On June 30 - July 1, 2010 the two-day Annual Business Leaders Investment Forum "Innovation for Business" took place in "Petrocongress" Congress Business Centre in Saint Petersburg. The Forum was held for business leaders and entrepreneurs, innovators and angel investors aimed at improving the competitiveness and efficiency of their enterprises via innovation and new technologies investment. The Forum is targeted at demonstration of innovation based business possibilities to representatives of Saint Petersburg business community.
Co-organizers: Investment Consulting Company "MARCHMONT Capital Partners" and Saint Petersburg Business-Angels Organization.
General Partner: "Russian Venture Company" JSC.
Official Sponsors: ROSNANO State Corporation, "Group Finance", The U.S.-Russia Centre for Entrepreneurship (Saint Petersburg), Alkor Bio (Saint Petersburg).
National Co-organizer: UNOVA Media (Moscow) supported by BIT (Business, innovation, technologies) and iCamp.
Regional Partners: High School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, "Petrocongress" Congress Business Centre, RESTEC Events.
General Information Partner: "Delovaya Rossiya" LLC.
Information Partners: Finance and Investments Market Players Club "KIFIR" (Moscow), Greenfield Project (Moscow), Eastworld Consulting LTD (Moscow), Russian Association of Venture Financing (Saint Petersburg), AngelInvestor (Moscow), Internet-project «Corporate Management» (cfin.ru), the Russian Association for Entrepreneurship Education (Saint Petersburg), Venture Business News (Moscow), HSE Business Incubator (Moscow), Institute for the Development of Financial Markets (Moscow), Recruitment Consultants Association (Moscow), International Business Portal «Investments. Innovations. Business.» (Saint Petersburg), the OmniGrade Rating Monitoring Agency (Moscow ~ Vienna), "Human Resource Management" Magazine (Moscow).
Media Partner: PREQVECA.ru Internet Portal (Moscow).
Official HR-partner: "Imperia Kadrov" (Moscow).
The first day of the Forum was opened by the plenary session "Applying Innovative Thinking to Improving Company Efficiency and Market Competitiveness". The speakers started with the words of welcome and told their view on the current state of regional innovative economics: Kirill Soloveichik, Vice-chairman of Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade Committee, Saint Petersburg Administration; Kirill Bulatov, Head of Project Analysis Department, "Russian Venture Company" JSC; Kendrick White, Founder and Managing Principal, MARCHMONT Capital Partners; Elena Churina, Expert Council Chairman on economics in Permanent Commission on Property, Economics and Legislature of Saint-Petersburg; Louisa Alexandrova, CEO, Saint-Petersburg Business-Angels Organization; Vadim Nekrasov, Head of Leningrad Regional Branch "Delovaya Rossiya" and Andrey Goryunov, Deputy Head of Saint-Petersburg Branch "OPORA ROSSII", "OPORA ROSSII" Management Board Member, Head of Retail Market Commission, Saint-Petersburg.
Kirill Soloveichik, Vice-chairman of Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade Committee, Saint Petersburg Administration, stated that regional business is supported everywhere by authorities. "Today Saint-Petersburg becomes a traditional meeting place for business representatives. In case of innovative economics businessmen meet a number of problems. However in Saint-Petersburg we have innovation sphere infrastructure for entrepreneurs including technological parks and business incubators. Besides we are in a constant struggle with administrative barriers. All this contributes to the formation of favorable innovation and investment climate".
Kendrick White said: "The situation in Russia has changed a lot. The crises affected the world economy during the last two years. The question is how we can adjust to this circumstances and what the role and place of Russia is. Nowadays RF government actively supports and develops innovative economics. Many system problems and barriers impede economics development in Russia. It is necessary to build new systems and relations".
Kirill Bulatov, Head of Project Analysis Department, "Russian Venture Company", said words of salutation: «The present Forum is a certain portal of innovations into business. In this case business fulfils not only operating activity but can use innovations in order to be effective».
According to Elena Churina's opinion, at present business community has only a wish for further development in accordance with a new innovation policy of the country but there is no clear understanding of this process. We have no established relations between entrepreneurship, science, the financial system and the state. "I wish this Forum helps us in working out a strategy for laying the foundation of state innovation policy".
Vadim Nekrasov: "It is very important for a businessmen to minimize the risks. Our task is to make sure that an investor has a good understanding that his investments are riskless. Today we should realize the tasks and measures (including those suggested by Boris Titov) on compensatory measures aimed at gaining extra budget profit".
According to Andrey Goryunov the support of entrepreneurs in the innovation sphere it is very important. "The state should provide conditions under which people would feel easier to create something new than effect a purchase. And we should realize that it is better for us to create something new than buy new technologic products".
Within the first Forum Session "Preparing the Foundation for Russia's 21st Century Innovation Economy" the following speakers took the floor: Kendrick White - Assessing Russia's Competitive Advantages in a Global Integrated Economy; Natalia Korenko, Director, "SEZ-Expert", - "Innovation and Investments Market", the joint project started in 2009 by MICEX and RUSNANO; Anatoly Zaikin, "RUSNANO", - Innovation Infrastructure Development in Nano Industry Applications; Louisa Alexandrova, Non-Profit Partnership "SOBA", - From Technological to Business Thinking; Oleg Elshin, East Kommerts - AIM: Myths and Realities; Polina Novikova, Group Finance, - Preparing Enterprises for Outside Finance Raising to Introduce Technological Improvements and Julia Sakhorova, "Imperia Kadrov", - Social Aspects when Shifting to the Innovation Economy.
The second session started with the report of Patrick Fullick, Founder & President, Science Connections, - From Laggard to Leader. How the UK Transformed into Innovation Economy.
Natalia Vozianova, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, delivered a speech about tax benefits for investment into innovation.
World Business-Angels Clubs Experience was covered in the report of Nikolay Badulin, Chairman of Board of Directors, FIBR Group.
Evgeny Savin, the founder of UNOVA Media, spoke on "Innovation Ecosystem" and "Investment Decisions at Different Company Development Stages".
The second part of the day was dedicated to discussion of the topics: "Role of Innovations in Russia's economics" and "Innovation as a Driver for Improving Company Value and Attractiveness".
Kirill Bulatov presented "Russian Venture Company" as one of the instruments of innovation technologic economics market.
Seven funds of Russian Venture Company invest at all stages with different specialization. There are funds specializing in biotechnologies and electronics. For the recent 1.5 year the funds invested into 20 companies. There is a fund of seed investments equal to 2 billion rubles. Russian Venture Company established the System of Venture Partners. As a development institute Russian Venture Company deals with market infrastructure development, innovators training and contests.
BrightSource Energy Inc invested 10 million dollars into the company stock. For capital investments in the UK Russian Venture Company established an affiliated fund "Russian Venture Capital I LP" acting as an investor. The pool of investors of BrightSource Energy Inc. includes Morgan Stanley, VantagePoint Venture Partners, BP Alternative Energy, Alstom and many others.
Russian Venture Company became the only one Russian investor participating in large-scale high-tech business. The International Venture Fund gave Russian Venture Company a possibility to establish close partnership with leaders of global venture market.
Russian Venture Company participation in international alliances and international market entrance became company's next direction and important decision. This direction is also very significant as innovation actually has a global character. The integration of Russian venture system into the world market is a substantial step that's why Russian Venture Company made a decision to participate in the international venture investors' consortium. The first project is connected with alternative solar energy financing by Russian Venture Company and large-scale venture investors.
The second direction is joining in venture projects and later-stage funds. It is essential that Russian Venture Company masters the best international practices on venture capital investment in order to be perceived a full partner in the market.
On June 25, 2010, Russian Venture Capital II LP was registered in the UK. It was formed be means of Russian Venture Capital stock and aimed at Russian Venture Capital joining in the alliance of international venture investors.
Also we made a decision to establish Biopharmaceutical Cluster Fund. The latter will finance two types of projects: start-ups in biopharmaceutics and medicine and service companies of this sector. There is a particularly specialized service in this field including laboratory research. The priorities stated by President within the Commission on Modernization and Innovation Development are realized in the framework of this direction.
The Fund total amount is 1.5 billon rubles. With service companies the Fund works on the same principles as an infrastructure fund with regard to start-ups financing on the 50/50 principle. Nina Goulis, a representative of KPMG, spoke about Tax Factors influencing on Russian Innovation Business Competitiveness.
The speech of Ekaterina Vasiltseva, Incor Alliance Law Office, was dedicated to problems of high-tech companies concerning intellectual property protection.
The last session of the first Forum day "Alternative Investment Sources - Using Innovation to Attract Strategic Partners" reasonably exited the interest of the audience. Within the session the following well-known Russian experts took the floor: Vitaly Lazorin, CEO, NovStream - Constructive Solutions, Expert, Russian PricewaterhouseCoopers Technology and Innovation Centre; Mikhail Treyvish, President, OmniGrade, CEO, Director, Asian Branch International Factors Group, President, East European Factoring Association; Alexander Mansir, Vice-Director on Institutional Sales, Troika Dialog; Alexey Eliseev, Director, Development and Marketing, "Russian Trading System" Stock Exchange; Alexey Tolmachev, Director, Saint-Petersburg Venture Fund "VTB Asset Management".
In Alexey Eliseev's opinion, Director, Development and Marketing, "Russian Trading System" Stock Exchange, the efficiency of the Russian Stock Exchange is higher than that of London IPO.
More than 150 people visited the Forum during the first day. Among them there were leaders and top-managers from Saint-Petersburg and the region, representatives of high educational establishments and scientific organizations, experts of large international companies, business-angels, entrepreneurs investing into scientific-and-research business.
The second day of the Forum "Attracting Investment Capital to Innovation Projects and Enterprise modernization" was opened by Evgeniya Delnova, Deputy Chairman of Investment and Innovation Development Committee, Leningrad region Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Within the round table discussion "Regional Investment Climate in Saint-Petersburg - Elements for Success" Evgeniya stated that today Saint-Petersburg is the leader in innovation technologies cluster.
Eduard Fiyaksel spoke about principles of work in regional innovation cluster.
In the framework of the round table the following participants took the floor: Igor Egorov, Office Director in St. Petersburg, The U.S. Russia Center for Entrepreneurship; Natalia Andrianova, Nort-West Engineering Union, Evgeniya Romanovskaya, Deputy Director, Saint-Petersburg Inter-Regional Resources Center, Mikhail Podgaets, Chairman, Advisory Committee, Saint-Petersburg Business-Angels Organization.
The program of the Forum was followed by the round table discussion "Practical Local Experience in Developing Innovation Projects". Companies' experience aroused a vivid interest of the participants and a discussion. The examples of their strategy construction were given by the following specialists: Ilya Tolstov, Director, Business-Incubator of Saint-Petersburg; Dmitry Polyntsev, President Group of Companies Alkor Bio; Ivan Nechaev, Executive Director, Russian Navigation Technologies; Polina Novikova, Head of Conference Finance Department, Group Finance; Peter Nemoy, General Director, Trend Laboratory Teatrika.
The participants of the next round table discussion "Investments into Technologies and Innovation - Barriers and Solutions" were: Kendrick White, Founder & Managing Principal, MARCHMONT Capital Partners; Bernd Meyer, Consultant, EastWorld Consulting Ltd; Vladimir Vasilyev, Prof., D.Sc. in engineering, Corresponding Member of Russian Academy of Education, Rector SPb University ITMO; Tatiana Komissarova, Cand. Sc., Dean, Higher School of Marketing and Business Development; Evgenya Gromova, President, Group of Companies WorkLine, Acedemician, International Academy of Social Sciences; Eduard Fiyaksel, Nizhny Novgorod Branch of the State University - Higher School of Economics, Head of Venture Management and Marketing Departments, President, PFO Business Angel Association "Start-Invest"; Elena Churina, Expert Council Chairman on economics in Permanent Commission on Property, Economics & Legislature of St. Petersburg.
The opening meeting of Saint-Petersburg Business-Angels Organization closed the official program of the Forum. The Association selected five innovation projects which were presented during the meeting to the guests of the Forum:
1. «Mobile video»
2. «Angel sphere» (Angelic S).
3. «Live stock sector waste processing»
4. «Landscape gardening. Grin Kis»
After the presentation the teams had a chance to listen to comments concerning their projects revision.
Additionally Eduard Fiyaksel noted: "During the crisis the financing of venture funds is going down. And it is surely bad. On the other hand, due to the crisis it is not lucrative to invest money into traditional business to those people who had earlier monetized the assets. They have to consider the high-tech sphere. And it is good. The business-angelism should become a mass phenomenon in the innovation economics. A business-angel should become a serial investor, i.e. he should have more than one project in contrast to a private investor".
The night cocktail party and informal communication of experts and participants closed the event.
Over 140 people participated in the work of the second day of the Forum.
The total number of visitors of the Forum was more than 170 people.