Skolkovo Ventures is putting its new company, Station, onto the market. Station will invest in technological solutions aimed at improving the efficiency of interaction between businesses and end consumers. Dentsu Group Inc., a multinational company based in Tokyo, Japan, became a partner in this project, representing itself through its newly formed Russian subsidiary called DEEP. Skolkovo Ventures and DEEP are pooling 1.5 billion rubles into the project ($20 million) along with support of investing partners.
Station is to offer a “one window” service that will meet a broad range of digital needs of companies that are working with end customers, including consumer preferences, product sales and customer loyalty.
“We are happy about this partnership with Dentsu Inc., one of the global leaders in technological innovations,” said the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich said in a statement to Sk.ru. “A business that is built on users’ knowledge doesn’t just require the relevant competencies, but also a high level of trust from the end customers, including the State. We hope to create a market for user data that is transparent and works in the interests of all participants in the process.”
Technologies that are based on smart usage of customer data and analyze interaction chains in the retail and consumer goods sector make up the basis of Station’s investment interests. The company will build a product line by acquiring key tech solutions and building an ecosystem with accompanying services in different business areas. Station will conduct a significant number of its activities through investment in Skolkovo Foundation companies and through mergers and acquisition. Right now, technological developments from over thirty Skolkovo residents are within the company’s sphere of interest.
“There are two dozen niche players on the market,” said Vladimir Sakovich, the CEO of Skolkovo Ventures. “They provide targeted analytical solutions for clients from different sectors. However, there are no end-to-end solutions that do not require technical expertise from the clients’ side. The market needs an infrastructure player to build a B2B ecosystem of partnerships, solutions, products and technologies that will meet the full range of customer needs using one platform. Instead, clients have to use a number of vendors to tweak all business processes and communicate with customers. In creating Station, we want to create a single, seamless line of technological products that will comprehensively meet the needs of customers of any size in a range of industries.”
Apart from direct investments, Station is planning to develop cooperation with technological leaders in the sector, which could serve as strategic aid for companies in creating new products. It intends to create an ecosystem that will bring together developers of niche high-tech products to give customers comprehensive access to sales-tech and retail-tech expertise.
The chief executive officer of DEEP Mikhail Voshinskiy also said in a statement that “DEEP was launched under the philosophy of helping develop and create new business solutions for industry segments beyond advertising in which Dentsu Group in Japan already has expertise and is a significant player. Therefore the partnership with Skolkovo, in the framework of this initiative, is fully consistent with our ideology and strategy. Moreover, the search for technological solutions for the retail industry and online/offline trade, on which focus is planned, falls within our sphere of interest. We hope that the platform will be enriched not just by our own international experience in this field, but through the knowledge of other relevant investors. This will help all participants, from companies’ solutions that seek a way to the customer to manufacturers that are searching for the efficiency gains provided by modern technologies. Skolkovo, being a powerful hub for various initiatives in this field, including with other industrial players, will become the platform’s conductor on the market and will give it the necessary scale.”