Yernar — a native of Ekibastuz in Pavlodar region — graduated from the IT department of Multimedia University Malaysia, Cyberjaya, the Malaysian Silicon Valley. In 2016, he won Foundation’s grant and, like the other four winners of the competition, went to the US Silicon Valley for a six-month internship at a fairly new startup there.
1. What did you do during the internship?
My task was to find ideas for a new startup. As we found it, we started to work on creating a mobile version of VimChat (VIM – very important message) app. It is a platform that allows customers to communicate with businesses via SMS and to remain anonymous. I was responsible for the choice of technology for implementation of the project. I made special emphasis on the development of the chat function: with clients both individual and group. Since the startup is only in the US market, yet, we targeted the app for that particular geographical area. Though we do plan to expand out of the US in the future.
2. What did the internship give you?
During the six months we developed app’s beta version and found a few business clients to test it. As of now 2-4 clients using the VimChat to communicate with each of them daily, and it is good. A hotel had put an order for the app’s web version, simply because the use of phones in this business is not suitable. And almost in no time we have it – https://vimchatbusiness.com. As for personal experience, thanks to the internship my dream came true – to go through all the stages of a project implementation in a startup. I got a lot of experience in search of ideas and assessment of the feasibility, and comparing these against the competitors. I contributed to the pitch, participated in obtaining feedback from customers, basically things that developers usually stay away from. It was also enriching to attend conferences on new technologies, to learn from the experience of the creators of frameworks (software platforms) and different programming libraries. I learned how Facebook develops its new products. During the internship I visited many museums, the coolest of which I think is Computer History Museum; it was quite impressive. The museum, incidentally, answered to the question why Silicon Valley is where it is.
3. Any plans to apply all the gained experience going forward?
I’m already on it. In fact I have been working for DigsView for over a year now. I knew the startup before the internship. In 2016, its CEO flew to Astana, and that where we got acquainted. Afterwards I set up an office and gathered a small team of developers in our capital city. And now, after I’ve came back fro the States I am working in DigsView remotely as a director and developer of its branch here. Just recently we moved into a new office and had new members join our team. We are growing little by little. We are planning to optimize VimChat, develop a client version and increase the number of business customers using this app.
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