Young innovators from Taganrog, Rostov, Novokuznetsk and Stavropol presented their startups.
On December 16, the fourth project and investment session of SFedU Exponent took place at the Taganrog campus of the Southern Federal University. It has been held by the Institute of Computer Technologies and Information Security of the Southern Federal University since 2021.
The main goal of SFedU Exponent is to identify promising engineering and IT projects that are in demand by industrial partners, focused on creating new commercially attractive solutions that can potentially provide an increase in high-tech jobs for the Rostov region, as well as promoting their implementation in the real sector of the economy. According to the organizers, such events significantly contribute to the achievement of technological sovereignty in Russia.
“SFedU Exponent is not limited to IT. There are recycling projects, a virtual tour guide, and many other areas of activity. For students, this is a real chance to create their own enterprise and at the same time, in addition to expert assessment and support from the university, receive co-financing from investors. Mostly we are talking about venture investments. They do not always give a return, but this is an opportunity to invest in a project at an early stage and, if it is successful, then become a person who will have certain rights to the product, participate in its development,” said Gennady Veselov, director of IKTIB SFedU.
SFedU Exponent became the final investment session of the year with the participation of external startups, as well as SFedU projects, including the most promising graduate teams of the Exponent network technology entrepreneurship accelerator and the SBS accelerator based on the results of demo days.
“The day before, we had the first meeting of the investment committee of the Southern Startup Factory. Now we can safely say that the infrastructure for the promotion and implementation of technological start-ups has actually been formed at SFedU. The UFS allows us to select the most promising and investment-attractive projects and give them a start in life. There is also an association within the infrastructure that is ready to use all its expert, analytical, and communication capabilities to support these startups. The main thing is that each of them should be based on an innovative idea. And then I am sure that in the very near future we will see their results in the form of concrete products,” said Yury Kolesnikov, Director General of the Association for the Promotion of Multilateral Cooperation in Science and Education in the Black Sea Region, in his welcoming speech.
“SFU is included in the rating of entrepreneurial universities in the country and ranks second after Moscow and St. Petersburg. Over the past 5 years, 15 startups have entered the global market from the walls of our university. This suggests that SFedU has accumulated rich experience, and the existing deep competencies and approaches make it possible to implement large interdisciplinary projects. But this is not enough for us. In these traditions, we are obliged to build something more, and SFedU Exponent is one of the key development vectors for us. Today, researchers have gathered here – people who are not afraid to take responsibility for their trajectory, are ready to experiment and do not recognize limits. I know many of them, and I am pleased to see how your projects grow from a simple idea to an MVP. Thanks to you, we have a good road ahead! Thank you for linking your activities with SFU in one way or another,” emphasized Evgeny Mukhanov, Vice-Rector for Strategic and Innovative Development of the Southern Federal University.
The young innovators were also addressed with parting words by Alexei Sanin, Deputy Head of the Taganrog City Administration for Project Activities and Tourism, Anton Alekseev, Advisor to the Governor of the Rostov Region, General Director of the New Space Aerospace Corporation, and Alexander Chershnev, Director of the Project Office of the South, PJSC Rostelecom.
During the pitch session, investors listened to 11 participants in person and online. Startups were presented in various areas: from innovative toothpastes and game systems in the field of additional education for children to a blockchain marketplace and a system for predicting accidents in coal mines based on cellular automata. Guests of the event got acquainted with eleven more projects within the framework of the poster section.
According to the results of the demo day, the expert jury awarded the participants with certificates in denominations from 80,000 to 200,000 rubles.
“Our project is a 3D printing station for an unprepared user. The kit includes tutorials that walk you through how to start developing your own 3D model. The main functionality that we have at our disposal is a thermal camera with video surveillance, the ability to contact the user via Telegram messenger, where you will receive notifications in case of problems with printing, as well as sensors to maintain the temperature inside the camera, since drops greatly affect filament printing. Since not all enterprises in Russia have yet switched to their own production, at the moment the start-up faces the problem of import substitution of parts and materials. We plan to spend the funds won on testing the thermal chamber and a deeper check of the plant’s performance. Potential customers may be schools, which are required by order of the Ministry of Education No. 465 to deploy 3D modeling and prototyping laboratories. The startup may also be of interest to small investment enterprises, R&D departments, universities and technology parks,” said Anna Logvinova, the author of the project, a fourth-year student at the Institute of Radio Engineering Systems and Management of the Southern Federal University.
The partners of SFedU Exponent were large companies of the country and the region, such as Ogetto Web LLC, Russian Railways OJSC, Inostudio Solutions LLC, ASU. V. N. Tatishchev, DSTU, RGEU (RINH), SSAU, VolSU, MSTU, SRSPU NPI. M.I. Platova, Storytelling LLC, Skolkovo Innovation Center, ANO FIRON, Umbrella-IT LLC, FGANU Research Institute Spetsvuzavtomatika, Dunays LLC, Point of Boiling LLC, PJSC Commercial Bank Center-invest , IT PREMIUM LLC, VOIR, FSI, Rostelecom PJSC, Sbertech JSC, Shellpea IT company.
“We regularly visit SFedU Exponent as we are interested in all the technology projects in the region. Participants are great fellows that they try, they try to enter the market. A typical mistake the guys make is a weak study of competitors. Usually the voiced problem is already partially or completely solved by others. Little attention is also paid to the protection of intellectual property. This is important, because in most technological projects there is a scientific novelty. And it’s always worth carefully calculating the economic component: an investor at such pitch sessions should understand why he should invest in a project, what is the payback period and when the startup starts to make a profit,” shared the director of ANO FIRON, the regional operator of the Skolkovo Foundation Inna Shenhof.
As part of the demo day, another significant event took place. In the Hall of the Academic Council of the ITA SFedU, a tripartite agreement was signed between the Southern Federal University, the Autonomous Non-Profit Innovation Support Organization “Innovation Agency of the Rostov Region” and the open joint-stock company “Russian Railways”. The solemn ceremony was attended by SFedU Vice-Rector Yevgeny Mukhanov, Deputy General Director for Development of the Innovation Agency Marina Moskinova and Chief Engineer of the North Caucasus Railway Alexander Chernomazov.
“This agreement is aimed at creating synergy, a beneficial environment and pilot sites at Russian Railways for university projects. The most important thing is to give the guys the opportunity to test their technology in real conditions at our testing ground, and in the future to move on to the level of implementation and implementation of startups. Next year, the project for the station complex “The Sixth Sense” is scheduled to be launched. It is intended for people with disabilities. We believe that this SFedU startup will improve the quality of our services, increase loyalty to clients with disabilities,” concluded Dmitry Kontsevoi, head of the North Caucasus Center for Innovative Development.
Center for Public Communications of the Southern Federal University