Held last week in Moscow and Kazan, Tatarstan, the 2013 edition of the Russian Tech Tour offered yet another illustration of the growing appeal of the Russian tech scene to venture capitalists.
Not only did more than 70 Western and Russian businessmen visit some of the Russian capital’s hottest tech spots, from Skolkovo to Digital October, they also paid a two-day visit to Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. At 500 miles from Moscow, this autonomous Republic of the Russian Federation has developed several major innovation projects over the past few years.
In the city, the businessmen visited IT Park – one of the largest technoparks in Eastern Europe – as well as a local venture fair, and attended a pitching session with Tech Tour’s finalists. They also met Tatarstan’s president Rustam Minnikhanov and the federal minister of Telecommunications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov.
Tech Tour’s delegates then measured themselves against local hockey champions who ultimately won the match in a penalty shootout (3:2).
“Tech Tour is perhaps the best platform to link international investors with fast-growing local companies and get them acquainted with the diversity of innovative ideas and projects to be found across Russia,” said E Ventures’ Managing Partner Damian Doberstein. “The Kazan part of the tour very much impressed the foreign participants. We highly appreciated the quality of the projects, not to mention the city’s historical heritage.”
Twenty-five startups were presented to the tour’s participants – selected from among 150 applicants. The better part of these finalists were IT companies, but others related to cleantech and renewable energy, new materials and processes, and medical instrumentation. Just two were applying for seed funding while 32% were at start-up stage, 56% at expansion stage, and one presented itself at being at pre-IPO stage.
Formed in Switzerland in 1998, Tech Tour organizes visits to six European regions or countries on a 3-year rotation basis.
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First published in East-West Digital News (EWDN.COM), a leading English-language resource dedicated to Russian digital industries.
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