8 Promising Startup Projects Received Expert Support During MENTOR DAY 2

8 Promising Startup Projects Received Expert Support During MENTOR DAY 2
19 May 2015
19 May 2015
On May 15, the Hi-Tech Park held MENTOR DAY2 within the national forum IT Youth 2015. The event was aimed at providing practical advice and assistance to young IT entrepreneurs.

8 most promising projects were selected among over 50 applications to participate in MENTOR DAY 2.

GuideMe, a routing application for tourists;
ADFOR.RU, a service enabling personalization of a website based on user requests;
Chemistry X10, a mobile application for solving problems in chemistry;
iDiscount, electronic discount cards;
[in]SPACE, an application for conducting events and indoor navigation based on iBeacon technology;
Cityvibe, a geolocation application providing information about all interesting activities in close proximity;
Mirror 3, a system of virtual advertising in shops, show rooms and shopwindows;
SplitMetrics, a service for conducting A/B testing of an app page in App Store and on Google Play.

Maxim (SplitMetrics): "Why are we here? We want to ask leaders of the IT industry for advice and say more about us; but the main goal, of course, is to win the top prize. It is good that young Belarusians begin to think about starting their own startups, it proves that we have an advanced IT industry."

Yury Sudarev (Head of the Department for Innovative Entrepreneurship Support at the HTP Administration), Dzmitry Karnei (Deputy General Director at Apalon Apps), Konstantin Keller (Product Manager at Wargaming.net), Yury Stoyanov (Deputy Head of HR&W and Perspective Systems Department at System Technologies), Alexander Chekan (CEO at TUT.BY MEDIA), Alexander Knyrovich (business angel, Chairman of BAVIN Business Angels & Venture Investors Network), Alexandra Nesterova (Executive Director at BAVIN Business Angels & Venture Investors Network), Alexander Skrabovsky (Co-Founder of StartIdea.by and Socialweekend.by), Vadim Zelenkov (Director at HTP Educational Center) and Maxim Borodich (Founder of Vitebsk.my) took part in MENTOR DAY2 as experts.

Dzmitry Karnei: "The youth forum and the opening of the HTP business incubator is a momentous event for the Belarusian IT industry. Indeed, it is very important to provide such support – information, mentoring – and meeting opportunities for young teams. I can say that projects are now more serious and more complete as compared to the last year’s projects."

Yury Stoyanov: "I must confess I did not expect that startup activities can be held at a level this high in our country. Today, I was pleasantly surprised to see really promising projects. Of course, some of them are more promising, and others are less promising. This is crucial that the HTP hosts the event as the Park is a symbol of the Belarusian IT industry. A business incubator and a coworking center are what have been really needed to enable startups to become successful companies. Launch of such events in a specialized place is the next milestone in the development of the Belarusian IT industry."

Alexander Skrabovsky: "Last year, we were learning, the event was almost completely closed, there was no external audience, and the educational part comprised a general lecture only. This time, cases of the leading companies have been presented to inspire, and the format of the event is new - it is interactive due to the audience. Perhaps, we have managed to encourage someone in the audience to develop some ideas."

Konstantin Keller: "This year, the event has attracted more people, and they are younger. I have identified three promising projects. The startuppers should learn to ask right questions significant to their business – which metrics matter, how to scale, why they are not anxious about competitors, etc. – and to find answers."

Vadim Zelenkov: "The event was interesting and allowed to see the level of startups, their number and quality of work performed. One of the most promising activities in the laboratory of the Educational Center is to invite young people with ideas and help to improve them. Today, I have seen that at least half of the projects are pretty high-level; they actually need investors rather than mentors. This also demonstrates the level of IT in Belarus, and we will achieve even higher results in the future."

All teams received MENTOR DAY2 certificates. In addition, Pavel Batsylev, the youngest participant, was encouraged by Apalon – he was invited to visit the company’s office and consult professionals.

Pavel Batsylev and iDiscount team were awarded certificates for free training at the HTP Educational Center.

When closing the event, Yury Sudarev noted: "We received more than 50 projects which have a future. Of course, they require improvement to progress. However, the today’s projects confirm that our IT startup movement is rapidly developing. In our country, there are no centers which could provide mentorship and expert advice to startuppers. We are confident that the HTP business incubator will become such a center."

The GuideMe team was named the winner of MENTOR DAY 2. The application for tourists who value their time creates personalized sightseeing routes anywhere in the world based on user’s time and interests, popularity of destinations, etc.

The team members shared their impressions: It is great! We are very pleased to have been rated so high, we did not expect this. We just wanted to show our project and get feedback. Some time ago, we began with Hackaton where the team and the idea formed on the spot. There was an idea, everyone liked it and we were working hard for two days, day and night, and that united us as a team. We have come here just to find out whether we should go on or not. We are determined to win; we will modify the project taking into account all the recommendations. We have received mentors’ advice we came for. Now we know how to grow and what to improve to win in Helsinki!"

The GuideMe team advised all young teams: "All ideas should be considered real. The team should always stay together. You can argue but continue to work on the project, you should not get offended but support each other and grow together."

Alexander Chekan: "On the one hand, there have been plenty of such activities recently if compared to what we had a few years ago. Still, it is great that there are special places, support and prizes to motivate teams. As for the key to success, two factors are important: the team and the scale of the market they want to enter. If you have a team and a market is large enough for growth, you should get determined. I selected the winner based on these two factors. There are no poor projects today but there are teams who cannot see their final product, their customers, etc. And this is critical."

The winning team will compete to take part in SLUSH 2015 (Helsinki, Finland, November 11-12, 2015).

For reference:
MENTOR DAY 2 is organized by the Hi-Tech Park together with the community Social Weekend. MENTOR DAY was first held in July 2014 and featured 30 projects, 7 of them were selected as the most promising. The startups were given comprehensive expert and financial support and special prizes (www.mentorday.by).

Kuprevicha, 1/1, 220141, Minsk, Belarus.