Russian airline S7 launches Startup Challenge

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If there is an airline in Russia that is taking technology and innovation very seriously, this is S7.

The private Russian airline, known for the bright green colours that adorn its aircraft, is the latest airline to launch its own startup/innovation contest, S7 Startup Challenge, in partnership with Skolkovo, the technology park near Moscow that was once hailed as the “Russian Silicon Valley”.

Startups in areas relevant for the airline, such as big data, machine learning, gaming, VR, AR, customer service or ecommerce or aerospace engineering, have until 31st October to present their proposals. There is going to be “grand finale” in February at Skolkovo’s Tech Park, where the winning proposals will be chosen.

S7 joins a growing number of airlines, that include the likes of JetBlue, El Al or Easyjet, that are launching similar initiatives to source technology talent from outside the company.

But S7 itself is no stranger to advanced technology.

We have reported in this blog of quite a few interesting projects this airline has launched in this area, including nothing less than its own space programme, which places it in competition with the likes of Elon Musk and Richard Branson.

In fact, as recently as last spring, S7 announced an investment of $300M to develop and produce rocket technology for its own private space programme.

And a few weeks ago S7 launched a blockchain-based solution for fuel management.

So any would be applicants should be aware that the expectations are really, really high!