TechCrunch Moscow 2010: The Bottom Line

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TechCrunch safely landed in Moscow.

Recently, Russia’s first TechCrunch event was held in Moscow. TechCrunch is a seminal business venue dedicated to Web based businesses and startups. The event was held in Russia’s first private tech incubator, Digital October, located in the former Krasny Oktyabr (“Red October”) factory building. Not neglected by the Russian governmental authorities, TechCrunch was held up to the global standards. Online video broadcast of all interviews and speeches was delivered. Here I would like to dwell upon the most interesting and memorable of them.

Please find video recording of all speeches at theа conference Web site.

Yandex – Arkady Volozh
Yandex has recently launched its English page and is looking forward to global expansion, primarily in those countries where Yandex is overrun by Google.
Arkady says he has high aspirations for location based services.
Yandex acquires several companies per year. Please contact or Grigory Bakunov with your propositions.
An enticing event is planned for December 2010. OK, we are looking forward to further announcements from them.
Yandex growth priorities are: search technologies and maps.
Quite a lot of questions were related to IPO. Volozh’s answer was quite specific: “It’s OK.” and “No comments”.
Yandex was widely discussed throughout the event. Everybody would like to buy stock before the IPO hoping that would be a big deal.

Cut the rope – Semyon Voinov and Efim Voinov.
Apple iOS is a great platform, giving developers excellent opportunities to earn money anytime and anywhere, and investing only their time. In their presentation, the Voinovs presented their success story and shared their outlook on how to repeat Cut the rope’s success. Well, the secret lies in immersive gaming experience, brief sessions on mobile devices and broad audience targeting.

The Russian Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Media Igor Shchegolev and Assistant to the President Arkady Dvorkovich made all but memorable speeches. Nothing particular was said, albeit the great Skolkovo plans were announced. It’s not quite clear what all this has to do with Web startups.

Evernote and Groupon Russia – Elena Masolova and Dmitry Stavisky.
Cloning is a great way for innovator to learn on a proven business model. Still, creating a brand new business is much more satisfying.
Elena Masolova has made a nice comparison: a local company Groupon Russia is making a higher revenue than the global Evernote business.

Media Business
Russian Web advertising is characterized by a high growth potential (many users) but very low prices.
WikiLeaks is an excellent example of how traditional media companies extract and deliver valuable analytics based on raw data. New interfaces are paradigm shifters for media companies. iPad has largely changed traditional perception of magazines, and this is just a beginning.

Morten Lund
Morten Lund made an excellent words of wisdom speech for starters. To become a successful entrepreneur, you should work more, take on risks (of two evils choose the one you haven’t tried yet). Even when you are too exhausted to proceed, never be afraid to fall. Of 10 startups only 7 are successful. No one will give the answer on what new product to make (the more so TechCrunch). This answer is not even in your head yet. You have to take on risks and seek new opportunities. A ready-made answer is nowhere.
Morten Lund was one of the first Skype’s investor. Still he failed to discern Twitter’s potential, and dismissed Evan William’s idea as idiotic.

In Russia, there are many investment funds. In this speech, practical recommendations were given on how to attract investors. There are almost no business angels in Russia. Investment funds facilitate development of existing and usually ALREADY successful products. You may resort to them in order to grow faster on new markets or to scale up your business before someone else has outrun you with big money. You may contact investors via E-mail (available on the investment fund Web site) or through recommendations, which is preferable. Before presenting your product to the investor, you should elaborate a deep insight on your business model, advantages of your team, and make a competitive analysis.
In the next year, e-commerce projects are going to grow substantially.

We hope such interesting events will continue to take place in Russia.

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