Echelon-Central-Asia

At Echelon Central Asia, a two-day conference organised by e27 and Idea Lab, we met with an audience keen to know more about Southeast Asia.

Many of them are locals of Almaty in Kazakhstan, and told us about what they thought about the startup and investment scene in the country.

Here are the edited excerpts…

1. Aidos Utegulov

Utegulov

Aidos Utegulov

I’m a senior lecturer at the university here. I recently graduated from Penn State University in the US. I’ve been working for two months. I teach mobile applications for iOS and Android and there’s one more subject called the automata theory.

How would you describe Kazakhstan’s startup scene?

Right now, it’s actually one of the topics I’m interested in. From what I have observed, they’re emerging quite fast. I know for a fact that three incubators have been created for startups, like Almaty Tech Garden and MOST.

What do you think Kazakh startups need the most?

Financing. There are grants from the ministries and people compete for them. The sums, if you convert it to US dollars, is US$10,000 — US$15,000 dollars. That’s not so much, I think.

It depends on the level of the startup. If it’s IT-related, it’s quite enough to cover their basic needs. But, for expansion, the money would run out pretty soon.

2. Farukh Khalpetov

Stone-farm

Farukh Khalpetov, COO, Bugart Games

We at Bugart Games, a game studio, make a lot of different games. Our main title is Stone Farm. It’s a fun time management game with a lot of funny characters. Our main platforms are iOS and Android. We care about what we do.

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In Kazakhstan, it’s really hard to make games. Nobody knows what games are. If we talk about investing in games, it’s really hard to find investors. But we made it. From a startup with two people, now we have an office with 15 people.

What’s the hardest thing about making games?

The hardest thing? It depends on your experience. From the beginning, it’s about choosing the genre and platform, getting technical support, a lot of questions.

And if you don’t have good experience in this area, you can’t make the right choice. You need to read more, meet some people and discuss it. It’s really hard.

3. Olga Khvan

Now I’m working at Intellection. We’re developing iOS applications.

What do you think Kazakh startups really need?

Olga

Olga Khvan

I think Kazakh startups really need to do everything till the end.

There are a lot of startups, not only in Kazakhstan but the world as well, who are really inspired and interested but when they meet with difficulties, they give it up and start a new project.

Here, we need those guys who will do it till the end and who will make a great project.

4. Bakytzhan Baizhikenov 

I am a software developer for Crozdesk, a London-based company, but I work remotely from Kazakhstan.

What do you think about the startup ecosystem in Kazakhstan? 

I think it is in its early stages. We lack good engineers, good infrastructure, payment systems and other things. The market is small. The only way to succeed is to test here and go international.

Bakytzhan Baizhikenov

Bakytzhan Baizhikenov

What do you think is one thing that Kazakh startups really need?

Discipline and depth in work and everything they do. There are so many companies that start and disappear. Discipline makes you work through that.

Join us before the end of 2015 at Echelon Central Asia! Held on December 2-3, Echelon Central Asia is a two-day conference held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, aimed to create a bridge between Central and Southeast Asia.