U.S., Russia launch a start-up discussion

Together with the Russian Trade Representative’s Office in the United States, USRBC co-hosted a digital videoconference on February 12, using Cisco’s Telepresence technology and bringing together Russian start-up companies and noted U.S. experts in successful start-up launches, Startup DC Chairman Evan Burfield and Foundry Group’s CEO Brad Feld.

The event also featured the U.S. State Department’s Special Representative for Business and Commercial Affairs Lorraine Hariton and MED Deputy Minister Oleg Fomichev, coordinators of the U.S.-Russia Innovation Working Group. Burfield and Feld encouraged Russia’s start-ups to embrace risk-taking, to challenge the status quo, to continually think long-term, and to develop inclusive eco-systems.

They also emphasized the importance of initiatives that “evolve in unpredictable patterns” and are led by entrepreneurs themselves - not investors, universities or government, which tend to be hierarchal and less responsive to change.

Ms. Hariton suggested that government’s role in entrepreneurial ecosystems is most critical in enabling the proper environment for start-ups to flourish by protecting intellectual property, encouraging transparency, improving bankruptcy laws and facilitating the licensing of technologies out of universities. Noting that start-ups flourish beyond Silicon Valley, she noted the variety of dynamic environments in the United States and encouraged Russian start-ups to explore a U.S. cluster mapping database.

Interested parties can track Russian start-ups through a list developed by USRBC member Price Waterhouse Coopers, Russia’s Digital October and the media group responsible for Russia Beyond the Headlines. The list tracks a list of top 50 start-ups in Russia and will reportedly be changed over time: https://www.rbth.com/startups.

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