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The past two events of Startup Sauna Warmup went under the “Healthcare” banner. On Friday, the a winner at the start-up competition at the incubator of High School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow was chosen: Maxygen produces inexpensive DNA tests which allows general physicians detect infectious diseases as well as HIV and tuberculosis.
Yesterday, Ville Simola, Antti Ylimutka and the mentors met Russian entrepreneurs in Kazan to award the first prize to Celoform, cotton 2.0 to clean & disinfect wounds while relieving pain without medicine.
Both companies are now making plans to go to Finland’s Startup Sauna where they will further develop their business ideas, technology and market entry strategy during the six-week of early stage acceleration program. After the Demo day in December 2011, the best out of 15 teams will move to Silicon Valley for three months to concentrate on customer development and fund-raising. We will provide an update on Celoform later. and for now focus on Maxygen.
This is the sixth time Maxygen won a startup contest in the past year. The team has also presented its business to the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev. This is how high innovation policy is in the government agenda.
The value proposition of Maxygen is truly remarkable. At the cost of only 10 dollars, a GP can detect a dangerous infection or even HIV virus. According to Valery Ilinsky, CEO of Maxygen, the company is already conducting negotiations with a number of investors as well as with a seed fund from Russian Venture Company. “We plan to test our service on the Russian market, and once we get the initial customer feedback, we will further develop our product and offer it on the global markets, primarily in the United States, Europe and Brazil,” he explains.
Artem Elmuratov, marketing manager of Maxygen and representative of the team at Startup Sauna Warmup, walked away with what looked like a towel (supposedly for a Sauna). He shared with GoalEurope Maxygen’s expectations about the upcoming trip to Finland, “This journey will give us an opportunity to meet key potential clients and many people who can help our startup. Our main goal is to find an investor who understand the biotech and medical devices.”
After his meeting with Mr. Medvedev, Elmuratov said that the team was invited to join Skolkovo, Russia’s Silicon Valley. The only ingredient that is missing for Maxygen to be able to do so is an influential foreign investment or technology advisor. Such is the prerequisite for any company that is invited to join Skolkovo. Hopefully Elmuratov will work this out at the Startup Sauna.
Recently, I have also met a company in a similar field during the Credo Week in Slovenia. Genelitik uses DNA analysis to develop a weight loss plan. According to Jure Zadravec, its CEO, the true competitive advantage of this business is the in-depth knowledge of the DNA-related research, and its reliable applications. And so is the great competitive advantage of Maxygen, it seems.
We have not spoken to Celoform yet, but hope to hear about their business progress during Startup Sauna in Finland.
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vita at goaleurope dot com