4 Russian Startups Make the Finals of the International “Startup Federation” Contest

November 11, 2013

On November 9th, the Digital October Center announced the results of the search for the most promising young tech companies in Russia and the CIS. These companies are creating large-scale solutions to make education, medicine, energy conservation, and the concept of the ‘smart city’ more accessible.

Throughout the month of October, startups were given the opportunity to submit their online applications. On November 7th-8th, more than twenty selected teams gathered for an express accelerator at DO, and, finally, took the stage last Saturday to talk about their projects in front of a panel of judges and an audience from all around the world.

This was the regional level of the first Challenge Cup, an international contest organized by Startup Federation, an informal organization that brings together the leading centers for supporting entrepreneurship from all over the world. Our Center represents the federation in Russia, and the entire initiative is overseen by 1776, a Washington-based business incubator.

The 1776 team couldn’t not come in for the regional finals, so the judge’s panel took on an international flavor. In addition to 1776’s founders, the panel included Maria Adamian (Digital October), Dmitry Galperin (Runa Capital), Karina Chopoorian (Pearson), Oleg Kuzhikov (Maxfield Capital Partners), and Dmitry Firskin (Altair Capital).

The event drew a full house, and it was also broadcast online. Throughout the event, audience members were able to vote for the projects they liked on the website of Tech Cocktail, the contest’s global partner.

The finalists were selected over two stages. First, all of the teams took turns offering 60-second pitches. After that, the judges’ panel culled the larger part of the projects, and the remaining groups gave 3-minute presentations and answered questions from the experts. All of this was in English.

The following teams emerged victorious in their respective categories:

Education: WeStudyIn was selected from a pool of 9 projects. WeStudyIn is an educational consulting service for Russian-speaking students and recent graduates that helps them to find programs and internships in their areas of expertise all over the world and to get advice from people who have already studied at their university of choice. We’d like to note that this project was launched this summer at DEMO Europe, where it was named DEMO God.

Medicine: “Medesk” was chosen to move on from a field of 9 projects. Medesk is one of the pioneers of digital healthcare in Russia. Their cloud platform, which aggregates medical data, improves the collaboration between private insurance companies (not just clinics) and also facilitates document processing.

Energy Conservation: As the only project chosen for its category, EcoCat was essentially guaranteed a trip to the finals, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have to present along with the others. Their product is an eco-friendly gas catalytic heater that will dramatically reduce heating waste in non-residential spaces.

Smart City: Angry Citizen was chosen from a pool of 5 candidates. This independent project is designed to formulate complaints about low-quality government goods, services, or practices, to file an official complaint, and to get your problem solved.

All four finalists will be sent on a free trip to Washington for a weeklong festival in May of next year. They’ll duke it out with their colleagues from other countries for the contest’s financial prizes (which will range from 50-150 thousand dollars to be shared amongst the eight winners, depending on how they place).

Though the Russian participants have already been chosen, Challenge Cup preliminary rounds are still being held around the world. The final list of 64 finalists will only be announced closer to March of 2014. Half of them will represent American cities, and the other half will represent England, Germany, Israel, India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Russia.

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