We attended Ukraine's biggest conference and networking event for Internet professionals, learned what's hot on the mobile, e-commerce, online marketing and startup markets, and collected insights and trends to share with all tech fans and trendwatchers.
n 24 April 2013 INTERSOG and our friends from СomboApp attended the 5th Annual iForum 2013, Ukraine's biggest offline conference organized by Internet enthusiasts and dedicated to trends in the local and global cyberspace. This year, the event gathered around 7,000 people (for comparison, last year it was attended by 5,500 participants). More than 50 IT companies including Google exhibited their expertise at the event. The conference ran simultaneously in 6 streams that covered everything from Internet technologies and advertising / marketing to entrepreneurship and startups to mobile and usability. While most of reports were pretty general and quite self-promotional (especially in case of SEO and online marketing agencies), some were still rather strong and thought-provoking.
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We've collected some bright expert opinions from iForum 2013 that best describe current and anticipated trends on the Ukrainian and global online landscapes.
1. Investment climate in Ukraine
Ukrainian startups market volume is currently assessed at 300-500 projects per year, of which 120 are very big and ambitious. However, only a dozen of such projects live longer than one year. Investment pool for Ukrainian startups is assessed at $200 million – this is how much angels and venture capitalists are ready to invest in new IT projects as of today. But it doesn't mean at all they'll invest this money for sure. Investors are rather nagging while selecting startups and are usually driven by "we'd rather keep money in-house than play hit-or-miss" logic. That said, your project should really be worthy to qualify for an investment. On average, 3 venture funds are hunting for one such project – this is the reality in Ukraine. Today's pool of Ukrainian investors is comprised of over 50 business angels. Besides, 7 European investment funds and 5 US funds regular screen the startup landscape in Ukraine. (Denis Dovgopolyi, President of GrowthUp incubator).
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2. Ukrainian IT market
Today's IT market in Ukraine is assessed at $3.3 billion and had reached a 35% growth rate back in 2011. Despite economic recession the leading market players have stayed in the country. Ukraine has recently been able to gain a good reputation on the global IT scene thanks to software development outsourcing. (Olga Belkova, People's Deputy of Ukraine).
3. How Internet changes business rules
Internet destroys things we have got used to. It destroys business models. A model of information disparity when the seller knew more than the consumer is being changed. Now the consumer knows more than the seller! Transitioning to new technologies will change national economics globally and force whole industry sectors to die out. In ten last years we've made a long way, and are now at the threshold of technology revolution. There're still a lot of risks around, as most of people are very slow technology adopters. Mass media we got used to stop being what they used to be yesterday. Books, newspapers, magazines pass into oblivion. We're moving towards the world of personal digital communications. (Alexander Olshanskii, CEO of Internet Invest Group).
4. Mobile and games
Google Play is now ahead of iOS App Store by both downloads and revenues, while iOS maintains its strong leadership in monetization. United States is responsible for iOS revenue growth, while China proves to be an up-and-coming contributor to growth of iOS downloads. On the other hand, Russia is a key driver of Google Play downloads, while its revenues are generated mainly by Japan and South Korea. Games top the list of the most downloaded and monetized content in both app stores. While global Google Play games downloads are catching up to the iOS App Store, there are still more downloads on iOS App Store. (App Annie's insights)
Freemiums monetize better than premium games. (G5).
5. What will be hot this year?
- Augmented reality and mobile integration
if you think mobile – start thinking augmented reality! Smart devices such as Google Glass will create demand for new mobile apps and their integration into smart devices
- Radio tagging will create demand for smart things such as smart houses, etc
- Social robots and 3D printers
- Mobile gaming (it makes no sense to waste time on developing PC games, as their popularity is declining at a very rapid pace)
- Internet of things
- Online wallets (evolution of Bitcoin (BTC) as the Internet currency) versus credit cards used for online payments
Overall, the event was very successful in terms of networking, we've met a lot of friends from peer companies and competitors there. We thank all iForum organizers for this great one-day meet-and-mix session!
Some photo reports are available in Intersog Google Plus and Facebook.