40 business projects in the field of AI have passed the acceleration on the platform, organized with the participation of the GSOM SPBU as part of global educational intensive Archipelago 20.35.
Acceleration module was part of the track of the St. Petersburg State University Artificial intelligence in the digital economy unprecedented online learning intensive Archipelago 20.35. Of the 40 participating projects shortlisted in module 11 were in the top 100 and two projects were in top-10 teams at the end of the event.
The track is organized by the University and the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPBU) in partnership with VTB Bank, GenerationS (a Russian venture company), St. Petersburg State Electrotechnical University "LETI" and the international information group "Interfax". The track leader was Sergey Lukashin, Advisor to the Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of VTB, a member of the Project Office for GSOM SPbU strategy.
How does it work
The program consisted of two stages. The first is work in laboratories ("machine learning and econometrics", "control of the elements of electricity and time", "technology of mobile robots", and so on — a total of 19 topics). As the organizers put it, it was aimed at "pumping project technologies." The second stage is a pre-accelerator, divided into thematic days. Lectures and workshops were combined in the Business, Market, Technology, Preparation for a speech, Mentoring sessions areas, in which the teams consistently moved from the formation of the outline of the business model to the preparation of the presentation of the project and the development of pitches.
Each team worked individually with at least three experts, checking at least two hypotheses about their project. Based on feedback from the training, the organizers calculated their efficiency: more than 80% of the teams figured out how to make the first sales; 60% were able to understand the target audience and even communicate with potential customers; more than 45% realized how to make an MVP (minimum viable product) and more than 25% created or modified it; finally, half of the teams prepared presentations for investors.
Teams and their victories
IT professionals, entrepreneurs, students and schoolchildren who have their own works in the field of machine learning and data analysis were invited to participate in the accelerator. Projects of varying degrees of readiness were presented: both at the idea stage and with a ready-made prototype. More than 40 projects out of 797 launched have completed the program. 11 GenerationS participants were in the top 100, and 2 — in the top 10 teams based on the results of the entire Archipelago 20.35.
The ideologists of the project note that as a result, their platform became the third most popular among the participants of the Archipelago 20.35, where a total of 20 accelerators worked. The average score for the assessment of the program by the teams themselves was 4.7.
The highest result among the “graduates” of the track according to the results of Archipelago 20.35 was achieved by the ASSI Start team. It came to the intensive with a cloud ecosystem project with an AI mentor / assistant to start and manage a business. The system uses machine learning algorithms for self-development. The organizers note that the ASSI Start team already consists of experienced entrepreneurs, business experts, analysts, product managers, designers, developers and marketers. Its representatives thank the accelerator in response: “We rethought the approach to promoting our launch version, focused on our users, learned how to conduct CustDev, got acquainted with the construction of CJM, updated our knowledge of teamwork, looked at building a financial model from a different point of view, and also underwent powerful preparation for pitch sessions".
Another leader of the top was Digital Russia project, a service for selecting business contacts aimed at creating a unified system of interaction between members of the Russian and international business community. The organizers state that the project has "a small but strong team (5 people), whose competence is beyond doubt, as well as the relevance of the task." Feedback on the program of the team itself: “We got a lot of comments from experts, worked out questions about the business model, several hypotheses on vertical scaling of the project. During their participation, they passed full-time defense at the VIF. We plan to prepare the release of the next version of the platform by the end of the year, in which participants will already be able to receive recommendations for requests from other participants and send their proposals."
It is interesting that, for example, Natalya Dzhoraeva, an expert on corporate finance and founder of the Finexpert agency, who worked with many teams, paid special attention to the project of the online interior designer Plannerix service: “The project has a clearly defined value for the target audience and understandable, scalable business model. I work quite a lot with startups and from time to time I come across the fact that they offer the market a solution to a nonexistent problem, so sales and the project itself do not "take off." The guys from Plannerix, in my opinion, should succeed. Corporations have a great interest in recruiting automation services, while marketplaces have interest in furniture and decor, real estate sellers — in the opportunity to let their consumers "try on" future purchases and thereby increase sales "
Anatoly Borodin, mentor of the GenerationS program, described another project: “AEROSPACE-AGRO offers a comprehensive solution that allows agro-industrial holding companies to use several technologies at once that can be attributed to digital agriculture, and get results expressed in money (saved or earned additionally). It is the created business value, confirmed by specific cases, that allows us to count on the success of the project in the future. The key issue at this stage will be the possibility of scaling and multiple growth of the project in the event of a sharp increase in the number of customers."
Anastasia Laskovaya, GSOM SPbU lecture, researcher at the Center for Entrepreneurship, tracker of technology startups and author of the Therapist for Business podcast, was especially impressed by the Awagas Academy project: “It solves the problem of career guidance that is urgent for today's youth. In the modern world there are many professions and new ones constantly appear; often young people do not know what they want to do. I liked the project because it helps to quickly and cheaply "try" different professions in order to understand what I really like. Another strong point is gamification, which comes to the fore in modern education. Especially in the current situation of the development of online education and the problem of retaining the attention of students. Taking into account the prospects for the growth of the online education market and the increase in the number of engagement tools, the project may in the future expand its product line and go beyond only career guidance education."
Archipelago 20.35 online
Note that the entire track of St. Petersburg State University as part of the Archipelago 20.35 was dedicated to AI. It was called Artificial Intelligence in the Digital Economy. One of the online laboratories - "Mathematical Robotics and Artificial Intelligence" - was organized by the scientific and educational center of St. Petersburg State University. Another direction of the track is the use of AI when working with data in the banking sector, here experts from the VTB Risk Management School worked with the listeners. In turn, the LETI laboratory dedicated to the technology of mobile robots helped the participants of the track understand what part of the routine intellectual work can be transferred to the machine. Together with experts from Interfax, the participants of the intensive assessed the effectiveness of procurement in healthcare.
Archipelago 20.35 is the first unprecedentedly large-scale educational intensive for Russia in the formation and acceleration of teams capable of creating and commercializing projects in the field of data analysis and artificial intelligence "for advanced technological development in priority sectors of the economy and all spheres of state and social activity." It was divided into three stages: pre-acceleration - qualifying - program; actually, an intensive, which was attended by the top 1000 teams with the highest score in the ranking based on the results of the dropout; and finally, the final is the presentation of the results. Archipelago 20.35 took place online in the period from September 27 to November 21.