The French business mission took place December 15-16 and was the first of its kind for regional operators belonging to the Skolkovo Foundation ecosystem. The event was organized in collaboration with the Trade Council of Russia to France, the Val d’Oise development agency, Trianon Startups, French Tech, and other partners. The two-day mission brought together French corporations (Dassault Systems, Orange, Impulse, etc.), members of the French startup ecosystem, and Zhigulevskaya Dolina – Skolkovo’s regional operator.

French Business mission - Day 1. Screengrab:

Day one of the business mission comprised a country panorama during which French and Russian experts gave insights into the French startup ecosystem, market entry (setting up an HQ), taxation (corporate income tax, VAT, research tax credits), and focus areas in innovation (aeronautics, mobility, health/biotech, ICT, energy/climate/environment). The speakers included trade representative of the Russian Federation in France Mikhail Makarov, the founder of Trianon Startups Euryale Chatelard, smart city and clean tech expert Sevinc Ar Chimot from Choose Paris Region, and Euryale Chatelard, a founder at Trianon Startups.

“France is the largest investor in the Russian Federation,” said Mr. Makharov, “with over five hundred companies working here and over $22 billion invested. We believe that the main potential lies in bilateral support of technology or so-called technological cooperation. By this we mean digitization, energy efficiency, healthcare and so on.”

Anna Sergeeva presenting ISP's autonomous gas-based fire extinguishing solution. Screengrab:

Day two of the event comprised nine startup pitch sessions before the French audience. The startups were ISP, Airalab Rus, ISP, Snow Bike, Alternative Environmental Projects, Laduga, Do not get lost!, Knowledge Genesis, Astera, and Optofiber Lab. The solutions included a predictive analytics system based on production data, serverless IoT systems with enhanced security for Smart City, autonomous gas-based fire extinguishing modules, lead-acid batteries based on nanostructured and highly ordered carbon structures, solutions for complex engineering problems across multiple industries, an autonomous track module for small vehicles, new silica optical fibers with an enlarged core diameter for laser-based multi-gigabit data transmission, and a complex for processing liquid industrial waste and extraction of useable substances.

Deputy vice president of international development at the Skolkovo Foundation Maxim Romanov. Screengrab:

Maxim Romanov, the deputy vice president for international development at the Skolkovo Foundation, stated:

“We have been cooperating with our French partners for some time now and France is one of our key partners. We have organized many events together such as an online business mission to France earlier this year, and more recently we held the Russian-French forum on clean technologies in the framework of the Trianon Dialogue. We look forward to organizing many more events together and we are glad that our French partners have been with us through these years and are still with us. I think today you will discover some very good solutions from our startups and I hope that you find some interesting things for your industrial needs or projects that you could work on through further acceleration. This is a great opportunity for our startups from Samara to find a French partner and to demonstrate their projects. I wish you all luck for today.”

This event brings the number of online business missions conducted since April to a total of eleven, with over seventy startups participating in missions to China, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, India, Vietnam, Bahrain, Singapore, and Palestine.