5 MIN READ, MAY 1, 2020
We are happy to announce that MegaFon joins Main partners of EMERGE CHALLENGE startup competition. What opportunities does it bring for startups? The corporate has a platform for startups called "Sandbox" to test tech solutions. Using  Sandbox early stage tech companies can build up their portfolio with new user cases, start collaboration with MegaFon and adapt their tech products to different industries.

Below we look at a number of pilot cases between startups and MegaFon, and extract the useful takeaways from these experiences.
E-Contenta: after the pilot, we launched the second project with the corporation

E-Contenta is a programmatic content distribution platform based on artificial intelligence technologies. It allows users to publish content in the form of news announcements on the media websites. Also, the platform encourages users to perform simple targeted actions — subscribe, leave a request, or order a service. The platform has been integrated with 200,000+ online resources worldwide.
Zoya Andreeva, co-founder & CEO at E-Contenta
Zoya Andreeva , co-founder & CEO at E-Contenta
The startup was a winner of EMERGE CHALLENGE startup competition back in 2018, when the first EMERGE conference kicked off. Later it launched a pilot with MegaFon.

The pilot's primary goal was to attract paying users as well as improve the subscription conversion within the MegaFon's Press service. In fact, it turned out that 71% of users attracted by E-Contenta continued using the MegaFon's service even after installing the application. The paid subscribers spent two times more time while using it compared with organic ones. The conversion rate of the service connection amounted to 5.3% and the cost of the paid user acquisition decreased by four times.

"Usually, when a startup works with a big corporation, many difficulties occur. However, in our case, Sandbox has become a good connector, and I must admit that without this community, the path to beneficial cooperation with MegaFon would not be that easy as it was," said Zoya Andreeva, co-founder and CEO at E-Contenta.

Based on the results of the mutual work, E-Contenta was offered to launch a campaign for the corporation's OTT service called MegaFon TV — a fast-growing product with a high LTV (customer life-time value), where native advertising is the right tool for its promotion.
Neuro.net: we tested a dozen of new scenarios before the official launch
Neuro.net offers services similar to what contact centres do, based on artificial intelligence technologies. It creates the next generation of voice-powered robots, so called digital operators that could support conversation, learn from the dialogue history, and imitate emotions. All of that can be recognized by less than 1% of people during the real conversation.
Alexander Kuznetsov, co-founder & COO at Neuro.net
Alexander Kuznetsov, co-founder & COO at Neuro.net
The technology is based on the high-precision speech processing algorithms — NLU Engine (Natural Language Understanding), which are capable of working with small data sets. As a result, such communication cannot be distinguished from person-to-person communication. It is worth saying that the digital operator Neuro.net observes intonation, pauses, and monitors the logic of responses.

"It was pleasure working with MegaFon, as there was a quick integration process and minimum of bureaucracy involved. Less than three weeks passed from signing the contract to launching the first calls — that's pretty fast! In all scenarios, it was possible to achieve a conversion into purchases comparable to the work of the operator, in some cases it was even exceeded," mentioned Alexander Kuznetsov, co-founder and COO at Neuro.net.

During the pilot, the startup was able to test the tech solutions in dozens of different scenarios at once. "Each new scenario is a challenge. Now we have real cases with confirmed metrics about the effectiveness of our solution," Alexander Kuznetsov confirmed.
Speech Analytics: we were asked to explore an unusual task - analyze the robots verbal communication
Speech Analytics is a service that allows users to automatically upload calls from telephone, translate them into text, and analyze various speech parameters. This technology solves many tasks usually performed by call centers, among which are the automatic assessment of the operators' quality of work based on the checklists, analysis of the causes of customer complaints, instant search for disloyal customers, etc.
Alexey Kondratenko, co-founder & CEO at Speech Analytics
Alexey Kondratenko, co-funder & CEO at Speech Analytics
"MegaFon is one of the few corporates with whom we quickly launched our pilot, confirmed the product value, and began to scale. Why? Because the team clearly understood the tasks that needed to be solved and we wanted to increase the business efficiency. It was one of the fastest product deployments we had," shared his experience Alexey Kondratenko, co-founder and CEO at Speech Analytics.

Thanks to the pilot, the startup received an interesting case to apply their technology into practice — to analyse the robots communication. At the very beginning, the team had little understanding of why this problem needed to be solved, as the operator already acts strictly according to the script. However, as it turned out later, the human factor appears when someone programs the logic of the robot. As part of the pilot, the startup found errors in the scripts and the reasons behind the wrong subscriptions to services that the robot offered.
Rubbles: uplift conversions amounted to 18% for some customer products
Rubbles optimizes business processes through the use of artificial intelligence technologies. The startup has several tailor-made products designed to various industries. For instance, for retail, they offer commodity analytics and planning optimization, for banks and telecoms — customer analytics, recommendation systems and cross-sale services.
 Dmitry Makeev, Head of Personalization in Russia and the CIS countries at Rubbles.
Dmitry Makeev, Head of Personalization in Russia and the CIS countries at Rubbles
While running a project together with MegaFon, Rubbles used Customer Insight — a product for personalizing client communications. With this pilot the telecom operator was able to analyze insights from customers and, based on them, sent customer personal offers.

"Before launching the pilot, we faced some challenges, such as gaining access to the required data, establishing communications within a large team, etc. Since the pilot was launched, many processes were significantly improved. We are satisfied with the result of our collaborative work, for several products the uplift conversions amounted to 18%. The collaboration with MegaFon allowed the startup to adapt its product for telecom purposes. Our product has become a starting point for implementing new data science projects at MegaFon. We want to scale our experience to other MegaFon's products, for example, launch personalized offers inside the mobile application," said Dmitry Makeev, Head of Personalization in Russia and the CIS countries at Rubbles.
MegaFon: we are looking for a complementary idea to our business

"We do not have a narrow focus and restrictions in finding partners. More importantly to find an idea that improves our business processes or adds additional value to the company's portfolio, e.g. creates new revenue streams, LTV, user MAU, etc. After the pilot project, the tech solution can be scaled to the entire company," claimed Maxim Fedyna, Senior Innovation Strategy Analyst at MegaFon.
Maxim Fedyna, Senior Innovation Strategy Analyst at MegaFon.
Maxim Fedyna, Senior Innovation Strategy Analyst at MegaFon
The list of MegaFon's interests is pretty broad:

  • Customer Data Enrichment / Big Data Solutions. Building models with enriched data, new ways of segmenting customers, personalized offers, etc.
  • Marketing technologies. Measuring the effectiveness of marketing channels, end-to-end analytics, creating predictive models and forecasts, new promotion tools, neuromarketing, creative automation, content personalization.
  • Automation of customer service. Improving the service along the entire customer journey, classification of calls.
  • Business processes as a service. Technologies that automate and outsource business processes (HR, Legal, Accounting, etc.).
  • Synergy with new businesses. Technologies to increase the effectiveness of such services like TV, Radio, Press, Education, Health, Travel, Map, Cashback, Games, Cyber sports, etc.
  • Infrastructure support. Energy Efficiency, Safety.

Participation in the "Sandbox" does not require startups to give away a  share in the company. The corporate only takes the startup's expertise and its solutions designed for business. Also, MegaFon fully covers all expenses associated with the pilot launch.
EMERGE Team hope this article was insightful for you. See you soon at EMERGE CHALLENGE and don't forget to submit your startup application, the deadline is approaching (16 May)!
PR Manager, EMERGE
Julia specializes in writing texts about startups, VC and leaders of IT industry.