Russia Beyond The Oil: The Rise of Tech and New Business Opportunities

Russia beyond the oil discussion

Russia beyond the oil discussion

Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH) panel discussion "Russia Beyond The Oil: The Rise of Tech and New Business Opportunities" that took place on April 13 in New York (US).

The discussion was held during the Business Forum StartUp Grade: "Tech Beyond the Borders" (Russian Edition) hosted by Starta Accelerator, together with Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the USA. The agenda of the forum was to discuss tech startups with Research & Development roots in Eastern Europe and vision to grow in U.S. presence.  

Watch a live-stream from the "Russia Beyond The Oil: The Rise of Tech and New Business Opportunities" panel discussionon

With the most recent oil and gas crisis, Russian entrepreneurs and business leaders have found themselves in need of nontraditional paths to growth. As a result, tech companies from Eastern Europe have become increasingly attractive due to the ability to supply foreign investors with relevant goods and services that are unrelated to the oil and gas industry, while simultaneously generating higher profit margins. Consequently, there is a growing need among aspiring and seasoned Russian entrepreneurs to attract more overseas investments. Meanwhile, U.S. based investors are seeking ways to effectively identify and select promising Russian startups.

Moderated by RBTH Deputy Chief Editor for Business & Economics Alexey Lossan, the "Russia Beyond The Oil: The Rise of Tech and New Business Opportunities" discussion provided a background for answering the following questions:


  • What are the peculiarities of doing business in Russia and with the Russian companies?
  • Setting up a tech business in Russia: How to overcome the obstacles?
  • Russian startups in the U.S.: Why and what to invest in?

Main speakers of the disscussion included:

Dmitry Akhanov, President & CEO, RUSNANO USA, Inc. which is the US office for Moscow-headquartered RUSNANO, a $10B state backed Private Equity and Venture Capital firm. Dmitry acted as the Head of the Russian Federal Energy Agency, implementing government policy and managing Russian state assets in oil & gas, coal, and electricity sectors. As the head of the Strategy Department of RAO UES, Dmitry Akhanov was actively involved in developing and implementing strategy for the restructuring of the electricity sector of Russia, and forming a new industry structure and electricity market model. Dmitry Akhanov is on the Board of Directors for Advenira Enterprises, Aquantia Corporation, BiOptix Diagnostics, Joule Unlimited, Inc., NeoPhotonics Corporation, Quantenna Communications, Soft Machines.

Mikhail Kokorich, CEO, Dauria Aerospace. 
Dauria Aerospace is an innovative space company aiming to transform the industry with a cloud-based, low-cost satellite technology solution. Mikhail started his first company at 19 years old as a physics student at Novosibirsk University in 1996. He has more than 17 years of experience in industries ranging from manufacturing and chemical services to retail, which have exceeded $1 billion in revenue. Before entering into aerospace business, Mikhail Kokorich founded a company that grew to be the second-largest chain of domestic merchandise retail stores globally, second only to Bed Bath and Beyond, and successfully scaled and sold one of the largest consumer electronic retail chains.

Randi Levinas, Executive Vice President and CEO, U.S.-Russia Business Council.
In this role, in cooperation with the Council’s President, Randi provides strategic advice to USRBC members to assist them in achieving their commercial objectives in Russia and the United States. Ms. Levinas served as the Executive Director of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade, successfully leading an effort of more than 500 U.S. businesses and trade associations in U.S. Before joining USRBC, Ms. Levinas was a legislative and international trade policy analyst with the law firms of Kaye Scholer LLP and Morrison & Foerster LLP. 

Konstantin Turitsyn, Assistant Professor, Skolkovo Foundation Chair, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
Konstantin received the M.Sc. degree in physics and applied math from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and PhD degree in physics from the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics. Currently he holds an Assistant Professor position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Before joining MIT, he was an Oppenheimer fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory working with the Smart Grid research group. His research interests encompass a broad range of problems related to development of novel mathematical tools that have been applied to problems arising in different domains, most importantly in the mechanical and power engineering.

Do you have any questions about the new Russian business and startup opportunities or an opinion? Tweet them to @russiabeyond using the hashtag #BusinessWithRussia.

The second panel discussion "Make It Big in NYC: Sharing Success Stories", moderated by producer of RBTH Russian Startups Rating Victoria Zavyalova, was dedicated to the startups with international roots that were successful in gaining investment and becoming a part of NYC startup community.   

Among discussed questions were:

  •  How to understand if your product is right for the U.S.?
  •  How to prepare accurate and up-to-date market research?
  •  How to find investors in the U.S., and how to pitch to them? What makes NYC investors unique?
  •  Public relations for startups in the U.S.: what are the main principles and publications to approach?
  •  How to simplify access to the market? DIY vs accelerators, science parks, professional consultants and accountants

Speakers of the disscussion included:

Ekaterina Dorozhkina, Managing Partner, Starta Capital; Head of Accelerator, Starta Accelerator. 
Ekaterina has 10 years of global marketing and business development experience working with European and American brands. She is an entrepreneur and a published author. Ekaterina holds MA in International Economics and PhD candidate in Economics. 

Dmitry Koltunov, Technology Executive, Startup Enthusiast, Writer.
Dmitry Koltunov is a startup enthusiast focused on technology leadership, software architecture, and enterprise development. He is the CTO and Co-Founder of ALICE, a growing NYC startup offering a mobile service-on-demand platform for hotels to interact with guests and manage staff. Dmitry has a unique blend of corporate and startup experience and has served in various executive positions with both startups and leading global financial institutions.

Bill Tyndall, Regional Director, InDinero.
InDinero is a global brand that helps small business owners manage their finances and solve real world problems every day. Bill recieved Gilman Scholar from the U.S. to further his studies at Saint Petersburg, Russia. Bill has a great experience in hadling accounting, tax, and payroll for the business. 

Lidia Alexandra Salgado, New York Market Manager, Early Growth Financial Services.
Lidia Salgado joined EGFS to help establish firm's operations in New York, working directly with the CEO and covering partnerships, sales, account management, marketing and staffing. Previously she held a variety of roles on Wall Street working for Morgan Stanley, family offices, and an advisory serving activist investors. In addition to her EGFS responsibilities, she is a mentor and instructor for Startup Weekend, Columbia Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurist's bootcamp and several accelerators and startups in New York City. Lidia is a MGIMO University graduate and a president of MGIMO Club of New York.

Oleg Svintsitski, Private investor, entrepreneur, fund manager.
Mr. Svintsitski brings over 15 years of expertise in international entrepreneurial development and global investment experience in Eastern Europe and the United States. He is currently a Managing Partner at Cameo Capital, a technology investment fund which focuses on taking Europe-based growth-stage companies to a global business arena. Previously, Mr. Svintsitski was part of management team for the fund specializing in quantum physics based technologies and advancements in materials science. From 2008 to 2012, he was a Senior Vice President at Russia Partners Management, Russia/CIS PE investment arm of Siguler Guff & Company. Siguler Guff is a global investment firm with over $10 billion AUM. 

When:  Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 3:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

Where: New York, NY, USA 

Welcome the new RBTH project Doing Business With Russia 

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