The one-click app creation theme is gaining traction. But Renat Usmanov from Tatarstan went further and, together with an American university, is developing a project for voice control of the site and application. So people with disabilities will be able to use Internet services. The entrepreneur told TatCenter how, without specialized education, he created a startup that Americans are looking forward to.
Yappix projects will attract a new audience – people with disabilities
– Renat, tell us about your projects? What are you doing?
– I have a Yappix company. The first direction is web studios, everything related to the development of websites and mobile applications. Here we are just performers. Our client is a business that wants to create a blockchain platform, PaaS, SaaS. The client needs a full range of services: branding, design development, terms of reference, market research, development. All these costs from 10 to 20 thousand dollars in America.
The second area that keeps us moving and getting rounds is a mobile app builder with an emphasis on AI-powered UX analytics with accessibility. It is designed for small and medium businesses. For those who do not want to spend money on a mobile application. Now, in order to create it yourself, you either need to spend a lot of time learning or contact the studio and give 300 thousand rubles or more in Russia. This is the cheapest app. And it still needs to be constantly supported.
This is where the mobile app builder comes in handy. The solution will reduce the development cycle in time and money by 95%. Our segment is precisely a small business that wants to differentiate itself from competitors. We have developed several templates that the client needs. And he just pays money for the subscription. We strive to reduce the cost of the product with this project.
– The rapid creation of applications is a hot topic. Recently, I just talked with the Sizze company. They also do something similar …
– They make only interfaces, but we have applications with admin panels and functions. For example, we, together with a university from the American state of Illinois, have conceived an interesting product. Now is the age of equality, when all people, no matter what nationality, appearance, are equal. On this wave, we will create a website builder and a mobile application with support for voice control. We want to make a project for users who no longer want to read sites and poke their fingers there. Enough to communicate thanks to the built-in microphone. A person opens a website and says, “find me a 4 cheese pizza.” The bot-robot says: “I found 2 options for you, which one to choose?” He also answers by voice and adds: “Pay with my card, deliver to the address.” The helper bot does it all.
– Is it like Alice, who works on different sites and applications?
– Yes! It turns out that in this way we connect 13% of the audience – people who are visually or motor disabled and cannot, for example, control the mouse. Google is driving the trend towards equality. And if you look at the design of Google or Apple, they have a minimal site occupancy. Large gaps appear, white screens where you can normally hit the button with your finger, even if you don’t see well.
Renat Usmanov is a pioneer type of employee, he likes to work under pressure. “When there is confusion around, I find some kind of incentive in it. I am adapting to this disorder “
– Listen, are you creating something for Russian users?
– Yes, there is my personal project. When I was training in artificial intelligence from Google, my task was to write an analytics algorithm. And I made a free Russian-language site. It is designed for startups or guys with ideas. The site will teach a person to package his idea correctly so that the investor sees him. The user visits the site and fills out an application. Artificial intelligence tells him: you are underdeveloped, there are no tariff plans, it is not clear how you will enter the market, who is your target audience, etc.
– This is exactly what all successful startups talk about: you need to be able to present a product and know your idea from start to finish …
– I myself went this way and learned to attract the attention of investors. That is, this system is based on personal experience. But besides that, there will be VIP support, how to apply to Skolkovo or to the Bortnik Foundation. This will already be a paid consultation of mine or of trusted analysts.
– Will it is just preparation, or will it be an immediate access to investors?
– There will be a base: more than 203 thousand investors from all over the world, including Russian ones.
Mentor’s Day at Skolkovsk.ru
US investors have a different war: who did more good for people
– It’s time to ask how your project started?
– In 2014, we made the first test version of the core for the mobile app builder. We wanted to do something like WordPress with a French company. In 2016, we disagreed, and I decided to make my own project so as not to depend on international relations.
In 2017, I applied to the Bo fund rank and won 2 million rubles to develop his idea. Received money in 2018, conducted research. After that, the angel investor appeared. He brought 3.3 million rubles. We started to create the project interface, but there wasn’t enough money. And then this investor attracted another partner. He invested too. The total investment amounted to about 8 million rubles.
Another 4 million rubles is my personal money, I invested it in the salaries of the Russian headquarters, equipment, rent. In March 2019, we were selected for the IT park, incubated, and in December 2020 we applied to Skolkovo.
– How do you like Skolkovo?
– More efficient than the Kazan IT park, because there are different mentors. There you can collaborate with large companies. We got there for a label (to make a name for ourselves, ed.), And now Skolkovo is submitting a document on our behalf to the US Migration Service so that we can be issued a visa.
– How did you find the first investors?
– It turned out so funny: I first blurted out to someone that I had found investors, and then it happened. I just found it on the Internet, applied, and won.
– In the pre-New Year poll of startups TatCenter, you said that now in America the venture fund Runa Capital is waiting for you. Where will you direct the investments received from them?
– I will recruit people, develop, create an ecosystem, not depend on other companies.
– Why do you think it is better to attract American investors?
– Our investors are different from the American ones. They immediately like to take a share of 50%. In the USA, for example, 10% of a company is the norm.
– For Americans, it’s also a kind of internal motivation …
– Yes, they are thinking about how to make the world a better place. Our billionaires buy homes out of idleness. And they have a different war: who did more good for people.
There is a deadline and a broom in the back: that’s the only way it works
– Renat, do you have an education? Where did you study?
– I studied at the Kama Institute of Art and Design. Then he took up music, rock, and roll. I gave it 10 years. In 2010 he moved to the IT market. In 2014 he was certified for IT management. The other day I got my degree as an accountant in college. Now he entered the Moscow Institute of Business Administration. So far, I have no higher education. I am, of course, tackling this issue for the show. But I don’t even know where to apply it.
– So you don’t even have higher education? How did you get into IT?
– In 2008 I was a musician, I was drawn to computers, but then there were few of them. My wife got a job at RDV-Media. And they had to urgently hand over the printed magazine on Friday. They asked me, I sat down at the computer, installed them with Adobe InDesign. And he mastered all this in a day. I am a quick learner of technology. They hired me as a designer – the management liked what I did quickly, with creativity.
The company closed in 2009. A friend asked me to make a website about recreation centers in Tatarstan. We traveled to all bases, collected about 70 bases and made it. This site was very popular because there were no projects like Google.Maps at that time. So I decided to go into the website building business.
Then the owner of the recreation center “Belaya Dacha” Vadim Makheev offered us to make a website. He straightforwardly chose us with the words: “I also once started, we must give way to the young.” We have just opened, and we received 720 thousand rubles. Together with a partner, we earned about 200 thousand rubles with net money and rented an office. I left the web studio for 2 years, but in 2015 I returned again. And then he was already realizing his ideas.
– That is, you learned all your knowledge – design and programming – in practice?
– Yes, I mastered everything in battle. You are given a task that is impossible for your brain-box and you must complete it, you have a deadline and a kick-ass. This is the only way it works! I recently took a test on Linkedin. And it turned out that by the type of employee I am a pioneer who loves to work under pressure – just like Steve Jobs. When there is confusion around, I find some kind of incentive in it. I am adapting to this disorder. Steve Jobs had this style too. Perhaps that is why I achieved what I have now.
Interviewed by Elena Galeeva