Skoltech Entrepreneurial Challenge was held for the first time

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Ilia Dubinsky, Director of the CEI, gives a lecture during the event

Last Saturday the Skoltech Alumni Association held its first event ever: the first entrepreneurial challenge. Dozens of guests attended the event, enjoyed a good atmosphere, refreshments, music and of course presentations and exchange of unique ideas. The peak of the event was naturally the challenge itself.

One of the organizers, Andrii Omelianovych, took us behind the scenes of the event: “The Skoltech Entrepreneurial Challenge was initially envisioned as a gift to Skoltech from graduating cohort. The organizing activities were performed by the Alumni Association. We had several set-backs with funding and several delays in organization of the event itself, but we managed to pull it off. This happened largely because of several enthusiastic individuals: Katya Yakovleva, Katya Masloboeva, Borya Urman, Sasha Vidiborskiy, Kolya Ivanov, Kirill Abrosimov, Viktoria Stelmakh, and Arseniy Sleptsov. Without them, I don’t think the event couldn’t have happened. It was also supported by CEI and the Office of Student Affairs. They provided necessary funds to ensure smooth organization and high quality of the event”.

The challenge was divided to two stages: the first was for projects in their initial level, which are yet to have a real product. The second was for projects that already have a real product, and are in the level of commercialization. More than 20 projects applied to the challenge, and 15 projects pitched during the demo day. The organizers managed to attract 10 judges, among whom were business angels, representatives of venture funds, and C-level executives.

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The happy winners of the challenge

At the end of the day, the first stage selection was “Be close“. This  project, a user-friendly service designed to help people to quickly find a company of similar interests and/or place for their activity, just got its initiators, Maria Goldstein and Mariya Popova the prize sum of 50K Rubles. The second stage selection was “Tardis 3D” – a full body 3D scanner project, by Vahe Taamazyan, Mikhail Matrosov, and Stanislav Podshivalov. Their prize sum was 100K Rubles.
Our congratulations for the winners!

Maria Goldstein, from the “Be close” group commented: “It is very important for us to find confirmation that the problem which we are solving is of current interest for people. Therefore, when we applied to the challenge we hoped to receive opinions about our project and discuss the idea. Our expectations were met, and after the challenge we had a very productive discussion of the project.
We want to thank the Alumni Association for having organized the Skoltech Entrepreneurial Challenge and, surely, we are very pleased, that the jury chose our project as the best one in Stage 1. We will spend the award on developing a brand design for our service.”

From the winners of the second stage, team “Tardis 3D”, we got the comment of Vahe Taamazyan: “It was a pleasure to participate and win in the first Skoltech Entrepreneurship Challenge! I was really surprised by the great level of judges and enjoyed the competition. Although I still believe that the main win for a startup is to be profitable, not to win competitions, and I hope that all (or at least most) of the projects from Skoltech students will achieve that!”

Andrii Omelianovych summed the event: “The amount of enthusiasm was overwhelming, and many of the participants personally told me that this was the first time they seriously thought of carrying their project forward. I believe this to be a great achievement. Clément Fortin, the dean of Education, attended the event, and personally congratulated us on the successful organization. My colleagues and I greatly appreciate such words from Skoltech decision-makers”.

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