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The Global Innovation Partnerships Forum, featuring a high-profile Silicon Valley Trade Delegation headed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was held in Russia on October 10-14, 2010.
RUSNANO, Russian Venture Company and Skolkovo Foundation with the participation of Global Technology Symposium, Investment and Venture Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan and Silicon Valley Bank organized the visit of Silicon Valley Trade Mission to Russia and Global Innovation Partnerships Forum.
Russia's President Dmitry MEDVEDEV participated in the Forum.
Addressing the Global Innovation Partnerships Forum's participants President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev emphasized the importance of making personal contacts with the Silicon Valley venture investors and highlighted how crucial it is for Russia to create favorable conditions for innovation centers similar to Skolkovo: "It is very important for people to be interested in creating and introducing new technology and to be motivated to start a business from scratch. Unfortunately, far from everyone in the Russian business community is ready to start up this kind of risky venture. In this respect we can learn from the enthusiasts who perhaps invest not always such large amounts of money but create completely new products."
The U.S. trade delegation included top managers of Microsoft, Google and Oracle as well as CEOs of more than 20 of the largest Silicon Valley venture funds with $100 billion in assets under management. The Silicon Valley participants included such top-tier venture investment gurus as Franklin "Pitch" Johnson, Asset Management Company founder and Draper and Johnson Investment Company co-founder, Dixon Doll, DCM Co-Founder and General Partner and Dick Kramlich, New Enterprise Associates Co-Founder and Managing Director.
"The goal of the government is to work for business, support it in the domestic market and promote it globally," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addressing U.S. delegation members at the Forum's opening ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. "In this respect I am at your service, I am the servant of Silicon Valley business. That is why I am now here with you, in Russia."
The Russian side was deeply interested in the immense U.S. experience in venture investment and commercialization of innovative technologies. The Silicon Valley delegation members sought to estimate potential of innovative and technological business in Russia.
The Forum's highly topical event program
Russia's Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina and Minister of Education & Science Andrey Fursenko were responsible for presentation of Russia's economic and education potential. In an in-depth and transparent conversation with the Forum's participants the Ministers answered questions and exchanged opinions on how to make venture investments into the Russian innovation industry more comfortable for both foreign investors and local market players. The U.S. delegation members raised the issue of adopting laws that would regulate venture investments.
In addition to visiting the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, RUSNANO headquarters and Russian Venture Company the delegation was invited by Investment and Venture Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan to visit the city of Kazan in Tatarstan. The U.S. participants looked through 150 Russian project cases which can potentially receive venture investment. In total the Forum events attracted over 1,000 Russian entrepreneurs, CEOs and owners of Russia's largest companies.
One of the key Forum highlights was a presentation of the Skolkovo innovation project. Viktor Vekselberg, President of the Skolkovo Foundation, said it would cost between RUB180 and 200 billion to finance the Skolkovo Project over the next three years with the cost being shared equally by the state and private enterprise.
Investors were invited by the Russian Venture Company to visit the Moscow International Business Center, where a panel discussion "Silicon Valley Venture Investors visiting the Russian Venture Company" was held on the 62nd floor of the Federation tower. Representatives of the most successful Russian venture and financial institutions, including the VTB Venture Capital Fund, Maxwell Biotech, Almaz Capital Partners, ABRT Venture, Bioprocess Capital Ventures, participated in the discussion with U.S. investors. The event also showcased several startups with a great potential for development in international markets, such as Russian Navigation Technologies, Spectralus, Innalabs, Nano-Optic Devices and more.
The panel discussion hosted by the Russian Venture Company was aimed not only at highlighting the young Russian venture industry, and providing potential partners a platform for starting a dialogue. Russian innovators from over a hundred participating companies had an opportunity to present in front of the global venture industry pioneers.
The RUSNANO State Corporation invited the U.S. delegation to visit its office to discuss potential joint projects with Silicon Valley investors. After a large-scale presentation on RUSNANO, the participants discussed projects.
"These were substantive and encouraging meetings," said RUSNANO CEO Anatoly Chubais. "We looked at several types of collaboration. Project companies of American investors could be interested in developing business in Russia for which we would be interested in acting as coinvestor. And there is the possibility of joint venture funds; our partners have superior knowledge of global nanotechnology markets and may be able to provide a flow of competitive projects, a factory, in the best sense, of new technological businesses. Finally, RUSNANO has 93 projects at the moment, and it is entirely possible that some of our guests will be interested in a role as coinvestor and developer of those businesses in international markets, including the United States."
The U.S. participants were also interested to see how Russian regions are building an innovative economy. The delegation visited the city of Kazan, where a round table was held with participation of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan. Another round table featured a presentation on Tatarstan's investment potential and startups supported by the Investment and Venture Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan. Participants noted that Silicon Valley companies and the Investment and Venture Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan are actively cooperating and are now ready to take their joint projects to the next level.
During the visit it was announced that Russia and California are planning to develop cooperation.
"The Global Innovation Partnerships forum was certainly a success for us. In Moscow and Kazan, the two most ancient Russian cities, the energy of the young Russian innovative industry met the experience of high-tech entrepreneurs of the Silicon Valley," said Russian Venture Company General Manager Igor Agamirzian. "Several innovative projects showcased by Russian companies sparked interest of our U.S. guests. I'm confident that these projects will have a global success. It is also remarkable that while we were here at the forum our portfolio company BrightSource Energy Inc. won approval for construction of Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California, the largest complex in the world. This is a great example of how cooperation between the Russian Venture Company and U.S. colleagues to develop innovative high-tech entrepreneurship was brought to a new level. Only a few years ago we could only dream about such positive results."
"The investors who visited Russia saw great investment opportunities in the country," said Viktor Vekselberg, President and Co-Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation. "We are already seeing the first results achieved by our colleagues from RUSNANO and the Russian Venture Company. I hope that our Foundation will also make a major contribution into building efficient ties between Russian innovative startups and the U.S. and global investment community. We will always seek to attract as much potential partners as we can."
In Tatarstan the U.S. investors visited the Idea technopark. Several companies saw the potential for investment and development in Kazan.
"We have a lot to learn from U.S. investors," said Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of the Republic of Tatarstan. "It was a great pleasure to show foreign guests our Republic, research centers, educational institutions, as well as to discuss how to use the potential we have. I'm confident that Tatarstan will be among the Russian pilot regions for implementing high-tech cooperation projects." Rustam Minnikhanov was invited by investors to visit Silicon Valley to continue the dialogue started in Tatarstan.
"The innovative projects developed in Tatarstan are becoming increasingly attractive. On their trip to Tatarstan, businessmen from the Silicon Valley delegation saw that our region has the necessary infrastructure for developing innovations," said Ainur Aideldinov, Director of the Investment and Venture Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Forum participants noted that while Russia is only starting to build an innovative socially-oriented economy, it has made great progress over the last two years by establishing contacts between Russian development institutes and Western partners resulting in the visit of the Silicon Valley Trade Delegation to Russia.
The main goal of the International Forum of the Global Innovative Partnerships was to build trust and personal relationships between Russian innovative and technology businesses and the "cornerstones" of the U.S. venture business. All Forum participants agree that the goal was achieved.
The Forum will be held regularly.
For details please visit the Global Innovation Partnerships Forum website at www.globalinnovationpartnerships.ru
This material is being distributed by Daniel J. Edelman, Inc. on behalf of Russian Venture Company. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington D.C.
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