I’m a start-up guru at IMAGURU Belarus.

July 14, 2017 PR Research 0 Comments

I’m a start-up guru at IMAGURU Belarus. Not so many of us know that funny animated faces MSQRD (http://msqrd.me), Viber and some other modern engineering futures have their roots in Belarus. Therefore I’ve decided to find out how it all started and where exactly began in the “Eastern European Silicon Valley” the city of Minsk which is full of young talented engineers and computer science universities.

I’m heading to the only Start-up Hub in Belarus and meeting a communication manager Hanna at Startup HUB Imaguru which is based in quiet central area of Minsk. Hanna friendly shows their spacious building and introduces almost to everyone.

Olga Canneberges: Hello Anna, could you explain please what Imaguru is?

Hanna Aranovich: Imaguru is the first place in Belarus for Tech Startups. At the moment this is the only hub which exists within the country. We are a co-working space, with fixed places, events, and courses.

Olga Canneberges: What kind of events take a place at Imaguru?

Hanna Aranovich: Here we’ve got a huge variety of events, from small meetups of 5-10 people to large conferences with more than 700-800 attendees.
One of the largest events we run and the only one in Belarus in English language – Venture Day Minsk startup conference. Also every year since 2013 we’ve been running Global Entrepreneurship Week which takes place annually in November.
Almost every month we gather hackathons on different kind of themes: FinTech, SmartCities, Garage48 and etc.
At Imaguru we also organise Women IT Week – a series of meetups for women and men in different formats (panel discussions, TED talks, master classes and workshops) dedicated to women issues in IT sector.

Last but not the least I can’t but mention our Study tours to the conferences among  different countries,  TechMinsk acceleration program and many others.

Olga Canneberges: Have you had any famous speakers recently?

Hanna Aranovich: Yes, of course. We were very proud to have around 20 speakers on Venture day in Minsk. One of our keynote speakers was Mike Butcher, Editor at TechCrunch. Mr. Butcher visits us for a second time already. We also had Ken Singer. He is from Berkeley University which is among top-10 technical universities in the world located in California.
The Head of Commercial department of Wargaming Jamy Nigri is a very good speaker and a good friend of us. One month ago we organised a Startup Roadshow From Imaguru to Latitude59 (Tallin) where we held our event together with Jamy. Also before that Marvin Liao, Max Gurvits, Will Cardwell, and many others visited our hub as speakers and coaches. We try to attract international speakers as we want our startups to think globally and to learn from valuable persons.

Olga Canneberges: How many event rooms do you have?

Hanna Aranovich: Imaguru Startup HUB has more than 13 event rooms with capacity up to 200 people. We have two floors and more than 200 events of different formats with 5000+ participants monthly.

Olga Canneberges: What opportunities do you give to venture capitalists?

Hanna Aranovich: We are working on the development of venture ecosystem, and have already made some research, which was presented within series of events, called B-venture. Where we bring to the table topical issues of Belarusian infrastructure, legislation system, advantages, invite governmental representatives to involve them in the process and build the venture ecosystem together.
Also IMAGURU is developing the Business Angels Network which is called BBAN and have a school for business angels. It is held by professionals from abroad. One of the core experts of the Program is Will Cardwell @Aalto University.

Olga Canneberges: How can startup hub IMAGURU be useful for western companies ?

Hanna Aranovich: For western companies as well as for any other in the world we’re first of all providers to Belarusian startup community and venture ecosystem. We are the ones that know which startups we have and we can connect those who are interested in our startups (not only from Imaguru but all startups in our network).
Also our unique technical Team-in-Residence is always ready to serve with qualitative assistance. These are extremely talented tech experts and developers.

Olga Canneberges: Which famous Belarusian startups started their “life” with your support?

Hanna Aranovich: Most of the founders of any Belarusian startups sooner or later have already taken part in TechMinsk accelerator. Eugene Nevgen, one of the founders of world famous MSQRD, is one of them. The team of MSQRD (http://msqrd.me) was gathered at Imaguru Hackathon. PandaDoc ( https://www.pandadoc.com/) also took part in many Imaguru events. It is actually one of the first Belarusian startups. One more example is TrackDuck ( https://trackduck.com/) which has been developed at Imaguru Hackathon - Garage48.

Olga Canneberges: Any recent news?

Hanna Aranovich: Yes, IMAGURU is becoming a brand within Europe. Soon we are opening one more space in Madrid. So, we are growing in our country as well as abroad. This is the message to Belarusian startups: - “You can become international. We are working for you.” We want to keep up with technological trends, help startups to develop and  become global.

Olga Canneberges: What is you message to the audience?

Hanna Aranovich: We would like to be friends with anyone who is interested in IT-technologies and to meet new partners, new friends, to grow our family. This is important not only for our Belarusian community, but also for representatives from abroad. There is nothing more valuable than sharing experience.

For questions and inquiries contact Hanna via hanna@imaguru.by
http://imaguru.by To get interviewed drop me a message to hello@pr-research.eu or contact me through Facebook Olga Canneberges

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