Russia is no slouch when it comes to entrepreneurship. As part of our mission to promote startup activity all around the world, we explored Russia to investigate best-in-class opportunities for Russians to access the US market. To do this, I met with several entrepreneurs and startup organizations in Moscow to share the best practices of MassChallenge knowledge, expertise, and startup resources.
We were first introduced to the Russian market through our friends at the Government-sponsored Russian Venture Corporation (RVC). With their help, I witnessed an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is vibrant, robust, and full of ambitious, talented engineers. Lowering the barrier of entry for these Russian entrepreneurs into the US Market would only increase their economic potential.
Thanks to the help of RVCs Yulia Druzhnikova, I was introduced to phenomenal entrepreneurs through several programs, events, and spaces in Moscow including API Moscow, Digital October, and the Internet Initiatives Development Fund. Most of this was located in the Bersenevskaya neighborhood of Moscow, which seems to be hub for innovation in Moscow.
How can MassChallenge help?
Unlike the U.S, Russia has a lack of access to risk capital and doesnt necessarily have the same culture of risk taking and individualism that we have in the U.S. The geopolitical situation is precarious for entrepreneurs and it could have significant implications for foreign investment in Russia and opportunities for Russian entrepreneurs in the global innovation marketplace. MassChallenge presents an opportunity for Russians to penetrate the global marketplace and to work in a space with ready access to seed capital and mentorship.
Russias increasingly troubled economic situation and rising inflation could have an adverse effect on Russias ability to retain top tech talent. MassChallenge can help to mitigate this brain drain. Startups that go through MassChallenge dont have to remain in the U.S., allowing them to return to their countries of origin and share their expertise with fledgling entrepreneurs.
This isnt to say that Russian entrepreneurs dont acknowledge this concern; they too are trying to change the culture in order to retain talent. Generation S RVCs accelerator which focuses on industrial tech, IT, clean tech, and nuclear/aerospace startups, is already making great strides in catalyzing a startup renaissance in Russia.
Moscow has really strong intellectual capital and engineering talent in the form of old and venerated universities. There is a real dedication to entrepreneurship here; there just need to be success stories. At MassChallenge, we hope to work with organizations and institutions in Russia to maximize the strengths of their innovation economy and to help ensure more compelling success stories. The startup renaissance doesnt just happen in America, it happens all over the world.