, winning improves our chances of reaching them”, said Eric Ju Yoon Kim. His company DOT, a South Korean startup that produces braille smartwatches that are 20 times smaller and much cheaper than traditional braille devices, lifted the competition’s ‘heavyweight belt’ on Tuesday night.

The 2016 Champions of the middleweight and lightweight categories are Biodencell and LIK respectively. The Colombian Biodencell operates a dental stem cell bank in order to treat immunological diseases and repair damaged tissue.  The app from the Moroccan startup LIK (‘for you’ in Arabic) allows users to get free minutes or data in exchange for targeted advertisements on their smartphone.

The three winners of the final were awarded a worldwide trip where they will meet with some of the world’s leading companies such as Samsung, Orange, Rocket Internet, Sequoia Capital Asia and Heineken as well as exposure within the startup and investor communities.

How Get in the Ring Works

Get in the Ring is a global competition for startups. Two startups battle head-to-head in a ring via pitches. A battle between two teams consists of several rounds about the team, the business model and its finances. Through a knock-out system the companies fight through Local, National and Regional Finals all the way to the International Final. Along the way the entrepreneurs were given pitch training, advice about their businesses, and the opportunity to get in contact with investors, business leaders, potential customers and like-minded entrepreneurs. There can only be one winner in each weight class based on valuation (lightweight - 0-1 million euros, middleweight - 1-10 million euros, heavyweight - 10+ million euros).

The competition started with 5000 contestants from 80 countries. There were 130 preliminary rounds around the world including nine Regional Finals, which were held in London, Riyadh, Athens, Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Seoul, Sofia, Johannesburg, Casablanca and Mexico City. The final 20 startups travelled to Medellín, Colombia to finally settle the score and crown the winners.

The International Final

Each finalist flew to Medellín for a 4-day program and were given pitch training, motivational speeches from successful entrepreneurs, met local startups, investors and business leaders from around the world and attended a dinner organized in collaboration with the Dutch embassy.

Every year more participants are entering the competition from around the world, all the judges were very impressed by the level of competition this year. “This has been an amazing competition, with a high level of startups promoting their projects”, said Luz Maria Jaramillo, Tax Partner at EY Colombia (partner of the International Final), after the final on Tuesday night.

Global Entrepreneurship Congress

The event took place alongside the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, Get in the Ring-director Jochem Cuppen said: “This is a great chance for the contestants, they can get in contact with 6000 entrepreneur-minded visitors from 160 countries. It’s an excellent opportunity for networking and finding investors and clients”.

The future of Get in the Ring

After only four years Get in the Ring has grown itself into one of the most respected and well-known startup competitions in the world. Cuppen says that he expects it to grow again next year: “We are going to promote Get in the Ring where we don’t yet have many competitors, next year we aim to have three times as many participants from over 100 countries.”

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About Get in the Ring Foundation

The Get in the Ring Foundation is an organization that gives startups a fun and global podium to make valuable connections to innovators to grow and scale up their business. We are active in 100 countries and work together with leaders of entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world. Get in the Ring is known for its innovative format where startups face off in a boxing ring.