by Staff Writers
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Oct 28, 2013
The first Russian contest of technology projects called GenerationS was launched in August 2013, attracting Russian entrepreneurs, experienced investors and business strategists. Julie Meyer, a British entrepreneur and one of the most influential women in Europe, spoke to the Voice of Russia about the outlooks for the Russian ventures market, shared her take on the future of global economy in the next 30 years, and warned about showing too much business ambition.
VoR: How do you evaluate the situation at Russian startup market now?
Meyer: I think there is an enormous amount of talent in Russia due to the dominance of state controlled industries. It is actually a much smaller market than actually it should be. So that means there is no opportunity for Russian startups to be discovered by companies in other markets where there are products, services and applications essentially could be very relevant.
So the discoverability of Russian startups is super important. And that's what we are doing with Entrepreneur country - we are helping those startups wherever they are based - in Russia, in Turkey, in Germany, in South America become discovered by the partners that want to find them.
VoR: Do you think that there is some specific at Russian market?
Meyer: I think from what I can tell Russians have an engineering mind, they are good at geometrical designs, special relationship to nature - there are a lot of things like this that they feed into the companies they do. And that competitive advantage needs to be marketed around the world.
I think I'm a marketer that's what I am. I'm interested in taking things need marketing them to the rest of the world. That's specific - this engineering talent. The Silicon Valley is very much stronger than marketing; technology is much stronger than marketing. There is a plenty of opportunities to bring marketing strength to the technology strength that Russia has and make it a real powerhouse.
VoR: Do you find Russian technological market a potential one?
Meyer: Yes, indeed. That's why I came to this event. I thought it was a very interesting event to come the first one to see where the startups starting up. I was really pleased to see that you have had 15 000 startups participate, to have the engagement with RWC that is really driving the creation of this ecosystem. For me this was new information. So now I can help communicate this information to the rest of the world through all of the means that I do.
I think it is really important because people here about one or two or three or four Russian internet big players, success stories, investors, but they don't necessarily know how broad it is and I want to take that message back to London but through Entrepreneur country and say "Hey! It is happening; we need to be aware what is going on in Russia."
VoR: What is the main difference of this project Generations from the foreign ones? I know that you participated in other startup projects.
Meyer: I do. I'm kind of neutral. I'm interested in the competitive advantage of what happens. For example on Tuesday I was at the Norwegian investment forum which was not dissimilar to this, but very different because it is centered on different industries and had a very Norwegian culture to it. Everywhere I go I think it is very important to understand what is there and then say that there are partners outside that place for that.
So I believe in a global opportunity for just because you're based in Oslo or Moscow doesn't ultimately mean that the people you will build business with will be right there in the same city. I'm just interested. When I was a little girl I was interested in what other people think, I was fascinated of how other people think. For me it is just interesting to come and to hear what is happening here and to communicate that to the world. So hopefully we can make the connections.
VoR: What is your first impression of the Russian audience?
Meyer: First impression is fantastic. I love the building, I love the space, I was greeted with the chief investment officer of the RWC, and so I get to speak with person making the investment decisions. It is a well organized event, good turnout, fantastic media presence. So it is definitely worth my time to come. I'm really pleased to be here. It is a positive impression.
VoR: At the lecture you talked a lot about global economy, tendencies. In your opinion what are the main tendencies at global startup market now?
Meyer: I think we've very much in moved into the second half of the cycle. It is less about the consumer internet and more about how business is transformed with digital technology. So we are very focused on how enterprises are engaging with these disruptive economic models and that's what is universally.
No matter where you go in the world it is not about a new application on my i phone. It is really about what the financial services, business, the retailer are they engaging with digital. Technology is a layer which is transforming all industries.
The next 30 years will be about this creation of the new common sense. So by the time you are thirty years older than now you will live in a completely different way, the way that you're interacting by products from your food store, the way you deal with your money issues, your health care, and the books you read. All of this is going to happen in a completely different way.
It is driven by the fact that you have become a digital person yourself, but it really driven by the fact that now the established industries are able to engage with you. We are in that second half of the cycle which is about society transforms it because of these disruptive economic models.
That's important but it needs to happen such that economic growth works for everyone. If we're late into the cycle then basically a couple of people get wealthy. If we focus o it now early together we grow the economy and more people benefit from this and the prosperity ripples throughout society.
It is really a question - are we going to wait around and make like rich people get richer or we are going to say that all of the society needs to benefit from this and that lives people up, gives economic opportunity - basically more people get wealthy that way.
VoR: What kind of startups will be relevant in the future?
Meyer: I think startups will be relevant that understand that corporate need to engage with them, they find the easy way of interlocking with those corporate. A lot of that will be done through API's; most industries will have to understand the data of customers.
If I were setting the startup today I will be looking at data analytics, big data place and API, internet things place which basically are connecting the different devices we have, the different ways we interact with businesses. Those are the kinds of areas I would be focusing on.
VoR: If I got you right big corporations now should work with startupers?
Meyer: Absolutely. We should have the corporate here; the big industries should be on an event like this to learn about the future.
VoR: So in your opinion the future is after the individual businessmen?
Meyer: The start-ups, small, fast-growing technology enables startups, they bring applications, products and services that the large businesses need but they don't know how to innovate themselves. So Goliath needs to find David and David needs to hawk on the back of the Goliath.
I'm not talking about Goliath buying David or Goliath investing money but Goliath has customers. Entrepreneurs have a choice - do they disrupt the industry or do they engage it. But what we see here today is people who will be entrepreneurs.
Whether we have this fest today - they are going to do it. They really dont need us to bring them together. It is either harder or easier, either they find a local out-a-root or they go to Palo Alto. If I'm like running Ashan in Moscow I would say "I need to have a conversation with a couple of entrepreneurs, because they know things about the future.
I need to go what we refer us to Entrepreneur country with humility and some respect for these entrepreneurs who are going to solve some of the big problems". That's what I think needs to happen. Maybe it is happening and I just don't know.
VoR: What is the key feature of the successful startuper?
Meyer: Successful entrepreneurs - no big secret actually. It is obsession. You can call it perseverance of they are much focused, they give their life totally to solving the problem. Unfortunately a lot of them get fat, get divorced, and get sick. It is no good; I'm not saying it is positive. But they are so
Source: Voice of Russia
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