The fifth IT Arena Startup Competition looked somewhat different from the previous ones – the traditional startup stage, always packed with spectators to take a glimpse at some of the future unicorns and busy investors seeking promising innovations and talent, turned into a series of presentations with the startup founders having to hone their public speaking skills in front of thousands of viewers watching online. IT Arena Startup Competition 2020 went without a hitch in the new reality! Let’s learn more about the winners of the competition finals.
Out of 100 startups that applied for the competition, only 39 were selected to the semi-finals, out of which 10 pitched their ideas at the Startup Finals in front of the online audience and the jury. The total Startup Competition prize fund this year amounted to $120,000.The jury included 9 experts: Bas Godska, General Partner of Acrobatorvc; Richard Goldeneye, Founding Partner of Octagonal Multi-Family Office; Mykhailo Puzrakov, COO & Chairman of the Board, Intellias, President Lviv Tech Angels; Oleg Malenkov, Partner at TAVentures, Mentor at Techstars; Adrian Slywotzky, Partner at Oliver Wyman; Marty Kaszubowski, Executive Director of the new Center for Enterprise Innovation; Warren Haber, Managing Director, Exoventure; Rune Theill, Co-Founder & CEO of rockstart; Dmytro Chernukha, Innovation Manager, DTEK.
Startups selected in the finals seek to tackle some of the most pressing issues in the world and Ukraine in particular. The jury saw great potential in the initiative supporting farmers’ goods trading following Ukraine’s long-awaited land market law. Solutions that alleviate the COVID-19 effects were not left out too, with the runner-up and third prize holders offering anti-pandemic solutions. “The great news is that the share of startup founders who think about global ideas is growing every year. They think about how to scale on foreign markets already in the early stages. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 also made its adjustments and the share of startups in e-health and online learning has grown significantly. Compared to previous years, this year there were many female startup founders,” tells Ivan Dmytrasevych, СЕО, Startup Depot, organizer of IT Arena Startup Competition.
Tech boost for agribusiness
The winner of the main prize $10,000 from CDRF Global & IT Arena was Tradomatic, an online matching platform for agribusiness. Tradomatic helps farmers to sell crops, buy inputs, get financing and buy/sell land faster by matching their requests with buyers and distributors. The company was also granted a 1-year membership in Platforma Coworking and Mentorship & Access to the Rockstart community. In addition, the best startup received a chance to take part in an Online acceleration program from Silicon Valley in Your Pocket. “This is the first victory for our team and me personally. It motivates us to continue to develop further and work on ourselves and our startup. The Startup Competition gave us access to a large network of contacts, in particular, investors. The money we got will be invested in hiring sales managers and comprehensive research of new markets. In this way, we are going to maintain our growth and better prepare for scaling. I was pleasantly impressed with the level of startups selected for the finals and I also liked the very thoughtful questions from the jury and their support and advice before the final,” says Denys Balon, CEO & Co-Founder of Tradomatic.
Warren Haber, Managing Director, Exoventure, IT Arena Startup Competition jury member adds: “Tradomatic appeared to have achieved the most market traction and has created a scalable solution which addressed a large industry pain point. Moreover, their product appeared to have applicability within other countries outside of Ukraine. As importantly, the management team appeared to understand their market domain well and had employed a business model that was suitable for that sector. For these reasons, it wasn't a difficult decision to identify them as the winner.”
Nano hand sanitizer and digital self-service
The runner-up of this year's Startup Competition, an international high-tech startup that creates solutions to fight bacteria and viruses IOON, received $6,000 from CDRF Global. The startup presented an innovative portable pocket-size device that turns water into sanitizer in one second. The IOON sanitizer is alcohol-free and non-toxic for human skin, pets and the environment. In addition, the IOON team got a 6-month membership in Sigma Software Labs. “Getting into the top three winners has become a powerful impetus for us to move forward even faster. And the prize of $6,000 will help us launch a campaign on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The entire IOON startup team is very grateful for the new experience, connections and opportunities. Being in the finals and winning prizes at the IT Arena is an achievement we are proud of,” comments Andriy Manuilov, CEO, IOON.
The third major prize $5,000 and a 6-month membership in Sigma Software Lab went to ORTY Restaurant Management. ORTY is the solution that enables restaurants to quickly launch digital self-service (order from the table, pre-order, delivery) via restaurant-branded chatbot, web app or an installable app within the regular restaurant management software. The startup has been servicing hundreds of customers in Ukraine and South East Asia.
Two more startup finalists were acknowledged with valuable appraisals. In particular, SPOKK, a digital insurance platform for buying, claiming and managing pet insurance policies, received a travel grant to Europe by the Center for Entrepreneurship UCU. SPOKK is a "mobile-only" insurance provider for your furry friends that will help you save money on vet bills.
Bicovery, a startup aimed at helping people with Bipolar Disorder, got access to the course by Adrian Slywotsky. Bicovery Machine Learning powered system collects and analyzes in real-time the data about physical activity, social behavior and cognitive state of Bipolar Disorder (BP-I) patients to alert upcoming crisis episodes to caregivers and doctors, improve patient life quality, validate treatment and prescribed drugs, optimize treatment costs.