Russian start-ups report on concluded SWITCH 2017 conference

Graduates from the GenerationS accelerator by RVC participated in the largest event in the Southeast Asia in the field of IT technology and innovations - SWITCH 2017 and now share their experience and impressions.

DMITRIY PROSTOV, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF PANDA MONEY


1. If you want to get about one hundred contacts during the three days of a conference - you should visit SWITCH with your project.

2.  In general, there has been no political background at the event. The foreign participants have a positive attitude towards the Russian projects.

3. The government of Tokyo invited us to enrol in the Japanese accelerator, we are going to work there for two months, establish relations. Moreover, they promised to shoot a movie about us.

4.  Everything is very much open at SLUSH; here you can easily meet, for example, with a founder of Angry Birds. It turned out that 5 years ago he had an idea similar to our project. He even tried to implement it that is why he was ready to help us with the relations and expertise, gave us his business card to enable direct communication.

SVETLANA EFIMOVA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OZ FORENSICS


1. Our main purpose was to sear for customers, partners and investors. Being included in the Top-10 winners list at SLUSH Singapore start-up competition, we received a chance to come into closer contact with the leading VC funds and enhance our financial attractiveness and visibility.

2.  This event is really a very easy way to establish relations considering openness of the participants. A single venue means four events at the same time: SWITCH, SLUSH, Techinnovation and Women in Tech. All these events are aimed at innovations and economy development, which gathers people on one square meter who can be helpful to each other in business. What's the difference of these events: Slush is first of all a competition of innovative start-ups from all over the world and centre of attraction for investors, Women in Tech attracts attention to women's role in the development of innovations and technology, Techinnovation is an exhibition where you can find partners, Switch is an innovation conference and exhibition where you can find customers.

3. The most energy consuming and challenging were two-day pitches at SLUSH. Every time you prepare, consider jury's feedback and work with the huge audience that listens to you, at the final stage there are more than 5000 visitors in the hall. It is not so much easy to hold the audience spellbound within three minutes.

4 .  It's very important for the young growing company to receive feedback and create brand awareness, and participation in such conferences as SWITCH and other events contributes to it. Networking at big events is a key to success and availability of a stand makes the effect even stronger. You need to have a banner and brochures at the stand that describe you in a single word and arrest sight by colour, words and graphics.

ALEKSANDR PINCHUK, FOUNDER OF LOCALGUIDE PROJECT


1. SWITCH is held in financially reliable city-state Singapore that is open to digital technologies. The Oriental countries are distinguished by a certain shy mind-set - you should consider it by all means. Be proactive! Representatives of business and business community always have insights, useful advice and important details. The best option is to come and ask about their field of interest: what product do they produce, what do they invest it. By expressing your interest to a dialog partner, you will minimize your efforts to tell someone from Oil & Gas industry about your wonderful IT application.

2.  Open communication: it is a custom to meet people and give a brief summary about yourself and your product. You can await a "polite" interest that will be expressed. It's important to intuitively feel how much they really like your product - you can be sure that you won’t hear any criticism, and conversation may just take too long only due to the cultural peculiarities, unlike, say, the Americans who can just interrupt communication if they have other priorities.

3. The “Chinese” model of innovation development – when something "new" is implemented as part of current trends and very often in the copy mode – is nowadays, unfortunately, still very popular. In particular, there are copies of Stripe, PayPal in financial technologies, employee training and search services in HR that copy the Western  services, and there are also copies of products in geopositioning and asset management manufactured by the American companies which feature less attractive software design. However, this merely emphasizes the unique Russian developments!

4.  Marketing managers of the projects will need to work hard to adjust service portfolio to the cultural traditions, local customs and regulatory requirements of the local market. Especially if you are a tourism start-up. For example, we included a "chief at home" service. And such service was just beside the point there since they usually hire a housekeeper from the neighbourhood countries.

5. Matchmaking system to appoint meetings with the potential investors existing at SWITCH area definitely needs improvement. Compared to the similar experience in Great Britain, the meetings here could be adjourned, overlap and invitations just didn’t arrive. However, next time the system will probably be revised and working in the meeting area will become comfortable.

6.  Specify time and money for traveling to Singapore. Prepare in advance a pool of investors that will be able to listen to you. You will get there a rather easy access to development resources. In the matchmaking application e.g. there are lists of investors by categories, yet without emails and you will have to search by names. You need to contact them before traveling, and you need to inform them that you will come to Singapore and will be glad to talk about the project in more detail if they have interest in your products.

Source: Firrma

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