Professional managers going to start-ups

Professional managers going to start-upsA blitz-course on career guidance for future mentors and business angels took place within the finales of BIT contest held under the aegis of RVC, OJSC. During the event, professional business angels and technology entrepreneurs told about the main directions of their activity, and what is needed to become a business angel.

The session was organized at the instance of RVC partners. Many of them are top managers of Russian companies who discuss options for the use of their expertise and experience in the innovation sector as business angels and mentors of startups.
We have seen a growing interest of individual investors in innovative high-tech sector businesses last year - said Gulnara Bikkulova, the director of RVS OJSC department for the development and promotion of innovation markets – It is a positive trend for the sector as a whole, indicating that the start-ups will get some experience, expertise, communication along with investments, and that is necessary for the development of young companies.

The following people made statements at the session: Alexander Andreev, the CEO of SoftJoys; Igor Balk, managing partner of Global Innovation Labs; Alexandra Johnson, managing director of DFJ VTB Aurora; Barnukov Constantine, general producer of D3 Media; Pavel Cherkashin, a business angel. The moderator of the session was Puntikov Nicholas, the president of MIT Entrepreneurial Forum in Russia. Each of the speakers managed to try out the role of an entrepreneur, mentor, and business angel at different stages of his career, - that's why the speakers were able to discuss all issues of cooperation with start-ups at a high expert level. A special guest from Silicon Valley Alexandra Johnson shared the experience of American business angels’ activities and the interaction of venture capital funds with the projects at early stages.

Experts say that there are about 10,000 potential business angels in Russia today, and only 10 of them do it professionally. The speakers agreed that a professional angel is a person who is profiting from investments in projects, having no other major sources of income.

Participants of the event were actively discussing different approaches to angel investing, mechanisms of search and examination of projects, relationships with startups’ founders.

In addition, the experts gave the audience a recommendation to become a mentor before you invest in projects. Working as a mentor will gave a chance to consider all the pros and cons before investing your own funds.

In general, the participants agreed that mentoring and business angels’ activities are at an early stage of development in our country, but they are very promising.

Paying considerable attention to the development of the topic, RVC OJSC is planning a series of similar events in the second half of 2012 aimed at bringing new business angels and mentors to the market, as well as improving the skills of existing market participants.