In search of investment
"At such events as CES, the most valuable thing for entrepreneurs is to find an investor. And participation in the event itself does not guarantee success. It is necessary to apply a comprehensive approach — it is both testing the product before it is shown to potential investors, and individual contacts with them, and participation in various events. And you have to seize the moment: nobody knows where you'll meet an investor, who will show interest. It may be CES or a private meeting of entrepreneurs in a bar," Oleksander Davydenko, Chief Innovation Officer of the holding TECHIIA and CEO of the venture studio VRTX Lab, shares the experience.
Oleksander Davydenko, Chief Innovation Officer of the holding TECHIIA and CEO of the venture studio VRTX Lab
Last year, six startups from Ukraine took part in CES. The Ukrainians presented:
1. Effa — an ecological toothbrush made of paper and recycled materials.
2. UATAG — a solution to protect products from counterfeiting, which uses labels made of broken transparent glass.
3. SEMCS — a mosquito trap.
4. CamTouch — a device for converting any projector or screen into an interactive board, where you can control objects with a special stylus.
5. EdPro. Amperia — constructor for laboratory experiments with electricity in school.
6. Bicovery — a service for people with bipolar disorder, which monitors their emotional and physical condition.
"CES is a global event, and the presence of Ukrainian startups, there is not only an opportunity to find an investor. The Ukrainian pavilion is also an opportunity to form Ukraine's image as an IT country," adds Oleksander Davydenko. "The country's potential is also measured by courage and openness to the new. CES visitors also appreciate our readiness to develop something fundamentally new — I am convinced that we can demonstrate this at the exhibition. At the same time, we need to develop an entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of doing business in the international market — this is what Ukrainian startups still lack."
Taking into account that the organizers from Ukraine covered Ukrainian entrepreneurs' costs, the latter had to invest their own money to pay the transfer and accommodation.
"The world market is becoming more and more global. And when it comes to startups, the USA is the country where entrepreneurs can meet investors, and countries can create or strengthen their image in a certain niche. International exhibitions and conferences, in general, are a tool for product presentation and a place of real contacts with potential partners," says Maksim Bobranitskiy, CEO of WP Merchandise — a company that produces premium merchandise based on video games; part of TECHIIA holding.
Maksim Bobranitskiy, CEO of WP Merchandise — a company that produces premium merchandise based on video games; part of TECHIIA holding
"Business contacts, direct sales, research of competitors or similar technologies, obtaining licenses, finding partners, distributors or all at the same time — these are the main objectives that we pursue through participation in international events. The chances of success and opportunities increase greatly if it is, for example, CES. Here you can get acquainted with top managers of world-famous corporations by chance. Europeans and Americans appreciate personal contacts, and most of the issues that are usually solved in a month's correspondence can be solved in 5 minutes of private conversation," Maxim adds.
At the same time, Ukrainian entrepreneurs should prepare in advance not only the presentation of their products but also their know-how, which can amaze visitors to the exhibition.
"At the licensing exhibition in Los Angeles, we surprised visitors by the fact that we have contracts with Bandai Namco, Epic Games, Wargaming, Warner Bros. for the production of merchandise based on the characters of video games," Bobranitsky shares. "It also surprised visitors that we make all our products in Ukraine, not China."
"If we are talking about startups, in 2018, about $ 350 thousand were invested in Ukrainian startups — in innovative companies founded by Ukrainians. The data for 2019 are not yet available, but there is a feeling that the amount will be higher. Investments in startups are growing every year," Afanasyeva said. Olga was at a forum in Davos, where she also promoted Ukrainian business. "We strive to show Ukraine as the world rarely sees it. We want to show that there is great investment potential here. There is a new Ukraine, Ukraine of entrepreneurs, Ukraine of competitive companies. We are a powerful partner. You can deal with us."
In Ukraine, for a startup to get the status of "member of CES" is quite a significant title. A startup gets experience and contacts even before he gets to the exhibition, and serious selection and preparation await on the way. Less than 40 startups from all over Ukraine have already taken part in the event, supported Ukraine's international image as an IT country, and probably found their investors. Selection for CES 2021 will start very soon, and on its official website, you can find the date of the event — January 6-9.
Оriginal article by nv.ua.