More than $1 million invested in Russian tech startups in just 2 days

June 7, 2016 Kira Egorova, RBTH
Russia’s leading startup conference Startup Village took place in a Moscow suburb in the beginning of June, with more than 12,000 people attending from 19 countries.
Startup Village 2016
The total amount of financing secured by startups during the event's two days exceeded $1 million. Source: SK.ru

On June 2 and 3, the Skolkovo Innovation Center hosted Startup Village, which is Russia’s largest conference for technology entrepreneurs. The total amount of financing secured by startups during the event's two days exceeded $1 million.

In the six years since it was founded, Skolkovo has developed from an unknown village outside of Moscow into a major international technology center. With its own foundation for raising investment Skolkovo has 1,500 resident companies, whose combined sales in 2015 exceeded $1 billion, as well as several large-scale projects, including the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) that was established with support from MIT.

“When I first came to Skolkovo four years ago, there were just 100 startups here," recalls Viljakainen Pekka, adviser to Skolkovo Foundation's president. "Today, there are 15 times that number, and with Startup Village this figure is growing.”

Tough competition  

Startup Village hosted the finals of an innovation competition that organizers spent a year choosing from among thousands of young Russian entrepreneurs. First prize went to Multikubik, a portable cordless projector for showing animated and slide films on walls and other surfaces. The projector does not require a memory stick; instead, content is stored in a smart silicon case.

Startup Village 2016 in Skolkovo. Source: SK.ru

In May, Multikubik raised over $107,000 on the Indiegogo crowdfunding website. Thanks to its victory in the Startup Village competition, the company secured a further $45,000 for development.

Second place went to AGCT, a startup working on a treatment of HIV and HIV-associated tumors using stem cell transplants and genome editing. The team was awarded about $30,000. Third place, with a prize of over $15,000, went to Target Medicals for developing a TB drug.

Startup Village 2016 in Skolkovo. Source: SK.ru

In addition, the Foundation for Promoting Innovation summed up the results of the Start competition for tech entrepreneurs from Russia’s regions that was held as part of Startup Village --- 34 projects received investment that totaled over $988,000.

Will Hyperloop come to Russia?

Startup Village featured a presentation of Hyperloop One, a high-speed rail project, based on Elon Musk's idea . As the Vedomosti business daily newspaper reported in mid-May, the company and Russian Railways are discussing possible cooperation.

Hyperloop One's vice-president, Knut Sauer, explained how in just 18 months the company, founded in 2014 by Shervin Pishevar and Brogan BamBrogan, has gone from an idea to building the first short stretch of test track in Nevada, USA. Hyperloop One is a vacuum tube for transporting capsule that will reduce travel time and cut costs. A capsule carrying people or goods will travel inside the tube with a speed of 1,130 kilometers per hour.

Hyperloop One, for example, could reduce travel time between Moscow and St. Petersburg from four hours to 20 minutes. Russian Railways senior vice-president, Valentin Gapanovich, said that he and his colleagues were considering using these capsules in Russia.

Intellect vs. cybercriminals

An important theme at this year’s conference was the issue of cyber security. According to the head of Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, most malicious software is created in China, in the Russian-speaking world, and in South America.

“Cybercrime is one of the fastest-growing economic activities in the world today,” said Kaspersky. "The main customers buying this malware are drug cartels and bank robbers. Kaspersky Lab catches over 300,000 unique cyber criminals every day. We're fighting with human brains." 

The conference also featured a presentation of prototypes of high-security solutions, based on the Tizen operating system, that were developed by Samsung Electronics together with Russian technology companies, NII SOKB, and Infotex.

Their first joint project is a new corporate version of the Samsung Z3 smartphone. “In the future, it can become a prototype for a whole model range of protected smartphones, tablets and notebooks based on Tizen,” said Marat Guriyev, government relations director at Samsung Electronics.  

 

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