''The number of companies supported by Tatarstan is reducing, but the sum of investments is increasing''
Changes in technology entrepreneurship support programmes
A discussion of launching updated technology entrepreneurship support programmes took place in the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan on 23 January. The Tatarstan Investment and Venture Fund decided to reduce the number of supported companies but increased the sum of investments in one project within Idea 1000 programme. Pulsar Venture Capital investment company, in turn, shared details of reformatting the Acceleration Programme. Now it will concentrate on three areas: blockchain, M.E.S.TECH and industrial technologies. Realnoe Vremya tells details about the transformation of start-up support programmes.
''A technology entrepreneur has an opportunity to borrow 40 million rubles''
A discussion of launching updated technology entrepreneurship support programmes took place in the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan together with head of the Tatarstan Investment and Venture Fund NPO Aynur Aydeldinov and director of Pulsar Venture Capital Pavel Korolyov.
Before telling about the changes in start-up support programmes, Aynur Aydeldinov made a digression and briefly told how a medium-sized technology company developed: ''If the first stage of R&D that, as a rule, ends with getting intellectual property; the second stage is getting a prototype; the third is getting a test lot of a product; the fourth is mass production.'' According to the speaker, at the last stage, it becomes possible to finance projects by such professional players like venture companies or investment funds. Until this moment, as a rule, business angels, friends of the creators or country carry the financing.
''At this stage, we financed start-ups within Idea 1000 programme. At the stage of Start-1, we supported up to 30 projects with 1 million each. At Start-2, there were 10 projects with 2 million rubles each. It turns out the company could get 3 million rubles during 3 years and another 3 million rubles from Support Fund,'' Aydeldinov described the programme that existed before. ''I will note that over the years of work of Idea 1000 programme, 2,121 applications have been received, 483 projects have been supported and 250 objects of intellectual property have been received.''
Now considerable changes are made to the programme: in Start-1 nomination, the fund will support up to 10 projects with 2 million rubles each. So the number of supported companies is reducing but the sum of investments in one project is increasing. Terms are also decreasing (an innovative company will be able to get the full sum of support – up to 20 million rubles – on time for 1,5 years). At the stage of Start-2, support will be rendered to six projects with 3 million rubles each. There has been a new nomination named Start-3 that will support three projects with 4 million rubles each.
''Each project will be able to get 20 million rubles of support from us only. In addition, it will be able to get additional 20 million rubles of support from Support Fund. In the end, a technology entrepreneur has an opportunity to borrow 40 million rubles at the stage of R&D to get the first product,'' Aynur Aydeldinov concluded.
Acceleration Programme will concentrate on three areas: blockchain, the media and industrial technologies
Leading the talk to a discussion of the Acceleration Programme, Director of Pulsar Venture Capital Pavel Korolyov noted that despite quite big scientific and technical potential, Russia has serious problems with the commercialisation of applied solutions.
''At this moment, any scientific and technical solution or project has difficulties in entering the market. Not all developments are implemented, and mainly it happens because those products and innovations that are present in the market don't comply with the international level of quality standards,'' Korolyov said.
''At this moment, Russia doesn't have a complete, effective eco-system that would enable to do it. In addition, it is often impossible to make a technology project without international production centres. This is why now there is a layer of not problems but open questions, we need to help start-ups solve them for making effective.''
The speaker says he sees one of the options of a solution of the problems in the Acceleration Programme. It should be reminded that as early as 2015, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov charged market players with creating an effective mechanism to support start-ups, make them reach the market and attract investments. The 5-year Acceleration Programme was created within the instruction. It united the best venture funds and investors. In 2016, the number of applications for the Acceleration Programme totalled 378. In 2017, the number of applications increased to 444.
In 2018, the programme focuses on three areas: blockchain, M.E.S.Tech (the media, entertainment and sport) and industrial technologies. The head of Pulsar Venture Capital specified up to 15 projects would be selected in blockchain. Each of them will be a pretender to get 8 million rubles and participate in a 6-month programme.
''This programme will be launched today. The application form is already available on the site. The selection will last for 3 months, and the final selection will be at the Rusian Venture Forum. After this, approximately from May, start-ups will closely work with experts and coaches. The task is to reach industrial implementation and attracted investments by the end of the year,'' Pavel Korolyov told.