Cancer, space, hackers: what problems were startups solving in 2022?


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Neuroimplants for the blind, a cure for cancer, quantum satellites – all these solutions are becoming real thanks to startups. We talk about the most interesting projects of technology

companies in 2022

Industrial developments: quantum space and energy

At the beginning of 2022, QSpace, a Skolkovo resident, raised $1 million from Gazprombank to develop a small CubeSat satellite, which will carry a quantum key distribution system transmitter on board . The launch of the satellite is scheduled for 2023.

Quantum key distribution  is the core technology in the field of quantum communications, which allows for the highest possible level of information security. The technology is limited in that the key is transmitted via optical fiber. That is, taking into account the requirements for the speed of key generation, the maximum distance for transmission is 200 km. The development of QSpace eliminates this problem: the satellite will be used as a trusted node.

In addition, in June 2022, the Ural resident of Skolkovo ReinnolC entered into contracts for the supply of coolers for network water samples for power units of the Rooppur NPP in Bangladesh. Sample coolers help detect impurities in water, avoid exceeding their concentrations and ensure normal operation of the nuclear power plant.

Coolers are a new product for ReinnolC. But thanks to strong engineering competencies and deep expertise in heat transfer processes, the company quickly mastered the production of equipment. The first deliveries will begin in January 2023.

Technological sovereignty: factories and airports

In September 2022, the machine-building division of Rosatom, the Atomenergomash company, implemented an online equipment monitoring system at its enterprises. It provides real-time control, analyzes the workload of machines and notifies about emergency situations. The solution was developed by the Tsifra company. The project budget is almost ₽200 million. A grant of more than ₽95 million was provided by the Skolkovo Foundation as part of the Digital Economy program.

Earlier, in February, the NeoLabs company for the first time in Russia transferred the equipment of the Ufa International Airport from a foreign platform to a domestic software package of its own design. The AIST system—that’s the name of the software package from NeoLabs—implements the concept of a digital passenger journey. AIST helps to automate the inspection of documents and passenger data at the airport when crossing various zones, register passengers, and monitor the location and status of baggage. The system speeds up registration by 15–30%. It is also used at Sheremetyevo, at the international airports of Chelyabinsk, Kaliningrad and Krasnoyarsk.

In the process of ensuring technological sovereignty, Skolkovo residents do not forget about establishing cooperation with foreign partners, including from Europe. In December 2022, Velter, a startup that produces shielding devices for blocking radio signals from smartphones and electronics, partnered with the Belgian brand Stolp. Velter will test European products using its own methods, antennas and software.

Biomed: against cancer and coronavirus

Skolkovo startups from the biomedical technology cluster – Ruspharmtech and Betuvax – have successfully completed the first stages of clinical trials of their drugs.

The Ruspharmtech company reported that its drug for the treatment of stomach cancer demonstrates high efficacy rates with significantly less toxicity than other medications. It is expected to hit the market before the end of 2025.

In September 2022, Betuvax completed a clinical trial of the first and second phases of the Betuvax-Kov-2 coronavirus vaccine. The company noted that the results confirmed the high immunogenicity, safety and good tolerability of the new recombinant vaccine.

At the beginning of the year, another member of the biomedical cluster, Sensor-Tech, installed the ELVIS visual neuroimplant in a monkey for the first time in Russia. This is an important part of the project aimed at the socialization of blind people. The first blind volunteers will be able to test neuroimplants in 2024, and in 2027 the operation to install them will become publicly available.

Cybersecurity: promising solutions for IT protection

More than 90 Skolkovo residents are members of CyberHub and provide services in the field of cybersecurity. The project is aimed at finding and developing technology teams and entrepreneurial initiatives, consolidating expertise and resources in the field of information security. In the summer of 2022, the selection of promising teams for the Skolkovo acceleration program began on the basis of CyberHub. They will be able to test their solutions at the National Cyber ​​Test Site and demonstrate them to the largest government and commercial organizations.

In 2022, one of the Skolkovo residents, InfoWatch ARMA, received an award for the best Russian solution for protecting IT systems in industry. The solution includes a certified next-generation industrial firewall, a single control center for network protection, as well as software that protects automatic process control systems from threats at the supervisory control level.

EdTech: new approaches to education

The Skolkovo EdTech hub is designed to develop technologies in the field of education and is needed to support innovative educational startups. On September 1, 2022, the hub celebrated its anniversary.

And in July, one of the hub participants, the Webinar company, attracted strategic investments from MTS. It was reported that the transaction amount was ₽2 billion . Webinar is a developer of a service for online meetings, a platform for webinars, online events and training for employees, clients, partners and students. At the time of the deal with MTS, 22 million people used the company’s products, and 10 thousand different organizations became clients.

FinTech: a driver of financial innovation

Over the seven years of operation, the Skolkovo FinTech hub has become an important center of competence for the Russian financial industry and has united more than 200 organizations. The platform develops the financial sector through collaborations between small technology companies and large corporations.

The FinTech hub has prepared a ranking and map of startups developing solutions for the financial sector, a rating of innovativeness of banks and 12 innovative digests. The materials help banks and venture investors find digital partners, investment targets and rely on quality market benchmarks when shaping their digitalization strategies.

With the support of the hub, one of its participants, TenChat, expanded its audience 10 times in 2022. TenChat is a social network and super app for work and business, which is based on AI technology. The application helps you select government and commercial tenders, bankruptcy tenders, and set up interaction with banks and counterparties. It also has advanced business intelligence and forecasting tools. TenChat is used by more than 1.7 million people.

Billions for innovation

Investments in high-tech companies are a key tool for the innovative development of most leading countries in the global economy. In Russia in 2021, the volume of venture investments reached $2.4 billion , according to the results of the first half of 2022 – $658 million . Similar figures for the global market: $643 billion and $282 billion .

The Skolkovo Foundation actively supports innovative businesses. For example, for the last three years, Skolkovo has been the operator of the federal project “Digital Technologies”. During this period, 24 pilot projects in the field of IT development for import substitution and digital transformation received ₽1.65 billion. The amount of grants in 2022 increased from ₽120 million to ₽300 million (state co-financing covers 80%). In addition, this year the fund launched a grant program worth RUB 1.7 billion for developers in the field of artificial intelligence.

Also, since 2019, Skolkovo has had a program to support private investors: business angels who invest in fund residents receive a 50% refund. Over three years, Skolkovo residents raised RUB 2.8 billion in this way, and investors returned RUB 1.4 billion. During this time, a community of 270 business angels was formed, and 185 companies received investments. The foundation works in several areas.

In 2022, a similar approach was extended to university startups that are not residents of the fund. It is expected that by 2025 they will be able to attract RUB 6 billion in private investment. In general, in 2022, the fund’s financial support for technology companies reached RUB 6.1 billion. RUB 527 million was allocated for microgrants (one application – up to RUB 1.5 million).

The support of the fund allows residents to show real results in a variety of areas – from industry and cybersecurity to innovative medicine and fintech.


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