Skolkovo Ventures attracts over $8 million from QIWI co-founder and Russian Helicopters - RUSSOFT
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Skolkovo Ventures attracts over $8 million from QIWI co-founder and Russian Helicopters

Skolkovo Digital primarily targets startups in the field of fintech, AI and Big Data used in education and advertising, among others

Jun 19, 2018
After investing $17 million in Telegramís ICO private presale this past winter, Sergey Solonin, a co-founder of payment operator Qiwi, has committed to invest 220 million rubles (roughly $3.5 million at the current exchange rate) in Skolkovo Digital, the IT fund managed by Skolkovo Ventures, Skolkovo announced on June 1.

Skolkovo Digital primarily targets startups in the field of fintech, AI and Big Data used in education and advertising, among others.

"Skolkovo Digital is a prominent player on the venture market with a clear positioning. The fundís first deals illustrate the fact that investors can find appealing opportunities among Skolkovo residents," commented Solonin, refering to the international tech hub still under completion on the outskirts of Moscow.

According to Skolkovo Venturesí managing director Vasily Belov, Soloninís investment will bring the total amount of the fundís assets under management to two billion rubles (around $32 million). In an exchange with Russian publication Vedomosti, he indicated that the fund may even reach 3 billion rubles ($48 million) in the future, being currently in talks with several potential investors.

Among the fundís earlier supporters are the state-owned fund of funds Russian Venture Company (1.5 billion rubles or roughly $24 million), iTech Capital (60 million rubles or roughly $960,000) and Skolkovo Ventures itself (20 million rubles or $320,000).

Skolkovo Digital is planning to close its first deals of 200 million rubles (roughly $3 million) by the end of June. By the end of the year, the fund expects to inject no less than 600 million rubles ($9.6 million) in various projects.

Helicopters for innovation

Meanwhile, another fund under the management of the Skolkovo Foundation, the Skolkovo industrial fund, will receive 300 million rubles (roughly $4.8 million) from Russian Helicopters, a helicopter design and manufacturing company headquartered in Moscow. The investment will bring the total amount of the fundís assets under management to two billion rubles (roughly $31.9 million).

As part of the deal, the parties will launch a joint acceleration program for industry startups.

This past October the fund attracted some $4.8 million from United Aircraft Corporation, a Russian aerospace and defense corporation.

Earlier this month Skolkovo signed an agreement with Bhaum Telecom Ventures Private Limited, a daughter structure of Indiaís Kanoria Foundation, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Update June 6: Russian Railways is also committed to inject 300 million rubles (roughly $5 million) in the Skolkovo industrial fund, the Skolkovo Foundation announced. In cooperation with the fund, Russian Railways "will select new technology and solutions for investment, focusing on areas including alternative energy sources for rolling stock and infrastructure, technology for monitoring infrastructure, IT platforms for cargo transport services, as well as systems to optimize transport and logistics chains."