Winners of the Vernadsky Challenge 2021: nothing can stop an idea which time has come

16 Dec 2022

In summer 2021, the Provizio team from Kharkiv won silver prize in the finals of the Vernadsky Challenge engineering startup competition. The war made some corrections of their plans, but the desire to develop and improve the startup didn’t change. 

The team invented a device for measuring intraocular pressure at home. It will be useful for people with chronic vision disorders, such as glaucoma. Regular control of internal pressure is important for them in order to reduce the risk of vision loss. The Provizio device can not only measure blood pressure, but also send data to doctor in real time and even predict the possible course of the disease.

Grant funds received from the Vernadsky Challenge allowed the team to purchase new production equipment. It made the possibility to become independent from contractors who manufacture the mechanical part of the device and print plastic parts for it. So they were able to create of a prototype of the device, which was successfully tested on a human.

Currently, the project is at the pre-seed stage. The team develops a new technology for measuring pressure. At this time several devices work with the old technology and one – with the new. All of them are available for testing only.

Due to the war, the startup from Kharkiv was forced to move to Kamianets-Podilskyi, although half of the team works remotely. Those who decided to relocate settled in a small office. Also they have room for working on a lathe. 

«We thansported the equipment in several stages: partly by ourselves, partly with volunteers. The demand for commercial real estate was quite low, so we found premises  quickly», – said project leader Pavlo Tkachenko.

The war affected not only location of the team, but also other aspects of the work. Pavlo says that one of the main challenges is the motivation of employees in current uncertainty. In addition, supply chains for hardware and electronics have increased, so the delivery process takes more time.

Six people work at Provizio now. However, the team is looking for new engineers. But most people prefer well-known companies to startups due to instable situation. 

However, Provizio moves on working and developing new technology. Although the startup doesn’t fit to state support programs (they are focused on profitable enterprises), a grant of 600,000 hryvnias received from the patron of the Vernadsky Challenge Maks Polyakov allows the project to live, develop and change the perception of medical technologies in future.