11 Nov 2017
November 3, 2017 American startup Mapbox announced opening of a research and development center in Minsk based at Belarusian MapData. In future the employees of Minsk office led by the former development head of Maps.me Alexander Matveenko will work on the development of advanced solutions in the field of computer vision and autopilot.
"Over the past few years Minsk has rapidly become a real innovation center. Mapbox has successfully cooperated with Belarusian developers for the last 18 months and we feel that it's time to expand our investments to Belarusian market," said Eric Gundersen, founder of Mapbox.
"In favor of Minsk there were several arguments at once: we are here, the team of offline maps development, and Yura Melnychek successfully sold the company to Google testing competence in computer training and computer vision. Therefore Eric decided that Minsk is a good place to open R&D center," — said Alexander Matveenko.
It is known that yet being unacceptable decree on Hi-Tech Park 2.0 played a role in the decision to place an office in Minsk. The head of Minsk office said that Eric Gundersen also monitors political and legislative components in addition to IT.
As Denis Aleinikov, a senior partner of Aleinikov & Partners, that has been supporting the entry of Mapbox into Belarusian market, noticed "green light of IT announced by the president is known not only here but also abroad. Many look forward to a new decree on Hi-Tech Park and link their plans with it in Belarus."
"They really like Hi-Tech Park and a system with tax benefits. They are not given to everyone but to those who bring money to the country - this leads to profits generation. This is such a mutual agreement: you give me more money and I give you preferential terms. Our American colleagues are pleasantly surprised that Belarus has benefits for business that they develop in America, so they want to be in progress in Belarus," said Alexander Matveenko. In the near future Mapbox plans to become a resident of the park.
The leader in the formation of Minsk office team of Mapbox is Yuri Melnicek known in IT environment for companies Maps.me, later sold to Mail.ru Group, and AIMatter, gained by Google in August 2017,- both deals were also accompanied by Aleinikov & Partners. "The combination of IT talents and selfless work will help to grow to a large number of startups in Belarus and I'm sure that Mapbox should be part of this ecosystem," - IT entrepreneur believes.