Knowing the value of the access to the right community from the start, Sber has recently launched an acceleration program for high school students (grades 8-11) called SberZ to grow a generation of technology entrepreneurs, and a platform for students together with Stanford Online called SberStudent
One of the tasks that mentors of the accelerator gave to its participants was to pitch and sell their product to other participants of the batch, in person, during the training, recalls Aleksey Biruykov. This opened their eyes to the friendly collaboration with other founders: “In Russia, startups partnering with startups is more about “you help me, and I help you” than about selling your product for the money. Try my product for free, and I’ll try yours for free, and what’s important, you’ll introduce me to people, and I’ll introduce you, too”, says Aleksey.
Valery agrees: “As we are from more of an early-stage startups community, whose budgets are not that big to try all the possibilities, we tend to go for free of charge collaborations. Malivar has received proposals from startups of the first and the third batches of Sber500, they’ve come from Telegram chats of our community (we’ve got many chats there). Sometimes it’s like some guys can make an amazing video and we can implement our virtual character there (Malivar develops digital avatars, synthetic influencers), so it’s synergy. But when we become unicorns, we’ll exchange our marketing budgets for sure”.