US investors to fund Russian startups through new accelerator in St. Petersburg

By East-West Digital News / Nov 08, 2011

Just days after Texdrive, Russia’s first international startup accelerator, opened in Moscow, the St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO) announced in late October the creation of its own startup accelerator in partnership with US venture fund RSV Venture Partners.

Operations will start early in 2012 at the university-hosted startup accelerator, ITMO’s Public Relations manager Yury Shkolnikov told East-West Digital News.

Each startup will benefit from a 3 to 4 month training and mentorship program with the participation of such US and Russian entrepreneurs as US veteran tech investor Esther Dyson, Evernote co-founder Stepan Pachikov, and IBS Group chairman Anatoly Karachinsky, Shkolnikov said.

Selected projects will also receive initial funding of up to $20,000. The best ones will benefit from further financial support of up to $500,000 from the accelerator and possibly other investment partners.

The accelerator’s available funding will total $6 million, of which $1 million will be spent on startups at the seed stage over three years and $5 million will finance later-stage startups, possibly including some startups initially founded outside the accelerator, RSV managing partner Michael Averbach explained to EWDN.

A leading school in information and optical technologies, ITMO claims to be one of the top 12 universities in the Russian Federation. Together with its affiliated business incubator ‘Quattuor Dimensionis,’ ITMO recently hosted a student startup competition in partnership with Norwegian browser software publisher Opera Software.

RSV Venture Partners was created earlier this year by US investors and ITMO University. It focuses on Russian tech companies in their early stages.

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