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25 November, Mon
Global Venture Alliance – Accelerator-3.0
The original article can be found on the SME Innovator website.

Let us start with a brief introduction of the Global Venture Alliance and its journey since 2012.

GVA is a private ecosystem for innovation development which recently was announced as the World #1 Private Business Accelerator according to UBI Global 2019 research. Our journey was very interesting: since 2012 we’ve managed to build a sustainable acceleration programs together with venture funds, numerous other corporate innovation products and a big network of startups and experts surrounding our brand. We have representation in Russia, Silicon Valley, Kazakhstan, and now starting to scale to other emerging markets in CIS and AMEA regions.

We started off as a classical accelerator: we call it acceleration 1.0, where we were teaching entrepreneurs how to build a successful startups. We launched these programs called StartUp Academy back in 2011 and 2012, where we were bringing in the best startups from Europe, Silicon Valley and all over the US, taking methodologies of lean startup, customer development and other famous tools, customizing them for the Russian market and local economic model, teaching startups how to build a global company.

After 2014 we started moving towards investing in startups as well. We started investing in startups, now we have a significant portfolio of 220 companies. This allowed us to evolve into an acceleration 2.0, where we started teaching startups and investing in them as a private venture capital.

Since 2016 we shifted our model towards acceleration 3.0, which we call “open innovation as a service”. Now we are building acceleration programs for corporations, other institutions and governments. We are now teaching other players of the market on how to do acceleration right.

Please elaborate about the GVA‘s uniqueness and what distinguishes you from other accelerators?

We have been developing our methodology for the past 7 years. At the moment we have in-depth knowledge about not only how to create educational programs, but also how to build the relationship between early-stage companies and large corporations, how to successfully pilot new technologies and how a startup can scale inside a big company. That would be our uniqueness which allowed us to run 4-5 programs simultaneously.

Since we were able to create a proper platform for collaboration between startups, corporations and venture investors, our numbers have been growing, and performance of our startups has been really good. This is a win-win scheme which benefits everyone. Our unique approach is to create a value add for all players within the ecosystem and be the bonding element that ties them all. Currently, GVA is acting as a platform where startups, corporations, investors and governments can collaborate; and we don’t just act as a platform, we create special programs for this collaboration to be successful.

What’s next for the GVA?

During the past few years we have developed our methodology, which has now become a product that we can scale. We are happy to share our knowledge and experience with our colleagues in the market and to license our methodology. Now we are negotiating with several emerging markets, including India, Pakistan and few countries in Africa, about how our methodology can help them develop their ecosystem, bring corporations on board for real results, and where they can start playing a serious role inside the ecosystem.

Those are our plans and how we are going to advance our methodology and expertise. We plan to build more relationship with large companies. At this stage, we already have many industrial clients – big players of the market that want to digitally transform, and this is a very interesting experience. To sum up, our plans are to leverage on existing strengths and build new partnerships in order to scale our methodology to different countries.

What is the outlook for entrepreneurship in Russia?

We have been a very active player in the Russian market and helped build an ecosystem by running many events for startups, entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, and teaching them different techniques. Many activities were delivered for free, in order to enhance the growth of the ecosystem. Right now, we can see that the seeds that we have planted are bearing results, and Moscow is now ranked at #10 as the city where the ecosystem is thriving and growing really fast.

The one obstacle I can see is that Russia is a very big country and, unfortunately, we have very few cities where the ecosystem is growing – Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kazan. For me, there is a lot of talent out there in other regions of Russia and I believe that a lot of work needs to be done to find them and equip them with special skills. We should also consider the regional factors which can help us create the regional ecosystem with deep expertise. Doing so would allow us to create institutions, incubators and acceleration programs in those regions, similar to what is happening in the US – there is Silicon Valley, but there is also Boston, San Diego, Chicago and other hubs, which hold certain expertise that drives startups from all over the country to come to these centers, develop their technologies and get access to expertise, talent and, of course, financing.

Overall, if talking about the outlook for entrepreneurship in Russia, I should say that being an entrepreneur is still not as popular as it should be. With every success case that we can show to the world, being and entrepreneur is going to become more attractive for younger generation.

What would be your advice for entrepreneurs who seek to start or scale up their businesses?

One of the biggest challenges of starting a business is finding the right people. It is not so much about the idea or technology that you try to build, but rather about the partners you work with and who can support you. Hence, my advice to those who decide to launch a startup is to be very picky about who you partner with. You have to know your partner very well, you have to be sure that when the hard times come, which will definitely happen, your partner will stick to you and your project, and follow through all the way. Most of the failed startups fail because people did not get along when it was difficult. Therefore, my advice to all entrepreneurs is – find the right partner and a lot of things are going to be much easier in this definitely intriguing and very interesting journey.

How about your advice for those who consider expanding to international markets?

When you consider expanding to international markets, I believe that it is very important to make sure that your current business is running smoothly even without you and your partners being present. Because, if your company is still too young and the processes, technologies and team are still immature, your presence will be essential to oversee day to day activities. Therefore, I would say that it is too early to expand to international markets.

Going international is like building a whole new company, where you know nobody and have basically no idea about how the market operates. So, it is going to take a lot of energy and time, and you have got to make sure that your current business is stable, so that you can divert some of the human resources to new location.

My second piece of advice is to find a local partner – an accelerator, incubator, investor or entrepreneur, in order to be successful and not waste a lot of time. I have seen many startups who lost time and money, because they were not familiar with the currents of the new market – the things that you do not really see. Hence, find a local partner and do not spread thin your resources all over the place. Moreover, pick a single location or continent and try to win it first, rather than trying to scale to 10 different locations, which is a very expensive thing to do. Therefore, unless you have a multimillion investment that allows you to do that, I would say that entrepreneurs should approach internationalization step by step and make sure that current business can function without partners being present.

July 2017
17 July, Monday
Elon Musk Lays Out Worst-Case Scenario for AI Threat

Powerful technology will threaten all human jobs, could even spark a war, Tesla CEO says

14 July, Friday
High-speed Hyperloop project ready for key test in Nevada

Engineers will soon conduct a crucial test of a futuristic technology championed by entrepreneur Elon Musk that seeks to revolutionize transportation by sending passengers and cargo packed into pods through an intercity system of vacuum tubes.

13 July, Thursday
Uber, Yandex combine ridesharing and UberEATS in Russian markets in a $3.72B JV

Uber announced that it will be combining its rides-on-demand business and UberEATS, its food ordering and delivery business, in Russia and neighboring markets, with Yandex.Taxi, the ridesharing business.

12 July, Wednesday
Microsoft's new iPhone app narrates the world for blind people

The app uses AI to recognize people, objects, and scenes

07 July, Friday
Tesla will build world’s largest battery storage facility for Australian wind farm

Tesla will up its game in the renewable energy storage market with the largest lithium-ion battery storage facility in the world, to be built for Australia’s Hornsdale Wind Farm, with a completion date of December 1, 2017. 

05 July, Wednesday
Amazon’s Alexa passes 15,000 skills, up from 10,000 in February

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform has now passed 15,000 skills — the voice-powered apps that run on devices like the Echo speaker, Echo Dot, newer Echo Show and others. The figure is up from the 10,000 skills Amazon officially announced back in February, which had then represented a 3x increase from September.

June 2017
29 June, Thursday
Instagram now uses AI to block offensive comments

Instagram is introducing an enhanced comment filter today meant to wipe out nasty remarks using AI. 

28 June, Wednesday
Russia and Brazil aim to develop high tech partnerships

During official talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Michel Temer, in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the cooperation between the two countries in the field of technologies.

Putin noted that Russia and Brazil already cooperate closely in space exploration and that there are plans to develop cooperation in Earth monitoring from space.

27 June, Tuesday
Apple acquires SMI eye-tracking company

In a move that is sure to stoke rumors about Apple’s future work in augmented and virtual reality technologies, Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), an eye-tracking firm, MacRumors reports.

22 June, Thursday
X-Ray Eyes in the Sky

UCSB researchers have proposed a new method for 3D through-wall imaging that utilizes drones and WiFi

21 June, Wednesday
Why Atlanta is a great place for startups

Atlanta has long been a hub for big companies—think Home Depot, UPS, Cisco, and Coca-Cola—and now it’s quickly becoming the tech startup center of the South

20 June, Tuesday
Global risk analysis gets an artificial intelligence upgrade with GeoQuant

The global risk analysis used by big banks, hedge funds, and governments to inform their decision-making around everything from foreign currency investment to foreign aid is getting the machine learning treatment with the launch of the new startup GeoQuant.

May 2017
31 May, Wednesday
Elon Musk's Solar Roofs Have Some Serious (and Seriously Cheap) Competition

A team of researchers in Australia has created a solution that could make solar energy far more accessible.

25 May, Thursday
Airbnb is running its own internal university to teach data science

Tech companies, and increasingly even non-tech companies, are struggling with the fact that there are not enough trained data scientists to fill market demand. 

23 May, Tuesday
IKEA launches online sales and builds giant distribution center in Russia

Illustrating the appeal of the Russian e-commerce market, IKEA Russia has made a substantial part of its assortment available online to the inhabitants of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and their surrounding areas, as well as of several cities of Siberia, the Far East, the Central and Northwestern federal districts.

22 May, Monday
2017 VC Market: U.S. Startup Investment Picks Up In Q1

U.S. startup investment activity somewhat rebounded after a downturn late last year, with larger rounds and an improving environment for tech IPOs. However, funding totals are still below the highs set several quarters ago...

18 May, Thursday
Russian programing language - Kotlin - on Android. Now official

Today, at the Google I/O keynote, the Android team announced first-class support for Kotlin. We believe this is a great step for Kotlin, and fantastic news for Android developers as well as the rest of our community. We’re thrilled with the opportunities this opens up.

17 May, Wednesday
The thaw of the Russian venture market

From the seed stage to maturity deals, venture investment amounted to $894 million last year, up from just $383 million in 2015. “Market growth was essentially driven by a dramatic increase in expansion deals, whereas the volume of seed- and startup-stage deals fell to new lows,” notes Arseniy Dabbakh of RG Partners


16 May, Tuesday
Mid-sized Japanese firms invest in robots and automation due to labor shortage

Desperate to overcome Japan’s growing shortage of labor, mid-sized companies are planning to buy robots and other equipment to automate a wide range of tasks, including manufacturing, earthmoving and hotel room service.

According to a Bank of Japan survey, companies with share capital of 100 million yen to 1 billion yen plan to boost investment in the fiscal year that started in April by 17.5 percent, the highest level on record.


15 May, Monday
Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars

SAN FRANCISCO — As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the public intensifies, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players are teaming up.


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