In late April the third edition of international engineering startup competition Vernadsky Challenge was held in Dnipro (a city of central Ukraine formerly known as Dnipropetrovsk).
Out of 230 applicants, ten projects were selected as finalists. The four most promising projects shared two million hryvnias in grants (roughly $75,000 at the current exchange rate).
The competition targeted startups at the concept or prototype stage in a variety of fields. These include space technology, energy technology, medtech, agrotech and robotics, to name a few.
- Cubomania, a team from Mykolaiv (Nikolaev), Southern Ukraine, walked away with the first prize for its interactive toy cubes for kids. Young entrepreneurs received a 800,000 hryvnia grant (roughly $30,000).
- Cardiomo, US-Ukrainian medtech startup offering health monitoring device, won 600,000 hryvnias (almost $23,000) as the second best project.
- Another US-Ukrainian startup, CloviTek, which offers TV wireless audio transmitter, came in third. The startup was awarded with 400,000 hryvnias (roughly $15,000).
- Raccoon.world, a US-based company with R&D center in Kyiv (Kiev), won 200,000 hryvnias ($7,500) in the “Audience Choice” nomination. The startup is designing a variety of gadgets for hands, including Raccoon.Clip, “a universal controller for mobile VR and video games,” and Raccoon.Glove, “a multifunctional device for operating and interacting with virtual reality and remote objects.”
In addition to funding, the winning teams will benefit from expertise and access to the R&D of the American-Ukrainian asset management firm Noosphere Ventures.
The competition is the brainchild of Noosphere Ventures’ founder Max Polyakov and Google Ukraine’s director Dmitry Sholomko.