Central regions | Finance, business | Technology & innovation

Russia launches new funds for start-ups with global ambitions

20 Jun '17
The Skolkovo Foundation earlier this month announced the launch of Skolkovo Ventures, a group of three new investment funds to focus on IT, industrial technology, and biotech, East-West Digital News reported, citing Vasily Belov, the CEO of Skolkovo Ventures.

The funds, which have been set up in partnership with the state-backed fund of funds RVC, will operate out of an office in the Skolkovo Technopark on the outskirts of Moscow. Mr. Belov formerly served as the Foundation’s senior vice president for innovations.

He said in an explanation of the reasons for setting up a commercial venture fund that “as a state institution that supports a large number of start-ups, we see a deficit of money, and in particular, money that would allow companies to grow and enter foreign markets.”

The new funds will focus on helping companies go global and attract foreign investment, he added.

According to the CEO, each of the three funds has around $39m in capital, with RVC expected to ante up as much as $26m for each fund.

Skolkovo Ventures has inked partnerships with three existing private venture funds specializing in each of its focal areas: iTechCapital (IT), I2BF (industry), and Primer (biomed).

The IT fund will invest in star-tups working in areas that include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and big data. The industrial fund will also focus on AI, as well as the Internet of Things, robotics, energy, and space; while the biomed fund would look primarily for companies that have already reached phase I and II clinical trials, according to representatives of the three partnering funds.

Skolkovo Ventures will primarily support Skolkovo’s resident start-ups, but up to 30% of its capital can be invested in other start-ups with international ambitions, said Alexander Korchevsky, a partner at I2BF.
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