MEGA Accelerator Finalists: Five New Ideas for Shopping Centers

    According to the results of the pre-accelerator, nine projects made it into the final part. Using some of them, we’ll talk about new technologies and solutions for shopping centers.  

    On the qualifying round of MEGA Accellerator 2, 700 people showed up, who combined into 275 teams. Leading cities are Moscow and St. Petersburg. We took projects in three directions: MEGA-space for meetings, MEGA - interaction with visitors and MEGA - automated back-office, and the second turned out to be the most popular. Nine finalists showed promising projects and received admission to a full-time accelerator: these are three weeks of intensive refinement and testing of the solution under the guidance of mentors and experts and, as a final, launch of the pilot in MEGA and the main prize of 2 million rubles.

    The projects of the finalists fit into the concept of MEGA shopping centers - a space for meetings and communication, a place where you can get out with your whole family, for the whole day, with colleagues and friends, relax and spend time with benefit. We want to introduce you to five of them.

    VR at the mall: Hexa 3D content workshop

    Hexa is a solution for creating 3D content using artificial intelligence algorithms. In relation to trade, it allows you to create 3D models for various e-commerce sites.

    Hexa service was developed by the company of the same name. Due to the implementation of AI algorithms, the creators were able to automate and personalize the creation of content:

    • Increase the value of each 3D model by customizing it for each user and improving monetization. 
    • Automate the creation of 3D content, replacing people with machines and reducing the amount of time, money and skill set needed to create each 3D model. 

    In some subcategories, we only need 2 photos to make a 3D model and reduce the cost of creating content by 99%. 

    Why is it MEGE

    Hexa provides the ability to create, scale and integrate 3D content both online and offline, on any platform. This will potentially increase sales and attract new customers to the physical and digital spaces of shopping centers.

    MEGA Accelerator is an opportunity for our company to gain recognition in the Russian market and to interest new online trading platforms in the possibility of a qualitative improvement in the visualization of their content.

    Hexa is no stranger to the e-commerce market. Among its customers are major industry players, including Alibaba, Walmart, JD, Rakuten.

    Now the company is developing at its own expense. During the existence of the business, the owners attracted investors several times: in April 2016 - Samurai Incubate (Israel) (amount - $ 100 thousand), in March 2017 - HTC (amount $ 50 thousand), in August 2017 - Seed UK angel ($ 1 million).

    Effective and low-cost training: Beesender chatbot

    Beesender is a program for automating communication with employees and customers using instant messengers, social networks and chatbots. The program has three packages: Customer Center, Marketing, HR Bot.

    The author of the product is the Belarusian IT company Altaras, which specializes in automating customer service processes in large companies.

    Beesender embeds communications (for example, handling calls, lead generation, conducting micro-trainings, surveys or advertising games) in the company's business processes. The built-in designer allows you to create bots without programming, so any employee of the company can make a chatbot.  

    Why is it MEGE

    At the stage of the pilot project, startups will implement Beesender HR Bot. This product is designed to configure chat bots for training, testing and employee surveys.

    Each company has trainings at which everyone wants to study, and there are trainings for which people have to literally force them to drive. The latter are usually related to safety issues, internal regulations and regulatory acts. We will transfer one of such MEGA trainings to instant messengers.

    Chatbot will benefit both employees and business. The former will be able to gain new knowledge and take tests in a format convenient for them - in instant messengers, which are already used dozens of times a day. The company will be able to effectively manage the educational processes of thousands of employees: both its own and tenants.

    Participation in programs like MEGA Accelerator, on the one hand, helps to better understand how to develop and promote your product. The organizer of the program, the company GVA, provides cool mentors and experts, which are almost impossible to get to. On the other hand, this is a great opportunity to enter the Russian market. By and large, both the MEGA shopping centers themselves and their tenants are our target customers.

    Beesender sales have just begun. Among potential startup customers are large financial, retail and telecom companies. The target region for 2017-2018 is Russian-speaking countries. Beesender already uses several banks, retail chains, a network of car dealerships and an online store.

    The project has been financed all this time at the expense of its owners.

    Automate HR: Robot recruiter Vera

    Robot Vera is an automated personnel officer. The project appeared as a result of the pivot of the first startup of the team - Stafory, which was a marketplace with a commission monetization scheme, where employing companies place vacancies, and freelance recruiters select staff. In May 2016, one large retailer placed an order for the selection of 100 storekeepers - but no one took it, because it looked too time-consuming. Then the founders of the startup had the idea to automate basic and routine tasks: search for resumes and ringing candidates to save recruiters time. The result was the robot Vera.

    Vera processes new vacancies from the service: she searches for resumes on job sites, calls candidates and conducts an initial interview with them. If necessary, Vera can conduct a video interview. Thus, the hr-manager of the company receives feedback only from targeted and interested candidates, significantly reducing the time and costs of the company in the initial selection.

    Why is it MEGE

    As part of the test, Vera will look for staff on work sites with outgoing calls, as she does in a standard way. After the first test results, a decision will be made about what the robot will eventually do.

    MEGA and IKEA are major players who have expressed a need for staff recruitment: currently, about 100 relevant vacancies are posted on the career portal. For the Vera Robot, MEGA Accelerator is an opportunity to launch a pilot project and promptly help the company in finding personnel. Lack of employees is an acute problem for the business, which makes it incur operating losses.

    Now the main clients of Robot Vera are large companies that constantly need employees, such as MTS, Rostelecom, Burger King, PepsiCo and others. In addition to them, Vera successfully works on the side of medium-sized business: she was looking for programmers, and eyelash extension masters, and accountants.

    The creators of Vera Robot attracted third-party investments: the Internet Initiatives Development Fund invested 67 million rubles in the project.

    Digital instead of gaming: Ligrenok Children's Center

    Digital Ligrenok is a new modern children's center that uses a variety of activities with digital devices. In Ligrenka, every child can get acquainted in elementary forms with the technology of computer design and modeling, design and programming. All these technologies are mastered in a game format using mobile devices.

    The digital developer is Abspenter. An earlier development - LigroGame - develops the research competencies of preschoolers and primary school children on the basis of the provisions of the theory of solving inventive problems. Skills and experience gained while working on LigroGame will be useful in Ligrenka.

    Why is it MEGE

    The first pilot at MEGA will support the format of a children's center with various thematic master classes and programs, as well as free play activities in activity centers, where a tablet or laptop will be the main training and activity tool.

    Our project considers MEGU as a modern space not only for the leisure of citizens, but also for development, where from an early age we offer the younger generation a certain level of culture and technology that allows children to discover a new level of opportunities - those that the world of digital technologies and the economy offers us. We do not plan to make children dependent on the virtual world and digital technologies - we offer them constructive ways of working with technologies that will allow them to “manage” this world and create these worlds.

    As a rule, specialists and parents impose restrictions on children, which are more associated with low awareness of the resources of using modern technologies in the practice of children's activities. This is the so-called generation gap, which must be compensated by other projects where conditions are created for constructive activities with digital devices.

    We are interested in the concept of the development of MEGA as a cultural space in the city. We are taking part in the accelerator for the first time and hope to gain productive experience and skills in large projects.

    Currently, the project team, together with its buddy - Alexander Tomkevich, Anastasia Kreposhina and coach Yulia Brovkina, is planning the first startup profile under MEGA conditions.

    For the digital Ligrenok pilot, as trainers for master classes and additional programs, we attract pedagogical students - future specialists in modern education. For them, it will be a good professional experience in the use of modern technologies in practical activities with children.

    The project exists at its own expense.

    Where to go: Altair VR virtual planetarium

    Altair VR virtual planetarium with VR glasses allows you to not only immerse yourself in virtual outer space, but also to recreate any scenery in digital reality. In fact, this is a new way of learning in an attractively entertaining way.

    Its developer specializes in mobile planetariums and has long been looking for a way to improve the quality of sessions. So Altair VR appeared.

    A virtual planetarium is the evolution of the market for mobile planetariums. It combines the quality of stationary, mobile mobility and the feeling of the full presence of virtual reality technology.

    Why is it MEGE

    A virtual planetarium will help turn MEGA into a single space for meetings and communication.

    Participation in the accelerator is an opportunity to plunge into the ecosystem of large interesting shopping centers and work with various segments of visitors in a highly competitive environment. And with the experts of MEGA and GVA.

    What's next?

    The finalist teams are already working on finalizing their projects within the framework of the accelerator. In December, the best of them will receive the main prize - 2 million rubles.

    Accelerator is an opportunity not only to test a project - but also a chance to get a comprehensive expert assessment and advice, make friends who are “in the know”, make useful contacts, check the project’s performance and rethink the business. The fate of the projects depends on their creators. You can read about how the business of the finalists of last year turned out here . And we are already thinking about how the shopping center will be transformed after the launch of new projects.

    Launching MEGA Accelerator in 2015, we turned to the spirit of entrepreneurship, with which the activities of our company are inextricably linked, and we believe that the startup sector is a great source of revolutionary ideas.
    Milen Genchev, CEO of IKEA Centers Russia.

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