OneSoil team_cover

Who works at the startup OneSoil and why

Our team develops applications and an online platform for precision farming that are based on big data and machine learning methods. The initiative came from two friends, and the project began life in 2014. At the end of 2017, OneSoil received investments from the Haxus and Bulba Ventures funds. This enabled the team to take their work to the next level.
OneSoil founders Usevalad Henin and Slava Mazai met four years ago at the Belagro exhibition (an annual agricultural event for professionals — OneSoil) in Minsk. Both were looking for a new way to apply their skills. Slava, a programmer by trade, had been fond of aerial drone photography for several years. Vsevolod, an expert on Geo-Information Systems, worked in the agriculture sector. In the beginning, the guys did work for farmers by request. Slava would take pictures from a drone, and Vsevolod would make maps for the differentiated application of fertilizers based on their analysis. The amount of data from the fields was increasing over time, and it became clear that processing this information required automation.

In 2016, Sasha Yakovlev became the third founder of OneSoil. Back then, he lived in Argentina. He began to develop the product and look for the first business contacts in Latin America. At the same time, the idea arose that accumulated data can be processed via machine learning. Sasha spoke to a childhood friend Arseny Anisimovich, a specialist in machine learning. With his help, the team began to process the data and develop their first prototypes, in particular, on yield analysis based on satellite imagery.

At the same time, the back-end developer Evgeny Voronets joined the team. He began to create an online platform for precision farming. It was planned that farmers would receive access to it on a paid subscription basis. Soon electronics engineer, Nikita Bedunkevich, and data analyst Christina Butsko joined the team — that's how the backbone of the OneSoil team was formed. The office was provided for free by Business Incubator of Belarus Hi-Tech Park in Minsk. The whole team worked on pure enthusiasm. For a year and a half, no one received a salary.

Since that moment, the new OneSoil team began to participate in various Belarusian hackathons and IT-conferences.

As company founders joke, the main feature of the OneSoil startup is that people really like it, especially in such an agriculture-oriented country as Belarus.
At this time, Arseny Kravchenko, the current head of the R&D team of Wannaby startup, was also involved in the work of OneSoil. Alexander Chekan, one of the partners of the Haxus investment fund, actively provided his expertise and connections.

In 2017, Belarussian entrepreneur Yury Melnichek, the founder of Maps. me and AiMatter, became interested in OneSoil. He suggested they change the startup concept — make a free platform that would provide access to analytics to farmers from around the world in real time.

After receiving investments from the Haxus and the Bulba Ventures funds, the pace of OneSoil's work accelerated. New people joined the team, and now thirteen employees are engaged in the creation of an online platform for precision farming.

OneSoil team

Slava Mazai_OneSoil SEO
Slava Mazai, CEO
I'm an engineer by education. Though, in OneSoil I almost don't do technical work. I manage the team, communicate with farmers, investors and lawyers. All this is a new experience and challenge for me, which I gladly accept. In particular, I had to overcome a fear of public speaking.

It was quite difficult to find people to join our team, because very few experts in the world work with the same type of data we do. There is a lot of information, all the data is in different formats, and companies rarely approach its analysis as comprehensively as OneSoil does. In the end, we managed to find specialists that were ready to throw themselves into this sector.

Unlike some of my friends, I enjoy my work. Earth, agriculture, maps, drones, satellites — I love all of it. Almost every day we communicate with farmers and often go to the fields, which is my favorite part of the job. In the future, I'd like to see OneSoil products help farmers from all over the world use their land to 100%.
Sasha Yakovlev_OneSoil Head of Product
Sasha Yakovlev, Head of Product
In 2016, I lived in Argentina, and I came to Belarus for a summer vacation. Slava is an old friend of mine, and we met up to go kayaking. He told me about an idea they'd worked on with Vsevolod. I was impressed and began to help the guys remotely. Soon enough, I'd packed up everything, took my family back to Belarus and joined them. Now, I am responsible for product development at OneSoil.

I have an engineering background and a lot of design experience. This helps me understand users and how the whole system works from the inside. We are building a technologically complex product that should be simple and understandable for users. It's complicated and interesting. OneSoil has a rare opportunity, for technology companies, to create things that are useful for the real world and receive feedback very quickly. It's inspiring.

The main value of OneSoil for me is the team. I'm lucky to work with wonderful, motivated and smart people. There are 13 of us, but we do things that nobody else in the world did before. I appreciate the trust of our first users, and the courage with which they try new approaches and technologies in their fields. I dream of our products being used by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Vsevold Genin_ OneSoil GIS specialist
Usevalad Henin, Specialist in Geoinformation Systems
In the second year of studies at the Faculty of Geography of the BSU (Belarusian State  University — OneSoil), I already began to apply my knowledge of geoinformatics in agriculture. Soon after, I threw myself in it. After university, I went on an internship in Germany, Slovakia, and Vietnam. Currently, I am completing postgraduate studies at the Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry at The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

I like that at OneSoil we make an innovative product. The first serious research in this field only began in the late 2000s. The answers to many questions have yet to be found. We are one of the first companies in Eastern Europe that are seriously developing methods of precision farming. The main challenge for me is to make a system that will be really useful for the clients. I would like the company to reach a point when OneSoil products are being used by millions of farmers around the world.
Alexander Kalinovsky_OneSoil Data Scientist
Alexander Kalinovsky, Data Scientist
I studied physics and worked as a research fellow at The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. At one point, I switched to solving computer vision problems and processing medical images. I joined the OneSoil team in January 2018. My department works on the allocation of fields, the definition of crops and stages of their development, monitoring of plants and data visualization for our applications.

Perhaps, the most difficult and interesting task is to locate fields in any place in the whole world with high accuracy. There are few specialists in our sphere, and we often need to come up with very specific solutions. I think that working with this kind of data is very promising. More and more satellites will be launched, the amount of information will increase, and automatic processing will become more relevant.
Christina Butsko_OneSoil Data Scientist
Christina Butsko, Data Scientist
I worked as a data analyst on different projects. In 2016, at one IT conference in Minsk, I met the OneSoil team and offered to help.

I work with geo-data, and it has several important features. First, it is linked to a specific point on a map. Secondly, it changes over time. Thirdly, this data is collected by an equipment that can make errors, and people that can make mistakes. This is very complex and interesting data, and very few people in the world work with it. Questions without answers often appear, and perhaps we will be the first ones to answer them. Being a pioneer in this field is both a great challenge and a nice feeling.
Alexey Sholomitsky_OneSoil Data Scientist
Alexey Sholomitsky, Data Scientist
While studying at university, I met Alexander Kalinovsky, and he offered me to do a coursework on computer vision and medical data processing. After graduating, I worked for six months at a medical institute and then joined OneSoil in February 2018.

I was working on the clarification of field crops, whereas now I'm working on the task of recognizing clouds and shadows. I like that there is freedom in the startup, I can choose what I want to work on. I think that the processing of satellite imagery is a very promising sphere. There are plenty of satellites, they are all different, and specialists who are able to analyze data of this kind are hard to find. I want to develop professionally in this direction.
Nikita Bedunkevich_OneSoil Engineer
Nikita Bedunkevich, Engineer
Before joining OneSoil, I developed educational games for children, then for several years I built my own "smart home". One day my ex-groupmate from BSUIR (The Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics — OneSoil) introduced me to Slava Mazay. He proposed creating a modem that would remotely transfer data from agricultural machinery to the OneSoil online system. Within four months, I completely designed this device. It passed several field tests, and now the modem is under refinement.

My next challenge was the development of a cheap and functional weather sensor. At that time, the whole team worked on a voluntary basis, and often I had to choose between buying food and a chip. Usually, I would go for the second one. Now I'm improving the meteorological sensor.
Evgeny Voronets_OneSoil Back-end Developer
Evgeny Voronets, Back-end Developer
I graduated from BSUIR and after that, I worked four years for a Belarusian company. In 2016, I joined OneSoil. First I was helping the team in my spare time and then moved full time.

The main feature of a precision farming startup is the work with GIS (geographic information system, the system designed to capture, store, analyze, and present spatial data — OneSoil). At first, it was difficult, because I was a classic web developer and used to work with other data. Here at OneSoil, all the data is plotted on the map — they have their coordinates and resolution. That's how my fascinating journey into the world of geoinformation systems began, and it continues to this day.
Dmitriy Kabak_OneSoil Front-end Developer
Dmitriy Kabak, Front-end Developer
I joined OneSoil in February 2018. I had developed OneSoil Scouting and OneSoil Nitrogen web applications and also helped with creating a mobile version for one of them. I like that here at OneSoil we do something useful and tangible. It is especially important for me because for some time I worked in advertising, and there the result of my efforts had always been virtual.

I'm interested in different areas of OneSoil's work, such as engineering tasks and data science. I would like to grow professionally in all directions, but my current task is to develop an online platform for precision farming that would unite all our products.
Ivan Uvarov_OneSoil Product Designer
Ivan Uvarov, Product Designer

I joined the OneSoil team in January 2018. Before that, I lived in Moscow and worked for Yandex. Honestly, if I wasn't interested in the topic of the startup, I would never move to Minsk.

Agriculture is at the very beginning of its technological development, so there is a chance to do something very cool and innovative. In addition, it is very interesting to work on a product that is not virtual, but influences the material world directly — precisely, products we eat. I was in Amsterdam recently and went to the fields to check how the OneSoil Scouting app works in the Netherlands. You walk on the field, you see the state of the specified area with your own eyes — and the smartphone displays the same picture. It's a very cool feeling.
Philip Kondratenko_OneSoil Agronomist
Philip Kondratenko, Agronomist

As a child, I wanted to become a doctor. By coincidence, I went to the Belarusian State Agricultural Academy in Horki. Over time, I realized that a plant is just as much a living organism as a human being. It is the beginning of the whole life chain. Roughly speaking, if there was no agriculture, we wouldn't exist.

After graduating from university, I worked as an agronomist and seed grower on a farm. Then I worked on the district executive committee and the Zhdanovichi agro-industrial complex. At the end of 2016, I had read about OneSoil in an online article and I wanted to join them immediately. I am the main agricultural specialist on the team. The most interesting part about our work for me is the opportunity to simplify everything. In my understanding, the main goal of our future platform is that any person can understand the meaning of each agricultural operation.
Veronika Lindorenko_OneSoil Marketer
Veronika Lindorenko, Marketing Specialist

I've been working in Internet marketing for six years now. While studying at university, I volunteered for a project that promoted e-books by Belarusian authors. I worked as an assistant project manager, PR manager, and marketing specialist. Perhaps, that was the point when I became interested in marketing and technology. In 2015, I was accepted into London Metropolitan University to do a master's degree in Digital Media. I was curious to know how business processes are organized in IT companies and to learn the latest digital technologies. After obtaining my degree, I returned to Belarus and worked in several IT companies and startups, before joining the OneSoil team in the summer of 2018.

Straight away I liked that OneSoil had a good representation in the Belarusian media. Later, it turned out that many of my friends knew about the startup because of our quirky Instagram account. What was my first impression? I was surprised by the tomatoes and peppers that grow on the windowsills in the office; our office manager Katya looks after them. I was also pleased to see a 3D printer there as my thesis covered the topic of 3D printing. OneSoil works with disruptive technologies, and that's what I like about it. Transparency in communication is important for me, and our office is an open space, so work issues are discussed quickly.

I also like the fact that truly experienced specialists work in OneSoil which allows me to learn a bunch of new stuff with their help and guidance. For me, it is important that our free platform aims to help farmers. Of all the products I have promoted, this is the one I really believe in. The truth is, I love to save the world.
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