Sberbank to invest RUB 27 mln in six start-ups of its in-house accelerator

Aug 08, 2018
  • First wave of Sber#Up in-house accelerator ends with six IT start-ups of employees attracting 27.1 mln roubles’ worth of investment from Sberbank.
  • SportMe, Personal BigData, StilusBot, PayZakat, GetMeBack and Start-up@Check-up have received financing.
  • In the future these start-ups will be integrated in Sberbank’s ecosystem.


8 August 2018, Moscow – Sberbank has hosted the final of the first wave of its in-house corporate accelerator Sber#Up. Six projects created by employees will receive 27.1 mln roubles of investment from the bank.

The SportMe project will receive 6 mln roubles. This is a platform for booking workouts, sports halls and competitions for employees of corporations. It lets you create corporate sports programmes and offer additional services for healthy living (food, medicine, private medical insurance). SportMe makes money from selling service packages to corporations and from the commission fees it charges to trainers.

Personal BigData attracted 2 mln roubles. This service attracts clients to microbusiness retail points using fine-tuned audience selection. The project uses big data analysis and artificial intelligence. Its monetisation model is based on payment for attracted clients.

Sberbank will invest 4.5 mln roubles in StilusBot. This is an online platform for managing your style, where you can receive a personal consultation from a stylist, choose the right elements of clothes when buying them or selecting from your existing wardrobe. The service lets its users receive recommendations from stylists online by sending photos to them.

PayZakat secured 5 mln roubles of investment. It is a platform for collecting and distributing compulsory and voluntary contributions that members of the Muslim community give to the poor. Users can calculate payments (Zakat, Zakat al-Fitr and Zakat al-Adha) using chatbots on social networks, divide them between charity foundations, and select projects that they want to donate to.

GetMeBack raised 4 mln roubles. This is a platform for constructing digital loyalty programmes. It lets businesses do away with plastic loyalty cards and replace them with mobile applications that have bonus systems, notifications and collection of user feedback.

Start-up@Check-up will get 5.6 mln roubles from Sberbank. It is an online service for calculating the profitability of businesses using Sberbank’s big data (data about location, activity, type of business, financing method, etc.). The client goes to the website, selects the area of activity of the company and business location, and specifies the size of investment and sales targets. Next the service calculates the structure of future expenses, level of profitability, and performance indicators for the type of business in the given region. The user can model different scenarios by changing the location, type of business and other parameters in order to find the optional investment object.

RoboScan, another project which involves a robot that scans and digitalises fastened and non-fastened documents, will not receive investment. However, Sberbank will help it to develop. The bank and the start-up will work together.

Lev Khasis, First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank:

“Every year around 180 venture deals are concluded in Russia. Today we helped improve that statistic because six deals between Sberbank and start-ups amount to 3% of the entire Russian venture market.”

The Sber#Up in-house accelerator is a programme that offers all Sberbank employees support to create their own IT businesses. The organisers received 575 applications to participate at the first stage. At the second stage, participants took part in training, talked with successful entrepreneurs, and analysed the market. Seminars and sessions with industry experts took place outside of working hours so that the start-up participants could continue to focus on their regular jobs. The strongest teams, who were able to prove that there is demand for their products, made it through to the third stage. They were given two months to create prototypes of their projects and find their first customers.

Twelve teams participated in the final. On 7 August they presented their ideas to a jury made up of senior Sberbank executives and private venture investors.

Sber#Up is Sberbank’s first attempt to work with early-stage projects. The accelerator aims to support projects which will become part of the bank’s ecosystem as per the 2020 Strategy.

Sberbank invited the Business Incubator of the Higher School of Economics (HSE) to develop the accelerator programme. It is Europe’s third-largest and the world’s seventh-largest business accelerator that works with early-stage start-ups.

Mikhail Erman, Director of the HSE Business Incubator:

“Sberbank’s experience of launching a corporate accelerator is a success because from the very start a clear goal was set – find entrepreneurs within the bank who are ready to create their own projects that complement its ecosystem.

From this point of view, involving employees is the best option because they know about the bank’s capabilities, needs and specifics better than anyone else. In addition, this approach helps avoid brain drain – when managers who want to work on their own projects leave the company, and as a result there is no synergy.”