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Winners of Startup of the Year Competition Selected

The HSE Business Incubator launched the Startup of the Year awards in 2008 with the support of Russian Venture Company (RVC). The award was initially given to the most prospective student projects. Over its eight years of existence, the award has become an Oscar of sorts for beginning entrepreneurs with projects that are less than three years old and have proven sales.

‘The title “Startup of the Year” is given to projects that have achieved outstanding results in a relatively short lifespan. The main metric is the market – sales, clients, and positive reviews. Our goal is to support these kinds of companies as they begin their journey, as well as to tell as many potential clients and investors about them,’ comments Mikhail Erman, the Deputy Director of HSE Business Incubator and one of the award’s organizers. Winners from previous years include Aviasales, TimePad, Boomstarter, LinguaLeo, Doktor na Rabote (Doctor at Work), and Knopka Zhizni (The Life Button).

At the Startup of the Year award ceremony, finalists had 30 minutes to present their projects to the event's guests and judges and tell them why they deserved the title of ‘best innovative company.’ This year’s finalists were judged by representatives from companies such as RVC, MTS, Google, the Deaf-blind Support Fund So-edinenie (Connection), Prostor Capital, TMT Investments, and Maxfield capital.

The HUDWAY Glass project, which creates an automobile accessory that improves safety and comfort on the road, won the Global Startup award.

The accessory looks like a stand for your smartphone with special built-in transparent glass that allows the driver to see a high-quality reflected image under any outdoor lighting conditions. When it is difficult to see – at night, for example – data about the road is projected directly on the car’s windshield. The device does not require batteries, or any source of power for that matter, as it operates via optics. You also need a special fastener on the dashboard (though not absolutely necessary), as well as the HUDWAY Glass app on your iOS or Android phone. The app provides the driver with data like speed and distance covered, as well as GPS information. According to HUDWAY Glass’s cofounder and CFO Alexei Astanin, the company posted revenues of $1 million in its first year alone. The company also sells its products all over the world; nearly 50% of sales come from the U.S., 20% from Europe, 20% from Asia, and 5% from Russia.

The company Fibrum, a developer of hardware and software solutions in the field of mobile virtual reality, took home the prize in the Hardware Startup category.

Fibrum created and brought to the mobile device market the Fibrum PRO virtual reality helmet, which allows users to fully immerse themselves into a virtual world with the help of head-track technology. The helmet is made for any smartphone with a 4-6 inch screen, and it has special lenses that do not require any additional settings on your phone. The Fibrum PRO is currently sold in most large electronics stores. Over the next year, the company is hoping to enter the international market and sell 145,000 helmets. Accepting the prize, which came in the form of a small golden apple, was Fibrum’s Development Director Daniil Shcherbakov, who is also a student in HSE’s E-Business master’s programme.

A majority of the projects that made it to the finals this year used their own technological developments, and social business is no exception. ‘The social projects that were presented this year were in diverse fields and of varying levels. And of course, the innovative solutions that the teams proposed in the social sphere deserve recognition, support, and respect among the general public,’ comments Ivan Biryukov, a member of the board at So-edinenie (Connection) and the Chief of Social Innovations Development at Tekhnologii Vozmozhnosti (Social Tech).

The Golden Apple in the ‘Social Impact’ category was awarded to the company NAPOLI, a Russian producer of advanced polymer-based medical dressings.

NAPOLI registered and brought to market a medical wound bandage created from HitoPran nanofibres composed of chitosan, which allows the patient to leave the hospital earlier and get back to an active lifestyle. The bandage can be left on, as it dissolves during the healing process or washes off easily when the wound is being cleaned. HitroPran also lowers the risk of infection and heals varying types of wounds without leaving scars. This includes burns, bedsores, trophic ulcers, abrasions, and other ailments. Last year, NAPOLI signed a contract with the company INVITRO and began selling its product at drugstores and on the online store stoprana.ru.

The best FinTech Startup award went to Russia’s first online securities trading website Freedom22.ru, where anyone can quickly and easily become a shareholder in the world’s top companies and start receiving dividends. In order to carry out trades, you just have to select your favourite stock on the website, pay for it with your card or with cash at Freedom Finance’s office, and just one business day after you sign the corresponding documentation and pay for the transaction, your shares will appear on your brokerage account.

The best audience-selected project was Fibrum, which won the ‘People’s Love’ award. The ceremony’s partner, MTS, also gave a special Telecom Idea award to various projects that will take part in the semi-finals of a competition being hosted by the telecom operator. Experts from the company selected 13 projects whose products are most compatible with the corporation’s technological solutions. This includes the startups Motorika, QRepublik Help Bracelet, Onkostrakhovaniye, ONDOC, Emportal, CloudPayments, BrainySoft, AmmoPay, PayQR, Kredit24, AppFollow, Kibo, and HUDWAY Glass. Another partner – the So-edinenie (Connection) fund – is also ready to provide the LEXI project with a 100,000-ruble stipend.

The Kitaygorodskaya School, a research and educational centre, also presented HUDWAY Glass with a voucher to study English at the school. The startup launch platform #tceh gave the Ridero project a voucher to study at the Editors School. The Swiss-Eurasian innovations platform Innovare gave the NAPOLI project the opportunity to participate for free in its programme Softlanding in Switzerland, which brings Russian innovations to international markets. Lastly, the personal finance management system Easy Finance awarded the best FinTech startup with 150,000 rubles in advertising opportunities on its website.


See also:

First University Startup Fest Held at HSE St. Petersburg

On June 24 – 28, HSE University – St. Petersburg hosted the International University Startups & Spin-Offs Festival (HSE Fest), which brings together students from across the world to pitch their startups for a one-time chance to win grants that will help them take their projects to the next level.

International Teams to Compete at HSE SPb Startup Festival

On June 24-28, HSE University – St Petersburg will be hosting HSE Fest, an international festival featuring university startups. 22 teams from 10 countries, including the HSE SPb team, ‘Sphere’, will be competing for grants in support of tech startups.

‘Don’t Be Afraid to Try’: What You Can Learn at the HSE Business Incubator

The HSE Business Incubator works as a business accelerator, helping start-ups raise investment through a network of business angels, mentors and partners. The incubator is open not only to HSE students and graduates, but also for other startuppers. Below is some information on the programmes it offers, as well as about some common mistakes startuppers should try to avoid.

Winners of HSE{Business}Cup 2018 Announced

At the end of November, HSE’s Moscow campus hosted the finals of HSE{Business}Cup 2018  – a completion for student business projects. In total, six teams received grants equal to 200,000 roubles from HSE to make their ideas a reality.

500 mln

rubles in investments were raised over the last year by startups that are part of the HSE Business Incubator. The head of the HSE Business Incubator, Mikhail Erman, reported this figure during the Tekhnoprom forum in Novosibirsk, Russia.

HSE’s Business Incubator Ranked 7th in the World by UBI Global

The UBI Awards Ceremony was held on February 22 at the World Incubation Summit at Ryerson University, Toronto. HSE’s Business Incubator has entered the ranking for the second in a row. In 2015, it was ranked 14th in the category ‘best business incubator managed by a university’ among more than 100.

HSE to Help Develop Legislature to Boost Technology Entrepreneurship

Artem Kritsyn, Manager of regional programmes and projects at the HSE Business Incubator, now heads the Working Group to Involve Secondary and Higher School Students in Entrepreneurship. The Working Group was created in October 2017 by the Expert Council on the Development of Civil Education and Student Socialization under the State Duma Committee for Education and Science. The Working Group also includes Tatyana Stroganova, Head of the HSE Innovation and Enterprise Office.

International Accelerator Invests in HSE Student Project

Dolphin Blockchain Intelligence, a Russian startup that graduated from the second intake of the fintech startup accelerator HSE{Pro}Fintech, was evaluated by Startupbootcamp, an international accelerator in Amsterdam at EUR 6 million and was given both investment and consulting assistance.

Tele2 Opens Workshop at HSE Business Incubator

Tele2, a mobile network operator, and HSE Business Incubator are set to begin cooperating in youth entrepreneurship and start-up projects.

Start-ups to Print Houses for Martians and to Help Wheelchair Users Move around City

On March 15, 2017, HSE hosted the annual Start-up of the Year awards ceremony, organized by the HSE Business Incubator. Five projects featuring unique online and offline technologies won awards.