On February 19, the award ceremony for the "Startup of the Year" competition was held in Moscow. NAPOLI, a portfolio company of RVC Seed Fund, was crowned the best socially important project. The Hudway Glass project, the finalist of GenerationS-2014 was commended as the most competitive project globally.
Nearly 300 applications from Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus were submitted for the competition "Startup of a Year" in 2015. In the final part of competition 12 projects in four main nominations were competing with each other for winning an award: the best global, hardware, social significant and financial technology startup. Finalists had one and a half minutes of time to present their projects before guests and jury of a competition and to explain why exactly they are worthy of being awarded the title of the best innovative company. This year finalists were assessed by representatives of RVC, MTS, Google, Deaf-mute and Blind Support Foundation "So-edinenie", venture funds Prostor Capital, TMT Investments and Maxfield capital.
The winner in the nomination "Global Startup" was the Hudway Glass project — an automobile accessory which enhances traffic safety and comfort on the road. The Hudway Glass is a smartphone cradle with the special built-in translucent glass which allows to receive the reflected image in any conditions of external illumination and to transfer data on road condition on the windshield. According to the co-founder and financial director of Hudway Glass Alexey Astanin, the revenue of the company for 2015 amounted to USD 1 million. The geography of sales is extensive: nearly 50% of buyers are from the USA, 20% accrue to Europe, 20% are from Asia, and 5% — from Russia.
"The best socially important startup" nomination was won by NAPOLI — a Russian producer of modern dressing materials made on the basis of biopolymers, a portfolio company of the RVC Seed Fund. The NAPOLI team registered and brought to the market a "ChitoPran" wound bandage on the basis of chitosan nanofibres which helps to reduce duration of patient’s stay at hospital and more quickly bring him back to active life. You don’t need to remove the bandage, it disappears while healing or it can be easily removed when the wound is washed. ChitoPran prevents from development of infections, heals a wound of any origin without scarring: burns, decubitus, trophic ulcers, household grazes and others. Last year NAPOLI signed a contract with INVITRO, launched pharmaceutical sales and online-drugstore at the website stoprana.ru.
The list of 12 finalists of the award was also supplemented by the Turbodiagnostika project, the winner of GenerationS-2015, and the participant of 2014 accelerator, Ridero intellectual publishing platform for independent writers which has won a special prize from #tceh.
Gulnara Bikkulova, the board member, Director of Department for Innovative Markets of RVC, shared her impressions on results of the award "Startup of the Year»:
Almost all the projects, which have reached the final, have strong teams and good sales. However, my expectations have not coincided with the common decision of jury everywhere. In some nominations, there were projects of different categories. For example, for "Turbodiagnostika" startup, the winner of GenerationS-2015 participated in the "Best hardware-project" nomination, it was very difficult to compete with other projects in this nomination, which are IT-projects in fact. But it is great that in each nomination there were projects — participants of GenerationS or portfolio companies of funds with participation of RVC.
Gulnara Bikkulova also noted that this year nominees of the award reflected trends of the venture market: financial technology startups become more and more significant, social — more confident, and the market itself is becoming more global.
And finally within an award we see the nomination for hardware projects, added the board member of RVC.
The award "Startup of the Year" was founded in 2008 by the HSE Business incubator with assistance of RVC and was initially granted for the most promising student's projects. The award has become over 8 years of existence a peculiar kind of "Oscar" distinguishing the novice businessmen with projects not older than three years and confirmed volume of sales.
The "The Startup of the Year" title is awarded to projects which have achieved outstanding results over the small term of their life. The main indicator is achievements in the market: proof of sales, clients and positive feedback. Our task is to support such companies at the beginning of their way and to share information about them with as many potential clients and investors as possible, said Mikhail Ehrman, Director of HSE NRU Business incubator, one of organizers of the award.