Max Azarov, Co-Founder and CEO of Novakid and TR100 Judge, Explains What He’s Looking for From Entrants

Hey Max, tell us a bit about yourself

I’m the CEO and co-founder of Novakid, an international community of young English learners, designed to boost English learning at schools by giving kids a safe place for real-life English practice with other kids and teachers from all over the world. My career spans IT product management and software development across Russia and the USA.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked for Cyber Vision, Digital 5, Google and LG Electronics. As a product manager for Google, I was responsible for the global product as well as the Russian/CIS markets (Google Search and Google Maps). This experience was crucial, as it helped me to develop my skills as a team leader and software developer.

I have always wanted to use my IT knowledge to build my own business. I launched my first startup with Dmitry Malin (the co-founder of Novakid) in 2013: Cloudike is a cloud storage solution (white label) for carriers and service providers, such as Vodafone, Vestel, and others.

What are you looking for from this year’s TR100 entrants?

I’m interested in the origin story – how did the founder come up with the idea for the business? What have they learned on their entrepreneurial journey so far? Have they had to change or adapt their initial strategy and why?

I’d also like to see how the business is approaching its growth strategy – how will the business maintain or exceed its current trajectory? Entrepreneurs are operating in a difficult economic environment at the moment no matter what industry they are in, so how does the founder intend to grow the business taking this into account?

What advice would you give to companies wanting to stand out from the crowd?

Make sure that you know your target audience inside and out so that you can build your business around their needs. Use market research to define specific insights that you can leverage to create marketing campaigns that appeal to their requirements.