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Interview: Venture capital catalyst for innovation in Russia

18.01.2014

Interview: Venture capital catalyst for innovation in Russia

by Han Liang, Igor Serebryany

MOSCOW, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) - Venture capital funds have nurtured Russia's national innovation system, said a top official with state-owned Russia Venture Company.

Russia's venture market was the fastest-growing market in Europe, and ranked fourth in Europe in 2012 in terms of numbers, chief executive officer of the company, Igor Agamirzian, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Established in 2006 by the Russian government, the company serves as an incubator for high-tech startups in the country as well as a channel to the venture capital.

With more venture capital flowing into such fields as digital automatized production, alternative energy, and biotechnology, Russia gradually improved its national innovation system, he said.

The venture market also witnessed an increase of professionals participating in the sector, who brought with them expertise, he noted.

Agamirzian said that most of the venture capital in Russia was invested in the internet industry and electronic technologies, with electronic commerce attracting about half of the venture capital, while other sectors are under-invested.

He did not see online social networks as a promising sector for investment. "New projects in that sector would hardly be as successful and large-scale as they used to be 10 years ago," he noted.

He suggested that the venture investors should focus on the sectors promising explosive growth in a few years later, instead of short-term interest.

"This is like shooting a moving target. If you point at today, you'll hit yesterday; if you want to hit tomorrow, you've got to point at the day after tomorrow," he said.

The prospects of development and breakthrough of technological progress lie in an area where "information technologies and real life's objectives overlap," he suggested.

Agamirzian also admitted that Russia's venture capital market is not mature enough, as there was no "chain reaction" following the first successful projects, which would allow investors to emulate the successful examples.

Besides the domestic high-tech sector, Agamirzian's company also targeted global market and invested in a number of global projects, he said, adding that the mutual interests exist between Russia and China though there was no real cooperation between them right now.

"I think Chinese technological companies will inevitably come to the Russian market. This will be a win-win situation," he concluded.



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