Earlier this month Zaporizhia (Zaporozhye), a city of 770,000 inhabitants in southeastern Ukraine, hosted the first edition of the IT Forum tech conference. Despite being held only 300 kilometers from war-torn Donbass, the atmosphere at the event was peaceful and business-oriented.
The convention stood apart with its rich program and the youthful makeup of its attendees. However, other age groups were also represented at the event, attracting even elderly attendees.
Zaporizhia’s first IT forum was about networking rather than immediate business results since many attendees got acquainted for the first time. This first attempt to organize such an event also demonstrated the high organizational capacities of event organizer Infotek, which was founded by 21-year-old Mark Marchenko.
Following Marchenko and the mayor of Zaporizhia on stage was Yevgen Sysoyev, managing partner at AVentures Capital. He told those in attendance about the Ukrainian IT ecosystem and the country’s most promising startups. Another strong performance followed from Alexander Kolb, general director at Internet marketing agency Promodo, who talked about the evolving psychology of online consumers.
The convention stood apart with the youthful makeup of its attendees
The event took place in a region with significant potential, as there are many small outsourcing firms nearby, several of which belong to Marchenko. Among solution publishers are a number of small garage startups (gaming, mobile, etc.) swimming around Noosphere Ventures, a holding company managed by serial entrepreneur Max Polyakov.
The region’s future is personified by a plethora of young people with new ideas and sparkling eyes – who may lack experience, but already have good suggestions.
Among the most interesting projects displayed at the event was Smart House, a functional model for managing all systems in the homes for up to $20. The service can be controlled remotely through a mobile app.
Other local developers have created Electronic Signature, a mobile API designed to simplify the process of supplying and receiving electronic signatures. With this service, they are targeting banks and government offices.
Sponsors of the event included the venture funds APEX VNT and AVentures Capital, several Ukrainian IT companies, and the Zaporizhia city government.
Dmitry Chepur is PR Director at APEX VNT. He kindly contributed this report to Ukraine Digital News.