On November 19, 2014 the event-hall InfoProstranstvo hosted the 2nd Corporate Venture Summit held by the Innovation and R&D Directors Club (iR&D Club) with the support of the Russian Venture Company (RVC). The Summit is organized for the two consecutive years as part of an iR&D Club and RVC co-project aimed at the development of the Russian market of corporate venture investments.
Today the Summit is the only event in Russia dealing with corporate venture investments. It is a communication platform where big Russian and foreign corporations get significant educational content and the opportunity to exchange their expertise at panel discussions and informal meetings. The Summit also attracts representatives of state institutes of development, small technological businesses, venture investors and market experts who took an active part in it.
This year the Summit focused on open innovations and the peculiarities of their implementation by Russian companies in the current economic environment. The participants, among whom there were top managers of Kazakh companies, could listen to the presentations of Russian, Italian, Belgian, German and Israeli experts. A special Summit guest was Wim Vanhaverbeke, professor at Hasselt University, a thought leader in the innovations’ field, one of the authors of the Open innovation concept. He gave a master class "Guidance to action: how to effectively implement "open innovations" in corporations". The professor and the participants discussed the reasons why companies with excellent reputation fail to implement open innovations and how to organize a company’s activity to make this implementation successful. According to Wim Vanhaverbeke, "Nowadays qualified scientists and engineers have big opportunities. They don’t have to join a big company to make a career; they can set up their own one and get investment from a venture fund. Risk investments, which are combined with good ideas, create a powerful dynamic in our society. Nowadays very good ideas are more likely to originate in start-ups and universities than in big companies. Big companies are still of interest, but they must cooperate with many partners: small businesses, research institutes etc.".
The plenary session “Creating profitable technologies through the tools of “open innovations” focused on such issues as the use of such tools in the current economic environment, the conditions to accelerate the start-up process of “innovative” update and the combined strategy of “innovative” development of companies. The moderator of the panel discussion Oleg Fomichev, State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, said: “We believe that two thirds of those 60 companies supported by the government that implement innovation programmes would need corporate venture fund to get appropriate technology. We can’t make companies create such a fund and not all state companies need it: the management must be ready for that; the corporate venture fund must be part of the company’s strategy. Together with RVC we worked out specific recommendations how to conduct such activity in state-supported corporations. Now we try to reach an agreement on creating corporate mutual funds: getting investment partly from RVC and partly from a state company."
The round table “The success formula of investing into “breakthrough” technology” was devoted to the issues of financing breakthrough technologies, main trends in the cooperation between Finance and R&D divisions within corporation and the effectiveness evaluation of the development programs. The discussion moderator Mikhail Kozlov, Innovation and RES technology Director, JSC RusHydro, Chairman of the Board of iR&D Club, fuelled the discussion with his rapid-fire questions on the necessity and possibility to invest in innovation technologies in the period of crisis. The participants agreed that the crisis gives a chance to move to the fore, but punishes those who make the wrong choice of aims ant tools.
The Summit ended with a round table session “Start-up and corporation: boundaries of possible cooperation”. The participants discussed the creation of a corporate accelerator and work with technology start-ups, opportunities for Russian start-ups through the integration into the program of innovation development of corporations, the situation with start-up sales to the corporations on the overseas market. According to the moderator of the session, Gulnara Bikkulova, Director of the Innovative markets department, member of the RVC Board, the “Summit gave its participants not only an excellent opportunity to learn about basic “open innovation” tools and talk to one of its authors, but to go further in building a constructive dialogue between corporations and technology entrepreneurs. The discussion exemplified the most successful cases of big companies and start-ups’ collaboration, exposed pressing issues and showed new perspectives for further cooperation.”