The "Volga Angels" meeting of business-angels attracts about 300 Russian and foreign private investors

The "Volga Angels" meeting of business-angels attracts about 300 Russian and foreign private investors

The international gathering of business-angels "Volga Angels", organized by RVC, held on September 23-24 in Samara region and has become one of the central events of the year for the venture community. The event brought together about 300 participants, among whom there were the largest Russian private investors, representatives of the international investment community, technology entrepreneurs, and representatives of authorities and infrastructure to support innovation. As a result of "Volga Angels", a number of start-ups have reached agreements with investors.

The key speakers of the meeting were: Director for Development, a Member of the Board of RVC Gulnara Bikkulova; President of the National Association of Business Angels (NABA) Vitaly Polehin; President of the European Association of Business Angels EBAN Candace Johnson; President of the Portuguese Federation of clubs and associations of business angels FNABA Miguel Enriquez; a Member of the Board of Directors of the Northern Association of Female Business Angels NFBAN Audra Shallal.

The plenary session of the meeting was held in the form of a "group interview" format, in which Gulnara Bikkulova and Vitaly Polehin talked with Russian business angels about the current trends in the field of private investment, personal experience, and investors about the prospects for Russian projects. Private investors from Switzerland, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Israel and Kazakhstan attended the meeting. In the course of the business program, they shared their views on the Russian and foreign innovation ecosystem.

During the two days of "Volga Angels" there were more than 30 roundtable talks, discussions and seminars dedicated to the bringing of projects to the international market, structuring and syndication deals. The experts and participants discussed the issues of searching projects for investment, in particular, a characteristic problem for business angels — the small number of zero-stage projects. In addition, the National Association of Business Angels (NABA) conducted special workshops for private investors on the following topics: "How to become a business angel?" & "Creation of a club of business angels".

One of the key parts of the meeting's program was a pitch-session of technology start-ups, upon results of which there were made a few deals. In particular, one of the projects decided not to participate in the general session, since during the meeting they agreed on investment with a business-angel from among the participants. During the main pitch-session, two Russian start-ups attracted the attention of the President of the European Business Angels Association Candace Johnson: as a result, one of them has a strategic partner to enter the US and European markets, the other project was invited to the talks about investing in the product improvements. Another start-up was invited to New York by Lyudmila Golubkova to undergo a three-month Starta Accelerator program.

The meeting passed with the support of the general partner  — the National Association of Business Angels and the Samara Region Government, the operator of the meeting — StartupSamara.

Gulnara Bikkulova, Development Director of RVC

"The meeting was the first platform prepared by almost all the leading Russian business angel communities. Thus, private investors acquired their own industry-related platform to share experiences, discuss common problems and joint construction of the industry"

Sergey Dmitriev, a "business angel" and entrepreneur from Norway

"I am delighted with the way how Samara became a start-up region within just four years, and it is true that the Russian government, including MER, puts their hand to it. I am very pleased with the list of participants of the meeting; these are the people who really care about how to develop it. Remote areas are full of cool young people, no less than capitals. There are enormous opportunities to do something in Russia, although even four years ago there was nothing like this. Two out of the ten projects, invested by me over the last twenty-five years of life in Norway were here, in Samara".

Jan-Erik Nyurёvaara, the founder of Helsinki Ventures (Finland)

"Smart people think in the same way, and if you have an idea, someone has already thought of it. Moreover, if no one has ever thought of it before you ... then it probably means that the idea is not promising. The value of a project is therefore not in the idea — but in a team. I am here to see talented projects that you have in profusion and meet the leading investors all at once, with whom it is possible to immediately discuss various interesting joint plans. To bring the Russian start-ups to the international markets — this is a very interesting and promising way".

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