The eighth successive Startup Village technology conference opened on the very same day as the ten year anniversary of the creation of the Skolkovo Foundation. “This is a very important and meaningful date for us and we are very happy that we are marking this celebration with you today,” stated Viktor Vekselberg, the chairman of the board of directors of the Skolkovo Foundation, speaking to the event participants.
This year’s conference is taking place in an online format; a digital conference of such a scale has never been done in Russia until now, and the organizers did not hide their excitement at the opening ceremony. “We were anxious that in the difficult situation the world finds itself in where people are tired, it would not be easy to attract a large audience,” acknowledged Viktor Vekselberg.
However, according to the data on the number of registrations prior to the conference, the audience number is five digits, which in the opinion of the chairman of the board of directors of the Skolkovo Foundation testifies to the exceptional interest in the project.
Startup Village Conference Livestream‘20 virtual opening ceremony. Photo: Sk.ru.
Startups highlighted their interest by presenting nearly 400 developments on the virtual exhibition as well as over 150 speakers, a third of whom are from abroad.
“I would like to emphasize in particular that the success of innovations comes when an investor appears,” said Viktor Vekselberg. “Over a thousand investors noted in their questionnaires that they are ready to invest in our startups’ developments.”
The leader of the virtual opening ceremony, senior vice-president of Skolkovo Alexander Chernov, who organized all the previous Startup Village conferences, noted with relief that it is the first time that he hasn’t worried about the weather. Rain during either day of the forum will not interfere with the success of the enterprise, he said, before giving the floor to the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich.
The digital format of the conference allows for an audience of many thousands spread across different cities and countries, for the exchange of experience and the conduct of conversations about what our world will be tomorrow. “Today we know little,” stated Arkady Dvorkovich. “Of course, we know what was before and we are gradually learning how the new world works. We know absolutely nothing about how the future will look; we can only guess and make forecasts. Apparently, the world in the future will be a combination of different elements of the old, present, and the new and unknown. And today’s event, our conversation today, will allow us to peer into that future.”
The Startup Village Conference Livestream‘20 not only gives the possibility to discuss but to also think of new business models, to get to know one another in order to create new products and services, and to make innovative decisions that allow us to move forwards, the speaker noted.
“Of course, the government and the president of Russia have already announced a variety of support measures, particularly for small businesses and large companies, but a large part of the work we will have to do together,” the chairman of the Foundation continued. “The fates of projects, business, and people overall will depend on the efforts of each person. So let us work together so that the 10 year anniversary of Skolkovo is successful. We have many events ahead of us this year and I hope that at least some of them will be held in the traditional format,” stated Arkady Dvorkovich.
Over the coming two days the participants of Startup Village Livestream’20 should not only expect discussions at sessions, which are limited to half an hour taking into account the online format, or just become acquainted with hundreds of projects that are traditionally exhibited at the startup market; they will also partake in a competition where they will compete for non-virtual prizes.
This year over 800 applications were made for the competition, announced Sk.ru Ekaterina Inozemtseva, the general director of ANO “Skolkovo Forum.” The organizers conducted the preliminary stages outside the conference but will broadcast the most interesting stage, the battle for the prizes, during the forum itself.
“We will not have one but four finals for relevant technological fields: IT, BioTech, Industrial Tech, and Energy Tech. The winner of 1st place will receive three million rubles, 2nd place will receive two million, and 3rd place will receive one million rubles. Thus, the overall prize pool for Startup Village-2020 amounts to 24 million rubles.
“This will be a very intense competition,” predicts Ekaterina Inozemtseva. “Because of the large number of applications for the competition, we were able to gather together really strong projects.”