In its sixth yr, Startup Village, Russia’s largest startup convention for tech entrepreneurs, attracted over 20,000 attendees from greater than 80 international locations.
The occasion ran in its conventional venue, the tech hub Skolkovo on the outskirts of Moscow, on 31 Could and 1 June 2018.
This yr’s occasion was extra worldwide, in contrast with previous events, Sergei Khodakov, operations director at Skolkovo’s IT cluster, instructed Laptop Weekly. “The variety of worldwide startups participating was noticeable greater,” he stated.
Over the convention’s two days, four,500 startups introduced their initiatives to about 1,000 traders.
“This yr, we had particular deal with company innovation and startups’ finest follow,” stated Khodakov. “Collaborating companies and startups had been ready, for example, to get solutions to questions on the best way to develop and implement improvements, what partnership alternatives can be found for them, and the way industries, to which they’re providing options, can be growing within the brief run.”
Most overseas taking part startups got here from Japan, France, Italy, Bangladesh and Korea. “They had been principally testing the market, on the lookout for companions for getting into Russia and potential traders,” he added.
Alina Akinshina, government director of Online Patent, a digital system for managing logos and patents, instructed Laptop Weekly why her firm attended. “Startup Village is likely one of the largest annual startup occasions, gathering many revolutionary firms and representatives of enormous companies and funding funds, which is necessary for us,” she stated.
“The occasion turned out to be helpful for us in all respects, and we’re persevering with communication with potential traders and purchasers whom we met on the occasion.”
She stated the signing of an settlement between On-line Patent and n’RIS, a nationwide platform for registry, storage and turnover of mental property, was introduced at this yr’s Startup Village.
It was simply one in all various offers introduced at Startup Village, lots of which concerned enterprise funds. Amongst them was additionally a RUB300bn ($four.8m) funding within the enterprise fund Skolkovo Ventures from state-run company Russian Helicopters.
One other state-controlled big, the United Plane Company, invested the identical amount of cash in Skolkovo Ventures. In the meantime, the nation’s largest on-line lender Tinkoff struck offers with three Skolkovo resident startups.
Attracting funding stays one of many major motivations for startups’ participation within the convention.
In keeping with the Skolkovo IT cluster’s Khodakov, the variety of attending traders was roughly the identical as final yr. “Funding capability of the Russian market is proscribed, and in that respect, Startup Village’s benefit is attendance by worldwide traders,” he stated.
In the meantime, as initial coin offering (ICO) has not all the time confirmed to achieve success for startups, many are turning again to conventional enterprise capital.
“ICO was final yr’s pattern,” Khodakov claimed. “Lately, ICO has been shedding its attractiveness as a funding device, and startups are beginning once more to look carefully at enterprise capital. ICO isn’t all the time efficient, so, startups’ curiosity in classical instruments, similar to enterprise capital, is again to the extent at which it was two years in the past.”
This yr’s Startup Village was held roughly one yr after the blockchain craze started in Russia and signified gradual migration of that know-how from hype to particular implementation within the financial system.
Skolkovo was among the many first to embrace the potential of blockchain in Russia. Again in 2016, it launched a competence centre for blockchain applied sciences, which at the moment hosts 20 firms working in such various fields as monetary know-how (fintech), well being know-how (healthtech), the web of issues (IoT), gaming and leisure.
Now, the primary focus is on discovering functions for blockchain-based options in the actual financial system.
“I believe we’re at a degree the place blockchain is shifting from a hype stage to an utility stage, and firms are blockchain-based options for fixing their enterprise duties,” stated Khodakov on the Skolkovo IT cluster.
“We had a number of firms that supply blockchain-based options, and their quantity has been continually on the rise,” he added. “This can be a optimistic pattern and, total, using blockchain is now thought of to be a startup’s aggressive benefit,” he stated.
Whereas blockchain-based options are but to seek out clients on a grand scale, different cutting-edge applied sciences are already fashionable amongst potential patrons.
At this yr’s Startup Village, there was excessive demand from manufacturing firms for predictive analytics and massive information options.
Tech in demand
Demand for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)-based simulators for coaching personnel to work with sophisticated gear or in tough circumstances, additionally elevated, whereas artificial intelligence (AI) remained among the many applied sciences within the highest demand.
Startups demonstrated their creations. “Our AI-based answer permits firms to create a buyer administration system, optimise operational workload and enhance cross-sales,” Julia Demkina, undertaking supervisor at Heedbook, instructed Laptop Weekly.
“Utilizing pc imaginative and prescient and speech recognition, the system can course of video and audio streams from the entrance line’s worker in background mode,” she added.
Primarily based on behaviour data on clients and workers – which embrace practically two dozen parameters, similar to feelings, consideration, intonation and pauses – Heedbook’s answer can consider buyer satisfaction, price workers by the standard of their work, decide peak workload and idle durations, serving to to enhance scheduling.
One other present pattern on present was applied sciences that assist sensible cities.
“This can be a important pattern,” stated Artem Kukharenko, founding father of NtechLab, which supplies sensible metropolis know-how for facial recognition with using surveillance cameras. “Firms from a number of cities and international locations introduced their merchandise. Everybody’s strategy was totally different, and it was helpful to check notes.”
At present, the facial recognition product from NtechLab is used with 1,500 surveillance cameras throughout town, the place, in accordance with the corporate, the know-how has already helped to detain dozens of wished criminals by regulation enforcers.
Related methods are to be quickly launched in all main Russian cities. Nevertheless, there are challenges. “The principle problem is find the best stability between privateness and new technological alternatives,” concluded Kukharenko.