TechCrunch was proud to host Silkroad Innovation Hub at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco. Here’s an overview of their Breakout session.
For centuries, tradesmen from the Far East traversed the Great Silk Road transporting valuable goods and ideas to the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. Now, a digital version — the Silkroad Innovation Hub — fosters connection and opportunity for entrepreneurs, founders and startups in Central Eurasia’s booming IT and tech ecosystem. At this Disrupt 2023 session, the panel discussed the burgeoning startup ecosystem, rapidly growing venture capital market, strategic government partnerships and cross-border investment opportunities featuring key players from Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Asset Abdualiyev, CEO and Founder, Silkroad Innovation Hub
Asset Abdualiyev serves as the CEO and founder of Silkroad Innovation Hub, a thriving startup community in Silicon Valley catering to entrepreneurs hailing from Central Eurasia. With a robust background in strategy and operations, he has previously held roles at Taskrabbit.com, McKinsey & Company, and the Almaty mayor’s office. Additionally, Asset is an angel investor and startup adviser. He also sits on the boards of Kazakhtelecom, the foremost telecommunications operator in Central Asia, and the American University of Central Asia, a leading institution for liberal arts education in the region. Asset holds master’s degrees from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Kennedy School, and the University of Dundee.
Abdulahad Kuchkarov, Executive Director, IT Park Uzbekistan
Abdulahad Kuchkarov has an extensive background in business, with over four years of experience as the executive director and COO at IT Park Uzbekistan. He is responsible for the overall management and direction of the company, including strategic planning and partnerships, financial management, and staff supervision. Under his management, IT Park has launched a startup incubator and accelerator, and IT centers all over the Republic of Uzbekistan, and established successful partnerships with many international organizations. Before his current position, he was the CEO of GroundZero, where he built a system, wrote regulations and quality standards, and scaled up the co-working network. Abdulahad holds a Master of Business Administration in IT management from IUBH Internationale Hochschule and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Uzbekistan.
Inara Valiyeva, Acting Chairperson of Innovation and Digital Development Agency, Innovation and Digital Development Agency of Azerbaijan
Inara Valiyeva serves as the head of Innovation and Digital Development Agency for less than a year. She previously worked for local G-Cloud provider AzinTelecom as deputy director; Ders Evi, a local education provider, as deputy CEO; and huge MNC, Procter & Gamble as marketing director. She is an exceptional business leader, coach, and mentor, and is driving innovation ecosystem development and digital transformation of Azerbaijan by applying her expertise in organization building, change and people management. Her passion for capacity building and coaching has inspired countless professionals to achieve their full potential.