Eugene Kaspersky made A name for itself in cybersecurity as CEO of Kaspersky Labs, but the Russian security expert has a new passion project: he is funding an online accelerator to help entrepreneurs build startups for travel and tourism.
Companies that apply must focus on Russia, although the accelerator is open to startups that are based everywhere. There are four categories of focus: travel technology, infrastructure, social impact and sustainability. Kaspersky does not participate in selected teams, which means that founders participating in the program receive free support.
Ten startups are selected for a two-week online boot camp. A virtual demo day is planned for June 25th. Application deadline is May 29, 2020.
We spoke to Kaspersky about setting up the program and why he wants to support a sector particularly affected by the COVID-1
TechCrunch: What is Kaspersky Russia doing? Explain the key details of how the program works and what support is available to selected entrepreneurs / startups.
Eugene Kaspersky: The program is a tourism accelerator for young travelers. We have decided to help the tourism industry as an industry so hard hit by the pandemic. I think now is the time to … turn the lemons of life into lemonade using this time of self-isolation for personal development and improvement of business projects. We accept applications from various industries – technology startups, projects that make extreme and leisure tourism more accessible, business projects that are socially important in the travel and tourism sector, and projects that have a positive impact on sustainable development. We will select the 10 most interesting and promising projects for the online education program with lectures, individual coaching and presentations by industry experts. At the end of the program, we will select three finalists on the demo day, where all 10 participants can present their startups to the jury.
You have made a name for yourself in cybersecurity. Some people may wonder why you are investing your own resources in travel / tourism startups when many types of businesses face major challenges due to the pandemic. What is your personal interest in this sector? And why did you choose an accelerator to help?