ITMO University and United Investors Syndicate Launch a Joint Program Univest
ITMO University and the investment platform United Investors launch Univest, a joint national program for angel and venture investment into hi-tech projects of Russian universities.
The Univest program is open for participation. The partners can make a joint decision to expand it, inviting the country’s leading universities and investors to the collaboration. Plans for the program include a range of online and offline events for discussions of global technological trends and the best projects selected by experts from ITMO University and United Investors. Univest will become a platform for activating the exchange and development of partner relationships between the scientific community and investors.
Founded this year, the United Investors syndicate, with the participation of venture industry-recognized thought leaders, is willing to provide expert and mentor support to the projects in the early stages of development.
ITMO is a leading university in the field of technological entrepreneurship and technology transfer. ITMO lecturers’ works feature in highly-cited publications including the journals Nature, Science and others. As part of the flagship educational program “Innovative Entrepreneurship” and a range of other programs, students implement their own business projects which will now be included into the framework of the United Investors platform and given the opportunity to attract funding. ITMO students will also get the chance to get support from mentors from United Investors and communicate with thought leaders from major companies partnering with the university and the syndicate. More than 50 small innovative enterprises have been created on the university’s basis with the participation of its educators, graduates, young scientists and Master’s students.
“In Russia, most of product innovations happen inside major corporations, and opportunities for private investment into independent projects are very rare,” highlights Anton Gopka, Dean of #itmotech, ITMO University’s Faculty of Technological Management and Innovations. “At the same time, the most groundbreaking innovative developments are most abundant at Russian universities. In the experience of the US, the universities are surrounded by highly concentrated groups of investors and major companies blocking a large circle of other investors the access to the innovations created there. I envy Russian angel investors: today, they have the opportunity to choose between a wide array of deeptech and material-based projects that are competitively viable in the international market and consequently expedite them to the market. Thanks to United Investors, we are glad to open this door to innovations for private investors.”
“As United Investors, it is very important for us to provide unique access to the largest choice of high-quality projects possible. My #startupoftheday articles often feature projects created on the basis of American universities. I think of Russian university medium as a vast unplowed field for angel investors, and that what makes us glad to open this field to our partners jointly with ITMO University. I see massive unrealized potential in Russian young scientists and entrepreneurs, which lack the opportunities for real interaction with the industry and investors to help their projects fly. We will be pleased to act as a platform for building these connections,” shares Alexander Gorny, co-founder of United Investors and author of a popular blog #startupoftheday (#стартапдня).
As of now, United Investors features 650 startups and 70 investors. The platform was founded by a group of prominent venture industry experts: Alexander Gorny, Arkady Moreynis and Alexey Chernyak. Alexander Gorny is a former Director for Strategy and Analysis at Mail Group, where he was responsible for contracts on M&A and investments with a net volume of over 200 million dollars, including those with Delivery Club, Geekbrains, Citymobil and others. Alexander Gorny is also Deputy Director General at Citymobil, a taxi aggregator that has grown by 15 times in one year, and author at the popular blog #startupoftheday (#стартапдня). Arkady Moreynis is a founder of Price.ru, which he’s sold to Rambler where he later went on to work as Chief Product Officer. He became a business angel, invested into the startup Podorozhniki which was then merged with BlaBlaCar (currently estimated at 1.6 billion dollars). Alexey Chernyak is a co-founder of the project Darberry, acquired by Groupon Inc. in 2010.