Recently, the largest startup conference in Eastern Europe IDCEE was held in Kyiv. From now on, the venture fund TA Venture and Victoria Tigipko organize the conference jointly with the U-Start. The event attracted more than 2,000 participants from 31 countries, although many eminent speakers and investors did not dare to visit a country where battle actions are in progress. This year, a hackathon of social entrepreneurship was held at the conference and a new interactive zone Tech Area appeared where robots, drones, wearable devices, gadgets, etc. were displayed. AIN.UA asked participants to share their impressions of IDCEE and requested investors to tell about the most interesting new names among the startups that participated in the conference.
Victoria Tigipko, managing director of TA Venture
For IDCEE, 2014 was a real challenge, but neither I nor the team had any doubts that the conference should be held. We believe in the potential and cohesion of Ukrainian IT community, and the fifth anniversary IDCEE has confirmed that. This year, the Ukrainian audience has grown in absolute terms. Startup Alley was filled with the projects – we had received much more applications than expected. The level of Ukrainian startups is also increasing year by year.
At this year’s conference, we learned about the project Luciding – it’s a bandage on a head, which determines the lucid dream and plunges a man into it. As a result, a man entirely controls their sleep and can change it according to their desires. This project has received a lot of attention from both the press and investors. For example, a conference guest and well-known investor Florian Schweitzer was one of those who pre-ordered the device directly from the stand on our Startup Alley.
Also, we have discovered the project Force that developed a special sleeve for the hand by which it became possible to determine the movement of the hand of man. Conference participants were amazed by presentation of the project, when a startup creator was switching slides by conducting her hand in the air in the desired direction. As a result, the team has received one of the prizes from Startup Toaster.
The third exciting project worth mentioning is Zen Assets, which finished the incubation program Seedcamp London. Startup solves the problem of user’s portfolio management by means of transferring management rights to the best brokers and receiving the best investment strategies in the market. At very our conference, startup creators have shown their belonging to Ukraine. Among team members are top analysts from Goldman Sachs and other experts of the financial market. Eventually, the project received an award as the best Ukrainian startup from our partner Apex Ventures.
Oleksii Vitchenko, founder of the investment company Digital Future
I want to say that IDCEE is a good opportunity to establish effective networking. Although, frankly speaking, on the first day, it was overcrowded that led to some problems and inconveniences. Therefore, to communicate more constructively was possible only on the second day. In general, during two days of the conference, I managed to meet with major players of the Ukrainian venture scene. With partners and business colleagues, we discussed current problems in the national market and the possibilities of access to global markets. Currently, investors are interested in the projects that are focused on the global market and have some uniqueness. Another important topic of our conversation was the co-investment in projects. Personally, I am willing to share the risks.
We also shared some results of work with the projects. In general, we agreed that many teams lack a business flair. People make projects for projects. I advise them to do the first sale, earn some money and make a profit. Also, foreign investors attended the event. I met with venture capitalists from Israel, who came to make contacts and learn about the market situation from the inside, and investors from the US, which have equities in some Ukrainian projects. Foreign projects were presented by the Polish teams. I had not noticed startups and investors from Russia.
With some startups, we met in person for the first time. Previously, we have received applications from projects and conducted an e-mail-correspondence with them, but we didn’t have a possibility to meet with some teams. On IDCEE, without exaggeration, were almost all. During the conference, communication with startups had its own peculiarities. When I heard about the project for the first time, in average I spoke with them about 5-10 minutes (I didn’t have more time), learn the essence of the project and requested to send us e-mail. With the familiar startups that sent applications to our company, I could spend for half an hour (for example, the startup Goodhotels from Odessa).
Andrey Kolodyuk, managing partner of Aventures Capital
At the conference, I liked a startup Luciding and a problem they solve. I think that the product has the potential to become a “mass.” Almost all people have the desire to control their dreams, it occurs in the subconscious. Of course, there are special “techniques” described in Castaneda’s books, but only few people I know were able to master them. Luciding is a product for the lazy and those who want to get fast results and new sensations. The market for this project is huge – for 99% of those who are suffering in the morning because of nightmares, Luciding could be an alternative if the product works effectively.
Also, I am glad that the iblazr creator has presented a new product – Stabylizr. I believe in these guys. The project GiveMeALift was exciting to me as well. I basically believe in projects of Shareconomy, and this product is in this niche. I reckon it has good prospects.
Project 3dnearme is a kind of marketplace for 3D-printing market. The prospects of this trend proves the fact that the winner (Kwamb.io) is a representative of the same field. I am pleased that the products have started to appear in the sphere of Smart.TV – Handy Smart tv. Project’s goal is to combine the use of a smartphone to navigate and find content for Smart.TV and devices with Android.TV. Today, the project team stake on monetization through advertising model. I think that the search for alternative ways of earning will lead to success this and other similar projects.
Kirill Bigai, founder of Preply.com
In general, I can say that IDCEE was both a long working party and beneficial event to me. I talked a lot about marketing and business with experienced entrepreneurs and got a lot of new information to consider about. I met a number (about 5 target people) of investors interesting to me. I strengthen contacts, shared ideas and made an update of the progress of those investors whom I hadn’t met for a long time. To compare with the last year, this time, there were much less investors and participants, but for me it was not a negative fact. IDCEE was very homely and amicable. Perhaps due to the fact that I already knew a lot of people.
This is the chronology of how I spent IDCEE:
-On Wednesday, BVU group organized Tech Party # 4, which contained most of the technological hangout. There were new useful contacts and pleasant meetings.
-Then we were invited to Hashtag Bar, where twenty of us went to the afterparty.
-IDCEE was the next day. This time, it was quite informal and for me it was a continuation of good networking with the right people. In the evening, we had a party. Now it was held at Buddha Bar, where there were a couple of useful contacts.
-Next day of IDCEE brought me again the new pleasant meetings. Then we again had a party at Buddha Bar. I met a very useful investor and rested very well.
Iana Yukhimenko, project manager of DA Course UA
In my opinion, one of the most entertaining zones at the conference was a technical area, where Ukrainian hardware companies were located – from quadrocopters and 3D-printers to robots and micromotors for bioengineering. Also, there were devices which allowed controlling objects with the power of thought! I would like to highlight that the most successful Ukrainian startups iBlazr and Petcube are technological ones, so keep moving in this direction and you will win.
I can’t help but mentioning great speakers invited this year. Their performances were truly invaluable, but, unfortunately, the topics couldn’t always be applied to the Ukrainian realities. When the report referred to the capture of business on four continents, involuntarily started feeling sad about the unfulfilled possibilities and unattainable distances. One more tip to conclude is if you missed the conference, check the tags and see who has added whom to friends and what they are writing about. You can always subscribe to these people and establish contacts with them, or at least learn the news from them about the following events.
Evgen Musienko, founder of Frevend.com
At IDCEE 2014, we presented a startup Frevend.com. We were located at Startup Alley, where more than 120 projects were exhibited. Participants were different, and each one was interesting in their own way. Due to the high cost of entry for the general public ($ 160), there were no onlookers. All the people have come with the specific objectives. Most of the visitors were representatives of IT services (consulting, marketing, recruiting) and the geeks interested in a Ukraine’s start-up industry. During two days, we managed to establish contacts with 5 investors and several venture capital funds.
That time was enough to understand how to present a startup. And what is more important – how people react. This can be called a kind of startup crash-test. Meanwhile, speakers were talking on three stages. I can pick out only a few interesting presentations from the main stage. Really cool guys were on the tech stage. There, you could spend half of a day, looking at robots, reality simulators, 3D-printer, and lots of other cool stuff.
After 18:00, Networking-party started, where you could talk to interesting people over a glass of wine. In general, during the conference, we have established many contacts with other startups, found potential investors and a new member to join our team. If you have a startup, you should definitely take part in the conference IDCEE.
Source – AIN.UA.