North Caucasus | Finance, business | Technology & innovation

Plug & Play Tech Center opens in Dagestan

22 Oct '13
Plug & Play, a Silicon Valley-based global business incubator, has opened a new affiliate center in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan – a praiseworthy initiative in a region in Russia’s Northern Caucasus more often in the news for political conflicts and religious extremism than for IT innovations.

As East-West Digital News, the international resource on Russian digital industries, reported earlier this month, the Plug & Play Dagestan Center is located on the Dagestan State Technological University’s campus and plans to support 10-15 startups simultaneously. These projects receive a working space, mentors, legal advice, help with the search for funding, and the opportunity to present their projects to investors after six months.

Finalists from the Dagestan center will then be selected by the Plug & Play International Advisory Council.

Three projects have already been selected as the center’s first residents. Online Marketplace is an ad service interface for buying and selling goods that also allows users to barter. Multiposter allows users to publish news simultaneously on multiple social networks. Meet’s location-based mobile application informs event attendees of all event-related news.

“If there are one or two team members that have a good idea, we would like them to come to California and develop their ideas, so they can experience what life is like for entrepreneurs in California,” Plug & Play founder and CEO Saeed Amidi stated.

This new Plug & Play center is the pet project of Dagestani businessmen Ziyavudrin Magomedov, owner of the Summa Group, which controls vast transport, logistics, oil and telecoms assets, and Magomed Musaev, president of the Global Venture Alliance (GVA).

Neither Summa nor Plug & Play have disclosed the total investment amount or how the development of successful start-ups will be funded.

“Magomedov is someone who connects Dagestan with the rest of the world,” said Nikolai Nikiforov, Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media. “It is an example of business’ social responsibility and personal input in the future of our country.”

Plug & Play, which presents itself as “Silicon Valley in a Box”, claims that its incubated startups it has have raised more than $1 billion since 2006.

In July 2012, Plug & Play opened an affiliate center in Moscow, which however has not developed strong activity so far. Later that year, GVA and the Summa Group announced they will create new Plug and Play affiliates across Russia and other former Soviet republics.
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