The Russia-India business mission was organized jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Russian Export Center, and the Skolkovo Foundation. During the last day of the mission on July 9, six Skolkovo startups in the fields of healthcare, IT and biomed, pitched their projects to around one hundred Indian representatives during an online session.

The pitching companies were Sensor-Tech, Botkin AI, Sigma Laboratories, Third Opinion, Evotech Mirai Genomics, and BMG (Biomicrogel). Each startup was given seven minutes to make their pitch and then between three and five minutes for Q&A.

“Our task is to find opportunities to connect our businesses, to connect our interests, and to find mutually beneficial business ideas.” - Arkady Dvorkovich, chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation.

Arkady Dvorkovich, the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation opened the session with welcoming words,  highlighting successful past collaboration between Skolkovo and Indian companies. “Our task is to find opportunities to connect our businesses, to connect our interests, and to find mutually beneficial business ideas,” said Mr. Dvorkovich. “I would also like to thank the Russian Export Center for supporting the collaboration. Today, we will focus on a few key innovation areas, in particular healthcare and biomed, but also IT companies. Based on our previous experience, when we started discussing opportunities, we always found good ideas. We had a very good dialogue in energy, telecommunications, materials science and new materials used in different areas. Our companies are already entering the Indian market, Indian companies participated in our soft-landing program last year, which I think was successful, and I’m sure that we will have much more success in the future. Good luck to everyone making pitches today. Hopefully the quality will be high enough for our Indian partners to take some of those on board and that it will lead to our fruitful cooperation. Thank you.”

Arkady Dvorkovich, chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation. Screenshot:

Also opening the pitch session was Dr. Alexander Rybas, the Trade Commissioner of Russia in India.

“On behalf of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in India, I am pleased to welcome the Indian and Russian participants to this online conference devoted to the promotion of Russian technological and healthcare products as well as achievements and solutions to combat viruses, including the new threat - the coronavirus. A special thanks to the organizers: the Skolkovo Foundation, the Russian Export Center as well as the Confederation of Indian Industry,” said Dr. Rybas.

Dr. Rybas went on to highlight the economic issues facing countries across the world brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The IMF and the international ratings agencies have predicted negative growth for 2020 and it remains difficult to forecast what 2021 will bring. Will there be a long period of recession or a quick recovery? 

While production has suffered across most sectors, the medical industry is the least affected by the pandemic. Indeed, production capacity has increased for healthcare products designed to treat and combat the spread of the coronavirus, and Skolkovo’s startups are no exception to this with many producing new equipment, drugs and devices to meet new demand.

Dr. Rybas also emphasized the importance of maintaining the pace of bilateral trade and economic avenues for expansion, particularly with regards to cooperation in the medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. Such cooperation between the two sides is not new but in fact goes back to the late 60s and 70s, when the USSR assisted India in constructing plants for pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical equipment.

Dr. Shabnum Singh of the Max Healthcare Institute spoke on behalf of the CII during the conference, expressing her support in facilitating the movement to develop ties further between India and Russia.

“We have a very long history with Russia and we would definitely look forward to not only facilitating for all our industry members but also looking at new areas, especially in the digital space, the utilization of artificial intelligence as well as platforms,” said Dr. Singh. 

According to Dr. Singh, the pandemic has shown that in order to deal with Covid-19 and future pandemics like it, society will have to do so on the platform of technology as well as manpower. “I am sure that collaboratively with Russia, we can do much more not only in addressing our individual national needs, but also global needs,” she added.

Skolkovo’s startups presented solutions in the following areas: water treatment, AI diagnostics (using AI to diagnose cancer patients as well as Covid-19 patients), smart devices for the blind, smart devices for the deaf, isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology for diagnosing Covid-19, AI-screening and monitoring technology, and biopolymer-based medical products. 

This business mission is one of a series, with the Vietnam, Indonesia, and South Korea business missions due to take place during the second half of July and the beginning of August.