(English) Russian start-ups: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

01 августа 2020


The results of this year’s Start-up Barometer survey have been published. The team put together by Alexei Solovyov, one of Russia’s most renowned VC investors, first did a survey among domestic start-ups in 2018 and wants to make it annual.

According to the survey, the venture industry in Russia does not really feel so hard hit by the Covid pandemic and the restrictions that followed the outbreak. Of the start-ups polled, 67% never laid off staff these past months, and 85% sounded positive they would continue their activity. A reported 41% talked about plans to hire more people this year. Only 3% of the surveyed considered closing their businesses.

Start-ups have proven better positioned in a time of tribulations than conventional businesses, the study concluded; they began by focusing on modern business practices in the first place. For example, 41% of the surveyed have always worked from home without renting an office. 11% of the start-ups polled observed an increased investor interest in their products; in a time of crisis, new business tools grow in demand while some traditional ones benefit businesses no longer.

The Start-up Barometer team found that SaaS projects have been the most appealing to start-ups this year, with 9% working on those. The second most popular tech direction is Artificial Intelligence, an area that beat all others in the 2019 survey. Edtech and Hardware follow. The team also observed a revisited interest in Medtech.

It’s still difficult to live completely off one’s start-up activity in Russia. Just over 30% of the surveyed dedicate themselves 100% to their start-up work, and about the same number split themselves between their entrepreneurial activity and regular employment.

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