Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thousands take part in 2014 Skolkovo Startup Village competition

The Skolkovo Foundation held the 2014 Startup Village, one of the largest startup competitions in the world, at its headquarters in Moscow this week.

More than 8,500 registrants arrived at the Hypercube on Monday and Tuesday to participate in the all-Russian conference on communications technology. Among the participants were technology startup companies, investors, teachers and students.

"We are all here to learn, because the owner can not be by the book," event organizer Pekka Viljakainen said during the conference's opening remarks. "Let's rock and roll together."

During the second half of Monday's opening ceremony, participants were treated to a live demonstration of a drone helicopter designed and constructed by students of Skolkovo's technical institute.

"I think for any student, and for any manager to manage than whatever means not only be able to do the slides and write memos, but also know how to program," Skolkovo's robotics head Albert Efimov said. "Competitive approach [a]ffects the ability to quickly solve engineering problems. These skills are key for Skolkovo Tech and Skolkovo startups."

Over the course of the two-day event, hundreds of innovators presented their ideas and products for a panel of investors and judges. Of the 750 initial teams, only 21 teams were selected as finalists to receive approximately $4,200.

The winning project was EkzoAtlet, robotics technology that aims to enhance the quality of life for the disabled, assist with fighting forest fires and to provide disaster relief--the company, which was founded by Ekaterina Berezy, won the grand prize of approximately $26,000.

"We came at the invitation of Skolkovo to show their innovation involved, frankly, not even for the purpose of winning, and to show that our project exists and that in Russia for people with disabilities already have such technology," Berezy said.

Second and third place, respectively, went to Radio Gigabits and Nanooptics.

The Skolkovo Foundation, which is sponsored in part by Uzbek mogul Iskander Makhmudov's metals company Transmashholding, has a high technology business area near Moscow that seeks to assist Russian companies with start-up development and marketing. The complex is chaired by Viktor Vekselberg and co-chaired by former Intel CEO Craig Barrett.