Kazakhstan startup seeks investor support in London03 december 2014, 16:48
A startup project founded by Kazakhstanis called IndyBo has seen a warm welcome in London and promises to find its way into the world market.
Tengrinews spoke to the company representatives, who talked about their project and what they were doing in London.
IndyBo – Innovative Do-It-Yourself-(Ro)Bot – is a company that wants to teach children the basics of programming and electronics by using robots – a set of constructor cubes that have various sensors, motors and controllers and can be programmed to follow commands.
“A child can program our robots to maneuver around obstacles, follow a source of light, find sources of heat and cold, distinguish colors, repeat the movement of people, respond to voice commands, and even serve as a teleconference bridge between parents at work and children at home, and much more. And our robots are programmed through a graphical interface, where one only needs to put pre-defined commands in a correct sequence," the CEO and co-founder of the startup Iskander Rakhmanberdiyev said. The robots can be controlled using a mobile device, he added.
Rakhmanberdiyev, 23, said that similar products were manufactured by Lego - Lego Mindstorms - however, IndyBo products would be much more affordable and easier to understand for children.
The beginning of production is planned for the summer of 2015. It will be placed in Kazakhstan for the Customs Union countries - Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus - and in China for Southeast Asian countries and the United States.
Mentor and investor of IndyBo Dauren Toleukhanov, 38, said IndyBo was admitted to participate in Techstars London startup accelerator thanks to recommendations of a wide circle of international specialists. For example, Techstars first heard of the development from Kazakhstan from Cody Simms, the leader of Disney accelerator.
"Techstars introduces us to mentors and experts in our core areas - robotics, educational games and toys, education, entertainment and family fun, cartoons and movies, as well as the media. We are getting seminars and face-to-face meetings with representatives of the financial community,” Toleukhanov said.
“Besides, we have been provided with a whole team of technical assistants who deal with a wide scope of issues, ranging from organizing relevant meetings to programming. At the end of the program there will be the traditional day of demonstration for potential investors. The goal of our company is to become attractive to them and achieve a fast and stable growth over a short period of time. We are ready for this," Toleukhanov told Tengrinews.
He clarified that in addition to investments IndyBo received a syndicated and convertible loan from Techstars in the amount of 100 thousand dollars. In the next round of investment Techstars has the right to convert these funds into equity of the company, thereby increasing its 6% stake in IndyBo.
The mentor noted that participation in the business accelerator had benefited IndyBo in the form of increased awareness of investors and the explosive growth of its market value. He said that one of the potential investors priced the company at four million dollars.
“One potential investor, naming him at the moment is premature, is ready to enter our company with a five percent stake, investing in the company 200 thousand dollars. Another thing is whether we will take the money. We need "smart money", an investor who won’t just give us the money but will also actively help us to grow using connections and experience," Toleukhanov explained.
He stressed that IndyBo was interested in working with entrepreneurs who had an experience of investing in technology startups of international level, including investors from Kazakhstan.
IndyBo team members work in London, San-Francisco, Shenzhen, Cambridge, Almaty, Astana and Shymkent.
According to Open Company, besides Dauren Toleukhanov and Iskander Rakhmanberdiyev, the team also includes Vladimir Tokarev from Kazakhstan and Prabodh Kumar from India.
25-year-old programmer and system designer who specialised in mechatronics Vladimir Tokarev has previously participated in development of a company producing packaging and stickers in South Kazakhstan Oblast.
23-year-old Kumar Prabod Pasanuru is an electronics engineer, and the winner of a robotics competition. Prior to IndyBo he worked in science and research agencies of the Ministry of Defense of India.
Reporting by Alishev Akhmetov, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina