The 2016 Startup Tour, Skolkovo’s roaming search for promising science and tech startups around the country, has visited its final destinations for this year. The winners from all the 13 cities visited by the tour will meet at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre in June for the massive Startup Village entrepreneurs’ summit.

Pekka Viljakainen, right, the Finnish mastermind of the Startup Tour, with one of the winners in Saratov. Photo:

The Startup Tour visited the cities of Tolyatti and Saratov last week, bringing this year’s odyssey to a close. The travelling event, which kicked off in February, had previously called in on the Russian cities of Irkutsk, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, Krasnodar, Taganrog, Tula and Kaliningrad, as well as the Belarussian capital Minsk and the Kazakh city of Almaty.

On the final day of the tour in Saratov, one entrepreneur was allowed to pitch their idea via video conference.

“Today we made an exception to the rules and gave one participant the opportunity to present their project remotely, via an online conference,” said Nikolai Suetin, science director of the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster.

“The invention they presented allows disabled people to become more mobile and makes it easier for them to communicate with the outside world – it’s a sort of assistant. We decided to support the project by offering mentor consultations and introducing its creator to teams involved in similar projects,” he said.

The projects submitted in Saratov in the IT category ranged from Internet of Things solutions and wearable electronics to cloud services in education.

“The winner of the IT category, Mikhail Gorshenin, devised a ring that makes it possible to forecast cardiovascular disease,” said Suetin. “I hope this invention will be realised.”

In Tolyatti, where the Startup Tour was held on April 18 and 19, a record number of projects – 152 – were submitted for the IT category, said Pavel Novikov, a project manager for Skolkovo’s IT cluster.

In each stage of the Startup Tour, three winners are selected in each of the five categories: IT, energy and energy-efficient technologies, biological and medical technologies, industrial technologies and materials, and biotechnologies in agriculture and industry. In Saratov, the jury awarded third place in the industrial technologies category to two projects jointly, bringing the total number of winners to 16.

The winners of all the stages of the Startup Tour are presented with tickets to the Startup Village, the biggest startup event in Eastern Europe, taking place this year on June 2-3. At the Startup Village, entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas to potential investors from all over the world, as well as meet like-minded inventors and designers.