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Skolkovo startups won two out of four categories at the Startup of the Year awards at Moscow’s Digital October centre on Wednesday.
Koshelek (CardsMobile), an app that allows users to compile all their bank, transport and discount cards into one electronic wallet, won the best fintech startup award, while Apis Cor, a mobile 3D printer that can print entire buildings in 24 hours, won the best hardware startup category in the awards organised by the Higher School of Economics, a research university in Moscow. Of the 12 finalists across four categories, seven were Skolkovo startups.
Koshelek (CardsMobile) COO Filipp Shubin (left) receiving the award for best fintech startup. Photo: Sk.ru.
“We have been the first in the world or first in the fintech world to do a lot of things over many years, and now we’re beginning to work on a new scale and see commercial results,” Filipp Shubin, COO of Koshelek, told sk.ru following the awards. He said the company, a resident of Skolkovo’s IT cluster, has huge plans for this year, including entering its first international markets in the former Soviet Union and one or two countries in Western Europe.
All three finalists in the fintech category were Skolkovo residents: the other two were Oz Forensics, which makes software for the remote identification of people and automatic recognition and verification of scanned documents and photos, and SCORISTA, a smart system for assessing the credit rating of borrowers. SCORISTA won a separate award from Microsoft, which presented the company with a BizSpark cloud grant worth $120,000.
Pavel Novikov, head of cloud and fintech within Skolkovo’s IT cluster, said the fact that all three fintech finalists were Skolkovo residents was evidence that the foundation’s system of selecting and mentoring its startups is effective. He noted that all three of the finalists at Finnopolis innovative financial technologies forum in Kazan last October were also Skolkovo residents.
“For startups, any visibility is an asset,” Novikov told sk.ru, commenting on the victories at Startup of the Year. “It’s brand recognition, especially for B2C companies. For consumers, it’s very important; it’s a stamp of quality for the company’s product and inspires trust.”
Skolkovo’s IT cluster is home to about 25 fintech startups, said Novikov.
Apis Cor became a resident of Skolkovo’s energy cluster last September. The innovative company was recently featured on the New Atlas tech news site after it printed a house in just 24 hours.
“Apis Cor Engineering’s technology consists of a 3D printer, an automatic mixing and mixture-dispensing system, and software that automatically controls all the printing processes – all the key elements have been created by the team of developers,” said Oleg Dubnov, head of Skolkovo’s energy cluster.
“The company has already printed its pilot project - a house in Stupino – demonstrating that the technology works in real conditions, having printed all the walls of a compact but fully-fledged house with an area of 38 square metres in just 24 hours, producing a finished home ready to move into for less than 600,000 rubles ($10,000),” said Dubnov.
“The company is now in negotiations over the use of its technology in a range of sites both in Russia and abroad. We expect that in the next year or two, we will see a whole variety of buildings printed using Apis Cor’s technology,” he said.
Skolkovo startups were also successful at last year’s Startup of the Year awards, where virtual reality headset maker Fibrum and Hudway Glass, a system that makes driving in poor visibility safer by projecting the route onto the vehicle’s windshield, took home awards.