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Trends and risks in current venture investing

June 01, 22:17 UTC+3
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CHALLENGES:

  • Russias unstable venture investment market

“In 2015–2016, the market shrank dramatically with many investors leaving. Despite the available infrastructure and formal efforts to establish multiple institutions <…> and instruments – from accelerators to various funds, the market is quite unstable,” said Alexander Povalko, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Management Board, RVC.

  • The challenge of going commercial

“We have fairly good capacities <…> in terms of research and not so good history of converting this into marketable technologies and solutions that could be further developed”, added Alexander Povalko.

“Our venture market has a problem with shifting from venture capital to private equity and corporate investments from strategic investors and ultimate beneficiaries, who are going to develop and scale up the products,” said Vasily Belov, Senior Vice President for Innovation, Skolkovo Foundation.

“Right now, marketing and client reach are the biggest cost. Creating a product is pretty easy today, while winning a new customer is a real challenge. We all know some amazing companies with excellent products that have not progressed much because of poor sales and scaling,” said Victor Orlovsky, Managing Partner, MoneyTime Ventures.

  • Underdeveloped venture investment infrastructure in Russia

“67% of public companies’ revenue comes from state-controlled companies. <…> What they invest <…> into the fast-growing high-tech businesses is extremely low,” said Vasily Belov.

“Corporate culture is the key priority. It is very difficult to manage a corporate venture fund, even in such corporations as Google, Intel or IBM, while these are probably the world’s best corporate venture funds,” said Victor Orlovsky.

“It is a well-known fact that the most successful companies <…> and Silicon Valley undertakings are still sourcing their initial investment from friends, family and angel investors. I believe that having no proper business angels in the ecosystem is a real problem,” said Dmitry Korobkov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ADV.

“It is still inconvenient to do many things because of the laws that are not very comfortable for such investments. It is a purely regulatory issue not easily changeable because of the traditional legal framework,” said Arkady Dvorkovich, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

SOLUTIONS:

  • Venture investors and venture projects are set to target the global benchmark

“What new companies face today, they've won their global [place] <...> You need to tap into networks all around the world,” said Martin Roscheisen, Chief Executive Officer, Diamond Foundry Inc.

“B2B only has two destinations in this world: one means breaking into the US as the largest market focused particularly on B2B, and the other is China, but that one is particularly challenging. In this context, you make a model, you build a high-tech business, and then you break into the global markets,” said Alexander Galitsky, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Almaz Capital.

  • Government support, including tax benefits

“International experience cannot be overlooked, particularly that in the UK, where <...> private investors, business angels, are offered significant tax benefits in exchange for supporting seed start-ups and holding their stock in the longer term. A particular role is played by an awareness-raising programme run by the government to promote entrepreneurship and business angels. Angels bring something beyond money alone as they contribute their mentoring and knowledge,” said Dmitry Korobkov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ADV.

  • Boosting the culture of entrepreneurship

“The culture and approaches of major corporations to this matter must be changed,” said Arkady Dvorkovich.

“The spirit of entrepreneurship is the key to success <...>. This emotional side is the one to be tackled,” said Dmitry Korobkov.

“University-based entrepreneurship, universities as centres driving innovation. On top of promoting entrepreneurship with students and the youth altogether, dedicated skills must be taught in high school and in universities,” said Arkady Dvorkovich.

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