Cambridge Network shares many similarities with Skolkovo in the way that it helps startups in the Cambridge University ecosystem. It is currently working with 5000 companies from different countries, 17 of which are worth over $1 billion each. Cambridge Network and Skolkovo first connected two years ago during a business mission to the UK, and this year’s online innovation day represents a further development in the relationship between both sides.
Innovation Day participants. Screengrab: Sk.ru.
The Skolkovo and Cambridge Network Innovation Day took place online on December 8 with eight Skolkovo startups pitching IT and biotechnology solutions. The session began with opening words from the organizers, followed by a pitch session from the participating startups, and ending with B2B meetings where members of the UK audience gave the Skolkovo companies their own professional feedback.
The chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich opened the session by calling it a good follow-up on the cooperation agreement that both sides signed earlier this year and cited the company AstraZeneca as a key player from the UK side in helping build the relationship between Cambridge Network and Skolkovo. Mr. Dvorkovich said that he would be informing the UK ambassador on the developments.
Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich. Screengrab: Sk.ru.
“We already have very good personal and institutional relationships with our British colleagues. We have had many meetings, exhibitions, and conferences, and we are finally starting some real collaboration and AstraZeneca was very instrumental in this process. What we are doing now is in great demand, given today’s situation with the pandemic all over the world. It is an unfortunate time, but we will meet those challenges together,” said the chairman.
Mr. Dvorkovich went on to cite the collaboration between the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) and a number of British universities as another sign of improving relations between the innovation center and the UK.
“I think this track is going to be successful. We should use this momentum to maintain dialogue and find projects, which are appealing to both sides, where we can invest our money and time together. Once again, I am grateful for what our partners and my colleagues on our side have done already, so let’s try to achieve results in the near future.”
Both sides have already had success stories during the ongoing pandemic; Skolkovo has developed test systems, medicines and AI-based diagnostics systems for various diseases, and Cambridge Network’s AstraZeneca has been on the frontline in developing a vaccine against Covid-19.
Following Mr. Dvorkovich, Pekka Viljakainen, the chairman of Skolkovo Ventures and advisor to the chairman of the board of directors of the Skolkovo Foundation, gave some personal insights from his own perspective as an angel investor. Mr. Viljakainen stated in so many words that within the global startup community there are always those who choose to “bury their heads in the sand” when it comes to building trust relations and try to survive alone.
Skolkovo's Kamila Zarubina (left) and Pekka Viljakainen (right). Screengrab: Sk.ru.
“Based on my experience, and especially now when times are tough, those startups that bury their heads in the sand and try to survive alone will fail at a dramatic rate,” said Mr. Viljakainen. “We should not make excuses for not building trust relations. Business is all about building trust relations. This takes some time, but those startups and entrepreneurs who are able to do this quickly are typically also the winners. That is why it’s not just about the number one science or innovation, it is about developing trust relations with your team and those around you.”
Mr. Viljakainen went on to say that the Skolkovo Foundation impresses upon its people and startups the importance of this in developing a business. “I think that the startups and entrepreneurs that we have here today are not just good at science and creating products; they understand the importance of creating trust relations,” he said.
Claire Ruskin of Cambridge Network. Screengrab: Sk.ru.
Claire Ruskin, the executive director of Cambridge Network, noted that she could see similarities between both innovation centers. “I see many similarities between Cambridge and Skolkovo; Skolkovo is a place we can identify with, especially with regards to the focus on education – technical education in particular. Now I think both places are looking towards making commercial success with industry and with real delivery. We can talk forever, but if we can get some projects going together, that will be even better. We like to think that our ideas at Cambridge change the world. We think big, we think globally, and we do a lot of local work to help companies around us be as good as we think they can be. You are here today to pitch your business ideas personally, and that is the essence of everything that we start with.”
About the Startup Pitch Solutions
The pitching Skolkovo companies were StartExam, Oz Forensics, Tourphone, Gbooking/Med.me, CERA, Third Opinion AI, Botkin.AI, and Examus.
CERA’s solution is a smart assistant designed for retail, which is powered by AI and computer vision with the aim of automating key business processes and collecting and analyzing data to improve store management. The company is already taking part in the Global Pilots program, a program supported by Microsoft and EY and designed to empower technology entrepreneurs from Russia and the CIS to scale their startups on global markets.
Examus is an AI solution for online education that allows proctoring and user behavior analysis via AI algorithms.
Oz Forensics provides a biometric platform for identifying people quickly and securely, preventing biometric and deepfake attacks by using Liveness detection – identifying a live person in a frame. The solutions reduce the time to identify a person by up to three seconds, reducing the risk of biometric attacks with 99.87% accuracy. This puts it in the Top-2 in the world according to the MIT LFW test results.
Tourphone is a voice-streaming smartphone app for mass events and group tours, turning users’ smartphones into personal receivers that can operate without an internet connection and mobile networks. It makes streaming easier and reduces the risk of spreading Covid-19 through use of gear.
StartExam is a customizable cloud platform that helps medium and large companies plan and conduct complex programs on employee skills assessment and knowledge evaluation.
Botkin.AI is a software-based platform based on artificial intelligence. It is designed to analyze radiological images. It offers CT scan analysis for lung cancer detection, mammography scan analysis for bread cancer detection, digital X-ray analysis for non-oncological pathologies detection, and CT & X-ray analysis for Covid-19 symptoms detection.
Third Opinion AI is a HealthTech company committed to digitizing expert-level medical experience. It offers an AI-powered SaaS-platform for analyzing medical images in order to detect conditions in microscopic blood images, ocular fundus images, X-ray images, CT scans, mammograms, and orthopantomograms. It also offers an intelligent monitoring system for increased patient safety called Third Opinion Care. The system uses computer vision technology, monitoring patient safety and quality of care provided by medical staff, while also protecting patient information with HIPAA compliance.
Gbooking/Med.me is a medical PRM platform for real-time online appointment scheduling and electronic health records sharing. The company has experience in MIS integrations which has allowed it to connect new medical organizations quickly, providing a secure channel of medical data exchange between clinics, insurance companies, and patients.