RVC has summarised results of the regional practical consulting sessions (RPCS) 2014. The intensive educational courses were attended by more than 1,800 professionals from 32 cities of Russia. More than 700 companies received advisory support. It is expected to scale the sessions to more regions, as well as to strengthen cooperation with universities in 2015.
RPCS are free intensive educational courses by RVC for representatives of universities and research institutes, experts of innovative companies, and fund managers in the regions with developing venture ecosystem. The practical consulting sessions bring together developers, creators of innovative projects, and investors to facilitate their efficient communication. This allows start-ups to gain access to information necessary for development of the project and its commercialization, while investors gain an opportunity to select the most promising businesses for further investments.
RPCS have already been held for eight years, becoming more and more popular and demanded year after year. During the sessions in 2014, 734 technology companies received advisory support, which is 27% higher than a year earlier. The total number of potential investors wishing to fund innovative projects of early stages (seed and start up ones) is more than 70, which is 57% more than in 2013.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Deputy CEO and Director of the Project Office at RVC, commented - "We see that the quality of regional projects is changing with growing interest of investors in them. Outcomes of 2014 allow us to evaluate our work. Though, we would not have achieved these results without our partners. Last year, the educational program was supported by 30 organizations, including the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, Moscow Stock Exchange, LOGA Group, Seed Forum International Foundation, regional centers of innovation development, innovative regional clusters, and other members of the ecosystem, whose professionals have become experts and mentors of the project."
The form of RPCS involves a set of intensive training courses - lectures, workshops, and master classes, where technological entrepreneurs gain knowledge about the structure and functioning of the venture capital market, as well as development and management of innovative projects. They also acquire skills in preparing projects for investment. Experts in the sessions 2014 were: Alexander Loktionov, Chairman of the expert council at LOGA Group and Director of Seed Forum in Russia; Steiner Korsmo, Founder of the Seed Forum International Foundation; Dmitry Torshin, Chief Investment Officer of IT Group; Hayk Asriyan, Head of International Practice of Commercial Patenting at Technology Commercialization Assistance Project of the Intellectual Property Rights Center Foundation; Andrey Lyutikov, Head of the Samara Branch, Moscow Stock Exchange, and many others.
"Such programs has a very beneficial effect on the investment climate," says Alexander Loktionov, LOGA Group. "In the current situation technology created by talented engineers remain unimplemented due to lack of commercial skills. Such programs are designed to promote investment and technology transfer in regions. This issue is of particular relevance to universities, business incubators, and technology parks."
Since 2008, more than 130 regional practical consulting sessions have been held. About 9,000 people have gained knowledge and practical skills. Individual consultations are an important part of the sessions. During such consultations, the advantages and disadvantages of specific projects are discussed, and their managers receive comments and suggestions from the experts.
According to the feedback from participants in the sessions (representatives of business innovation), the knowledge that they get at RPCS give them a practical basis for preparation of their projects for commercialization and finding investments. Violeta Le, an analyst chemist of Liomed, called RPCS a "basic school of practical knowledge in commercialization of innovative projects" and added that this kind of training is a "breath of life for startups." Irina Markova, Deputy Director of MIX ANO, described her experience as follows - "Coaches are friendly to the audience and give clear and specific recommendations for each project individually." Anna Linnik, CEO of Kera-Tech, noted the high level of teaching and "excellent presentation of complex material."
Organizers plan scaling the project to more regions and closer cooperation with universities. Moreover, it is envisaged to expand the content of the program and create separate specialized thematic modules - investment, technology commercialization, PR, and marketing. It is also expected to create the longer-term accelerators - semi-annual or annual, both Russian and international ones. They already have successful experience in this part. Last year, RVC together with business incubator KRITBI (Krasnoyarsk) launched the first five-month project accelerator.
A total of more than 4,000 innovative projects and teams participated in educational programs, contests, and awards, organized and supported by RVC in 2014.
RVC OJSC is a state fund of funds a development institution of the Russian Federation, one of the key tools leveraged by the state in the effort to create national innovation system. The authorized capital of RVC is more than 30 billion rubles. 100% of the RVC's capital belongs to the Russian Federation represented by the Federal Agency for State Property Management of the Russian Federation (Rosimushestvo). The total number of funds formed by RVC has reached 18, their aggregate size is 26.1 billion rubles. The share of RVC is 16.1 billion rubles. RVC funds invested into 169 innovative companies. The total amount of invested assets reached 15.3 billion rubles.