Skolkovo Foundation's web site, also available in English

Skolkovo Foundation promoting Russian tech start-ups

The Tech Trailblazer Awards has partnered up with Skolkovo Foundation to help increase global awareness of Russia’s enterprise tech companies and demonstrate the strength of its technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

The partnership was announced on the final day of the TechCrunch Disrupt event held in San Francisco, which showcases tech start-up companies. The event attracted a plethora of Russian tech start-ups from the Skolkovo Foundation.

The Skolkovo Foundation aims to turn cutting-edge research into products, by creating a multibillion-dollar innovation hub on the outskirts of Moscow.

More than 620 start-ups are being incubated by the Skolkovo, of which several were picked to attend TechCrunch Disrupt.

Choister, for example, helps search, analyse and compare available educational programs. Fittingreality is a virtual fitting application for e-commerce which allows perusing what clothes look like on a user after they upload an image of themselves. Penxy turns your iPhone into a wireless presentation remote and Nettle offers next-gen 3D-visualisation technology.

TechCrunch reports that Russia is a booming market for start-ups as the country’s Internet access and 4G networks ramp up. Russia is now also the biggest single market in Europe, overtaking Germany last year.

The Russian government apparently realised it needed to start making the economy less dependent on oil and gas industries, and therefore helped set up the Skolkovo Foundation to nurture tech companies.

Also it seemed like the logical progression for Russia in that it would benefit from previous space R&D.

Skolkovo is not without its problems, however. The Foundation, headed by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, has been plagued by allegations of corruption and embezzlement since its own incubation.

In May this year, its headquarters were raided by Russian police investigating possible embezzlement charges of 24 million rubles ($758,000) of government money.

Despite the controversy surrounding the Skolkovo Foundation, it stands to receive over 500 billion rubles ($15bn) in state and private funding over the next seven years, according to Moscow Times, 2 August.

Skolkovo Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have also come together to foster international co-operation in higher education, research and innovation through the development of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech).

Further, Facebook CEO Mark Zukcerberg made a trip to Moscow last year, reportedly to discuss IT technology and start-up co-operation in the Skolkovo Innovation Center.

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