Corporate acceleration for startups: an inside view

22 November, 2022

 

MultiCode is a smart freight scheduler for carriage fleet operators. Their goal is to reduce the number of carriages that move without cargo and their downtime.

Anuar Sarsembinov, founder of Smart System Technologies, tells how they developed this project at a corporate accelerator, how they managed to keep the company independent and why it is beneficial for large enterprises to cooperate with young IT people.

Nuris is an innovation cluster at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. It is needed to communicate with industry, identify problems and then offer solutions to recent graduates. Corporate accelerators are organised for this purpose.

"We went through an accelerator last year. At that time, startups were challenged to optimise the trucking industry. We had about 30 other teams apply for a second track," says Anuar.

— What is the peculiarity of such accelerators?

If a company needs an IT solution, it has several options on how to proceed:

It is possible to order a one-off solution from an IT company. But you run the risk that it will soon become obsolete and require permanent updates, which require regular technical support. This option is inflexible, because all development and technical revisions go through ToR, and its formation and permanent contracting takes an unacceptable amount of time.

Hire your own developers and develop the solution yourself. However, this is expensive and not always efficient. Even to hire developers, you need to have expertise in this area. This is exactly what many enterprises don't have.   On top of that, developers have no long-term interest, and that it is more profitable for them to develop the product longer to get their fixed salary longer. 

Find a team to offer to build a business together – at first it will be small money and small risks. But the team will have a fresh perspective and great motivation. You can count on a flexible Agile approach to development, which allows you to constantly refine the product in short cycles. 

— Why did you choose your solution in particular?

We and another scientist from Russia with great expertise in the industry were amongst the leaders of this programme. Only if he proposed a very complicated model, spent a lot of time on the technology itself in his presentation and did not have a team, then we proposed actually the same thing, only we made the presentation clear and easy to understand. Moreover, my team and I already had a successful case of implementing an IT product.

We saw the main problem in the fact that the dispatcher in the car fleet does not see the full picture, so not all cars are used effectively. Our solution is an algorithm that keeps track of wagon finds, simulates all possible transportation options, and presents the most optimal plan in the form of a table to the dispatcher.

At the piloting stage, we created an exemplary product and proved that the technology works: after three months of testing, we halved empty carriages runs and increased efficiency overall by 30%.

— It turns out that after winning the accelerator, your solution was put into practice. How did you manage to avoid a merger with a customer company?

It was one of the conditions that we would work in cooperation as a separate IT company. We retained our independence. And in order to start offering our solution with our partners to other haulage companies, we are planning to create a separate legal entity. That way, we can work on an equal footing.

Read about how Smart System Technologies came into being and what its first roadside damage detection solution is like in our previous article.

Read more about the project's founder, Anuar Sarsembinov, on YouTube.

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