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In November 2011 Belarusian startup community will learn about the result of its first high tech business plan competition IT Jump organised by Bavin, the Belarusian Association of Venture Investment. The event, supported by Ministry of Education of Belarus, and High-Tech Park, has attracted over 110 Internet, gaming and IT projects. The winner will be announced on the 15th of November 2011.
Barely one year old, BAVIN is an invitation-only network of 12 private investors, which is becoming active in Belarus’ nascent tech scene. Among its members is Yuri Gursky, the “chief judge” of the IT Jump and the co-founder of Viaden Mobile, the leading application developer for iOS platform in Belarus. I have already heard of Viaden before from a number of sources, who cited it as one of the most successful tech companies in Belarus. The company is well known for the mobile applications All-in Fitness, Blackjack and Poker for iPhone and iPad, as well as B2B online and mobile gambling solutions Mobile Casino Software.
Bavin aims to become the center of venture investment in Belarus. With a grant from infoDev (the World Bank initiative) it is planning to start a virtual incubator to connect with tech entrepreneurs not only in Minsk but also throughout the country.
Despite political isolation and small local market, Belarus’ IT industry is surprisingly active as a result of the its booming nearshore software development industry. The largest eastern European company Epam, rumoured to angle for an IPO in not so distant future, comes from Belarus.
Recently, Belarusian QuoteRoller, a cloud-based proposal development and presentation tool for SMEs, has become a finalist of Startup Week Vienna. Whilst more Belarusian projects are brewing under the radar, it will be interesting to observe which Belarusian startups turn up at the event next year. In the mean time, let us wait until the middle of November (the exact date of the IT Jump award still fluctuates) to see who is going to walk away with a $40 000 prize and an investment term sheet.
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