Thirteen resident startups of the Skolkovo Foundation are among the innovative tech companies that have been selected to take part in the upcoming reality TV show “An Idea Worth a Million,” in which companies compete for a main prize of 25 million rubles ($431,000).

Motorica, which makes prosthetic hands and arms for children and adults, is among the show's contestants. Photo: Motorica.

The TV show is due to debut on Russia’s NTV channel in November. Thirty-five contestant companies have been selected by VEB Innovations, the hi-tech investment arm of Vnesheconombank Group, which is providing the prize money.

“We’re really pleased that we have been selected,” said Simon Pokatskiy, chief marketing officer of DRD Biotech, one of the Skolkovo startups taking part in the show.

“We’ll be even more pleased if we get recognition from the experts and viewers: if they praise our invention – express tests for diagnosing strokes and concussion – then we’ll have confirmation that we’re on the right track,” he said.

Pokatskiy acknowledged that competing in the reality show would be a challenge.

“We’re not a large team, and everyone is immersed in their area of expertise most of the time: one person barely leaves the lab, another is with patients from morning till evening, and we have no idea how we should behave on TV. But we believe in our product, that it will save lives. And that’s what we’ll try to tell and show people,” he told

Alexei Ivanchenko, deputy chairman of VEB, told the CNews website that the quality of the companies that applied to take part in the show was very high. 

“I’m sure that among them are future market leaders in the fields of personalized medicine, wearable gadgets, virtual reality, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and artificial intellect,” he said.

From L-R: NTV's director general Alexei Zemsky, VEB chairman Sergei Gorkov and the Skolkovo Foundation's senior vice president Alexander Chernov announce the project's launch at Skolkovo Jazz Science. Photo:

The contesting teams will be given various business tasks to carry out, and members of the jury – representatives of business, ministries, investment funds, development institutes, Vnesheconombank (VEB) and celebrities – will judge them on how well they perform the tasks.

Seven of the 35 startups will be selected for the show’s final, of which three winners will receive 25, 20 and 15 million rubles in prize money, respectively, to develop their business. They will also get to meet potential clients.

“The project has the serious task of showing that there are entrepreneurs in Russia, what they live on, what they are creating and how it could change the world,” said Pokatskiy.

Ivanchenko said the TV show would help to popularize innovations and prompt a large number of young inventors to start their own businesses.

The project was officially launched at the Skolkovo innovation city last month during the Skolkovo Jazz Science festival. The Skolkovo Foundation is a project partner, together with the Foundation for the Development of Internet Initiatives (FRII).

The competition to take part in the show was open to tech startups from all over Russia who had a ready business idea and prototype.

The Skolkovo startups taking part in the TV show are:

Bonaka, which uses an eco-friendly bio-liquid to remove deposits and buildups from heating systems and industrial equipment

Cinemood, the maker of a portable projector designed especially for children

DRD's express blood test determines the risk of a stroke. Photo:

DRD Biotech, which has devised an express test for detecting brain damage and strokes

Fibrum Desirium, a mobile virtual reality app

GetShopTV, a service that enables owners of web and smart TVs to buy goods online instantly using their remote control

HoverSurf, the maker of a flying motorbike

Motorica, which uses 3D printing to make prosthetic arms and hands for children and adults

Oz Forensics, which helps prevent digital fraud by detecting fake photos and documents

Promobot, the maker of a friendly talking service robot designed to help people in crowded places

Shping, an app that allows users to scan any product barcode to learn what’s in it, where it’s from and whether it’s authentic, made by Skolkovo resident AuthenticateIT.

TalkBank, a “robot/chatbot bank” in which customers perform all transactions via existing messenger apps 

TRY.FIT, which makes a 3D scan of customers’ feet and finds the best fitting shoes for them

Zooprotein, which produces a high-protein food supplement for animals from dried and crushed fly larvae.