Throughout the three days of the conference, IT Arena 2021 thrilled and astounded its attendees. The Startup Competition was, undoubtedly, one of the event's highlights. This year's contestants impressed the jury members, visitors, and investors with their concise pitches and intriguing ideas. Thirty startups, two busy days of the semi-finals and finals, and we are ready to present to you the three winners. Let's take a deeper look at our winners and how the battle played out.
In 2021, Startup Competition finalists came up with a variety of ideas, each of which is unrivaled in its sector. The grand prize was awarded to a team that creates unique gadgets to combat mosquitos and prevent infection from spreading diseases. The jury members also highlighted a tool that allows micro and small entrepreneurs to build corporate websites faster and simpler. Another winning innovation is crucial in today's reality, as the team has created a one-of-a-kind gadget that aids in the prevention of illnesses and unforeseen health problems.
“The IT Arena and Startup Competition represent a substantial section of Ukraine's tech ecosystem. USF has invested more than $6 million in Ukrainian startups, and alumni of the EO business incubator and SWG traditionally become our finalists and winners. I'm delighted that such great partners have joined us this year. I want to stress that practically all participating startup teams have already begun working in foreign markets, tackling global challenges,” tells Ivan Dmytrasevych, СЕО, Startup Depot Business Incubator, organizer of IT Arena Startup Competition.This year's Startup Competition attracted 115 teams. A committee of professionals chose the top thirty startups, which presented their products during the second day of the conference. Since IT Arena 2021 took place in a new hybrid format, only a part of the jury members was physically present during the pitches, while the rest of the jury joined only. Startup Competition finals were hosted during the conference's closing ceremony at Lviv National Opera, where ten finalists performed in front of a live audience. The total prize fund of the Startup Competition in 2021 equaled $170,000.
The Startup Competition jury consisted of nine experts: Mykhaylo Puzrakov, Executive Chairman & COO at Intellas, Igor Pertsiya, Venture Partner at TA Ventures, Warren Haber, Managing Director, Exoventure, Marco Rubin, Chairman, Exoventure, Ihar Mahaniok, Angel Investor, Alexandra Balkova, Head of Portfolio, Startup Wise Guys, Mariia Tintul, Program Managing Director, Startup Wise Guys, Ragnar Sass, CEO & Founder, Lift99, and Bas Godska, Founder, General Partner at Acrobator Ventures.
Eco-friendly and innovative protection from mosquitoes
A Kyiv-based team Mosqitter won the Best Startup award, receiving a $20,000 grand prize. The startup is developing unique gadgets that anybody can install in their backyard to create a secure and comfortable environment free of mosquitoes within a fifty-meter radius.
“Winning IT Arena is a start for new opportunities. Mosqitter team is honored to receive the Best Startup award 2021. Pitching on the Lviv National Opera stage was a unique and memorable experience. We are incredibly grateful to be part of such a mature and supportive ecosystem. Receiving contributions from both financial and knowledge perspectives is difficult to overestimate. USF, CRDF Global, USAID programs, EO Business Incubators, Tech Ukraine are among many more entities and experts who are helping Mosqitter to grow and scale. Now, as we have already introduced our non-toxic culture to almost every continent, it is important to prevent the growing risk of pandemics and further reduce the negative impact of existing repellent methods. Mosqitter greatly appreciates that we are strongly supported on this route,” says Anastasiia Romanova, CEO and Founder at Mosqitter.
Mobile app for creating corporate websites
The second-place winner who received an $18,000 award is Zeely – a mobile application for creating business websites and increasing online sales. The team helps entrepreneurs as well as the self-employed from Africa and India, who do not have the ability to quickly create a business website due to the inaccessibility of technology. So with a help of a single device – smartphone, Zeely makes ad campaigns more effective, tracks requests with built-in analytics, helps to collect their own customer base with a CRM system and increases sales through different channels.
“For our team, the participation in the IT Arena Startup Competition is associated with the organizers' thorough preparation and processing of every aspect, excellent quality of production, broadcasts, sound, light, settings, and ambiance. The opportunity to present our own product on such a large-scale stage amid other very ambitious startups is a great honor for us. Projects such as IT Arena motivate you to grow and develop by improving the product every day. After all, nothing can happen without persistence, maximum involvement, understanding of business principles, and the desire to do a cool project. We know how to create the best mobile business development solution in mobile-first countries, and now winning the $18,000 award serves as a catalyst for the process. Thank you, IT Arena, for making such a significant contribution to the growth of the Ukrainian startup ecosystem,” comments Dmytro Samoiliuk, CEO, Co-Founder of Zeely.
Daily health checks and disease detection gadget
The third place of the Startup Competition went to Caretech Human, which received a $15,000 prize. The team has created a novel, completely automated gadget for daily health checks and illness diagnoses. How does it work? The device is integrated into a toilet and provides a digitized analysis of human wastes on a daily basis. Caretech Human allows you to recognize multiple disorders at a time and with precise accuracy. User identification, sampling time, sample processing, and delivery of results to the consumer/doctor/medical systems are automated.
“All startup ecosystem participants are waiting for this loud event every year. Caretech Human team was honored to take part in it and pitch our healthcare product from the stage of Lviv National Opera. Lviv IT Cluster helps startups in many ways, awarding them with cool prizes, allowing them to present products in front of a diverse audience coming from all over the country, and attracting the best people for cooperation. Events and competitions like IT Arena help us build strength and receive valuable feedback to become another unicorn from Ukraine one day. It is a great joy for us to be in the top three best startups, but none of this would be possible without support and guidance from USF, CRDF Global, and EO Business Incubators,” highlights Dan Matsui, Founder of Caretech Human.In addition to financial support from CRDF Global and USF, Startup Competition winners and finalists will receive a number of other prizes from the contest’s partners: $25,000 for cloud services for 3 winning teams from AWS, workshop and mentorship from eō Business Incubators, a 4-month acceleration program, Nest place for 5 teams and mentorship hours from Sector X, mentorship from TA Ventures, mentorship hours and 2 places in a coworking for 6 months from Starta Ventures, legal advice from Legal House, mentorship from Reactor, fast-tracking certificate and online mentorship from Startup Wise Guys, 2-month residence for a team of 5 people and mentorship hours from Lift99, 2-week residence in London office and mentorship from Blue Lake, mentorship from Acrobator.
Special thanks to partners of Startup Competition 2021: CRDF Global, Ukrainian Startup Fund, Startup Wise Guys, Lift99, Amazon Web Services, Blue Lake, Acrobator, Reactor, Legal House, Starta Ventures, TA Ventures, Sector X, eo Business Incubators.