Timur Radayev, director of the Ankudinovka technopark answers questions of VentureVolga.com
Mr Radayev, you headed the Nizhny Novgorod Technopark Ankudinovka for two years, and the accumulated experience allows already probably to analyze and draw some intermediate results. Nevertheless, let’s try to go back to the time of the opening of the technopark, which was announced as a platform, among other things, of the presence of the largest players in the IT-market, mainly from the United States. And then sanctions happened…
You want to know if we had hard? Of course, we must admit that some points had to adjust on the fly, but on the other hand, all further work is clearly shown: innovations have no borders. This is an area in which sanctions largely powerless. Our developments (I mean not just the projects of domestic IT people, namely the production of the residents of Ankudinovka and of the business incubator Clever which is included in the same structure) are in tops of Google Play and App Store. But our guys produce not only mobile apps, but also accounting software, and antivirus software, and much more.
Moreover, the situation with the sanctions not only impacted our activity, and even in some ways it has stimulated. One of our companies (In frames of Import Substitution Program) presented on the market an analogue of the Microsoft Office. Other one established production of cooling elements for the chips, which distributes for 580 customer firms outside Russia…
Anyway, did Ankudinovka restrict in its contacts with leading companies in Silicon Valley, for example?
We almost do not feel any restrictions. There is an interest from abroad to our projects, and modern communications allow us to maintain a constant contact foreign companies. But those companies are not only from the US but also are from Europe and in China and even from the Arab countries. Many people come here to hold talks with us, to personally meet with the residents and their projects.
And what is a kind of the projects? How many of them do you have?
There are sixteen residents in Ankudinovka now. Although our area allow us to attract a greater number of companies. This is a variety of projects. They are in field of, for example, communications, cloud computing, IP-telephony, automation of web content, etc. For ourselves, we have identified two strategic areas, is information technology and bio-medical technologies.
Thanks for backgrounds of the region, the Soviet legacy, which is reflected in the fact that the labor market of the Nizhniy Novgorod region has the presence of qualified specialists of these two disciplines. But we do not limit ourselves with just these areas. We also have projects in areas such as engineering, material handling, chemical technology.
How do you choose the projects?
In fact, we created a four-level selection system of expert assessments, and projects are evaluated on criteria such as the scientific, innovation, business value and social significance. The experts are representatives of universities, research institutes and business. Moreover, this is a «two-way street»: for example, the same universities are interested in working with us, because they get equal access to all of our programs, take part in meetings at the level of vice-rector for innovation, are informed of all the new programs of venture structures.
Let’s talk about efficiency. There are a lot of different speculations around this theme. Can you call the number: how many of your residents’ projects are implemented into the economy? Are they successful?
Since 2007, including the period when the technopark did not exist and all work was carried out within the business incubator, we derived seventy residents «in great diving». Are they successful? Judge by yourself: there is a set of indicators, including the main which is the amount of tax revenue from companies that went «out from under the wing». Decision on continue of funding structures, such as ours, is based on an governmental analysis of those data. And the fact that venture business has a high risk has not been canceled. So efficiency for us is not an abstract term.
Speaking of the structure which you just mentioned, what is it?
Our official name is The Nizhny Novgorod innovation business incubator. Its structure includes:
- Seed business incubator Clever with an area of 2.5 thousand square meters,
- Start-up business incubator Clever with an area of 5 thousand square meters,
- And, finally, the industrial park Ankudinovka with an area of 13 thousand square meters.
So, as you can see, our projects come through all the stages of commercialization, from an idea sounded by a alone innovator, who came literally «from outside», to complete introduction of technology into production.
What is the role of the technopark in this structure?
As for the Ankudinovka, we are dealing with valid companies that have passed all previous stages of commercialization and ready to begin to address the problem of the withdrawal of its products to the market. Contender for the title of resident passes through three stages:
- we are fully «pack» the project,
- interdepartmental commission hear internally the project,
- in the case of passing the selection, the company presented a project gets the status of a resident.
What does this status give?
Firstly, it is a preferential rent of premises at a rate of 0.6. Secondly, it is the free use of the entire infrastructure of the park, including equipped conference rooms and our typography. Thirdly, participation in our conferences, and recently more than 30 major events have been conducted in the technopark, among which are IT-conferences Digital Thaw and Solutions for the creation and protection of a modern IT infrastructure, an international conference Innovative Technologies and modernization in the welding industry, International conference on aesthetic dentistry. Fourth, it is implementing a number of educational and coaching programs for entrepreneurs on the basis of the technopark. And fifthly, most importantly, it is the principle of a single window: the project comes at the same time to the all participants of Russian venture investment market, including the Foundation for the promotion of innovation (Bortnik Fund), Skolkovo, RVC, FRII, venture capital agencies, associations of business angels…
Can we say that that mechanism guarantees that no project does not remain outside the focus of investors?
Yes we can.