Co-founders of the startup Dolon
A breakthrough innovation in the mining industry was offered by a startup from Central Asia. So far, correctness of reserve and resource estimation in the mining industry has been around 60%. Due to the Dolon cloud-based solution, reliability of geological data increased significantly.
Mining companies are collecting and updating geological data on a regular basis. The current practice is that 70-80% of geological exploration data is entered into Excel files, the rest is saved in other desktop programs. This data is then transferred to an expert, who conducts research, analyses, estimates reserves and resources, creates 3D models that describe where the mineral resources lie underground. At this stage, problems such as insufficient data or errors caused by human factor may occur. Based on incorrect data, an incorrect map of where the resources lie may be designed. At a mining stage, during data transfer and expert evaluation, mining activities do not stop. Consequently, mining operations can be carried out towards waste rocks. This leads to extra costs. Worldwide, it amounts to 300-400 billion dollars a year.
Dolon is a completely cloud-based platform, accessible from any device in both online and offline (with synchronization of data when Internet becomes available) formats, and connecting all departments, including top management, field geologists, laboratories, surveyors. As all of them work with one data set, the platform ensures data integrity and immediate updates, which can be seen by everyone at any location. The platform has about 20 triggers that check the data for correctness and completeness and highlights errors if any. Dolon also has an integrated 3D tool that allows visualizing all drills and channels using their geological coordinates. To compare, an external tool takes the whole day to generate a 3D design. Dolon generates 3D models immediately, thus reducing required working hours of 40% of employees.
Dolon is a geoscience data management system that provides cross-platform, cloud-based, multi-system, open and multi-device accessibility. It optimizes time for geological analysis, increases the accuracy and number of geological scenarios, provides recommendations on additional exploration measures, and improves risk assessments at early stages. It significantly speeds up and reduces the cost of exploration and mining.
The Dolon team consists of eight mining experts and cloud-based software developers from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, who are co-founders of the startup. They position themselves as a Central Asian startup. The team started working on the project in 2018. In 2019, they developed their first prototype and started first sales.
“Central Asia is a region of talented and flexible people. Many of them realize themselves abroad. If we all synergize our efforts, we can create an IT giant in Central Asia in various industries. We hope that the Dolon startup is an early sign in the mining industry”, says Satar Tursunkul uulu, CEO of the Dolon. “I used to believe that for a startup business idea is of higher importance than team but now I assure that team prevails”.
In 2022, already having tested and finalized its product with more than a dozen mining companies in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the Dolon project was ready to scale. Sawing call for applications in Linkedin, Satar Tursunkul uulu applied for the PEAK Bishkek six-week acceleration programme for tech startups. The acceleration aimed to prepare startups for international scaling and investment through mentorship, trainings and networking with the experienced IT entrepreneurs and investors from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. It was implemented by the PEAK Bishkek Business Innovation Center funded by UK aid from the United Kingdom Government and the MOST Business Incubator from Kazakhstan.
As part of acceleration, individual sessions with potential investors were organized for each programme participant. Dolon managed to attract investors’ interest in the first 15 minutes. As a result of this acceleration programme, Dolon received 500,000 USD at the seed round from the MOST Ventures fund, the UMAY Business Angel Club and a number of Kazakh investors.
“We still receive helpful insights from our mentors and investors. They have a strategic thinking and a great risk management, and we appreciate they support us by sharing their experience, learnings and opportunities. It is so unique and valuable that PEAK is designing such acceleration programmes in Central Asia. For us, as a startup, it unleashed a great opportunity”, says Satar Tursunkul uulu. “The startup ecosystem started developing in Kyrgyzstan, and PEAK is making its pro-active contribution”.
Dolon team with representatives of FCDO and PEAK
Dolon is now planning to scale beyond the CIS countries and go global. The plans of the startup include increasing sales, launch of subscription for individual experts, and introduction of new tools like reserve and resource estimation and AI. The project aims to attract investment for the next round.
Dolon startup is just one of the many startups benefiting from UK Aid support from the United Kingdom Government through the PEAK Enterprise and Innovation Programme in Kyrgyzstan. Since launch of its activities in January 2020, PEAK Kyrgyzstan has completed 26 acceleration programmes for 452 startups and micro, small and medium enterprises, thereby contributing to sustaining 4,172 local jobs, out of which 1,089 are new jobs. The PEAK programme graduates increased their annual revenues on average by 60%. Innovations were introduced by 210 enterprises.