On April 24, the finals of the second Vernadsky Challenge contest took place in Dnipro. 12 teams were named as finalists, including: a system for managing GIS data in three-dimensional space; a medical device that allows technicians to diagnose cardiovascular diseases; a wireless system that transfers electric energy up to 5 meters; and a state-of-the-art wind generator.
The judges not only assessed how innovative each startup was, but also its commercial potential, scalability, and how well the team pitched their projects to the investors.
An increase of the contest prize fund was a welcome announcement during the finals. Max Polyakov, Founder of the Noosphere Ventures investment company gave the announcement, “The era of social Internet has come to an end – it is impossible to create another Facebook, Linkedin or Snapchat. I would new suggest that you create engineering startups, as they are the intellectual capital of the future. We have refocused the Vernadsky Challenge to focus solely on engineering startups and will continue moving in this direction. This year we have placed an emphasis on smart houses, medicine, VR, and alternative energy sources. As a result, we have received twice as many applications than in 2015! Compared to IT, engineering inventions are a more resource-intensive industry. Therefore, I believe it is fair to double the contest prize fund up to 2 million UAH”.
Experts of the Vernadsky Challenge decided to allocate the grant as follows: 40% of the total fund – for first place, 30% and 20% – for the second and third place respectively, and 10% – for the winner of the Audience Choice Award. The winner of the Audience Choice Award was determined through an online vote by people who attended the contest in person.
The team from Khmelnitsky National University won third place and was granted 400 000 UAH. The team of professionals from the Radio-electronic Apparatus and Telecommunication Department, lead by Professor Sergey Pidchenko, developed “Bioton” – a medical device that allows technicians to diagnose cardiovascular disease. The device measures artery elasticity, blood pressure and pulse using innovative, non-invasive methods. According to the creators, “Bioton” is a quarter of the cost of its European counterparts.
The Hideez Band startup took second place and a 600 000 UAH grant. Hideez Band is a bracelet with “keys for every password.” It is capable of storing existing passwords and creating new ones, as well as turning Windows and Android devices on and off via Bluetooth. The device can also store private keys to digital documents. The team has a working prototype and has already received investment capital through Indiegogo.
In addition to the basic grant, Hideez Band also won the Audience Choice Award for an additional 200 000 UAH.
The Technovator XE project by Ivan Chuba, Co-Founder of iBlazr, took first place and won the 800 000 UAH grant. Technovator XE is a wireless battery charging device that transfers electricity up to 5 meters. It can charge up to four gadgets simultaneously, and you are able to prioritize recharging order and even choose the charging speed.
The team of judges consisted of:
Michael Ryabokon – Chief Innovation Officer, Noosphere. Chairman of the Jury of Vernadsky Challenge-2016, and member of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.
Alex Nesterenko – COO of ARTKB Design Bureau. As part of the ARTKB team, he contributed to the success of such Ukrainian technology projects as PetCube, LaMetric, and eCozy.
Anton Senenko – Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics, senior research fellow of the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and a popular blogger.
Artem Tymoshenko – COO of Maxpay, expert in payment systems and project monetization.
Konstantin Yegorov – Ph.D. in Medical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Propaedeutic of Internal Medicine of Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy, speaker at multiple professional conferences. Vladimir Hnat – CEO of Science Park "Kyivska Polytechnika".
See you at Vernadsky Challenge 2017!