This June Russia's major "Startup Village" contest attracted about 10,000 attendees, coming to look at 240 startups screened mostly from 27 Russian cities, but also a handful from Finland, United States and China. Yet, it was not only about impressive numbers, but the content which added to the traditional program a full day of global technology trends discussions. Several global trends, relevant for Russia, were discussed in 12 dedicated sessions with about 100 speakers involved, many of them international.
Pavel Cheshev from Tekes Russia lists the menu presented at the event: "New materials; Supercomputers for everyone; Connected World (IoT); Brain and Creativity; Applications for UAV; Digital Retail; Wearables & Augmented Reality; IT Security; Cell Technologies and Regenerative Medicine; Brain/Computer Interface – almost everything hot there is now on global technology agenda."
"Finally, very Russia-relevant topics of new technology trends for local Hydrocarbons and Electric Power Markets could not be avoided", Cheshev says.
While all somehow relevant to Russia, these trends vary a lot in the level of domestic technological competence and penetration on Russian market. Thus, local competence in IT security and digital retail areas is high and supported by capital-rich domestic market (4th in EU for digital retail with euro 2 bln/annum).
The markets are even richer in oil&gas and energy industries, yet this is not met by an appropriate domestic technology offering. While a handful of Skolkovo startups are developing potentially breakthrough technologies, the much needed existing oil&gas and energy sector revamp will rely on foreign technology suppliers in foreseeable future.
Wearables, IoT and consumer robotics are amongst the hottest topics with the biggest anticipated growth potential, attracting both younger generation teams and investors with international track, like Grishin Robotics.
Rest of the trends were more of a future talk, with at least 3-5 and up to 10-15 years perspective, or more. Still, "Startup Village" has revealed that that there are several international-level researchers and laboratories in the areas of new materials, supercomputers and brain/computer interface, located in Russia, promising its significant contribution in future applications.
All in all, the sheer fact that the agenda of innovation contests in Russia is shifting from traditional heavy industries applications to consumer market innovations, with younger generations steered by global trends, may promise creation of a whole new local industry in consumer robotics, UAV or wearables. It may sound overstated now, yet become as real as Finnish game industry today.
"More global and familiar agenda should also make it more attractive for startups from Finland to consider big and moneyed Russian market and come to showcase their innovations on future "villages", Cheshev believes.
For more information, please contact
pavel.cheshev (at) tekes.fi