Media publications

Regular articles about life, business, and startups. Contributor of the Russian version of Forbes
Media publications
WOWCube Game System: Combining Education and Technology
The most difficult part was the topology of the device. Not only did it need to rotate mechanically like a Rubik's Cube, but it also needed to do so while supporting electrical and mathematical integrity.

How would we place microprocessors inside the device? How would we make the parts understand their current relative position? How would we provide data transfer and synchronize operations? How would we make the environment work as a single device while performing distributed computing?

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24 march 2020
Ilya Osipov - about creation of the gaming consloe WOWCube
Vremya N
The cube with screens-facets, with moving freely through them characters of puzzle-games, resembles the Rubic's cube by form.

Watch the record of Russian local TV-program (in Russian)
20 march 2020
The native nizhnynovgoroder became finalist of the Edison Awards-2020
Vremya N
The developers of portable gaming console WOWCube, which resembles the Rubic's cube by form, became finalists of the annual American competition Edison Awards-2020 in consumer electronics & information technology nomination.

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10 march 2020
Ilya Osipov, a native of Nizhny Novgorod, won at the innovation exhibition CES 2020 in USA
The Lobachevsky university press center
Ilya Osipov's, a native of Nizhny Novgorod, innovation, won at nomination "People's choise" at the international exhibition Consumer Electronics Show — 2020 (CES 2020) in USA. Lobachevsky university graduate created WOWCube - puzzle in cubical form with 24 digital screens.

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13 january 2020
At CES, the WOWCube Brings the Rubik's Cube Into the 21st Century
Everyone knows about the classic Rubik's Cube. But what if this decades-old puzzle was updated for modern times? It would look something like the WOWCube, which we took a look at during CES 2020.

The WOWCube is a six-sided device that contains four small screens on each side, for a total of 24 displays. Though it looks and feels like a Rubik's Cube, the device is capable of so much more. It comes pre-loaded with games that take advantage of the unique setup.

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9 january 2020
"Our people" at CES in Las Vegas - and how much participation in the most cool technologycal exibition is cost - Russian immigrants media
Russians pimped the Rubic's cube, and created game console on it's baze. This is story of creation of the WOW Cube. Startup's founder Ilya Osipov recount, that the idea of cube with screens has invent his son. Realisation of the idea took time, and the Osipov's company has a patent for number of its developments.

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9 january 2020
The Good Gamer
La respuesta es sí. Ilya Osipov, un ingeniero informático ruso-americano, junto a su hijo Savva, han diseñado WoWCube. Inspirándose en el mítico cubo de Rubik, padre e hijo han dado un paso más allá convirtiéndolo en un rompecabezas electrónico y videoconsola.

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7 january 2020
Wowed By Wowcube
This new twist on the beloved analog Rubik's Cube could be the next Pokemon Go. There's something in it for everyone. As if they were paid shills, the two children at the table next to ours were soon testing out the Wowcube. Indy Valles, age 8, called it "video Lego."

Wowcube, which has been in development for the past two years, consists of 24, tiny 1.4 inch microdisplays. "It's Earth's first twisty game system" said Filin. "We're going to hack human evolution by twisting and shaking!"

Imagine a 2 x 2 inch Rubik's cube, but instead of the sides being a solid color it's covered with high resolution microdisplays instead. Like the original, the video cubelets can be twisted, delivering the click that made the original so satisfying, except these have a tiny CPU inside, which connects to an app by Bluetooth, creating a massive number of possible combinations.

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4 december 2019
WOWCube Gaming Console Gears Up For Launch
The innovative WOWCube gaming console is preparing for production and fielding as the parent company Cubios Inc. closer to product launch.

The WOWCube is a spectacular reimagining of one of the most visionary puzzle games, combining the features of a handheld gadget for apps and a gaming console that immerses the player into a unique blend of physical and digital interaction.

The concept of the WOWCube was proposed by 12-year-old Savva Osipov in early 2016 as an innovative combination of a Rubik's Cube and a number of touchscreens for full tactile immersion into the gaming process. The first prototype of the WOWCube based on Arduino was developed in 2017.

At the beginning of 2019, Cubios Inc. signed a crucial contract with its manufacturing partner in Shenzhen and started rigorous preparation of the production pipeline for full scale launch.

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9 september 2019
INVENTORSHIP: what is it, and what is getting earnings from it
Inventor and founder of the startup WowCube Ilya Osipov is telling us, how he has invented a puzzle and has sold rights to it to the American toys producer company.

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16 july 2019
რუსი მეცნიერი: მაპატიეთ, რომ ქვეყანა, რომლის მოქალაქეც ვარ, ჩემი ბავშვობის ზღაპრულ ქვეყანას ემტერება
"It's hardest pain, that the country of my citizenship offends the country from fairy tales, from my childhood": Georgian media notice inventor Ilya Osipov's point of view of the relations between The Kremlin and Georgian nation-state.

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13 july 2019
WOWCube: more, than just a game
WOWCube is a family project of IT-entrepreneur from Nizhny Novgorod, Ilya Osipov, and his 14-years old son, Savva.
In 2012 Ilya sold his business and moved to California.
Not to miss in America, he begin to explore apparate part of computer technics, using simple single-PCB computers like Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

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01 june 2019
Entrepreneur, father of a student participant in TechCrunch Disrupt 2018 Ilya Osipov: "I use the principle of primitive people in education"
Yesterday, September 5, one of the world's largest technology conferences, TechCrunch Disrupt, started in San Francisco, for which, for the first time, a 13-year-old schoolboy Savva Osipova from Russia was invited to participate - he now lives with his family in the United States. In an interview with Rusbase, the father of a young gametech entrepreneur, Ilya Osipov, spoke about participation in the conference and the role of Sawa in the WOWCube game project, methods of education, moving to the USA and the career of a serial entrepreneur.

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06 sep 2018
Entrepreneur, father of a student participant in TechCrunch Disrupt 2018 Ilya Osipov: "I use the principle of primitive people in education"
Yesterday, September 5, one of the world's largest technology conferences, TechCrunch Disrupt, started in San Francisco, for which, for the first time, a 13-year-old schoolboy Savva Osipova from Russia was invited to participate - he now lives with his family in the United States. In an interview with Rusbase, the father of a young gametech entrepreneur, Ilya Osipov, spoke about participation in the conference and the role of Sawa in the WOWCube game project, methods of education, moving to the USA and the career of a serial entrepreneur.

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06 sep 2018
El joven prodigio de 13 años que ha convertido el cubo de Rubik en videoconsola
"The apple doesn't fall far." The Russian version of our saying "Such a stick, such a splinter" may seem more juicy but it is just illustration. And in the story of Ilya Osipov and his son Savva, it is also completely true. Ilya, the father, is a well-known technology entrepreneur, gamification expert, founder of some of the largest web projects in his country and a regular contributor to specialized media. Savva's curriculum is not yet so bulky (he has not yet 14) although he threatens to overcome that of his father in a short time.

Read more (in Spanish)
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2 august 2018
"Kickstarter is just hyping": the WowCube team on the quirks of a hardware startup
Dozens of cases are known, when a project launched on a Kickstarter was copied and then sold on eBay and AliExpress in a few weeks, literally. That is why, when my son Savva and me decided to start a gaming console project, the first thing to do was to hire a patent attorney.

Right now we are waiting for the decision of the US Patent Bureau and have already received an answer from their Russian colleagues: they awarded our device the invention status. The purpose of obtaining a patent is not only to ensure copy protection. this also hastens fund raising: investors are more willing to invest in a project with registered intellectual property.

After advance preparation, you can pass over to searching for funding. Keep in mind, however, that it is wrong to perceive Kickstarter as a goldmine, where anyone can get money for anything. This is how Evgheny Zhukov, who has launched many campaigns on this platform, puts it.

Evgheny has been working as a crowdfunding marketing consultant since 2012. Now, he is fundraising for WowCube. Even if Kickstarter pays for the marketing costs, it is a victory already. Most often, this platform works as an efficient marketing tool, says Zhukov.

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How I rejected ICO and raised $500 000 in investments for my startup
Three deals were made in two days in direct negotiations, just by shaking on them and only then signing written contracts. It took longer (about two months) to talk to the fourth potential investors, but I wanted to have him in my team very much.

As a result, we closed the seeding session with $500 000 on hand, with no pain in the neck and law violations. When I choose ICO, I have to disclose the idea to thousands of strangers, ruin the intrigue, be plagued by the necessity to convert cryptocurrency to fiat money, pay for the design and placement of advertising, answer the questions of potential microinvestors 24/7, etc., and still I cannot be sure that I will be able to collect enough money in a legal way.

By contrast, I find the only drawback in the classical scheme: you have to share your project with the investors. This is always hard. On the other hand, it is counterbalanced by the possibility to raise money provided by professional venture capital funds at round A, which is de facto impossible for many projects who choose ICO.

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The Ages of Pioneers
What will happen to the blockchain and cryptocurrencies? I predict that this bubble will continue to grow and then will burst, as it happened to dot-coms in 2000.

It will be a huge crash, but those startups, which will be able to build a viable model by that moment, will survive. Then, a huge number of people will have wallets with cryptocurrencies in them. Therefore, even devaluated by hundred times, they will still work: the networking effect of the million customers connected will be unstoppable. The market will heal in a few years, but the value of the blockchain-based companies will grade up to the value of all conventional companies.

At the end of the 1990s, they said that if you were not on the Internet, you will be out of business. This seemed to be hugely overstated and purely visionary. Now, there is almost no business that would not use the Internet to this or that degree.

Unfortunately, most people misunderstand the concepts of the bitcoin and the blockhain. Their main values are not in themselves, as they are. Their main value is the turnover of the token, which is ensured by a blockchained infrastructure that standardizes the related operations: emission of tokens, sales of tokens, exchange, use, possession of tokens, etc.

It matters little, whether you understand or not, how it works. Most people do not understand, how the current classical financial system operates. It is not necessary. What matters is that people can use it.

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Ilya Osipov. To make it in the USA, you have to become an American
Sekret Firmy
I can make an example of a successful project from France. They sell the hot line messenger services to major retail companies. In Europe, the company rose more than €20 mln in investments, and the founders decided it was time to conquer the USA. They rented an office in the SF downtown, hired sales officers, and started to seek investors. After a year, they closed the office and went back home. It turned out that all investment proposals only reduced the capitalization of the company, because Americans are interested only in the profit made by a company in the USA. They do not care for other countries. The profit of a startup, which has just entered the US market, is clearly incomparable with that, which they had in France.

Only well-developed companies having powerful products can expect that their launch in the USA will be relatively smooth. For them, the USA is not the ultimate goal, but only a new area for future expansion. There are few Russian companies that can boast this. I can mention, for example, amoCRM, they are opening a US Office.

However, not everyone who fails to succeed in the Valley, leaves. There are those who stay and start anew, allowing for the experience of their failures and the accumulated knowledge of the local markets. Sometimes, such people create service companies, sometimes, they code as outsourcers. I know a man who sent to college and obtained a building permit to make ends meet, and then contrived a business interfacing Internet technologies and construction works. Another one was a long-distance trucker for some time, and then decided to create a software application of his own. To win recognition in the Valley, one has to change, to become an American to some extent.

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Life and business in California: the revelations of an entrepreneur from Nizhny Novgorod
Delovoy Kvartal
My two partners and me got in on a construction project: we bought a single-story restaurant, in a very bad state, but a very good location, just to get the land it stood on. We made drawings of the development and submitted them to the City Hall (the San Francisco's Mayor's Office) to get a permit. However, the Neighborhood Association in that area were dead set against our project and lodged a written objection with the Mayor's Office. Having consulted our lawyers, we found out that it would take 18 through 24 months to resolve this issue. That is why we just put up the restaurant, which we had been planning to demolish, for sale, with the land plot. It was sold after a month. As a result, we started a different project, which is developing successfully now."

The main challenge, Ilya Osipov says, is to obtain a construction permit.

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A founder's advice Ilya Osipov, an founder
The best and smartest experts equipped with the knowledge of the past are unable of assessing promising ideas. Everybody knows how Sergey Brin and Lary Page were trying to sell their search engine to Yahoo!, and how experts "assessed" their proposal.

Study the biographies of the most successful people and try to replay their stories. Look at the outcomes. I don't believe that there are any true receipts of success: each successful case has a story to disprove it. Each successful person, each creator of a project has its own unique success story. Only Leo Tolstoy could think that all happy families are alike. Successful people are different.

A startup entrepreneur should understand the degree of the risk he's facing. Sure, the probability of a project's success is not very high. Sure, it will fail, most probably. Now, raze it from your mind and stop doubting. Doubt hinders progress. I have met people who went on implementing projects and still were tortured by doubts.

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Ilya Osipov. Favorite mistakes of investors
Sekret Firmy
I have given you a rather exhaustive list of the reasons why you should not invest in startups. Why, then, do I not shy away from the role of a business angel myself? The matter is that at earlier stages of their development, projects cannot be assessed by any rational methods, especially when all you have is just an idea and a team backing it. Neither a weighty business plan, nor experts' review, nor team members' merits, nor bright ideas are an ironclad guarantee of the success.

An investor's talent is a special gift. If you feel you have such a gift and see a worthy team, try it. As an old saying goes, winnings are twice as sweet as earnings. The money you will earn from a successful startup investment will be ten times as sweet. This is a triumph of talent, luck, and intellect.

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Ilya Osipov. Why I did not take money from the state
Sekret Firmy
And so the talks started: the Fund Director, Deputy Director, an ambitious employee, and a lawyer on their side, and some people, on our side. Then, after almost a year of our cooperation, I learn that we are required, as an ultimatum, to give away 7% of the company shares in return for "intermediary services". according to the agreement draft, RVC (Russian Venture Company) should have receive about 35% of the company shares, and we should have found a private investor who would have make coinvestments and obtained 10% of the company shares.

The talks were long and hard. I stood my grounds saying that 7% for mediation was too much. In the long run, we came to an amicable agreement deciding that they would receive 3% of the shares and 3% of the amount of the raised funds, granted, however, that RVC would provide the funding to us. We signed all the papers, and suddenly RVC rejected our request, despite all the connections of the fund employees.

By that instant, I had totally lost interest in any cooperation with state-owned funds.

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Private experience: Three simple ways to make a partnership program work
VC.RU | Business and technologies
We removed the cross in the top right corner of the window and made the window "modal", i.e., it ceased to disappear after a click out of its frame. Moreover, such clicks were made idle. We added an additional button: "No, I will not help!"

Thus, the user had to choose between only two options: to help, or not to help. The trick was in that he could refuse to help only by saying it directly. There was no way to elude this choice.

It worked. It turned out that we managed to drive the user to a psychologic trap: you should either refuse to help, or agree to help. Since most people prefer staying "on the light side", we received 73% positive answers.

Surely, most of them fail at the next step and, on seeing the interface for inviting friends, refrain from using it. However, the K-factor that we achieved was equal to 4%, i.e., we doubled the number of recruited users.

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NN.RU: Creating the main Internet portal of a region and selling it to a corporation at a profit
The Village
We kept creating new functionality by focusing on people's needs, for example, we made a notice board analogous to the American Craigslist, and a virtual mail service. Our progress was similar to the story of Arsen Tomsky, who implemented his projects in Yakutia.

In 2003, we offered what is called "social networking" now. Initially, it was a bulletin board for private messages organized as internal correspondence. We designed expanded personal profiles, built-in blogs, announcements, users' recommendations. Later, creation of galleries and video blogs became technologically feasible. This attracted people, and they kept coming back.

Online communication of portal users went offline soon. In 2001, one of them invited others to a party in a park, to celebrate his birthday. I also went and was amazed to see about two hundred people there. Afterwards, we said to each other jokingly that we should get approval from the state for such events. Hundreds of people would come to barbecue parties in May year after year. Later, we really started to get approvals from the municipal authorities, when thousands started to attend such meetings.

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Who establishes the borders of what is tolerated?
Political News Agency, Nizhny Novgorod
Why is that that when all commit petty offences, one is taken and treated to the maximum, with all the rigour of the law? Actually, the legal framework of our country is identical, and the church is not separated from it in any way. And we have no formal "law of the place", which was mentioned here. It could happen in the Pokrovskaya Street, in a private club, or elsewhere. And what would happen then? I suppose, everyone can guess. They would've been arrested by the militia, and released the same day in the evening. It is normal. But somebody decided that these girls should be flogged. And this is not normal.

I think that the state behaved like a bad moderator. This is just one aspect. It had more rights and it lost its face doing what they did.

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Internet startup: secrets of success
Actually, the volume of minimal investments can be very small. Projects are frequently prototyped out of pocket money. The source of funding at the zeroth stage of a startup are often the so-called "three F's": friends, family, and fools. You can always borrow 10 or 20 thousand dollars from friends, and then demonstrate an operable prototype to a venture investor.

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The birthplace of codes
Iosilevich and Osipov are legends of the Nizhny Novgorod Internet. In 1999, they created, the city portal. "Internet is a global thing, but people always have local interests, they would like to talk to their neighbors," says Ilya Osipov.

The partners began earlier than "V Kontakte (VK)" and "Odnoklassniki (OK)", but they skimmed the cream off the milk in their native city. "In five years after the launch of the site, they started to recognize us in the streets, like some showbiz stars," jokes Ilya. is still the most popular Web site in the city. It is visited by 70 thousand people a day, and its monthly income is RUR 2.5 mln. However, the low-ceiling problem has become significant already in the mid-2000s.

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The first anniversary of the Nizhny Novgorod Press Club
Vremya N
Yes, there will be excesses. Moreover, a new format is being established: nobody wants to read long texts on the Internet, two or three paragraphs max, and you move along, casting a glance at the pictures. Maybe, in the worst scenario, there will be no place for high-quality journalism. Or maybe… One of the copyfighters once declared that information tends to be free.

I think that with time, information will become not only free of charge, it will have a negative cost, and the value will be generated by those who provides filters for data sorting. Time, which a person has, is finite, and the bulk of information is enormous. In this sense, Google is an example of that very information filter, a purgery that separates useful data from white noise, of which there are terabytes and terabytes on the Internet.

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It is unfair to match the growth of the city against destruction of historic – Ilya Osipov
We are concerned not only about the part, but also about Gorky Street and Osharskaya Street, where an office center is built under the supervision of Mr. Sorokin. We feel concern about Ilyinskaya Street, Plotnichny Lane, Pecherskaya Street. It is an abomination to argue that "this house will be qualified as a historical monument, but that one will not". There are historical street ensembles, which we should preserve and adore, and not destroy.

We have to fight for it and be very aggressive. I think that if we stand back, then in the nearest future only two streets, Rozhdestvenskaya and Bolshaya Pokrovskaya, will be the remnants of the entire historic part of Nizhny Novgorod.

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Birzha for startups
For interesting projects, there is the format provided by Kickstarter, IndiGoGo, and Boomstarter in Russia. "This format is quite justified. One can say that it is a tax of some kind for an unqualified investor. The remuneration, though, in this case is not the shares, but the product itself. Quite acceptable for investing, say, a thousand roubles.

There are more serious sites, though. For example, has investment syndicates. And a distinguished investor says, "Here is a new star. I have looked at it, studied it. I do believe and am investing 100 000. Join us." And the belief that some independent actor had studied the matter and is investing in it, works and offers hope that others can be lucky too. Then, there is the format of Fans donate small amounts monthly for somebody to implement interesting projects, in every field, from music, science, and art to Internet projects. It is especially popular with owners of YouTube channels.

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Silicon Valley, in fact, is a low-rise IT village stretched along San Francisco Bay
Prigorod Life
San Francisco is growing and developing rapidly, although from the viewpoint of overregulation this is one of the worst in the USA (a huge amount of limitations of all possible kinds). Nevertheless, properly speaking, I live on a peninsula, which is surrounded on three sides by the ocean and the bay, and on the fourth, famous Silicon Valley starts. There is not enough space in the city, and to build something, you usually have to destroy something. The demand is huge, Internet companies are moving gradually from the Valley to San Fran, invading the downtown and new business districts in SoMa.

Young employees of growing Internet companies, even those in the Valley, would often prefer to live in San Francisco. It is fun, much happens here, it's rich in cultural events, it is tolerant.

The City combines interests of a multitude of nationalities. There is an Italian district, Chinatown, Japantown, there many Russians and former USSR natives, the Russian speech is everywhere. Often, it seems there are no locals at all.

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Nizhny Novgorod activists gather signatures for the Mayor's resignation
Meanwhile, an initiative group headed by the blogger Ilya Osipov in Nizhny Novgorod started gathering signatures of NN residents in furtherance of the Mayor's resignation and already sent the first batch collected (about 1000 signatures) to the RF President's Administration. On July 18, a meeting under slogans demanding that Sorokin should be removed from office took place in Nizhny Novgorod. The political analyst Alexander Kynev noted that "civic engagement has grown sharply in the recent two years, which is due to the citizens' concern over massive real estate developments, and Sorokin's connections with the development business is well known."

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My inventions relate to two major areas within the progress of engineering technologies and computer science, the first being computer-based devices or elements of such devices (e.g., gaming consoles), and the second, ways of implementation of online platforms which intensify social communications.
Go to the Inventions page