Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Russia's Medvedev on Silicon Valley reconnaissance mission

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will take his vision of a Russian Silicon Valley to US technology heads including Google CEO Eric Schmidt this week before meeting with President Obama on Thursday.

(Page 2 of 2)

He notes that there have been previous attempts to lure US venture capital funds into the Russian market, including the government-sponsored Russia Venture Company, which was modeled after Israeli incubator funds, and which attracted interest from a few US fund managers. Now, the Russian government appears to be much more serious and is offering incentives such as eliminating capital gains tax and relaxing visa rules to make this work.

Skip to next paragraph

"That said, Russia will have to create regulatory bodies and make much deeper reforms to the judiciary in order to create a suitably attractive environment for many venture capital investors," says Wack.

American businesses have been eager to expand into Russia’s giant market, and will be watching Medvedev’s visit for signals that ideas have moved beyond the realm of natural resources, says Kemme.

Russian Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina told a June 17 St. Petersburg forum that the country is “interested in accelerating investment cooperation," and in "attracting US direct investment for modernizing and diversifying our economy,” but some analysts say there are many hurdles to that.

“Silicon Valley grew quite organically from the Stanford/Berkeley, tech company, and startup ecosystem, and it’s hard to imagine it succeeding as a planned center,” says Hilary Stockton, CEO of a travel-planning startup company TravelSort.

But to help the project succeed, Medvedev has named billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and Craig Barrett, former CEO of Santa Clara, California-based Intel Corp. as co-chairman of his Skolkovo project.

Barrett told Business Week that Boeing is interested in the project, and talks are already underway with Google, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems.