RefaceAI investor and Cyprus IT Forum partner Sergey Tokarev tells about the winners of the national startup competition aimed at combating the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine.
A competition of young IT projects aimed to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus was held in Ukraine. The hackathon was initiated by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine with the support of EGAP. The hackathon was named #HackCorona.
Altogether, 899 teams took part in the competition. Among the presented projects, there were electronic services that could help to overcome the pandemic and associated social, administrative and educational issues as well as to help the country recover from the lockdown.
Initially, the prize fund of the competition was 4 million hryvnias (about 143,000 US dollars). At the final stage, Sergey Tokarev, the investor and IT businessman, joined the jury. He increased the prize fund by 1 million hryvnias (about 35,000 US dollars).
“I learned about the competition when there were 22 teams remained in the final. Many of them offered interesting and relevant ideas worth to be implemented. I offered to help teams with consultations and increase the total prize pool. The Ministry supported this idea,” says the RefaceAI investor. “I learned in detail all the projects and met the teams that I found most interesting.”
Among all the projects, the businessman liked the most VUIKO, a startup aimed to create a marketplace for farm products. Sergey Tokarev noted the high level of the team, the high quality of the project presentation and the commercial value of the service in case of its successful implementation. However, the key factor for choosing this particular startup was how relevant and useful it is for supporting farmers and entrepreneurs.
Two more projects also received the investor’s support: “Sluhai” (Ukr. ‘Listen!’) and “KAZKOZVUK”. Both startups are associated with audio books creating.
“These projects are educational, and they popularize literature in Ukrainian. I can relate to it. Since 2017, we have been developing the LuckyBooks project. Its main goal is to publish and distribute educational literature for teenagers in the Ukrainian language for free. Therefore, I simply could not ignore these projects. And talking about KAZKOZVUK, it has another important function – it helps children with visual impairments to get acquainted with literature,” says Sergey Tokarev.
At the final stage of the competition, all three projects were approved by the jury and entered the top five hackathon winners. Apart from them, the competition prize fund was shared between two more startups: SkillAR, a mobile platform for interactive distance learning using augmented reality, and Digital Women 2020, a service that stimulates the development of small and medium-sized women businesses in Ukraine in times of crisis.
The #HackCorona prize fund was shared between the teams according to how much each of the teams originally requested.