Astana Hub Presents Successful Women-Led Startups

ASTANA — The Astana Hub International Technopark of IT Startups has witnessed a surge in projects initiated by female entrepreneurs. Nearly 250 women-led companies are registered, 25% of which have successfully expanded their services abroad, the hub’s press service reported on March 7.

Photo credit: Astana Hub

One standout startup, ZebraEye, founded by Yana Ten, gained attraction at the Web Summit Qatar 2024. Ten, who made history as Kazakhstan’s first speaker at the summit, presented a unique artificial intelligence (AI) software designed to diagnose rare eye diseases with 95% accuracy in just a minute.

ZebraEye has attracted attention from foreign investors, particularly in the Middle East, including major venture fund Doha Venture Capital, which manages $1 billion, and Qatar Science and Technology Park.

Another venture is SmarTestPrep (STP) by Laura Vaygorova, which utilizes AI to provide personalized preparation services and an extensive database of educational programs and scholarships.

The platform has facilitated over 4,500 invitations from universities and scholarship opportunities for students across 22 countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

In 2022, STP entered the elite ASU GSV Elite 200 list, which showcases the fastest-growing early-stage EdTech startups worldwide. The company was valued at $10 million and successfully attracted over $230,000 in investments.

Citix, led by Yana Shoibekova, secured over $1 million in investments from the United States venture capitalist Tim Draper, marking the first instance of funding from an American investor.

Citix specializes in smart city gadgets and has deployed a network of over 130 smart boards in the cities of Almaty and Astana, expanding its presence to Türkiye and the Middle East and North Africa region.

In collaboration with the National Commission on Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy under the President of Kazakhstan and Techno Women, Astana Hub launched the Tech Girls program this year to provide free IT training to 3,000 Kazakh women from all regions of the country.

Astana Hub Managing Director Daniya Akhmetova noted the increasing interest among women in IT education and entrepreneurship, citing the IT-Aiel and Tech Orda programs. The latter provided grants for training over 6,000 students, 40% of whom were women.

As for the IT-Aiel program, it offered free training to over 2,000 unemployed women last year.

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