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How Max Polyakov Turns Ukraine into a Silicon Valley

entrepreneur Max Polyakov

According to CB Insights, the main reasons for 71% of startups failure is the absence of the product need in the market and lack of financing. The entrepreneur Max Polyakov helps Ukrainian startups to solve these issues while the initiatives of the Max Polyakov’s Noosphere association form the country’s own Silicon Valley.

Max Polyakov is a co-founder of Noosphere association and a member of The Executive Board of the venture fund called Noosphere Ventures. In 2013 he graduated from Dnipropetrovsk National University and got his Ph.D. after presenting his thesis in internet technologies development in a world economy. He established a lot of companies in the sphere of space technologies such as EOS Data Analytics, Firefly Aerospace, and Space System Engineering.

Apart from being an entrepreneur, Max Polyakov also develops the startup ecosystem in Ukraine. Noosphere association led by Max Polyakov started various projects aimed to develop science and technologies in the country. Such events as the festival of technologies BestRoboFest, the drone racing competition CopterRace, and an educational hub for startups named Noosphere Engineering School are only a few of them. These projects facilitate the knowledge exchange among young entrepreneurs. Thanks to these events, the startups get a chance to develop technology projects and bring to life their innovative ideas.

Noosphere Engineering School

max polyakov’s engineering school

Noosphere Engineering School (NES) was created in February 2014. Max Polyakov started NES as research and development centre. His goal was to create the place where the ideas and knowledge of young startups could become well-functioning engineering products.

NES combines the practical experience of the Noosphere association mentors and the academic knowledge of the leading technical universities of Ukraine.

In Max Polyakov’s Noosphere Engineering School the startups get access to modern equipment and work in a team with qualified mentors. The school also provides the participants with marketing and legal consulting. The mentors are ready to share their knowledge and skills with young specialists. This helps young engineers to develop their product without making major mistakes. In total over sixty mentors are involved in school’s projects.

After four years of work, Noosphere Engineering School created by Max Polyakov chose a few priority areas explored by its students. Space technologies, alternative energy, environmental management, big data analysis, robotics, and others are in the priority list of the school.

The activity of the school’s laboratory is directly connected to the expertise of the university it works with. For example, National University of Water and Environment Management in Rivne is the country’s leading institution in the area of environmental management. The researches of the laboratory in Rivne create the equipment aimed to facilitate monitoring of the forest and water resources and plan the soil irrigation.

Star Track is a students’ space tournament held by Noosphere Engineering School twice a year on the instructions of Max Polyakov. The participants of the tournament present their satellite models, launching vehicles models, and the projects of the research rocket complexes. The prize fund of the tournament is five thousand grivnas.

Guest Stars of Noosphere Engineering School

noosphere engineering school guest star

Ashlee Vance, a well-known American columnist and author, visited Dnipro for a few days at the beginning of August. He is famous for writing the biographies of Elon Musk, a prominent businessman and inventor. Ashlee Vance’s visit to Dnipro was full of excursions, meeting, interviews, and autograph sessions. More than four hundred adults and children visited a public meeting with this journalist on the August 2nd.

Ashlee Vance admitted that he would like to personally meet Max Polyakov and talk to him. During his opening speech at the autograph session in Dnipro, Ashlee Vance said that he was interested in the history of Ukrainian space industry. He added that it would be nice to combine American and Ukrainian space experience. He hopes that it would work well.

Ashlee Vance’s book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” published in 2015 were considered a bestseller according to a few influential publishing houses. It took the author one year and a half to write this book. He interviewed almost three hundred people who knew Elon Musk personally. Ashlee Vance spent about fifty hours in total talking to Elon Musk to make a good research for his book. According to Ashlee Vance, initially he planned to write an article about the entrepreneur, but eventually, it became an idea for the book.

Ashlee Vance visited Noosphere association and Noosphere Engineering School founded by Max Polyakov. Together with videographer and journalist Grant Slater, he learned the details of school’s projects and discussed potentially useful technical decisions for media workers.

The author of the book about Elon Musk stated that Max Polyakov’s Engineering School gives its students great basic skills and opportunities for creating aerospace projects. Like Max Polyakov, he also highly estimated the efforts of the students and their ability to make extraordinary decisions.

Prominent Projects of Noosphere Engineering School

In different laboratories of Max Polyakov’s school, the students created about four hundred engineering projects. Some of them like ArtOS and MyPol became very successful.

My Pol

noosphere’s my pol app

An app My Pol was launched in Dnipro in 2016. Thanks to Max Polyakov, the team managed to create this free app for fast communication with police. It was presented to national police as an innovation.

The main task of the developers was creating a platform for communication with police in situations of emergency. Max Polyakov stated that this app is aimed to increase the safety level in the country. The app allows getting the feedback from the citizens which makes the quality of police service better. After the testing period of My Pol, the reaction of the police became 40% faster.

By the end of summer 2018, the app was also launched in Chernovtsy, Ivano-Frankovsk, and Nikolayev. It is planned to launch the app on the whole territory of Ukraine. My Pol was installed by more than thirty thousand users. Max Polyakov states that by the end of 2018, every citizen of the country will be able to call the police with the help of this app.

SOS button is one of the main peculiarities of the app. Thanks to GSM-connection, it allows to quickly call the police even without internet connection. The app also allows identifying the location of the victim when the phone’s geolocation is off. According to the project manager Dmytry Podvorchansky, the app will also give the victims a chance to send photos from the crime scene in the near future. Thus, the functions of the app could facilitate the work of the police and increase the safety level of the country.


noosphere’s artos app

ArtOs is an artillery fire controlling system developed in NES. It is aimed to reduce the time between detecting and hitting the target. All the navigation calculations are automated and transmitted to the tool directly. ArtOs allows optimizing the use of cannon, self-propelled, and rocket artillery, as well as the application of rocket and mortar battery.

The members of the team in ArtOs system communicate with each other with the help of special waterproof and shock resistant tablets. ArtOs system allows artillerymen to hit the target after two minutes it was detected. Max Polyakov is sure that it is much faster than using a traditional system.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine has been already using the ArtOs system developed in Max Polyakov’s Noosphere Engineering School for more than three years. The President of Ukraine admitted the importance of ArtOs for the Ukrainian army. The representatives of other countries also showed the interest to ArtOs system.

Vernadsky Challenge

Max Polyakov's Vernadsky challenge

Vernadsky challenge is a unique platform for the startups created by Max Polyakov, a co-founder of Noosphere association, and Dmytry Sholomko, the chief of Google Ukraine. It was held for the first time in 2015. The main goal of the competition is to help talented specialist to develop their innovative ideas.

The expert committee headed by Max Polyakov chooses from ten to twelve applicants that will present their projects to the judges of the contest. The judges of the competition are famous experts, scientists, and businessmen that have experience in innovative projects development. Max Polyakov is also one of the judges.

While choosing the finalists, the judges pay attention to the innovation of the project, its potential on the market, competitors, and the quality of pitching.

During three years, more than five hundred startups from different countries including India, Israel, and the USA took part took part in the competition.

The main prize of the contest is a grant for the project development from Max Polyakov’s Noosphere Ventures fund. Since the first organization of Vernadsky Challenge, the winners of the contest got more than five million grivnas on developing their ideas. A lot of winners continued their way to success participating in other contests such as UVCA Challenge, Lviv IT Arena, MbioS Challenge, CES, TechStars, and others. This year the contest will be held on December 1st-2nd. The applications are accepted from the startups in the sphere of space technologies and bioelectronics.

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