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“We invest in Russia, but we do not isolate ourselves within the country”: how and why the Voskhod fund invests in deep technologies

Date: June 22, 2024 Time: 10:00:41

Photo: Interros press service

Voskhod, the Interros venture fund, celebrated its birthday at the Eastern Economic Forum. What has been achieved during this time and why the company invests in the unusual field of deep technologies, explained Voskhod partner Artur Martirosov.

UNIQUE PROJECTS

The investor is looking for something deeper: to paraphrase a well-known saying, today many venture funds try to act according to this principle. Investments in DeepTech around the world are consistently high.

Let’s explain what we are talking about. Venture is an investment in risky projects (usually in young companies, new companies), which in the future can generate good profits and profitability for the investor. And DeepTech is deep technology. This term usually refers to companies that use their own scientific and engineering developments to create a commercial product, often without analogues (more about DeepTech, in the “Our help” section).

One in five venture deals in Russia in 2022 and in January-July 2023 took place with startups in the field of DeepTech, experts from the Voskhod Venture Fund, the Moscow Innovation Agency and the Interros Group calculated as part of a joint study of investment activity in Russia. deep technologies.

– If we talk about a global trend, investments in DeepTech are gaining momentum. 2022 is not very indicative due to certain global changes, including in the economy. But if we take the trends of 2020 and 2021, the total investments in deep technologies in the world amounted to between 60 and 90 billion dollars. And the capitalization of all DeepTech companies at the end of 2021 amounted to approximately half a trillion dollars. And this figure is constantly growing – *told us* Arthur Martirosov, partner of the Voskhod venture fund.

This conversation took place in the Interros hall of the Eastern Economic Forum 2023. The Interros holding company is a key investor in the Voskhod venture fund.

By the way, the Voskhod Foundation celebrated its birthday at VEF. In honor of this, Arthur Martirosov gave a small “presentation” of the foundation for the guests.

– We have a young fund, the agreement on its creation was signed at the Eastern Economic Forum in September 2021. In fact, the fund started operating in December 2021. We wanted to invest specifically in DeepTech. After all, this is an opportunity to find unique projects with unique technologies. If they can get through the “valley of death”, the stage of bringing a product to the market and its monetization, then there is a high probability that such a project will be, if not the only one, of its kind. Probably one of the few, – explained the choice vector Martirosov. – This is typical of DeepTech in many areas: it doesn’t matter if it is robotics, biotechnology or medical technology. And our task is to find that team, support it, draw a risk map, understand how we can correctly approach its development and commercialization from an investment and business point of view, and also help with market entry and capitalization.

Voskhod selects DeepTech projects with global perspectives.

– We support Russian founders (company founders – Ed.) doing global business. And this is also a distinctive feature of our fund. Although we invest in our country, we do not focus exclusively on Russia. Each of our projects, either at the time of our investment, was already taking the first steps of its foreign activity, or we clearly understood how, with the help of our investments, they could go abroad and achieve certain successes,” says Artur Martirosov. .

Deep down, among the team there is a clear division of knowledge in different areas of technology.

– We have a small team, but each of us is very focused on our topic. For example, deep down I am responsible for biotechnology, medicine and robotics. Other people are responsible for the space, for IT. This gives us the opportunity to work professionally in different fields,” Martirosov highlighted.

WHERE AND HOW MUCH DID YOU INVEST?

– During last year and part of this year we have made a fairly large number of investments. He invested more than 2 billion rubles in 14 companies. This is a good pace in the current market,” says Artur Martirosov. – Interros invested 10 billion rubles in the fund and we managed to invest a fifth of that money.

Voskhod’s portfolio includes companies from various fields:

– These are developers in deep technology areas such as new mobility, drones, space technologies, fine chemistry, biotechnology, medicine, etc. We also invest in food technology (food technology – Ed.). We have transport solutions, for example electric centrifugal pumps for the oil industry and for complex drilling. Space technologies and unmanned vehicles are very promising areas. This is a very interesting time for the market. The market is ready, it is ripe. There were a series of failures. There were a certain number of startups in Russia that went bankrupt or went down the wrong path. And we can digitize your path and understand what not to do. We have the opportunity to analyze other people’s negative experiences. This saves time and money,” explains Artur Martirosov.

Space is also a strategic direction for the country. Now the State (and not only ours) actively expresses its willingness to dialogue with private space companies. Everyone is hearing about Elon Musk’s SpaceX and other non-governmental organizations in this area. There seems to be a tendency to leave space exploration in private hands.

There are also private space companies in Russia. Voskhod invested in two of them. Again, with an eye on the foreign markets of the future.

“We look globally and clearly understand how such a company can compete in its priority markets,” says Martirosov. “We also see how in the future, in correlation with the state, we will be able to bring the product to a level where there will be demand and companies will have orders. We have the ability to quickly assemble engineering teams, “mix them up,” solve technology problems, and bring products to market. We chose the space, we believe in it and we clearly understand how we can occupy a strong niche in this market over the next five years. At the very least, this is leadership in Russia; At most, we want to become full participants in the global market.

TO THE EAST!

– It’s not just that we meet you in Vladivostok, where our foundation is registered. An important part of our work is supporting projects in the Far East. This is another promising and important direction for us,” says Martirosov.

Currently, the fund’s portfolio includes four Far Eastern companies.

– For example, last year we invested in a company that creates artificial intelligence to recognize images: head, lungs… The interesting thing is that its founders are experts in different fields, this is one of the distinctive characteristics of DeepTech. On the one hand, the team has a “doctor” founder who has been working in the health system for more than 20 years. On the other hand, there is a second founder: a programmer with extensive work experience. The company is showing good results, we invested in it from the beginning. To date, sales have already been activated, the company has been successfully included in the Moscow experiment and a pilot project has been carried out with the medical-surgical center that bears its name. IN Pirogov is based simply on headshots. And very good results were obtained: precision of 99%, sensitivity coefficient of 98 out of 100,” Arthur Martirosov lists, not without pride.

HEALING SKIN

Another key area in which Voskhod operates is biotechnology. The company invested in them this year.

– This is a very promising story for us. We have known the company in which we invested for several years. It is an initial investment and has no sales, but the team has been working on this story for five years. We were clear that the time would come when they would be willing to give us an intermediate result. And it will be enough for our team to approve this investment,” says Martirosov.

The company, by the way, is creating truly revolutionary technology. She makes artificial healing skin.

– It is based on a collagen substrate; human red blood cells are also used with a solution to expand them. Furthermore, the result is not a product of cellular technologies. In fact, this makes it possible to register a medical product without applying the law on cellular technologies,” explains Artur Martirosov.

“WE BELIEVE IN THIS MARKET”

And another important direction (this time not DeepTech) in which the Voskhod fund operates is the IT industry.

“I don’t really like this word, but I would summarize these things as import substitution,” Martirosov smiles. – First of all, we invest in a full-cycle design office, including engineering design and prototyping. And our colleagues are showing pretty good results. We clearly understand that we need this investment for several reasons. Firstly, because there is a strong team there and they already have projects that can be brought to the market. Secondly, we use them as a kind of exam. When we can give them a fairly early stage of the product, they will be able to take it apart “piece by piece” and give their conclusion.

There are other interesting projects. By the way, Far East. For example, Voskhod invested in two startups from the Sakhalin region. It is a computer solution for tourism and a simulator based on VR (virtual reality). Also in the early stages.

– We really liked the founders, we believe in the team, we liked the product they have today. We understand how they can improve it with our investment and we believe in this market, which is now free. Therefore, in the case of these investments, we clearly understand what niche these products will occupy.

OUR HELP

“He inspires me every day.”

“We believe in DeepTech and want more people to know about this direction,” said Artem Martirosov at the end of the meeting.

And he spoke in a little more detail about this unusual area.

– DeepTech has several key features. The first is always a serious scientific basis and innovation. The second is interdisciplinarity, that is, DeepTech often works at the intersection of different areas: IT, physics, chemistry… The third characteristic is that most of the time (although not always) the result is a physical object that It can be touched, and is not a software product. According to global research, more than 83% of DeepTech products are simply things you can touch. And the last feature is that such projects solve global problems. In principle, your goal is to transform the usual way of life in your industry or create new directions. And this is probably what inspires me personally every day to do what I do. For example, our solution was able to detect cerebral ischemia; We saved several people and without our decision the doctor would have made a mistake.

ONLY NUMBERS

$79.5 million – the amount of venture investments in DeepTech projects in Russia in January-July 2023.

The growth was 15% compared to the same period in 2022.

$2.1 million is the average investment in a DeepTech project in 2022.

Today, the share of DeepTech investments in Russia in the total volume of venture investments is 19%. Five years ago it was 8%.

46.1% of all Russian venture capital investments from 2017 to July 2023 were in life sciences (biotech, medicine, etc.). This is the most popular DeepTech destination in the country.

17.5% of all Russian DeepTech investments since 2017 fell on robotics and sensors.

12.7% of investments are in artificial intelligence.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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