Emerging Innovators Stand Out at Burning Heroes First US Global Startup Award

Emerging Innovators Stand Out at Burning Heroes First US Global Startup Award
Photo Courtesy: Polina Kurach

By: Elizabeth Wire

The first US edition of the Burning Heroes Global Startup Award concluded with success, showcasing the remarkable potential of American startups in collaboration with Plug and Play. Hosted at the Silicon Valley headquarters the event served as a stage for some of the nation’s promising creators to present their cutting edge concepts.

Following a selection process, finalists presented their ideas to a panel consisting of venture capitalists and industry specialists. The panel engaged in discussions as they assessed each startup based on factors such as market alignment, innovations and product development. The jury included representatives from Plug and Play, an innovation accelerator globally recognized for its contributions, Khosla Ventures, known for its daring investments in cutting-edge technologies and Google, a trailblazer in internet search and technological progress, and top venture capital firms and tech companies.

The excitement reached its peak when they finally revealed the winners in the three categories:

BEST STARTUP (“VISIONERS”): Smart Teddy – An educational companion for preschoolers inside stuffed toys

  • The pioneering startup shared a goal to transform the landscape of childhood education. 

BEST PRODUCT (“STRONG PRODUCT”): Orcool – hacking the digital advertising industry with AI


  • This company mesmerised the jury with a cutting edge product that seamlessly merges practicality and sophistication to address an issue, in advertising. 

BEST BUSINESS MODEL (“MARKET MASTERY”): L-Charge – generating electricity from renewables directly at charging spots


  • The startup showcased insight into the market. Introduced a strong, easily expandable business plan that could revolutionize the renewable energy industry.

Daria Kuk, Californian Chapter Leader at Burning Heroes, Seasoned Venture Capital Fund Manager, and Accelerators Director commented: “The caliber of talent was outstanding. The winners truly showcased the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley with disruptive ideas and well-articulated strategies. It’s exciting to witness the potential of these early-stage ventures.”

Daria Kuk is a well-known figure in the field of launching and expanding technology startups, drawing on her 14 years of experience in the venture capital industry to redefine what it means to succeed. Throughout her journey, she has held leadership positions at renowned venture capital firms like AngelsDeck Global Ventures and former Director of accelerators at Microsoft, EY and StartupBootCamp. Managing an investment portfolio of over $75 million across 112 tech startups, Daria’s strategic expertise has significantly influenced the venture’s direction. In addition to her investment activities, her leadership skills as the leader of the California chapter at Burning Heroes demonstrate her dedication to supporting emerging talent. Particularly noteworthy is her role in co-creating an awards platform for entrepreneurs. This pioneering initiative empowers startups with limited exposure to present their projects to discerning investors and accelerators. Leading this initiative, Daria not only developed a scoring system but also led the judging panel, solidifying her reputation as a driving force behind inclusive entrepreneurial development.

Olga Korosteleva, one of the Judges at Burning Heroes Association and STEM Innovation Management Analyst shared that “The depth of technical expertise in many of the presented projects was inspiring. My assessment framework helped highlight innovations with genuine potential for market success. I’m confident we’ll be hearing much more about these winners in the future.”

Olga Korosteleva’s expertise shines through in managing innovation projects in the STEM sector, where she skillfully combines traditional financial management principles with cutting-edge innovation strategies. Olga’s skills are unmatched, as seen in her “Authors Integrative Framework for Evaluating the Commercialization of STEM Innovations: A Comprehensive Approach with the Integration of Artificial Intelligence.” This groundbreaking approach has not established her as a thought leader. Has also become a cornerstone for universities, inventors, engineers and investors looking to assess the feasibility of new initiatives. Thanks to her system, the time to introduce feasible innovations has been reduced by up to 98%, and the commercial feasibility assessment according to her methodology has shown forecast accuracy of up to 95%, which has significantly increased the speed and efficiency of innovation processes in the industry.

Olga is also a seasoned founder of multiple ventures and has hands-on experience managing companies and leading them to success.

As the creator and mentor of “EmpowerHerSTEM,” Olga advocates for diversity and empowerment within the STEM community, cementing her reputation as a leader and trailblazer. Her impact reaches further as a judge at the Burning Heroes Association, where her inclusion on the judging panel highlights the broad acceptance and acknowledgment of her distinctive evaluation framework. Through her unwavering dedication to excellence and mentorship, Olga continues to shape the field of innovation management, establishing benchmarks for effectiveness and inclusivity.

Kristina Larina, Lead of Participants Engagement at Burning Heroes and Expert in Startup Management and Growth, shared her thoughts on the event: “As someone deeply involved in the startup ecosystem, it was inspiring to see the incredible talent and dedication of the participants. The Burning Heroes Award recognizes outstanding startups and fosters a supportive community that empowers founders to achieve their goals.”

Dmitry Bukhensky, Expert in Project Management and Entrepreneur in Tech: “The Burning Heroes Global Startup Award is a catalyst for innovation, providing startups with the platform and support they need to thrive. The creativity and dedication of the participants were truly inspiring, and I look forward to seeing their continued success.”

The impact of this event goes beyond honoring the winners; it marks an achievement for all involved. All the startups that took part received feedback from industry experts. Had the chance to connect with potential investors and partners. The Burning Heroes Founders Association’s focus is on building relationships within the startup world, which creates long-term opportunities for everyone involved.

The introduction of the Burning Heroes Global Startup Award in the US represents a move towards strengthening support for entrepreneurs. It highlights the spirit thriving in the startup scene and underscores organizations like Burning Hero’s dedication to nurturing emerging talent.

Published by: Nelly Chavez


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of CEO Weekly.