Agrobot’s Intelligent Tractors Win “A Million-Rouble Idea” Show
The creators of robotic tractors, electric add-ons for wheelchairs, and functional prostheses became the winners of the show for start-ups “A Million-Rouble Idea” launched on the initiative of Vnesheconombank and aired on the NTV channel for two weeks. The prizes were awarded to the young inventors personally by Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The winner of the show – innovative project team Agrobot – received 25 million roubles to continue their development activities, the runners-up – UnaWheel – received 20 million roubles, and the “bronze medalists” – the Motorika project – got 15 million roubles.
The jury of the final episode traditionally consisted of the representatives of the government and development institutions, business persons, and celebrities. Besides Maxim Oreshkin, the Minister of Economic Development, the projects were evaluated by Sergey Gorkov, Chairman of Vnesheconombank, Svetlana Chupsheva, General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), Kirill Androsov, Managing Director of Altera Capital, and actor Ivan Okhlobystin.
In total, the contest received over 500 applications, and a total of 35 technological start-ups fought for the victory at the show. In each of the seven episodes, one team proceeded to the finals, while the rest were eliminated. In the final episode of the “A Million-Rouble Idea” show, the best projects met face to face, with three of them sharing the prize fund of 60 million roubles.
The winning team Agrobot claims that their project is not limited to the launch of massive production of robotic tractors. The project founders dream about building a single ecosystem that can manage a fleet of machinery, handle the relevant big data, and ultimately become an intelligent agro-complex for food production operating with minimal human intervention.
Sergey Gorkov, Chairman of Vnesheconombank, stressed that the first experience of the show for start-ups was so successful that dozens of Russian innovators’ “ideas worth a million” got an opportunity to become a reality.
“Not too long ago, the idea of launching such a show on a federal TV channel seemed unrealistic. Together with the NTV team, we have managed to achieve something incredible: the fate of the innovative start-ups has captured attention of the audience. To build a digital economy, tectonic shifts at the level of public consciousness are necessary. I hope that the project will go on in the second and third seasons,” said Sergey Gorkov.
A member of the jury, Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin said that this TV project gives a unique chance for young entrepreneurs and inventors to make it to the top. “A Million-Rouble Idea” is a high-toned show. Everyone who connects his or her life with science should get some help, without the helper seeking the benefit. Thank God someone has an interest in new technologies, and the funding is there. Now, the children are given an opportunity to realize themselves and make their creative plans a reality, which is great,” said Ivan Okhlobystin.
Leonid Kazinets, Chairman of the Board at Barkley Corporation, spoke about the project’s educational function. “Running your own business is not a walk in the park. The “A Million-Rouble Idea” show, firstly, supports the novice entrepreneurs, and secondly, it arouses the desire to create your own business, invent ideas, promote them, look for investors and partners,” said Leonid Kazinets.
Representatives of large-scale businesses also showed great interest in the projects of the young innovators. Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Board at Sibur Company, is sure that the market leaders will be able to benefit from the young inventors’ developments as well.
“Each of the projects was creative in its own way. Sometimes it is interesting to look at new ideas through the eyes of a person working in big business and large companies. Some of the new solutions seem inapplicable at first, but when you start to analyze and communicate with the teams, you understand that many of the things they do or see from their own perspective can be used on a wider spectrum,” said Dmitry Konov.
The runners-up of the final of the “A Million-Rouble Idea” show – UnaWheel start-up team – develop add-ons to wheelchairs. Such devices will enable people with disabilities to live an active life. It is also important to note that such devices will cost way cheaper than the existing ones. In the long term, the project team expects to expand the scope of its developments: for example, they intend to create devices facilitating transportation of goods.
The bronze medalist – the Motorika project team – develops and creates prostheses for children and adults. The functional prostheses stylized like superheroes from popular movies help children with disabilities feel full-fledged participants of their school life or their community. More complex bionic prostheses are designed for adults and help them cope with their tasks in the workplace at a factory or in the office.
Besides cash awards for business development, the prize winners will have an opportunity to present their projects to Russian and foreign investors at the forums held by the Roscongress Foundation and during the roadshows of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The audience of the show also provided serious support to the projects, including material assistance: money could be transferred from a bank card, by sending a text message, or by a transfer from an e-wallet. Fundraising was carried out on the Boomstarter crowdfunding platform, the start-ups were supported by more than 1550 sponsors who transferred over 2.8 million roubles. In a number of projects, the progress of fundraising exceeded the participants’ initial applications by 400 to 600%.
The Roscognress Foundation will provide the show winners with an opportunity to hold their presentations to domestic and foreign investors at the country’s key economic forums, including roadshows of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia and abroad. All the seven finalists of the show will be able to take part in the events held by Roscongress. Such a decision was made within the framework of an agreement signed between VEB and the Roscongress Foundation during the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi.
Informational partners of the project were the news agency Rambler News Service, leading Russian media dealing with high technologies, latest developments and innovations, the Hightech portal, and the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper.
The “A Million-Rouble Idea” project’s website contains all the 8 episodes of the show.