Start-up Expo at the 'Open Innovations' Forum, Skolkovo, Moscow, Russia. Photo by the Pan Pacific Agency

A priori any international forum is not only hours-long conversations, meetings and presentations, but also it’s a big exhibition. The ‘Open Innovations’ Forum, which ended last week at the ‘Skolkovo’ innovation center (Moscow), demonstrated to its participants both numerous great interactive installations (the talking head at the Moscow government’s stand became a point of strong attraction for all three days) and very applicative solutions. Over 110 startups were presented at the ‘Open Innovations’ Expo. Pan Pacific Agency tried bring to light, what technologies were highlighted as the Russia’s most innovative.

In 2019, there are five areas will be the most promising for startups in high-tech industries, Ari Kravchin, member of the board of directors at ‘Key Group’ investment fund, development director at told Russian digital medicine, beauty industry, personalized nutrition, cybersport and alternative solutions in public transport.

At the ‘Open Innovations’ Expo, 116 startups were presented to the guests, the organizers of the event told Pan Pacific Agency.

For ease of navigation, startups were divided into groups, namely:

As the pie chart above shows, Russian technology startups firstly want to improve the quality of life, to develop the industry and to provide people with better medical care. They’re also attracted by smart city technologies and B2B digital solutions. There were a few projects on VR-technologies and not a single project on Beauty or Cybersport at the ‘Open Innovations’ Startup Expo.

Does it mean that there are no such start-ups prepared to the industrial production in Russia at all? Of course not.

But it’s a shame that Russian accelerators, development institutions and business angels still haven’t taken up projects with such promising opportunities seriously and nationwide.

The average percentage of startups with products which are already manufactured on an industrial scale, among those presented at the exhibition, is 63%. VR and energetics start-ups have the lowest degree of readiness for industrial implementation, as in the table below.

Group Total number Industrial production’s stage per cent
Digital solutions 15 60,0
Energetics 9 44,4
Agribusiness 7 57,1
Development 8 62,5
Healthcare 18 72,2
Industry 15 73,3
Quality of life 24 66,7
Smart city 15 66,7
VR 5 20,0
 Total 116 62,9

In the last Global Innovation Index ranking, which annually published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization, Russia took 46th place between Montenegro (45th) and Ukraine (47th). Nevertheless, self-driving aerial vehicles, artificial intelligence, robots, etc. – all these advanced technologies of the nearest future were demonstrated as prototypes or industrial solutions at the ‘Open Innovations’ Startup Expo. This confirms that Russia is still a leader in the high-tech development and it could provide the world with many of the most required technologies.

Moreover, many Russian startups themselves really want to work in the global market.

For example, ‘TryFit’ company developed a solution based on math algorithms, advanced IT technologies (like AI) and biometrics knowledge to find one’s best fitting shoes, and it will be launching a pilot project together with ‘HP Fitstation’ and ‘Under Armour’ on the Chinese market soon.

“Our company develops foot scanning technology resulting in 3D interactive scan and fitting solution which helps to find the best shoes size or to produce customized shoes. According to the research about 60% of consumers have difficulties with wearing shoes & finding comfortable ones. Even trying shoes on doesn’t guarantee fit because parameters of the foot in motion are significantly different from parameters in motionless position. On the other hand more and more consumers do not want to spend time on shopping and prefer buy online,” ‘TryFit’ startup representative said.

“A consumer do not need to take our recommendations for granted, we provide comprehensive data for the decision making: FitRate (overall numeral comfort indicator) and FitMap (colored map with comfortability zones) for the each model in each particular size. So a consumer just need to scan feet on our 3D scanner (at any partners’ retail point), download our app with one’s foot scan and start choosing shoes online without spending time for going into offline shop and trying on dozens of models! Therefore we help to find the best fitting shoes quickly (we save customers’ time) and make sure that chosen shoes will be truly comfortable for the particular individual feet,” he commented.

Another startup representative Denis Kuleshov from ‘Sensor Tech’ said, that the Asia Pacific region is a very exiting region for his company. “In our segment of biomedtech it shows 8% grow each year. We hope to start projects in this market in 2020 with our product Robin, smart assistant for blind people. It’s a high-tech device with AI. And it really helps people with special needs. It meets existing trends in Asia Pacific,” Mr. Kuleshov noted.

‘ExoAtlet’ startup creates exoskeleton solutions that would offer life-changing benefits to people: make the healthy stronger, help the paralyzed to walk again, prolong active life in the elderly. “ExoAtlet I is a gait training and rehabilitation device designed to improve walking in patients with SCI, multiple sclerosis and effects of stroke. It is being used in 42 rehabilitation centers in Russia and 9 hospitals in South Korea. The model was KFDA-cleared and adopted for use by Korean hospitals after clinical trials. We have recently opened branch offices in China and Japan, the device is certified and used for gait training in Vietnam. Our main competitve advantage lies in reduced costs: this is due to an assembly line opened in South Korea. We also have a partner in India and can sell the exoskeletons there,” startup representative told Pan Pacific Agency.

‘NaukaSoft’ company presented at the Startups Expo a hydrogen fueled power generating system for aerial vehicles with a power capacity of 700 Wh/kg. “The main advantages of using fuel cells include: high efficiency; absence of harmful emissions into the atmosphere; silent running and low heat generation,” company representative commented. “The equipment developed by NaukaSoft is predominantly of domestic manufacture and can be supplied to the countries of the Asia Pacific region,” he added.

So, if Russia cannot boast about technologies that are not cultivated here today, it doesn’t mean that tomorrow everything couldn’t change.

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