TOP-7 Russian accelerators and venture funds in science and technology
To help startups in Russia, we have prepared a list of accelerators and venture funds where you can go ask for investment and business acceleration. Do it!
In the previous article we spoke about accelerators in general: what they give to startups and what startups should give in return. In this article, we will study Russian companies that allow to develop your business.
A renowned project. Even when I did not know what a startup was, I knew what Skolkovo was. This is an innovative complex, a science city that aims to create an enabling environment for the entrepreneurship and science development. This place is still called the Russian Silicon Valley. In the Skolkovo structure there is an industrial park where the companies participants can get help in the following:
- establishment of business processes
- management training
- interaction with Russian and international venture funds
- possibility to use Skolkovo equipment
- scientific and technical expertise, mentors’ help.
One of the Skolkovo advantages is that its financing partly comes from the state and that gives such benefits as tax holidays for startups.
The conditions for selection are as follows:
- the project participant status is assigned to the legal entity that submitted the application;
- depending on the activity, there are 3 types of project participants: startups, a center for applied research and partners research centers;
- to apply you have to fill out an electronic form on the Fund’s website. By this the applicant assumes the responsibility to carry out activities according to the Law and the project rules. Further the application is evaluated.
For more detailed information, read the Regulations on the participant status. There are many advantages and opportunities in Skolkovo, especially since this is the first science city in the post-Soviet time in Russia “from scratch”. But reading the criticism you understand that the situation is the same as with AvtoVaz. :)
What Skolkovo is criticized for:
- most new companies (90%) do not survive more than 2 or 5 years;
- the rest will not be able to expand their business and overcome the $100 million mark;
- self-liquidation of companies participants and startups due to lack of efficient support, original innovations and fierce competition;
- project failure and mass participants withdrawal (60–80%).
Someone may be frightened by such statistics, but nothing ventured — nothing gained. Regarding to startups, one should try and not give up.
AddVenture is one of the Russian venture market leaders. His successful projects were:
- AlterGo — a service for locating, finding places, friends, routes;
- HomeMe — a leading furniture retail in Russia;
- Pixonic — game developer for social networks;
- Delivery Club — food delivery, was sold to Food Panda for $50 million.
According to the venture fund itself, the Addventure team is a team of qualified specialists who have extensive experience in attracting investments.
Sectors where AddVenture works:
- digital e-commerce,
- commerce from the supplier’s warehouse (no inventory),
- eCommerce on the basis of their own production.
A distinctive feature of this fund is that it involves not just money, but “smart money”. For the startup development, Addventure uses its connections and acquaints with the right people.
These guys are most likely perfectionists and do their job perfectly. They have not received any criticism on the Internet.
3. The Internet Initiatives Development Fund
The Russian Venture Investment Fund, established by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives at the Vladimir Putin’s suggestion. Since 2013 the fund remains the most active investment one in Russia.
The peculiarity of the Russian venture investment market is a small number of business angels, private investors working with startups at the earliest stages. This fund solves not only the problem of a startup business, but also the above-described problem with investors. The Foundation trains new investors to invest in Internet startups. In the fund structure there is a business angels club which provides private investors with preferences when working with teams passing through the accelerator.
For a startup, the Fund offers two ways of acceleration: face-to-face and distance. In face-to-face option, in exchange for 7% of the company’s share capital, the participants are provided with a working space and pre seeding. The participants of distance acceleration work with curators and consultants remotely, and the fund does not receive a share in the company. The accelerated startups present their projects to private investors and venture funds representatives and can receive seed investments.
From time to time, the Fund presents its projects to the president of the Russian Federation and, as a rule, all of them can be applied in the state structure.
The federal technological startups accelerator. The peculiarity of this accelerator is to divide the participants into 2 parallel streams:
- teams that have only the idea of the project;
- mature projects.
The latter can claim to participate in one of the GenerationS corporate acceleration fields. And for the beginner projects, there is a training provided to improve the project quality and bring them to the next stage. The fields where GenerationS works:
- increasing the agriculture efficiency, creating “new food”, bio-conversion;
- new media, urban solutions, fashion, design, entertainment industry;
- high technologies in the banking and financial services and products sector;
- new medicines, diagnostic systems, digital medicine;
- metal processing, mining technologies;
- modern energy generation, personal sources and storage devices development;
- solutions for the “Smart City”, housing and utilities management;
- smart production and systems realization, additive technologies.
On the GenerationS website, you can read the projects success cases.
5. Pulsar Venture Capital
The Venture Fund which develops science and technology companies, promotes projects to the markets of Russia and Asia.
One of the requirements for selection is a formed team. After the projects selection at the early stage with potentially successful business ideas, there are trainings and meetings with investors organized to improve the founders’ skills. One of the final stages of the program is an internship in one of the world’s leading innovation centers. The startup receives an investment in exchange for a stake in the project that does not exceed 20%.
The accelerator participants note the high level of organization: lectures by successful entrepreneurs from all over the world, pitch sessions at the best venues, useful practical knowledge in the development and business management field. Read here the reviews about Pulsar Venture Capital.
iDealMachine is a venture fund and a startup accelerator that helps to enter the US market. In 2015 iDealMachine became one of the five best accelerators in the world according to the UBI Global version.
These are the startups iDealMachine work with:
- internet and cloud solutions, e-commerce and mobile applications
- robotics and human-machine interface, artificial intelligence and big data.
The iDealMachine team sticks to the full immersion approach in each startup and develops it to implementation in real business.
In the portfolio of iDealMachine there are 23 companies, 90 market experts, 200 investors around the world.
The accelerator helps to create not just an investment-attractive project, but an independent, fast-growing business. Read the reviews here.
We wanted to write about a private venture company MetaBeta that works on the Lean Startup and Customer Development methodology. In other words, they build a client-oriented business: not creating and then searching for a buyer, but studying the client’s problem and creating something that solves this problem. The ideal principle for getting profit. But not everything was so smooth inside MetaBeta. In 2016, the founders’ views on the development strategy diverged and MetaBeta does not exist anymore.
Dmitry Maslennikov, one of the MetaBeta founders, launches a number of new projects under the brand Disruptive.vc
On its website, Disruptive is described as an unusual startup and gives reasons why (quote):
- we join the startup team as a temporary co-founder, employee or adviser for a long period of 6 months to 2 years. Depending on the level of involvement in the company’s operational work, in addition to shares, we pretend to get paid 2–3 times lower than the similar price of a market specialist.
- we do not invest money, we help to attract investments, but if you think that money is the only thing that lacks, then we are not in the same page.
- the most important thing for us is a team, not an idea or a specific project.
Portfolio companies: 3DPrintus.ru, Digifabster.com, Getmypocket.com, Avoapp.com, CastWeek.com.
*Note: all companies mentioned above were sent a letter with a request to specify the conditions for selecting startups. At the moment the detailed answer came only from Skolkovo.
In this article, we covered only the largest accelerators and funds, but in fact there are much more programs. If you have interest in a particular accelerator, comment below. Pay attention to the following Russian incubators:
Zelbi: Business incubator “Zelenograd” for small businesses engaged in the field of high technology.
NC-Dubna: nanotechnology center “Dubna” realizes a full cycle of services for the startuo development in the field of nanotechnology.
Chernogolovka: Business incubator, RAS scientific center in Chernogolovka
Academpark: Novosibirsk Academgorodok technological incubator
TPStrogino: Technopark Strogino business incubator
OBI: Business-incubator Obninsk
Idea: Innovative business incubator of the Republic of Tatarstan
TBI-NSTU: Novosibirsk State Technical University technological business incubator
Clever: Innovative incubator in Nizhny Novgorod
INGRIA: Business Incubator, technopark of the Republic of Kazakhstan in St. Petersburg
Tyumen-technopark: West Siberian Innovation Center Business incubator
OMRBI: Omsk Regional Business Incubator
Ekbiznes: Ekaterinburg Center for Entrepreneurship Development
innovation-chel.ru: Chelyabinsk region innovative business-incubator.
Biznes-penza.ru: Penza business incubators regional association
IT-park FABRIKA: Astrakhan business incubator for information technologies
Fu2rama: Murmansk Regional Innovation Business Incubator
Wellstart: a smart business projects incubator
MSU: Business Incubator of the Moscow State University M.V. Lomonosov
MPTI: Innovation Center of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Lidertomsk: Tomsk business incubator for IT projects
ChemRar: Innovative Business Incubator
IT-park: Business incubator in high technologies, Kazan
IT-Park Chelny: Business incubator, Naberezhnye Chelny
Innopolis: New city in Russia with developed infrastructure, special economic zone, technopark, Republic of Tatarstan.