The results of the collection of applications for participation in the federal accelerator competition of technology startups GenerationS-2014, organized by RVC and Center for Innovative Development of Moscow with the support of the Government of Moscow, has been summed up. This year the competition received 1,858 applications from 142 cities and 13 countries, which shows increasing popularity of GenerationS, including this among regional and foreign young entrepreneurs. The key features of the accelerator competition this year are also the growing quality and maturity of projects and alignment of sectoral differences in the number of participants.
GenerationS is a successor of the annual BIT Competition held from 2003 to 2013. RVC has been a strategic partner of the competition since 2010. Over this time, the total number of projects has increased more than 4-fold (from 431 in 2010 to 1,858 projects in 2014). The best projects of the year, selected following a multi-level expert review, will take part in a free acceleration program to learn the basics of technological business and cooperation with investors. Thus, GenerationS is providing sturtups with opportunities to turn an idea into a successful business, find investors, and gain useful contacts among experts. As for investors, the competition is giving them an access to high-quality technology projects.
According to the analytic data, the total number of applications submitted for the competition has increased by 16% compared with their number in 2013, and by 50% compared with this in 2012. Regions are increasingly involved in technological entrepreneurship. Thus, the number of applications received from the Russian regions increased by 11% compared with the previous year. The largest number of applications came from Moscow (461), Kazan (198), and St. Petersburg (183).
This year, applications for GenerationS were accepted for the following 4 tracks: Information Technology (IT — 725 projects), Industrial Solutions (Industrial — 508 projects), Resource-Efficient Technologies (CleanTech — 302 projects), and Biotechnology and Medicine (BioTechMed — 323 projects). Despite the fact that IT is still of the greatest interest to participants, it should be noted that the interest of entrepreneurs in knowledge-based industries is also growing, which was shown by the sectoral reallocation of startup shares. Compared with 2013, the share of IT projects dropped from 57% to 39% with respect to the total number of applications. At the same time, the number of applications in the other tracks has increased as well.
"GenerationS acceleration program is held for the second year, and it is the second time it becomes the leader among similar programs in Russia in the number of applications for participation," — said Gulnara Bikkulova, Director of Innovation Markets of RVC. "It is certainly a great credit of trust to organizers of GenerationS that we will try to justify by quality of the program and the amount of investments attracted for the program participants."
The data analysis confirms that, along with the number of projects, the project maturity level is growing as well. Thus, only 24% (453 projects) of the accelerator participants are at the idea stage, while 892 projects are going through the stage of product development, 277 projects are engaged in pilot production, and 221 projects are at the stage of mass production or sales.
"The inflow of innovative projects and companies is essential for Moscow. The capital has already created and developed for them the necessary infrastructure — acceleration platforms, technology parks, and science parks. An IT Technology Park will be created in Moscow by 2015. New businesses are changing the face of the capital, revitalize its economy, and are able to work for the idea of import substitution in the medium term — it is now a priority for us. Therefore, projects that are at the stage of mass production are of particular interest to us," said Ekaterina Bulycheva, Deputy CEO of the Center for Innovative Development of Moscow.
Most participants in GenerationS-2014 already have some experience in fundraising for their projects. According to statistics, 30.8% of them attracted investments in the amount of less than $50,000, while 11.8% had $ 50,000 to $ 150,000, 6.2% — from $ 150,000 to $ 500,000, and 6.1% - more than $ 500,000 of investments.
Most frequently projects are funded from personal funds of the team members, or funds of their families and friends (36.4%). Nevertheless, 15.4% of the projects received Russian grants, and 11.4% were supported by state development institutions, including RVC. The remaining projects are developing with the funds raised from business angels, corporate investors, business incubators, financial institutions, and other sources.
According to statistics, 30.6% of the projects submitted for the competition have been launched in 2013, 19.6% of them have been existing for more than 2 years, 11.5% — for more than 3 years, and 10.7% of the projects — for more than 4 years.
More than 200 teams take part in various programs aimed at supporting start-ups, or are residents of the largest business incubators and industrial parks, including Skolkovo, Ingria, IIDF, and more than 20 regional incubators.
According to the results of the acceleration program, 50 of the most successful projects will go to the finals of GenerationS, to be held at the Moscow International Forum "Open Innovation" October 15. The best teams of all the four tracks of the competition will present their projects to Russian and foreign investors, and will compete for a cash reward of 5 million rubles and special prizes from partners of the competition.