Born in Ukraine, Max Polyakov is a businessman with more than 17 years of hands-on experience in technology and engineering. He is also a philanthropist and the thought leader of several innovational and educational events.
Max Polyakov is the founder and advisor of a number of startups that have grown into international businesses. These include companies such as HitDymanics Ltd., IT-Ukraine, Cupid Plc. and Maxymiser Ltd.
Prior to his professional career, Max Polyakov received a Ph.D. in 2013 in International Economics for his research into the future of information technologies in the worldwide economy. In 2019 he then earned a Doctor of Economic Sciences degree with a thesis on Global Determinants of the Formation and Development of the Knowledge Economy.
In 2017, Dr. Polyakov was recognized as the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) Companion of Honour. At the annual Ernst & Young Ceremony in Scotland in 2009, he was awarded the title of Entrepreneur of the Year, and in 2018 he received the Ukrainian national award for Man of the Year, for his significant contribution to the revival of the Ukrainian space industry.
Beginning in 2016, Max Polyakov founded several companies specializing in the space industry such as EOS, a service that analyzes Earth observation data. As a Noosphere Ventures General Partner, Max Polyakov bought the assets of a company that builds small launch vehicles and reorganized it into Firefly Aerospace.
Max Polyakov also initiates and supports programs dedicated to the promotion of science and knowledge among Ukraine’s younger generation. He established the non-profit organization Association Noosphere, which organizes high-profile engineering festivals like BestRoboFest, invention competitions such as the Vernadsky Challenge, hackathons, conferences, and the like. Inspired by the ideas of science pioneer Volodymyr Vernadsky, Max Polyakov also coordinates the Noosphere Engineering School project, a network of engineering laboratories at five Ukrainian universities. There, mentors share their practical experience and theoretical solutions with young inventors, giving them the opportunity to implement their projects.
The concept for Vernadsky Challenge, an annual startup competition, came to Max Polyakov in 2015. Among the members of the first jury were experts in technology and business: Igor Khanin - a scientist and honored inventor of Ukraine; Dmitry Sholomko - CEO of Google Ukraine; and Igor Gomilko - the head of the Robotics and Electronics Laboratory at Noosphere Engineering School. The co-founders of Association Noosphere, Max Polyakov and Michael Ryabokon, are permanent chairmen of the competition jury. Vernadsky Challenge 2015 brought together 128 startups across 15 categories and included both hardware and software startups. The following year, the ideological founder decided that the Vernadsky Challenge would focus only on engineering startups.
- Dr. Max Polyakov
The future belongs to engineering. We are looking for people who are ready for productive work, challenges, and experiments. That is how great ideas are born.
From the applications submitted to the Vernadsky Challenge competition, the jury of experts selects up to 12 innovative teams. Dr. Polyakov supports the winning engineering startup teams with grants and special awards. He believes that these initiatives, such as the Vernadsky Challenge, will improve the Ukrainian entrepreneurial ecosystem and aid in implementing more innovative and valuable products. In addition to the funds for startup development, which are distributed among the winners, all finalists receive presentation experience and professional backing.
- Max Polyakov, founder of Vernadsky Challenge
We aim to find hardware projects and motivate their creators for further fruitful activities. The engineering solutions of the finalists truly deserve expert consideration
The Vernadsky Challenge finalists have already experienced their first successes in promoting their engineering projects.
Following the participation of Avision Robotics (drone control system) in Vernadsky Challenge 2015, the team went on to sign a contract with NASA. They have developed Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), a traffic management system for drones. In 2017, the startup landed on the TechCrunch favorites list.
Winner of the Vernadsky Challenge 2016, Hideez introduced their digital key project to the global market.
The Flawless App startup (a real-time comparison tool for expected and realized design) was bought by American design company Abstract.
After winning the Vernadsky Challenge 2017, startups Cubomania (interactive children’s cubes), Cardiomo (a small device for consistent health monitoring) and CloviFi (Wi-Fi audio transmitter) all successfully presented their projects at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Cardiomo developers are preparing their product certification for sale in Europe and the United States.
Representatives of the Vernadsky Challenge space lineup, the Space Cossacks (with a system for launching small satellites into low Earth orbit) won the national stage of the ActInSpace 2018 space innovation competition and represented Ukraine in the European stage in France.
Every year Association Noosphere brings together amateurs and experts in the field of engineering who, like Dr. Polyakov, are supporters of Volodymyr Vernadsky's philosophy of the noosphere (sphere of reason), ready to share knowledge and experience, and to create innovative solutions worldwide.