Russian Innovations in the Eastern Markets
In the conditions of transformation of the global economy, national venture ecosystems simply cannot develop within closed boundaries
Author – Mikhail Fedotov, Deputy General Director for Finance and Investments and Member of RVC Board.
In the conditions of transformation of the global economy, national venture ecosystems simply cannot develop within closed boundaries. One of the conditions for their effectiveness is open partnership with international players. Therefore, it is altogether natural that the work of Russian Venture Company, LLC (RVC) in international arenas, accompanying projects and advancing Russian technological companies in foreign markets, is playing a more and more significant role with each passing year.
A substantial portion of our achievements on the international level today is provided by the eastern thrust of RVC’s development. The Asian region today is a real driving force in the world economy.
RVC’s key priorities in the Asian region today are focused on China, India, South Korea, and Singapore. Furthermore we support a network of partners in such countries as Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Japan. A very powerful modern industrial and scientific foundation has now been created in these countries, and enormous financial and investment resources have been concentrated. Special attention is being drawn to the fact that the region is no longer just a “world workshop” but is a center for global demand for raw materials and primary resources. These countries are completely serious pretenders to world technological leadership and to forming the technological foundation for the economic future. And it’s not just a matter of increasing demand for innovation and new technology. In most of the countries of the region, this is one of the key elements of the new state economic policy and a priority for regional investment institutions. All these factors determine the eastern thrust of development of Russian governmental development institutions and of innovative and technological companies as a promising and broad “window of opportunity”. On the other hand, beyond a doubt, these markets have their particulars and working with them requires a seriously worked out systematic approach.
We are working actively with governmental institutions in these countries, since their influence on investment and technological policy is determinative. In China, whose venture field today has become one of the largest in the world in terms of volume of capital, our partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology is playing an important role, and in South Korea - with the Korean Technical Venture Fund and the Korean Institute for the Development of Technology.
At the same time, one of the major problems for developing cooperation in Asian markets is the low level at which the parties are informed about each other’s specific possibilities and about the existing institutions and tools that allow these possibilities to become mutually implemented. For just this reason RVC pays particular attention to popularizing such possibilities, including through participating in special events designed to overcome existing knowledge barriers and organizing these events.
Since 2015 RVC has regularly interacted with Asian business in such global arenas as the “Innoprom” Forum, the Global Business Summit, and the exhibition-fair of the BRICS countries. In 2017 the portfolio companies of RVC funds took part in the Korean High-Tech Business Week, The Second Smart Cities India Conference, and the Second Chinese-Russian “Investments in Innovation” Forum. Participation in these events is bringing substantial results. The first specialized Russian-Chinese forum organized by RVC drew very intense attention from Chinese investors to Russian developments, and the active participants in it were representatives of 16 investments funds, financial institutions, and major participants in China’s innovative ecosystem, including Shenzhen Capital, TUS Holding, CASIC, and Magic Stone Alternative.
A second important thrust of our work is building direct contacts with investors, corporations, and venture associations in the profile arenas of the Asian countries. This makes it possible to resolve issues of mutual support when going out into the international market. In China RVC collaborates actively with the Venture Committee of the All-China Association for the Financial Advancement of Science and Technology and the Zhongguancun Association for Direct and Venture Investment, as well as such investment-financial structures as the Shanghai Funds Exchange, China Equity, Hiway Capital, the Bank of Harbin, and others. In India we work with the Indian Association of Technoparks and Business Incubators (ISBA); in Singapore, with the technological arenas SWITCH (Singapore Week of Innovations and Technologies) and TechInnovation, the National Research Fund (NRF), and the Singapore Business Federation, as well as with the recently created Singaporean state agency SGInnovate. We are already in our fifth year of collaboration with the Singaporean ecosystem and traditionally present the best Russian developments for exhibition as part of the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technologies, which this year will take place from 18 to 20 September, where five high-tech startups from among the graduates of the GenerationS accelerator will present their projects.
Active work in these two areas lets us not only increase interactions with our eastern partners; in the course of those interactions it also allows positioning of Russian ecosystem projects for investors of the region: the startup generator GenerationS, the private high-tech company leaders project “National Champions”, and the TechSuccess rating. It should also be noted that today these domestic programs are already attracting intense attention from venture investors, governmental institutions, and private technological companies.
We have gained good momentum in developing the eastern vector of our international cooperation, and, summing up this very brief overview, I’d like to say one other thing.
In the modern economy, changes are occurring very, very fast. Investors are sensitive to technical innovations, and Asian investors in these issues are among the leaders today. Quite recently they actively invested in developing the online to offline service sector, but now they are actively shifting their investment focus toward artificial intelligence technologies, robot technology, large data collections, financial technologies, education, and medicine. The “Eastern Express” of technological investments is gaining speed and Russian innovations now have plenty of chances not only to watch this process “from the platform” but also to obtain additional resources for their own development. Mikhail Fedotov