Transforming Belarus into a Technology Company

One of the prominent streets in Minsk, Belarus is Zybitskaya. Locals will call the street Zyba. If you visit the street of a Friday evening, it resembles a vast party scene. The street is full of young people in tight dark jeans and bright shirts. Glasses are all over which is an indication that even the last dictatorship in Europe has adopted a carefree attitude. This street has emerged as a fashionable street in the middle of an unfashionable city. The city is still dominated by Soviet buildings. However, with this street, it’s possible to see young people smoking endlessly and migrating from one bar to the other drinking Coke and Jack. However, most of these young people are not ordinary people as they belong to the sprouting technology industry in Belarus. These are the shy engineers, forward-looking, savvy and young designers. They make a population of 30,000 specialists in a city that has over two million people. They are busy making apps and products that serve over one billion customers spread in 193 nations. This is according to the information that was provided by the local government. One of these techies is an individual by the name Dmitri Kovalyov who is 35 years. He says that he used to work for a company known as MSQRD one year ago.

He further says that this is a company that specialized in making smartphone apps that allowed superimposition of masks in selfie videos. He managed to create a tool that enabled the users in a video message put on a mask of Leonardo DiCaprio holding two Oscar awards. As a result, this app was tried by numerous celebrities, and it was a success to him and his company. To make things interesting, the trick involved even the face of Leonardo’s mother. The company didn’t last long after the awards because it was bought by Facebook for an undisclosed amount. The founders and the workers of this company relocated to London and the United States. As for Mr. Kovalyov, he says that he is working with another startup with Belarus where he wants to create augmented reality content. The previous company that was bought by Facebook also made a mask resembling Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the current president of Belarus. While speaking about the aim of the country to become an IT state, he said that it’s an ambitious plan that can also be achieved. Several steps have been taken to reach this goal.

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Dil Bole Oberoi