Vekselberg announces plans for VC funds, regional expansion of Skolkovo

The Skolkovo Foundation will set up three venture capital funds to provide additional sources of investment for startups, the foundation’s president Victor Vekselberg said Friday at the Open Innovations forum.

 Skolkovo Foundation president Victor Vekselberg addressing resident startups at the Technopark. Photo:

“Attracting funds for your support is one of our main tasks,” Vekselberg told an audience of the foundation’s resident startups at Skolkovo’s newly opened Technopark.

“Now we’re creating a daughter structure of the Skolkovo Foundation that will manage the venture funds. The plan is to set up three funds specialising, respectively, in IT, medicine and industrial projects,” he said.

The first fund will be set up together with Russian Venture Company, a state investment vehicle with which Skolkovo works closely, while the other two will be set up with other partners, said Vekselberg.

“These funds will primarily be focused on you and will become an additional tool for attracting investment in your projects,” he told the entrepreneurs.

Currently, startups with resident status at the Skolkovo Foundation can obtain grants for research and development, so long as they can raise the same amount themselves in private investment. Until now, there has been no system under which the foundation would make an investment in a company in exchange for a stake in it.

The Moscow-based foundation also plans to expand its presence in the regions, to offer innovative startups there the same tax breaks and support mechanisms offered by Skolkovo, Vekselberg told the resident startups, which are based across the country.

“Today in Russia there are places where the level of development of innovative projects is extremely high: St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Tatarstan and the Urals,” he said.

“We’re prepared to teach others, to transfer our technologies and all our communication network, so that you don’t need to move to Moscow to work. We have drawn up a proposal along these lines and sent it to the government, and we are counting on it being accepted,” said Vekselberg.

About a third of the foundation’s 1,500 resident startups are based in the regions.