Startup Village 2015 draws entrepreneurs to Moscow

Open air festival attracts 10,000 attendees, with just over £178m signed agreements on the first day

Some 14 agreements totalling just over £178m were signed on the first day of Startup Village 2015 in Russia.

The open air festival for entrepreneurs was held on the outskirts of Moscow, where more than 10,000 people attended the event to hear from 500 speakers in a series of presentations and workshops.

Startup Village took place on 2 and 3 June at Skolkovo Innovation Center, a hub for tech startups in the region that was developed to kick start the Russian startup economy. 

Skolkovo’s Innovation Centre includes five “clusters” specialising in different areas. These include IT, energy, nuclear technologies, biomedicine and space technologies. The IT cluster is called the Technopark. 

Since 2010, £2.4bn has been invested in Skolkovo and 100 startups are currently working out of the centre. 

More than 2,000 of the attendees were startups looking for support with investment, grants and mentorships, in addition to securing residency at Skolkovo. An estimated 500 attendees were investors.

The agreements signed on the first day of the event include a deal between Skolkovo Foundation and Turku Science Park Oy to build a research and development (R&D) centre called BioCity, an investment agreement between Skolkovo resident company Ivideon and accelerator and business incubator Impulse VC, and an agreement between Sovzond Company and Skolkovo Foundation to create Sovzond R&D centre in the innovation center.

Arkady Dvorkovich, deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation, officially opened the event and told attendees the festival is one of entrepreneurship and innovation. 

“This is a festival of people burning with the desire to bring their ideas to life, to create something beautiful and interesting for people and to make money – and that's great. You make money and the whole country makes money. That's the idea behind the innovation center. Skolkovo is no longer just a word, it is a place.

“These two days will be exciting. They are the culmination of the Startup Tour, which was held in 12 cities around Russia, as well as Almaty and Minsk,” he said. 

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Victor Vekselberg, co-chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Council and president of the Skolkovo Foundation, opened the show and said the project proved the people of Russia could achieve a lot and, as Skolkovo continued to be built, it would have residents to be proud of.

“We have international ambassadors who visited three years before back with us this year, and they are surprised at the development. What’s been achieved shows what potential we have, but it will only be a success if it is a real town with real development,” he added. 

Vekselberg also announced that a Techopark and Sciencepark will be built over the next two-and-a-half years, as part of the five specialist “clusters” in Skolkovo.

The Startup Village conference included a pitch competition between the 70 Skolkovo resident companies exhibiting their innovations, with the projects shown allowed to be at any stage of development. 

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