Astana Hub Battle: the battle of tech startups took place in Almaty for the first time

The winner of the battle was the Kazakhstani startup Kwaaka. The first runner-up is the TalkNow team, and the second runner-up is kScooter. The three leaders received cash cheques for the development of their IT products in the amount of $10,000 (1st place), $5,000 (2nd place), and $3,000 (3rd place).

On February 2-3, the biggest tech startup battle Astana Hub Battle took place as part of the Digital Almaty 2023 international digital forum. The battle received 250 applications from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Norway, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, the USA, India, and other countries.

"Of course, we are happy and grateful for such high praise. What we are doing is a venture capital story. We launched Kwaaka (a project to integrate online orders from large aggregators directly into the cash systems of establishments) last year. We are now working on the Kazakh and Azerbaijani markets, and are negotiating in Kyrgyzstan. We plan to enter the markets of Eastern Europe and the Middle East," Maksat Kadyrov, founder of the startup Kwaaka, shared his impressions of the winner of Astana Hub Battle 2023.

100 IТ-projects were selected to participate in the semi-final of the Astana Hub Battle. The top 10 startups - See the future, Learn plants, Smart Uroki, Braille Recognition, Behype, Kscooter, Kwaaka, LOOKin, Talknow, Stem.- made it to the final.

"MindLogistics is a joint Israeli-Kazakhstani product that connects all the processes of sea cargo transportation. Can you imagine the guys from Kazakhstan, a country that has no access to the ocean, doing such a project? But it solves a huge pain in the market, exporters/importers have to interact with 7-9 systems in order to send a simple cargo. With us, it can be done in one window. I was sure that we would make it to the final, but the level of startups was so good that it was not a shame for them to lose," said Serik Berdalinov, semi-finalist of Astana Hub Battle 2023.

The jury of the Astana Hub Battle final included: Shahboz Rakhmanov, CEO of My Ventures, Alex Boytsov, CEO of White Hill Capital, Bakht Niyazov, VC and business angel, Mirat Akhmedsadykov, Managing Partner of MOST Ventures, Alina Abdrakhmanova, Managing Director of Astana Hub, Talgat Ismail, private investor, Timur Turlov, CEO of Freedom Holding Corp.

"It was very difficult to choose a winner - different countries, different directions, non-standard solutions, very interesting teams. It was nice to see projects that are aimed at the development of inclusion in the mobility of citizens, as well as in education. We realized that we, the organizers, need to increase the prize fund and continue to hold battles regularly. This is a platform where startups not only win valuable prizes but also show themselves to the world. I think it is much more important for startups than investments," said Alina Abdrakhmanova, Astana Hub managing director and a jury member of Astana Hub Battle 2023.

It is worth noting that following the results of the Astana Hub Battle several startups were awarded in some different categories. Including Battle, sponsors marked two finalists with special money prizes: an Uzbek mobile application for Braille recognition from smartphone images “Braille Recognition” got 6 million tenge from Yandex Cloud; Kazakhstani startup See The Future, an ecosystem consisting of a device with an integrated application that will help blind people, got 10 thousand dollars from Blockchair.

Let us remind you that the V International Digital Forum "Digital Almaty: Digital Partnership in a New Reality" was held in Almaty on February 2-3, 2023. The main topic of discussion is the modern global challenges of the development of innovative technologies. The forum is held for the fifth time since 2018. 

The forum includes exhibitions of technoparks from different countries, the exhibition areas Industry 4.0. and Innovation Center, Startup Alley, a technology marathon, a workshop with leading representatives of the IT sphere, universities, and job fairs.

The event is organized by the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaty City Akimat, Tech Garden, and Astana Hub.

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