27 Sep 2019
At Digital Uzbekistan forum it was announced that the first venture fund in Uzbekistan was established at IT Park. Aleinikov & Partners, QazTech Ventures (Kazakhstan), Sturgeon Capital (UK), Astron Fund Advisors (Uzbekistan), RB Partners (Russia) and Global Venture Alliance (USA) became the first international partners of the fund. “It is planned that the fund's partners will help with project evaluation, which will ensure efficiency and transparency of the fund's work and spending of funds,” Denis Aleinikov, Senior Partner at Aleinikov&Partners, told to TUT.by..
Earlier, IT Park of Uzbekistan and Aleinikov & Partners signed a Memorandum of Cooperation according to which Aleinikov & Partners will support the preparation of a road map of measures to develop mechanisms of venture capital financing in Uzbekistan, will advise on improving the legal, organizational and economic foundations of IT Park and will participate in the development of draft necessary regulations of Uzbekistan, taking into account the experience of the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park.
Head of IT Park of Uzbekistan Farhod Ibragimov and Senior Partner at Aleinikov & Partners Denis Aleinikov
“When the government talks about venture capital, the question is: how will the money be spent? When will they come back? We have to answer honestly at once: maybe never. A contribution to the development of innovations is not a contribution to a bank. It is impossible to be sure of the result here ...,” Denis Aleinikov said.
Denis stressed that without an early-stage investment fund (a so-called seed fund), the national ecosystem of startups will not develop. Accordingly, technological giants will not grow either.
“To grow something, we have to sow. The failure rate of early stage startups is extremely high, that's why in the world practice the creation of venture funds is usually done by the state. Unlike venture capitalists, the government does not invest for a long ruble, but for the future of new generations. If a project succeeds, the country will have its own Google, and if it not succeed it is also a plus: young people will have the experience to make their product in the technology sector, to fall, to rise and do it again. That is, in fact, the activities of such funds are aimed at nurturing a new generation of technological entrepreneurs, creating the future of the country, the nation of the future,” Denis Aleinikov said.
Denis believes that in Belarus HTP could perform this function on behalf of the state.
“I think many mature technology businesses would join in. But so far, our legal environment does not provide an opportunity to develop such initiatives, so we will help Uzbekistan in any way we can.”
One of the main tasks and activities of IT Park of Uzbekistan is to support startups and small enterprises in the field of information technology in the implementation of startup projects based on venture capital financing.
“No matter how we try to develop the startup ecosystem, IT projects without further funding will not be fully implemented. In this regard, we have communicated many times with stakeholders, both public and private sector, as well as with international experts, and concluded that without the creation of a venture fund it is impossible to fully develop the IT industry. Therefore, we initiated the creation of the first venture fund that will complete the logical chain of development of promising startup projects,” Farhod Ibragimov, IT Park Director, said.
The Fund will invest in venture capital projects in the field of information technology.
The target size of the venture fund is $10 million, its participants will be state funds, international financial institutions, foreign investment companies, and interested private investors.
The investment focus in IT startup projects ranges from pre-seed stage to early growth stage. The average investment amount for each project will range from $25,000 to $100,000, depending on the stage of development of the startup projects.
In order to hedge investment risks, the venture fund will invest in IT startup projects using the 1+1 (matching) co-investment mechanism, i.e. if there is a direct financial or corporate co-investor in the target project.