National Ukrainian Hackathon on Agrarian Innovations - technological scenario for the agricultural sector of Ukraine

National Ukrainian Hackathon on Agrarian Innovations - technological scenario for the agricultural sector of Ukraine

On 19-21 February, National Ukrainian Hackathon on Agrarian Innovations took place in Kiev. It brought together more than 150 participants and 20 famous mentors and experts in the field of IT and ...

The event National Ukrainian Hackathon on Agrarian Innovations occurred in the format of 48 hours without cessations, from Friday evening to Sunday evening. This approach has already worked well in the world, so only a few minor adjustments were implemented according to the technicalities of the event. That is, teams could work through the nights, and were allowed to drop out and lightly refresh in shower or by taking a nap. During those nights, there were the dare-devils challenging unstoppable approach in the Microsoft Ukraine office, which kindly hosted the trendsetters of the agrarian sector.

Worth noting, it was the second in succession Hackathon organized by the association of AgTech Ukraine, for promoting homemade agricultural technologies.

Location: Central office of Microsoft Ukraine / 1991 Open Data Incubator

Number of Participants: 158

Number of teams (those reaching finals): 25

Attendants: > 350

Sponsors: Syngenta, IoT Hub, Kyivstar, Data Group, Volynska Fondova Companiya (Volyn Securities House), Doshka.io, AB-soft 

Partners: Microsoft, Intel, PepsiCo, Traction Camp, InVenture Investment Group, DroneUa, EBA, FeelGoodLabs, E-volution, eMagicOne, Innotech, Proffstore, AgroPort, Hi-Tech Agro, CIS Events Group, GDG Kyiv, DOT__DOT, Kyiv National Economic University, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine

Media: AgTech Association, ZERNO, AgroNews, DOU, IT Ukraine, UVCA, DIYA, InVenture, Digital Future, Brain Basket Foundation, Odessa IT Cluster, Kharkiv IT Cluster, Kyiv Hi-Tech Cluster, Monsanto, Teplichne Gospodarstvo (Greenhouse Business), Difco International, Prima Veritas,  Club of Exporters, Prog.kiev.ua, Top Events, Schast`e HUB, UATV.

Atmosphere of the Hackaton

On the first day, the opening ceremony and preliminary presentations (pitches) of ideas got the ball rolling. After that, the participants had a chance to meet each other and form teams. For the convenience of finding the needed man of expertise we used colored stickers in accordance with the specialization of participants, and according to a call for search from team members.

Until sunset, the most enthusiastic 30 participants stroke a bargain and formed teams having clarified their goals precisely.   Saturday was a day of mentoring. Teams had the opportunity to discuss their cases with 22 mentors, who attended the Hackathon. Teams asked challenging questions, received tips and advice from experts in different areas. The mentors were experts from the agricultural sector, IT professionals, and business development experts, representatives of sponsoring companies and people on the ground of best practices.

The award panel:

  • Vladislava Rutitskaya, the Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy & Food of Ukraine for European integration
  • Nadezhda Vasilyeva, the CEO of Microsoft Ukraine
  • Denis Pasechnik. Head of strategic technologies in Microsoft Ukraine
  • Victor Galkin, representative of Syngenta
  • Vasiliy Nizovets, Head of ICT Business at Kyivstar
  • Tom O'Callaghan, international expert in agricultural products and integration of IT solutions with more than 15 years of experience of the kind, founder of the largest agro portal in Ireland
  • Andrey Peshiy, IT head of agricultural major Kernel
  • Valeriy Yakovenko, founder of drone.ua, erudite in robotics, engineer and maker of drones, expert spatial data processing, experienced implementer of IT solutions in Agriculture
  •  Alexey Blinkoff, chief engineer of Irrigator Ukraine, expert in irrigation and automated systems of watering and fertirrigation
  • Sergey Yakovina, representative of greenhouse household of Brusvina, an expert in the field of automation control of greenhouses, their irrigation and lighting systems
  • Vadim Gorenko, an expert in Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup for business strategy and financial concepts for startups, author and mentor of personal incubator program named Start UpStart, he is also a business coach and mentor in the Startup Business Incubator of Kyiv National University of Taras Shevchenko
  • Victor Gursky, cofounder of SocialBoost and 1991 Open Data Incubator, mentor on Big Data
  • Roman Kravchenko, founder of IoT Hub Kiev, a Laboratory accelerator for Internet of things
  • David Kiziria, Advisor of the Administration of the President of Ukraine, an expert in innovations and development, an analyst and concept designer, crypto-evangelist and capitalistic anarchist
  • Sergey Dovgopoly, FeelGoodLabs, mentor in the field of business incubators
  • Vladimir Shymansky, a professional in the field of robotics and embedded solutions, a fan of hardware start-ups, co-founder of GlobalLogic Hackerspace, an expert on Internet of Things and Embedded in Kyiv HiTech Cluster. He is high-tech and Embedded Systems Architect of the world famous project Blynk.
  • Yuriy Petruk, chairman of the board of AgTech Association of Ukraine
  • Oleg Khimich, representative of ABsoft

The jury inspired teams to generate new ideas and helped to put a problem in perspective, shared opinions and offered practical suggestions. A strong team of mentors and their professional advices enabled those teams to review their projects, and even to pivot several times in some of the cases.

Vladislava Rutitskaya, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine on European Integration, topped the list of mentors. She was struck by the number and quality of projects. As a result, the night gathered crowds, and spirit of cooperation was hovering over teamwork. It should be noted that many teams created an atmosphere not only of competition but also of support and exchange of expertise between the participants themselves (many teams communicated and cooperated with each other).

On Sunday, the teams were preparing to showcase the results of their work. They tested and rehearsed pitches to prepare for the test on stage. The final leg started with a skype-call from Max Gurvitz, co-founder of Traction Camp, who spoke about the trends in agricultural technologies and inspired the teams to unfamiliar and notable achievements. After that, two sessions of presentations of projects started and triggered a battery of applause followed by lots of questions.

Commentaries on the event

Yuriy Petruk, Chairman of the Association of AgTech Ukraine

"Today, the trend «Digitize or die» is spreading all over the world, and Ukrainian agriculture is no exception to it. Modern technologies penetrate deeper into the sector. Following National Ukrainian Hackathon on Agrarian Innovations, I can say with confidence that Agrarian realm of Ukraine is heading  to the Internet of Things (IoT) much faster than other industries. At Hackathon we saw detectors and transducers for equipment, storage facilities, fields, indoor plants, as well as for animals and even humans. Taking into account low prices for domestic innovations, we will be able to compete worldwide, I believe.”

Vladislava Rutitskaya, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine on European Integration

"We are pleased to note that many agricultural enterprises have already been using high-tech solutions in Ukraine. It allows to reducing of production costs and optimizes usage of fertilizers and fuel. Thus, it is highly benefiting for the agricultural industry. I want to underscore that the government will encourage and assist in the development of "smart" agribusiness. Besides, Ukraine is already a global player in the world’s food market. A union of two heavyweight industries (agriculture and IT) will help to develop technologies in Ukraine, for sure. "

Nadezhda Vasilyeva, the CEO of Microsoft Ukraine

“Technology has removed barriers and is no longer a separate industry. It is demanded in every sector of any economy, including Ukraine’s agriculture. The cooperation between representatives of agricultural and IT sectors will allow Ukraine to position itself not only, as a country with talented young people in IT, but also as a country that generates effective IT solutions of global scale in the agricultural industry.”

Alexey Oleynikov, managing partner of InVenture Investment Group:

"Agtech sector is relatively new sphere of interests for the venture capital business on a global scale. The volumes of investments reached over USD 2bn last year. It means that now interests for agricultural technologies are greater than interests for IT solutions in financial sector. Ukraine possesses huge agrarian potential altogether with leading IT sector in global scale. It makes background to innovating new approaches and not rather implement or reproduce already available solutions.  We are at a stage of promotion of new approaches. We are testing whether Ukrainian major Agro holdings can be interested in such new technologies and products.  We anticipate that this trend has a medium-term prospect and will become especially important when farmers start to think of intensifying the growth via the use of technology, rather than by enlarging their land banks. "

Roman Kravchenko, founder of IoT Hub Kiev

 “It was an excellent Hackaton! I want to point out a top-notch level of preparation by the participants, whom the organizers gathered with a support of partner companies. Personally, I am convinced that partnership increases likelihood for a common victory, and accelerates achievements! I wish the teams to accomplish their project and produce the desired results!”

Valery Yakovenko, co-founder of DroneUA

"It's nice to see so many involved participants who are representatives of the IT community, as well as farmers, and other delegates from agricultural sector. The event turned out to be very interesting. During 48 hours, some of teams have created a functioning and global scale projects. Definitely, the main advantage, I noticed, was an engaging collaboration between the teams.  All of the participants shared their experiences and knowledge with each other. And such things we have to keep going. Beyond it, not only the teams have to continue to cooperate so that to finish those projects, but country’s community, as a whole has to press forward, develop and co-exist. Existing market of agricultural innovations lacks solidarity and consistency in expanding. This formation of a new "ecosystem", under the guidance of AgTech Ukraine, does allow the market to reach high-quality standards and receive well-informed decisions, which together make possible accomplishment of the most complex tasks operating at maximum efficiency. At this, we saw some very ambitious projects, and now those teams can join the association AgTech Ukraine, as members of the association. And they are not only IT innovators in agriculture; they may advance into a union of enterprises of precision farming, for example."

Issues to tackle

Participants of National Ukrainian Hackathon on Agrarian Innovations  mainly focused on solving problems related to analysis of agribusiness needs, increasing of production efficiency, accessing to convenient format and timely information, operating efficiency, construction of systems of interactive learning, project engineering of sensors, big data processing, as well as other areas.

Prior to the venue, AgTech Ukraine held public hearings to discuss the issues of development of IT and technology in agriculture to secure real issues pending on solving.  The association had also conducted a survey to figure out what solutions businesses are ready to pay for.

Hence, the participants’ attention was focused on the following issues:

  • electronic mapping of soils (GIS systems)
  • land bank programs, record keeping of land plots (GIS systems)
  • field journals, rotation cropping, technological maps; satellite monitoring of fields
  • the use of drone aircrafts and other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (pictures, video, and aero inspection)
  • equipment tracking
  • monitoring the use of fuel and filling operations
  • mertilizer application technics and differentiated sowing technics
  • management of trailed and mounted units;
  • weather stations and weather services;
  • modeling of diseases and pests;
  • growth surveilling sensors for plants;
  • metering of the internal environment (temperature, humidity, light, CO2 levels) - for greenhouses, warehouses, barns; Field sensors and other telemetry;
  • digital scales (for vehicles, beehives, containers for hydroponics , etc.);
  • livestock tracking and animal passports
  • milking robot systems
  • automatic feeding systems
  • electronic registers of livestock
  • animal conditions dictionaries, pests, species, varieties, hybrids, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.
  • management of time, resources and materials
  • relevant bookkeeping; bookkeeping based upon 1C software
  • ERP systems and other integrators
  • CRM systems
  • specialized document control

Delivered projects

Information on all the projects will be available soon

Winners of the Hackathon and prizes

In assessing the projects, we used multi-criteria evaluation system. The jury focused on the following criteria: relevance of ideas, actuality of a problem, in-depth analysis, availability of prototypes, readiness of a team for further implementation of technology, organization level, economic efficiency, channels of monetization for a project, prospects for future financing, project scalability, competition issues and availability of analogous products, and the quality of the presentation.

ENVI-LOGIC won the main Hackathon prize of UAH 25,000, CyberBionics “Fractal” climbed to second place of UAH 15 000 award-winning, and Petiol clinched third award for its Fishing Buoy.

1 Place - the team ENVI-LOGIC with the project Envy Sensor. During Hackathon, the team presented a sensor determining levels of CO2 in the air, based upon graphene. Sensor has a capacity to further automation for increasing concentration of the gas within a greenhouse during dark period of time, so that to stimulate plants productivity. Such detectors are very sensitive and are much cheaper compared to available analogs. At this, the detector can be modified for measuring concentration of other gases in the air.

2 Place - CyberBionics team with its project of visual designer of smart things called FRACTAL. It enables to quickly program private and other IoT devices and integrate those devices in a network or group of networks. Notably, the solution enabled UA Berry and Fresh Space teams to create their products based on the very technology proving an existing demand for the solution. As Eugene Lokhmatov put it, "Success of our customers is our own success."  

3 Place - Fish Buoy project from the creators of Petiole. This is a smart buoy for ponds and other waters, which measures the temperature of water, its chemical characteristics to determine timing for feeding of fish and preventing water pollution. The product prototype is working and totally ready for use. It has a competitive advantage over existing solutions in its price, which is several times lower compared to foreign alternatives. In the frames of Hackathon, Petiole Android application was designed to monitor data online, for remote decision making.

Fresh Space project won a special prize – a tour to Silicon Valley - from Traction Camp, the partner of the venue. Fresh Space team will have a chance to explore and meet world’s top AgTech companies, as most scalable B2C business project of Internet of Space with good prospects for foreign markets. The idea is transmitting of weather and climate conditions from one place into another. This principle is ideal for creating the right climate for exotic plants and animals, as normally they do not feel very well feel in inhospitable climates. Also, the solution can be used by migrants abroad to make them feel at home. Notable, team membersof Fresh Space had not known each other before Hakhaton. The very idea was entertained during the event.

IoT HUB Kiev, premium sponsor of Hackathon, choosed AERO projects (identification of pests in the fields via ultraviolet range shooting), BioSens (sensors for the determination of mycotoxins), and UABERRY (automated mini-farm for strawberry growing) to undergo a 4-month incubation program.

Microsoft has provided the winner of Hackathon with access to an online incubator Cloud Business City, and subscribe to the BizSpark program with the possibility of advancing into Premium-version.

FeelGoodLabs company gave 3 free tickets to ENVI-LOGIC, FreshSpace and Petiole to visit LifeHackDay in Lviv.

Innotech Ukraine has selected 3 best pitching projects in the framework of the Forum of innovative technologies to investors scheduled on 11-12 March. Thus GrowCo, ITC, and Mechatronics additionally got another chance in the alley of startups.

Kyivstar, telecommunications sponsor of Hackathon, gave 5 GB of mobile internet to each member of the winning teams.

Law firm Prima Verinas presented the winner its trade mark registration certificate worth 3000 UAH.

Worth noting, the projects GrowCo (automated care of indoor plants), Crop Care (easy identification of pests and diseases and the selection of appropriate pesticides), WattCMS (monitoring the conditions of storage and transportation of products) and FoodLab (individualization of the diet of animals on e-passport)  were very close to the winners by points.

 

Voting results from jury 

 #

Project/team

Average Score

1

ENVI-LOGIC

62.80

2

Cyber Bionics (Фрактал)

55.70

3

Петиоль (Рыбный Буй)

55.44

4

GrowCoTeam

54.40

5

АЭРО

54.25

6

BioSens

53.78

7

Crop Care

53.60

8

WattCMS

51.89

9

FoodLab

51.60

10

UABERRY

51.56

11

FreshSpace

50.20

12

Mechatronics (Агро Монитор)

48.78

13

R&D

47.78

14

ITC R&D

47.56

15

Виртуальная ферма

46.50

16

AgroMaxEffect

43.33

17

AGRO GUARD

42.00

18

VisualAgro

40.89

19

ELEKS

40.56

20

LAND REALIZOR

40.30

21

DrT-Tech

38.40

22

АгроПеремога

35.78

23

GIS Project

34.43

24

AgroAnalytics

33.33

25

AgroParadise

30.75

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