A technology team from the global consulting giant Stanton Chase (a specialist executive search firm) came to visit some of the Foundation’s resident companies today at the Skolkovo Technopark. The team of world-class experts in consulting, who work for Stanton Chase all over the world, included heads of departments working with technological companies and startups, as well as the directors of regional offices in the USA, Europe and Latin America, and some of the company’s partners in various parts of the world.

Paul Herrerias: “In San Francisco, IT startups always keep a close eye on the latest trends initiated by the “big four”: Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and Google.”

It transpired that the corporation was currently holding its traditional annual meeting for top-management, the venue for which this year they had chosen as Moscow, and Skolkovo saw this as an opportunity for its resident startups. For Stanton Chase the event also served a purpose in terms of business development: the company is keen to act as a gateway and integrator for innovative global ecosystems in the areas where it has a presence. Paul Holm, the company’s director in Russia and Finland, said: “Skolkovo is one of the most interesting projects going on in the world right now, and for us it was important to find out about the project, and find out something new from a professional point of view. I particularly liked the keen interest shown by the audience members, and the most memorable aspect of the visit is going to be the startups that were present, because they are working on innovations that have great potential, and products which, in my view, could be successfully promoted and commercialized on the international markets. My colleagues and I were delighted to be able to share our experience in developing technological companies and maintaining a productive dialog with some of the startups at Skolkovo.”

International experts from Stanton Chase take a closer look at some of the innovative products developed by Angioscan, a resident of the Skolkovo Technopark, and discuss the prospect of bringing the company’s products to international markets.

In the first part of the meeting it was the consultants’ turn to do some listening: the visitors were addressed by Anna Nikina, the event’s organizer and the Technopark’s director for the development of cooperation with the institutions of the RF, who spoke about the development of the Skolkovo project, before the floor was given to representatives of Cisco and Intel, who talked about the R&D centres their companies have set up in Skolkovo.

After that, everyone moved through to the STP conference hall, where the international experts spent a couple of hours sharing their wisdom with the audience. The resident companies heard about all sorts of things: how to become partners with a major global player; the nature of the USA’s modern technology market; where to begin expansion and who to turn to for advice and assistance in the European Union or Latin America. They also heard how to find a foreign technological guru for their project, and, above all, how to attract such an individual to Russia and provide the right motivation for a long-term, productive working relationship. In the final part of the meeting it was Skolkovo’s turn to take the floor again, and Maksim Mikhailov, the foundation’s director for cooperation with international development institutes, talked about the foundation’s experience in promoting its residents around the world.

Leonid Shabad, the director for business development of the company Talksum, a resident of the IT cluster at Skolkovo, shared his thoughts on the meeting with international experts: “The event was of great use, because we are thinking about going international with our project, particularly in Latin America and Southeast Asia. To date the key market we have been examining and in which serious changes are taking shape is the USA, and we know less about the other markets that are of interest to us. Now that we have had the chance to talk to experts working in the countries in which we are interested, we have got an understanding of how to go about developing our business there – with their help and the support of Skolkovo.”

“Working with a large international organization is always a challenge, there are a lot of people who want to work with the major companies, be ready for some extremely stiff competition, at the global level.”

Below are a few brief selected quotes from representatives of Stanton Chase, which will perhaps serve as useful tips for those who were not able to be with us at the Skolkovo Technopark today:

“Working with large corporations means working with the people from these corporations; you’re selling an idea to someone, you should never forget that.” “You must show a corporation’s representatives that you have got a technology that will bring added value in the precise field in which that corporation is operating.” “Large companies have a lot of partners, so you can find potential ways in through those partners, or by being recommended by them.” “Try to work in those areas where there is an innovative economy, it is there that you will find significant demand for new intellectual property.” “In today’s technology markets, you are more likely to be able to establish contact with the professionals you need, because there are simply more of them.” “Take into account the payment culture that prevails in each region (this is particularly relevant for online projects): in Germany, for example, they prefer to pay offline, whereas in France they prefer to pay for products and services using the web.” “In order to work more effectively with a company, try to get involved in the area where it has its head office – that’s where all the decisions are taken.” “Don’t neglect online personal branding; you need to be known on Facebook at the very least.” “When working with investors it is important to show them straight off what the financial success of the project depends on, and if you do a bad job of drawing up the timeline for your project and of your expectations for business profitability, the investor might take over a bigger and bigger share of the company as time goes by, and you will have far less influence – it is essential to have realistic plans regarding exit strategies for your investors.” “Every startup needs to have its own consultation board, which should include recognised experts from various fields – you will find that they are very often prepared to take part in such initiatives on an entirely unpaid basis, because for them this is an opportunity to develop their own professional network, and for the startup they become a treasure trove of knowledge, and help to provide business intuition that will keep you moving forward.”

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