7 questions about how does GoTech Innovation work
GoTech Innovation is often associated with the GoTech Arena, a large-scale forum that we have been holding since 2009. But, in addition to this event, our company is engaged in consulting and has many interesting cases for working with corporations. Irina Kalashnikova, co-founder and CEO of GoTech Innovation will describe in this article exactly how we help corporations and startups (and not only in the Russian market).
What is GoTech?
GoTech, or rather GoTech Innovation, is a private consulting company that has been working with corporations and venture funds for 10 years. We analyze the market, scout for startups, organize and launch contests, bootcamps, hackathons and acceleration programs for our clients.
For example, last year a startup competition was held in Mexico City for a well-known international software manufacturer. The customer wanted to “highlight” the activity of the office in Latin America and chose this path — through startups.
Now we are helping the Finnish company Cursor Oy to hold a competition and an accelerator for technological startups. We also organize GoTech Arena — a forum that gathers 1,000 participants every year, including 400 investors, 300 startups, who have over 1,000 meetings in the Deal Room.
Last year we launched a new direction — events for startups in Europe. We successfully held a side event during one of the largest startup conferences Slush (Helsinki). The participants were startups with Russian founders who are looking for investments, investors, representatives of foundations, corporations, and development institutions. At the end of 2019, we will hold pitch sessions in Helsinki and Berlin.
Who are your customers and what achievements are you proud of?
Our clients include hundreds of startups, over 50 corporations, dozens of venture funds. Each year, about 15 large companies become partners of the GoTech Arena forum. We searched for startups and carried out different format events for companies like Beeline, Yandex.Market, Rostelecom, Gazprom neft, Tra robotics, Fesco, Kirovsky Zavod, etc.
We have been on the market for over 10 years now and we know well how a small technological business lives and how corporations work. That is to say, we understand clients from both sides well and know how to formulate a message from a corporation to a startup. It helps to unite one with others, to launch pilots, to make deals. You can get your hands on some success stories of startups that participated in the GoTech competition here.
Here are some of the past winners:
- VisionLabs — a developer of solutions and services in the field of computer vision and machine learning, received an investment of 350 million RUR from the Sistema VC venture fund.
- Cloud platform for user applications Jelastic raised total $7.1 million investments.
- AppFollow — SaaS-service for mobile developers and marketers was able to enter the European market and get 750,000 euros in funding from the Finnish Fund Vendep.
Could you tell us more about how you work with corporations?
We hold about 10 nominations with our partners and other projects throughout the year.
We also help corporations to launch a full-scale accelerator. Considering that such programs involve intensive training, a large number of mentors and experts in product creation, marketing, pitching, and communication with investors are required. Each expert is cleared by the customer.
Based on your experience, what determines the success of a startup and corporation collaboration?
It directly depends on how the corporation works with technology companies and small businesses. It is no secret that large companies work well with contractors. Often in the structure of the corporation, there is a separate division responsible for analyzing offers on the market.
As our experience shows, the work goes successful with those companies where, in addition to established business processes, there are specialists who are focused on results. Often it is their motivation that moves everyone forward. It is clear that cooperation does not always end positively. You have to be ready even for this turn of events.
Could you tell us about the experts you work with?
During our work, we have formed a wide pool of experts (coaches, mentors, investors), who are attracted depending on the client’s tasks and the specifics of the program. We had cases when the acceleration program involved 20 trainings and for each of them we found a mentor with relevant experience and a good reputation in the market.
We also employ qualified specialists (business analysts, marketers) for the startups' search. Our scouts work not only in Russia but also in the CIS countries and the EU. They conduct manual scouting, use a wide partner network whose members make recommendations on local communities, study core resources, scrupulously search and find exactly what the customer needs. This is a time-consuming process. In many respects, it is similar to the work of fund analysts, when experts study numerous bases and search for a "diamond" in the market.
Throughout our working experience, we came to the conclusion that you should not chase the quantity. The customer may ask to find 1000 startups on their subject, but it is not the fact that in a certain niche there are so many relevant companies in a particular region.
When we were organizing the competition in Latin America we analyzed the market and did a lot of work to create a contact base. As a result, we selected 135 startups. The projects were very different: information security, robotics, drones, artificial intelligence, gaming, but all of them were suited to the goals of the customer. We are pleased with this case because it shows that our approach works in different geographical locations.
What startups are you looking for this year?
From March to May we conducted a program with Kirovsky Zavod. The focus was on industrial startups from the spheres like Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT, AgTech, Big Data, Agricultural Machinery. We are looking for solutions for data collection and processing that improves business processes and create modern and smart products: digital tractors, drilling rigs, etc.
And right now, together with the Cursor Oy company, we have launched the Finnish-Russian competition Startup Connect. It is carried out as part of the Startup Connect project, which is funded by the European Union, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland. The startups that create solutions in the areas of robotics, logistics, IoT, Industry 4.0 and others are invited to participate. The main goal of the project is to help startups from Finland and Russia to enter the European market. We will organize an acceleration program for the winners of the competition.
On May 30 we have opened acceptance of applications for participation in the GoTech startup contest. Usually, it is supported by 10 partners, banks, telecom and companies from the entertainment industry are among them. Each of the partners declares their criteria and we are looking for startups. 100 best companies will take part in the Forum.
How can a startup get into your pipeline and start working with a corporation?
We have our own database of projects (including more than 6000 startups), which is constantly being updated. If the startup left a request but right now we do not have an equivalent request from the corporation for a specific solution — the application remains in the database. We update it when the right time comes.
When we are looking for a company for a specific program we contact the representatives of said company, clarify the interest to participate, give all the necessary information. We do not invite to participate in startups that are not interested in it.
On the eve of the GoTech startup contest and the GoTech Arena forum we normally receive a huge number of applications. At the same time, target projects are often already in our database and are directly connected with scouts. This allows us to create a targeted pipeline. For pipeline automation and startup scouting, we use our own TechScout platform (right now we are operating on the previous version of the web service, but soon we will announce a modified platform with wider functionality).
In addition, startups themselves can constantly monitor our activities. If they see that the program is suitable for them, they can re-apply for participation. We recommend doing this every year.
Companies from all countries are invited to participate in GoTech Innovation projects. For example, last year at the GoTech Arena Forum more than half of the startups pitching on the main stage were from foreign countries: Singapore, Latvia, Belarus, USA, Israel. We are building a community around GoTech so that corporations, investors and startups find each other more quickly. Our events in Moscow, Helsinki and this year in Berlin are suitable for exchanging news and making useful contacts.