About

The Vernadsky Challenge is annual hardware start-up competition organized by Noosphere Ventures and its managing partner Max Polyakov (Maxim Polyakov) in Dnipro city, Ukraine. This began in 2015, and is named after the famous Ukrainian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky. This event is great for young inventors, science enthusiasts or people who always want to be on the crest of modern technologies and new devices. The Vernadsky Challenge is not just another start-up competition, it is the perfect opportunity for inventors to win grants to develop their products and enlist the support of Max Polyakov and Noosphere Ventures. The global mission of Noosphere Ventures is to develop, grow and accelerate industry-leading companies on a global scale.

Max Polyakov is a Founder of Vernadsky Challenge

Thanks to Max Polyakov and Noosphere Ventures the Vernadsky Challenge has grown and expanded its borders every year it has run. It’s easy to see from the number of applications received, from 130 in 2015 to more than 250 in 2017. From Max Polyakov’s point of view the main mission of the Vernadsky Challenge is to create products that make the whole world better, regardless of which country their inventors live in. We are all united by science and a craving for new inventions. This is why the competition can safely be considered an international competition, as they receive applications from many different countries like USA, India, and Israel. In recent years, among young people, there has been a significant increase in interest in engineering as technology is a universal language that people from all over the world can communicate with. Maxim Polyakov is a great supporter of ideas and work of Vladimir Vernadsky.

During its history, a lot of useful projects have realized their full hidden potential. Each year, the judges of the Vernadsky Challenge are chalk full of extremely qualified professionals from a range of specialities. While some judges rotate out, each year, Maxim Polyakov and Michael Ryabokon (Chief Innovation Officer, Noosphere) are permanent representatives on the panel.

They closely evaluate more than 150 applications for each competition, but only about 10 percent of them can be turned from applicants to competitors. Even those projects that couldn't continue on to the final stages of the competition get their rewards – qualified feedback from Max Polyakov or other members of the jury about the strengths and weaknesses of their products. Such advice from these professionals is a great opportunity to make their products better, stronger and return to the competition in following years.

The entire selection process is as follows:

Applications are accepted for 6 months. Applications for participation can be submitted through the competition website. Further, a highly respected commission which consists of judges and experts in various areas, such as successful startup founders, scientists, and engineers, assess the business and scientific components of the submitted projects. The criteria for evaluation are the level of innovations, the flexibility of the project, its team and business approach. After passing the selection phase, there are 12 projects that are able to present their final pitch to audience from the stage of the Vernadsky Challenge competition.

The final evaluation of the project is formed from the scores of the judges panel led by Maxim Polyakov, that were posted during the competition.

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History of the Vernadsky Challenge

The history of the Vernadsky Challenge begins in 2015, when the first challenge was held. It was conceived as an IT and Hardware startup competition. It was one of the first such competitions in Ukraine and for a short period of time, it received a large number of applications. The first time in 2015, 130 companies submitted applications for 130 participants from:

  • Ukraine
  • the United States
  • Russia
  • Bulgaria
  • Kazakhstan
  • Azerbaijan

It was very symbolic that the contest took place in the building at the center of space science in the city of Dnipro, because for a time the real world the participants lived in was replaced by a world in which anything was possible. Their only limits were their degree of desire. This is the world that thirsts for knowledge, the world of scientific discoveries, which every team, every project without thinking about the defeat and consequences, tries to show the maximum result and do everything to win.

In 2016 there were some changes to the competition. The Vernadsky Challenge refused to back IT startups because of the deep conviction of Maxim Polyakov and other judges that the future of the industry was in hardware technology. With this in mind, Max Polyakov increased the total budget for the winners by two times, from 1 million UAH to 2 million UAH, because young inventors don’t always have the funds to take hardware technology to the next level, allowing even the most promising projects to disappear through a lack of investment. The hardware direction also allow the judges to accept applications from categories such as space technologies and the agroindustrial technology. 216 applications were submitted for Vernadsky Challenge 2016, mostly from Ukraine. There were also projects from:

  • Kazakhstan
  • Belarus
  • Israel
  • Albania
  • India
  • Armenia

and from other countries.

In 2017, Max Polyakov and the leadership of the Vernadsky Challenge invited a world-famous specialist in engineering to be on the panel of judges at the competition. A great TV host, and one of the founders of the TV show "Mythbusters," Jamie Hyneman. The arrival of a celebrity like Jamie caused a great deal of excitement both among the contestants of the competition, and among ordinary residents of the city of Dnipro. Hours before the opening ceremony even started, the excited audience began packing the Dnipro Educational Center of National Aerospace of Ukraine. Mr. Hyneman joined Maxim Polyakov to judge the best hardware startups at Vernadsky Challenge 2017. As a sign of acknowledgment of the high professional level of both the Vernadsky Challenge itself and the participants, Jamie answered a question about something he would like to do, but hasn’t yet by saying, ”I would like to fly to Mars on a rocket you guys build!”.

2017 was one of the best in VC’s history. More than 250 applications were received from more than 10 countries around the world. One of the features of VC 2017 was that for the first time, the Vernadsky Challenge not only offered a main grant, but also a special award. Cofounder of Association Noosphere, Max Polyakov, initiated special prize from the company Maxpay (provider of payment solutions and services for online business) to provide exclusive use of Maxpay services to one of the finalists. The prize was awarded to eCozy.

The Vernadsky Challenge continues its story and remains open for new projects that will help make the life of mankind better.

The Startup Ecosystem Created by Maxim Polyakov

Scientists and engineers are always innovating. If the project requires specialized manufacturing, highly skilled workers are added to the team. The activity of an engineer is the creative application of scientific principles to the planning, creation, management, and operation of systems that should improve our daily lives. The global economy will further strengthen competition and, as a consequence, rapid advance technology in all spheres of human activity. To maintain the competitiveness of the products being developed now and in the future, engineers must have a high level of skills, innovative thinking, professional mobility and the appropriate motivation. In recent decades, the interest of young people in engineering professions and the desire to participate in the developing of new and promising areas of science and technology have significantly increased in developed countries. That’s why Max Polyakov and Noosphere Ventures consider it necessary to support and develop every young person who chooses engineering as their lifestyle.

Maxim Polyakov, as a big fan of science and innovative engineering projects, also founded a several companies such as Earth Observing System Data Analytics (EOS DA), Renatus, and Maxymiser. As a managing partner of Noosphere Ventures, Max Polyakov is making efforts to create an ecosystem to help startups grow and develop. From his point of view, NES and Noosphere Ventures should work together, so that start-ups can create their own ideas from scratch and then bring them to the market. Max Polyakov makes considerable effort to build an ecosystem for developing startups and young scientists. One such social initiative to build this ecosystem was the founding of the Noosphere Engineering School (NES). NES works in cooperation with the best Ukrainian universities to help young inventors fully realize their technical and intellectual potential and create the “next big thing”. Each of the Noosphere Engineering Schools has several laboratories which people are free to choose from. Students are able to take their first steps into science by building their first rocket or robot, or by getting advice from experts on how to improve their own projects. Many very gifted students have already gone through Max Polyakov’s Noosphere Engineering School. These include the inventors of projects like:

  • ArtOS
  • My Police
  • Copter Race Timer

One of the main features of the Max Polyakov’s Noosphere Engineering School is the interaction between the students and experts in various scientific and technical fields to share their knowledge, as well as create and implement innovative ideas. Students of NES often become winners and finalists of various competitions both in Ukraine and abroad. One of the latest achievements was the winner of the all-Ukrainian Innovation Tournament “Best device for FAI”. This all could be due to the fact that in February 2017 the International Aviation Federation FAI and Associacion Noosphere signed a technical partnership agreement and Maxim Polyakov became an FAI Companion of Honour.

Winners 2017

  • Cubomania
    Cubomania
    Cubomania

    Cubomania is an interactive educational-entertainment cubes that could connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Through the site, the cubes are loaded with various educational and entertainment programs, for example: alphabet, mathematical examples, games, etc. The blocks can be supplemented with sensors, web cameras and similar functionality that transform them into other IOT elements like a baby monitor, an alarm clock, or a Frame.

  • Cardiomo Family
    Cardiomo Family
    Cardiomo Family

    Cardiomo Family is a health monitoring device that monitors the body's basic parameters: ECG, breathing, body temperature. In case of a deviation from the normal state, the device sends a PUSH notification to the user's smartphone or relatives.

  • CloviFi
    CloviFi
    CloviFi

    CloviFi is WIFI transmitter that connects to a sound source or any TV and plays an audio stream through Wi-Fi.

  • Audience
    Audience Choice Award
    Audience Choice Award

    A special prize was also awarded to a project in category "Audience Choice Award". The project did not have to place in the top three to qualify. Winning this award just shows that the audience liked the project. In 2015, this prize was won by the “Braille pad” project. Braille Pad is a Braille-based tablet which, thanks to modern technologies, converts an ordinary web page into Braille and displays information on a tactile display. In 2016, the Audience Choice Award was won by Hideеz, and in 2017 the audience choose Racoon.World. This last one is a gadget for interacting with digital reality. It could help people with certain problems with their hands, like fine motor skills or tactile perception.

  • TechNovator XE
    TechNovator XE
    TechNovator XE

    TechNovator XE is a wireless charging system with a base station, several cases for smartphones and an application that allows you to manage the system. The basic version of the product can charge up to 4 devices at a time in a radius of up to 5 m.

  • Hideеz Band
    Hideеz
    Hideеz

    Hideеz is a smart band that can save passwords, encryption keys, digital signatures, etc from various devices. The band can be part of an individual secure system of each person or it could be used for corporations. The product has a well thought out system of security and protection of confidential information.

  • Bioton
    Bioton
    Bioton

    Bioton is a device for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases. It allows users to investigate the elasticity of arteries and assess the state of the vascular endothelium, to measure blood pressure and pulse of a person using innovative non-invasive methods of early diagnosis.

  • Audience
    Audience Choice Award
    Audience Choice Award

    A special prize was also awarded to a project in category "Audience Choice Award". The project did not have to place in the top three to qualify. Winning this award just shows that the audience liked the project. In 2015, this prize was won by the “Braille pad” project. Braille Pad is a Braille-based tablet which, thanks to modern technologies, converts an ordinary web page into Braille and displays information on a tactile display. In 2016, the Audience Choice Award was won by Hideеz, and in 2017 the audience choose Racoon.World. This last one is a gadget for interacting with digital reality. It could help people with certain problems with their hands, like fine motor skills or tactile perception.

  • AVISION robotics
    AVISION Robotics
    AVISION Robotics

    An integrated control and monitoring system for drones that provides safe navigation and control of unmanned vehicles. AVISION Robotics includes: an intelligent system for controlling a fleet of drones, which provides calculations of routes and indicators for any number of vehicles; and hardware devices to enhance the safety of drones, which help avoid collisions with static and dynamic obstacles and contribute to safe landings.

  • Araned
    Araned
    Araned

    Araned is an interactive 3-D models for medical education, which allows students to study anatomy, surgical procedures, traumatological, gynecological and other directions in a complex manner. The model is created with the help of 3D scanning, image translation into an electronic atlas and 3D printing. The Araned system also provides for the use of a mobile application that will allow real-time tracking of the location of blood vessels and nerves in the structure of various anatomical formations.

  • Modern dressing material
    Modern dressing material

    A dressing material with prolonged disinfecting action. It continuously emits a disinfectant of a wide spectrum of action to the wound. This not only disinfects the wound surface, but also prevents secondary infection. The material is intended for use both in emergency situations and combat operations, and for widespread use.

  • Audience
    Audience Choice Award
    Audience Choice Award

    A special prize was also awarded to a project in category "Audience Choice Award". The project did not have to place in the top three to qualify. Winning this award just shows that the audience liked the project. In 2015, this prize was won by the “Braille pad” project. Braille Pad is a Braille-based tablet which, thanks to modern technologies, converts an ordinary web page into Braille and displays information on a tactile display. In 2016, the Audience Choice Award was won by Hideеz, and in 2017 the audience choose Racoon.World. This last one is a gadget for interacting with digital reality. It could help people with certain problems with their hands, like fine motor skills or tactile perception.

In addition to cash prizes, the winners also received expert support and access to the scientific and technical base of Noosphere Ventures.

News

Organizers

Max Polyakov
Max Polyakov founder of Vernadsky Challenge

Hosted by

Association Noosphere

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