Three startups became winners of Pizza Pitch 2023 at the Go Viral festival

DRAGONFLY, MII Life, and TrustContract emerged as the winners of Pizza Pitch 2023, organized by Astana Hub as part of the Go Viral festival held on June 23-24 at Rixos Prezident Astana. Startups with IT projects had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a jury composed of competent experts.

"Pizza Pitch is a platform that provides an excellent opportunity for startups to practice their pitching skills and engage in productive networking," said Magzhan Madiyev, the CEO of Astana Hub, in his welcoming speech.

Eight IT startups participated in Pizza Pitch, presenting a range of projects from travel organization services and interior design to the development of a system that allows for contract signing in just a few clicks.

The project that caught the jury's interest was DRAGONFLY, which focuses on diagnosing diseases using medical images and artificial intelligence. According to CEO Vasily Kim, the model is currently trained only for tumor detection using data from open sources. The application developers plan to establish a partnership with one of the hospitals in Almaty to improve the accuracy of their algorithms.

"The advantage of our project is that we are developing the application architecture in a way that allows AI to initially identify the five most common diseases. Currently, these include circulatory disorders, brain metastases, and various tumors. In other words, our team plans to gradually retrain the model to eventually achieve a comprehensive AI that can handle everything. The products currently available on the market are narrowly focused. For example, as far as I know, Cerebra only detects strokes. Thus, the introduction of such technologies in the field of medicine will help facilitate the work and increase the productivity of doctors," stated startup founder Vasily Kim.

To launch a fully functional application and enter the market as quickly as possible, the startup requires around 20 million tenge. Expert Assel Junussova showed interest in the project.

Other startups that presented at Pizza Pitch include:

  • Voiceloft: The company has developed highly accurate speech recognition models for 110 languages and dialects, 10 times faster and 100 times cheaper than any other solution.
  • OFY: A career accelerator for IT specialists.
  • A travel organization service.
  • BEKSAR: A Kazakhstani software for retail automation.
  • MII Life: A service providing ready-made interior designs for homes.
  • CrowdStar: An investment platform for businesses and startups. Offers investments starting from 50,000 tenge with a return on projects that pass over 60 parameters.
  • TrustContract: A SaaS service that enables the signing of SmartContracts using a one-time password for both parties in just a few clicks.

Competent experts evaluated the startup presentations, including Asel Junusova, a business expert and certified business tracker in the EAEU territory; Nik Davydov, a venture partner at DVC fund in Silicon Valley with four unicorns in their portfolio; and Artem Azevich, a leading tracker at Silkway - an acceleration program by Astana Hub and Google for Startups.

"Each idea indeed solves specific industry problems and is truly related to the implementation of new solutions. From my perspective, I recommend that each of the business models presented today be as scalable as possible because if you want to attract investments, whether they are private, venture, or government, every investor will always ask: how quickly can this business model multiply? Therefore, I wish the startups a mindset for scalability," noted business expert Assel Junussova.

"I was impressed by the startups' excellent preparation; several of them were very interesting. I will definitely exchange contacts with some of them to further communicate. Perhaps, as a venture fund in California, we could be useful to them in some way. I always advocate for a more unified world. Based on my experience, I can say that this is the beginning of a journey, the dawn of a new era," shared Nick Davydov, a guest from Silicon Valley and a member of the jury. He wished the startups to have more ambition.

Artyom Azevich also expressed his opinion. He noted the high level of pitch preparation and invited the startups to join the 4th batch of the Silkway Accelerator by Google for Startups and Astana Hub.

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