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November 2, 2018

The East Bound competition will help five Russian startups get investments to enter the markets of the East

The winners of the Russian startup competition East Bound, organized by VEB Innovations and the Skolkovo Foundation, were five high-tech projects. The winning companies will be able to apply for an investment pool of over $50 million from leading companies in Asia and the Middle East.

The prequalified participants presented their projects at three pitch sessions as part of the Open Innovations Forum at the Skolkovo Innovation Center. Pitches were organized according to the geographical principle: "Middle East", "India" and "Japan". The jury of each of the sessions included several investors with invested capital from $100 million to $1 billion.

According to the results of the Middle East session, Motorica, which produces active and bionic prosthetic upper limbs for children and adults, was recognized the best. At the India session the jury chose two winners - Heedbook and Thermoelectric. Heedbook released the first artificial intelligence solution on the market to assess customer satisfaction with the quality of service. "Thermoelectrics is the developer of a unique technology to control contact overheating and electrical equipment that helps prevent accidents and fires. The best projects in the "Japan" session were "NeuroChat" and FlowVision. "NeuroChat is a communication system for people with speech and mobility impairments based on a brain-computer interface. FlowVision provides a computer-aided dynamic simulation solution that has been successfully used in aerospace, shipbuilding, nuclear power and space applications.

Initially, the organizers reserved a $50 million investment pool for the best startups, but due to the large number of winners this amount can be increased. Each winner received a letter of interest from investors and an invitation to dinner to discuss potential investment volumes.

Addressing the participants of the session "India", the Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich noted the importance of pitch sessions for the agenda of the forum "Open Innovations". According to him, it is important to find really competitive projects that are optimal in terms of value of money. "Such projects represent value for the market, value for business, value for people," he said.

"Despite the fact that the contest is held for the first time, both investors and startups have shown very high interest in it. At the pitch sessions we saw several really promising and well-designed projects that are ready to conquer foreign markets and thanks to East Bound got such an opportunity. It was not easy for the jury to determine the best ones, and as a result, there were more winners, and we plan to increase the previously recommended pool of investments. The first experience of the contest can be considered a success, and we plan to develop this practice and involve other regions interested in new technologies and promising developments," said Oleg Teplov, General Director of VEB Innovations.

The startups were evaluated, among others, by Akira Sei, General Director of NTT Communication Rus, Elodie Robin, Director of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Initiatives, and Rus Motoco Diamond, General Director of Kawasaki Heavy Industries. In addition, the jury included Samir Zoni, CEO of Srei Infrastructure Finance, and Badriya Abdul Rahim, a private investor and presidential advisor on oil and petroleum products at GOFSCO, who received the prestigious Woman of the Year award in 2017. The organizers of the contest were represented by Oleg Teplov, Director General of VEB Innovations, Alexey Ivanchenko, Deputy Chairman of Vnesheconombank, and Benjamin Vilkening, Vice President of Skolkovo Foundation for International Investor Relations.

"Due to its strong scientific and technical base, Russia currently plays an active role as a supplier of technologies and innovations to domestic and international markets. It should also be noted that Russia and India are strategic partners with experience in implementing joint projects. These favorable conditions have formed a fantastic foundation for the creation of a joint venture fund Viman Capital, which supports technology projects in B2B and B2C segments of the two countries, and helps to expand the Russia-India corridor. Thanks to the EastBound competition, we learned about the latest technologies and solutions in the Russian market and chose the best projects for our pipeline," said Samir Zoni, CEO of Srei Infrastructure Finance.

Russian hi-tech companies with annual revenue of $1 million, offering products in the field of information and aerospace technologies, telecommunications, biomedicine and neurointerfaces, robotics, solutions in the field of "smart city", renewable energy and energy efficiency, could participate in the contest East Bound. Bids were accepted from September 20 to October 10, 2018. In total, more than 50 applications were submitted to the contest. The most promising projects presented their developments at pitch sessions.

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