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MTS Venture Fund will invest 1 billion rubles. in startups

Source: Vedomosti

Other operators fear a venture model.

As the MTS representative Alexey Merkutov told Vedomosti edition,the MTS Board of Directors approved the arrangement of a corporate venture Fund, which will invest 1 billion rubles in the next two years startups on telemedicine, cybersport, the Internet of things and in other directions.

Last year, MTS launched the MTS Startup Hub accelerator, which consulted projects, granted them, and allowed the most mature ones to the client base and operator infrastructure. During the 2018, she conducted two sets and spent 30 million rubles on the development of startups. As Merkutov specifies, the new Fund will invest not only in accelerator projects, but also in external ones.

Vladimir Sakovich, Managing Director of Skolkovo Ventures, and Alexey Basov, Investment Director of the Russian Venture Company (RVC), note the trend towards creating corporate venture Funds in Russia. Last year, 27 corporations in Russia acted as active investors and made 77 deals, which was 3 times more than in 2017, according to RVC statistics. As Basov says, the global volume of corporate venture capital investments in 2018 exceeded $ 50 billion. Over 700 venture funds with corporate capital operate on the global market, from which more than a third appeared in 2018.

The partner of iTech Capital Alexey Soloviev is sure that MTS arranges an ecosystem with the help of M&A and accelerator, but a number of companies have already outgrown the accelerator and are not large enough to be bought. This gap will be covered by the Fund.

MTS will have to compete for startups in the highly competitive telecom market, as many projects do not want to associate themselves with corporations, he says.

Vimpelcom (operating under the Beeline brand) does not plan to create a corporate Fund: the operator focuses on less risky and more cost-effective ways to create innovations, which is what the special unit does, says a representative, Anna Aybasheva.

The venture model is risky due to the high costs and the need to test a lot of hypotheses, and Megafon decided to develop external partnerships and internal development, says the operator's representative. The two models are close in meaning, but the second one allows you to return investments faster and spend less energy.

A representative of T2 RTK Holding (Tele2 brand) did not respond to Vedomosti’s request.

Author: Egor Sonin

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