by Kate Ryzhkova
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Nov 14, 2012
The Moscow Innovations Forum took place in Russia's capital last week. The key theme of the event was to promote innovative technology, economic development and start-up financing in the country. High-profile participants, including Sergey Sobyanin, the Mayor of Moscow, gathered together to articulate their vision of present challenges and future prospects for innovations in Russia.
During the forum, the Voice of Russia spoke with Damian Doberstein, a founding partner of E.Ventures Russia, who took part in a roundtable "Russian internet-unique investment opportunity". Prior to joining E.Ventures, Damian co-founded Russia's leading e-fashion company KupiVIP.ru and was involved in several company setups as an international business angel.
VOR: What is you opinion on the event and the issues discussed there?
Damian Doberstein: I was impressed to see so many foreign participants, as well as almost everybody in Russia, who is involved in Internet and bio-technology and other innovation-related spheres. Personally, I believe the forum is an important event for Russia as a country, since it shifts attention to these innovative topics.
Right now, I think the country is in an advantageous economic situation; however, it is clear that more of incoming capital gains need to be invested into other industries and segments, apart from energy ones.
As a result, the country should become less reliant on its natural recourses. So the focus now should be on the innovation-driven sectors, and the forum is a very solid beginning for that.
VOR: How relevant do you think are the issues outlined by the organizers of the forum?
Damian Doberstein: I specialize in Internet, clean and bio-technology, and the event focused on these areas. I should reemphasize that they are of great importance to the country.
Russia is known for its profound system of higher education, especially when it comes to natural sciences; as a result it has a wide pool of specialists in engineering, IT, bio-technology, physics and so on.
This aspect differentiates the country from other BRIC countries, for instance, India. Such an advantage allows the country to successfully step into new areas, such as those discussed during the forum.
If we look at IT, Russia already has well-established companies, which have gone global. I think the process will accelerate, and more tech enterprises will be emerging and then will be rolling out onto the global market.
The overall process to startup and run a company is much easier, cheaper and faster now in Russia, then that was in 2007-2008 when I first came here.
I believe, that yet another sector of significant importance for Russia now is clean-tech. Firstly, in the energy sector it is crucial to cut off some energy waste along the supply chain. Everything connected with the usage optimization of natural resources is absolutely pivotal.
The gas sector, for instance, witnesses a 30-40% waste of output, because of old infrastructure and inefficient mechanisms in place. The sector could be a fertile ground for innovative practices.
Consequently, as I said before, it is crucial to invest more of the proceeds from this industry into the implementation of new technologies. This should allow Russia to become less dependent on the extraction of natural resources as such.
Source: Voice of Russia
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