It is a beautiful Indian summer in Kiev, Ukraine, where the IDCEE 2013 conference concluded just a few days ago. This year’s event saw about 2,500 participants from 45 countries attend for a program that included more than 60 keynotes, talks and panels spread over three simultaneously working stages.
Among other things, IDCEE has hosted allegedly the biggest in the Eastern Europe Startup Alley, where 150 aspiring projects spent two days showcasing their products to participants. Prior to the conference, 12 of the former were chosen by an expert committee to compete for three cash prizes ranging from €5,000 to €15,000; in addition to that, a bunch of special prizes were awarded by IDCEE’s partners in new nominations.
Check out below, what startups are this year’s best as seen by a jury that included Igor Taber and Marcin Hejka (Intel Capital), Uwe Horstmann (Project A Ventures), Pavel Bogdanov (Almaz Capital Partners), Cem Sertoglu (Earlybird Venture Capital), Leon Zilber (Siguler Guff), and Dmitry Chikhachev (Runa Capital).
Second runner-up, Backendless
This Ukrainian startup (actually, the only Ukrainian startup that made it to the main podium this year) has software developers as its main audience, providing what they call a Backend-as-a-Service solution. Plainly speaking, developers of mobile and desktop apps can use Backendless’ infrastructure instead of building their own server-side features from scratch.
According to the startup’s community manager Yuriy Ryashko who presented the project at IDCEE, Backendless allows to develop apps twice as fast comparing to the traditional process.
The project is working in beta since March, as the company is about to release it officially in the very near future.
First runner-up, KreditAja
The team behind this startup constantly travels between the UK, Singapore, and Indonesia. They’ve created a platform that aims to connect moneylenders and borrowers and allows the latter to compare and lock-in offers. In addition to that, KreditAja (also known as LoanGarage) has built a predictive analysis model tailor-made for emerging markets for lenders’ and banks’ additional confidence.
Supported by Indonesian government, the startup has already attracted $690,000 in four seed rounds and launched in Singapore and Indonesia. The plans are to expand to other emerging markets, including Latin America and Eastern Europe.
The winner… Ubertesters
Why develop apps, if you can develop a platform for those who develop apps? Yet another project targeting software developers, Israeli Ubertesters with the R&D team based in Ukraine has created “not a vitamin, but a medicine,” as put by the jury of the Startup Awards at IDCEE 2013.
Ubertesters is a QA project management tool for mobile apps developers that allows to fully control the process of testing and provides the testers with an interface for bug submission. In addition to that, the startup offers developers a team of testers for hire to complement the in-house QA department.
The product appears to be in closed beta at the moment, however the team says that a public beta will be launching very soon. If you have a mobile app to test sign up and check out that these guys are doing.
In addition to the main competition, four new nominations were introduced at IDCEE this year in cooperation with the conference’s partners who provided prizes for the winners.
- Ukrainian Kabanchik.com.ua won the Best Consumer Startup award with €3,000 budget for ads and promotion provided by Yandex. The startup is basically a Ukrainian version of TaskRabbit; its product is a marketplace where people can “outsource” their errands and chores of different kinds to those who would like to help out and earn some money.
- The Best Interactive Startup award with €10,000 (100,000 UAH) worth of ads from major Ukrainian Internet company Bigmir.net went to AstraFit, which has created a solution for choosing right size of clothes online. According to the co-founders, their know-how allows online clothing shops to pick perfectly fitting things for their customers based on a few additional body metrics.
- A cash prize of €3,000, and the title of the Best Ukrainian Startup, was won by Hashtago, a young company that offers brands a way to engage with customers in social networks and award people using branded hashtags. It’s worth mentioning that during IDCEE 2013 Hashtago organized a “demo” by offering the iPhone 5s to a randomly selected Twitter user who tweeted their #hashtago tag. Ironically, the phone went to Ramil Ibragimov from Runa Capital who took part in judging the main competition, where Hashtago didn’t manage to win.
Last but not least, there was a People’s Choice award based on a series of online polls conducted after pitching sessions at IDCEE. As it happens, the crowd’s opinion did not coincide with that of the judges, as the majority of votes went to VitalFields, an agricultural startup from Estonia.
To sum it up, the variety of ideas pitched from the stage and on IDCEE’s Startup Alley in Kyiv last week was quite wide, from a 3D scanning and printing service to a smart alarm clock to a mobile surveillance service. However, as seen by the results of the competition, investors who judged the teams oftentimes prefer those with business models proven on other markets.
Now to watch and see if one of them is really going to be the next big thing.
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