Sergey Gorkov: "Blockchain is not a technology; it is part of the strategic development of the Russian economy"

23 january 2018 года
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On the verge of the 4th industrial revolution Russia has unique chances to become a leader in three priority areas: blockchain, quantum and convergent technologies. The development bank creates three world-class competence centers to achieve these goals, said Sergey Gorkov, Vnesheconombank Chairman, at the “Bits+Blocks+Forks” session of the World Economic Forum in Davos. He presented the program of introduction of blockchain in state management.

“Blockchain is not a technology, it’s a part of the strategic development of the Russian economy. Blockchain Commune is already operating. We expect other two competence centers on quantum and convergent technologies to open in 2018. VEB is focused on supporting and developing the Russian innovation ecosystem, creating national innovation champions and integrating them into global context. There are several directions of this large-scale work: legislative expertise (this year we expect state legislative regulation of blockchain to be developed), creating families of funds to attract investment, and developing an effective system to boost breakthrough startups, primarily in the Russian and Asian markets”, Sergey Gorkov said.

It is crucial for Russian innovations and non-oil economy to create additional conditions and sources of long-term investments.

"VEB is studying the possibilities of investing in direct investment funds together with international partners. These funds will finance projects in the key sectors of the Russian economy. We are cooperating with the largest financial institutions in China and India. The system of decision-making and risk management in such financial institutions significantly differ from traditional banking. We will propose appropriate changes to the memorandum of VEB", said Sergey Gorkov.

Earlier Vnesheconombank reached an agreement to create a joint venture company with the largest Indian infrastructure fund SREI. VEB and China Merchants Capital also agreed to finance joint projects as well as to create funds in the field of high technology and innovation.

Vnesheconombank's subsidiary VEB Innovations is actively developing venture projects. In addition to traditional forms, like loans, the development bank provides other forms of support, such as acquiring a share in the capital. VEB supports innovative forms of state and business cooperation in introducing high technologies. For example, Blockchain Commune is carrying out blockchain technology projects for the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography in respect of its transactions, for the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending in respect of shared joint ownership agreements and for the Ministry of Healthcare for medication control. Millions of people will get access to state services due to blockchain.

"The development bank should be a driver of innovations and an accelerator of attracting capital to strategic priority industries. This is a serious challenge for both Russia's future economy and Vnesheconombank. I am confident that the focus on three key technologies (blockchain, quantum and convergent techn) will make the most efficient use of our resources and ensure Russia's leadership in breakthrough areas", Sergey Gorkov said.


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E-mail: press@veb.ru

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VEB Innovations to Invest up to 200 Million Roubles in ESL Producer

17 january 2018 года
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VEB Innovations will invest up to 200 million roubles in Kompo, a producer of a new generation of electronic shelf labels for retailers.

Introduced in 2014, Kompo’s ESL production technology based on e-ink has been pilot-tested successfully with Russian large retail chains.

“The core of the product developed by Kompo is a technical solution that was entirely created and first introduced in Russia. Such technologies provide the basis for the faster growth of the retail business in this country, which fully fits the commercial logic of the digital economy, and form the basis for Russian technology companies gaining entry into foreign markets,” Kirill Bulatov, General Director of VEB Innovations, said. “We expect that our financial support will help Kompo to achieve the export potential of the promising technology with confidence. The automation and digitisation of processes is currently one of the most attractive areas of investment in technology development. For example, US-based Amazon and Chinese-based Alibaba opened several staffless stores, with most processes automated and unmanned.”

The first commercial deliveries of electronic shelf labels are scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018. According to Alexander Belous, General Director of Kompo, the use of this technology will allow retail chains to increase their turnover by 3–5%.

“With intense competition among retail chains, the digitisation of dynamic pricing will give a big advantage. Electronic shelf labels enable retailers to substantially improve their economic performance and automate data collection, record-keeping and planning,” Alexander Belous said. “Such technical solutions also open up the possibility of introducing additional functions, such as shopper navigation or advertising.”

Foreign-made ESLs currently used by Russian retailers are uncommon due to the unavailability of efficient technological solutions on the market: they are lacking in versatility and not customisable. The Russian technology, by contrast, makes it possible to cut the costs of electronic shelf labels, can be customised and allows previously purchased and installed equipment to get new functionalities without replacing its components.

According to Alexander Belous, this means more than electronic shelf labels, involving complete retail space automation, although ESLs today are the flagship product essential for digitalisation in the retail trade. They not only replace the paper price tag and display current prices and other information about goods, but also interact with the shopper directly in the shopping process, following the global trend towards automation.

In addition to cooperation with Russia’s leading retail chain operators, Kompo has representative offices abroad and conducts intense negotiations over entering the Chinese and Iranian markets and setting up a distribution network in the CIS. In partnership with VEB Innovations, the company will be able to use Vnesheconombank Group’s contacts and infrastructure worldwide, which will facilitate entry into international markets. The company has plans to supply the market with up to 20 million ESLs a year, continuously ramping up production in the next five years.

As part of strategic support from VEB Innovations, Kompo will receive not only investments but also a tailored leasing programme from VEB-Leasing, which will enable Kompo to offer its products on more attractive terms.

“VEB Innovations can provide Russian technology companies with not only venture capital financing mechanisms but also access to a wide range of Vnesheconombank Group’s financial instruments, offering a one-stop solution for innovation project support,” Kirill Bulatov said. “In the case of Kompo, it is specifically about the fact that partner retail chains will be able to acquire the company’s products on favourable leasing terms.”

Apart from high-technology electronic shelf labels, electronic ink can be used in the future in any other areas where energy-efficient graphic display devices are in demand, including the production of advertising media, vending machines and industrial equipment. Using e-ink technology for the production of advertising media will also make it possible to create inexpensive and ergonomic solutions for advertising and information materials.

VEB Innovations was established by Vnesheconombank in 2017 as part of the reform of activities related to financing for innovations. The new subsidiary is intended to provide a one-stop solution for applications for innovation project support from Vnesheconombank Group. VEB Innovations priorities include financing projects of the National Technology Initiative and the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation programme and helping Russian innovation companies to gain entry into international markets.

Largely as an innovation and design company, Kompo develops and introduces related retail space management technologies: service quality management tools, local positioning technologies, dynamic pricing, automated stock management and other systems that raise offline retail profitability and reduce retail staff workloads.


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E-mail: press@veb.ru

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