Denis Kovalevich: In the First Stages of Building a New Business, the Startup Studio Completely Replaces the Functions of the Entrepreneur

20 October 2020

One of the first at the Open Innovations forum was a speech session of Denis Kovalevich, the co-founder and shareholder of the TechnoSpark Group of Companies. He spoke about the business model of the startup studio, which is implemented by a company that is part of the investment network of the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs of the RUSNANO Group.

In Russia, where the development of technological entrepreneurship is extremely weak, the classic schemes for selecting incoming startups, followed by their mentoring and advisory support, do not work. It is necessary to get our shovel and engage in the construction of startups from scratch. This model of innovation is called a startup studio or venture-building company.

“The startup studio is an innovation in the model of creating new technology companies. It opens up startups by analyzing bottlenecks in existing industries, highlighting products that are sure to appear in a particular market, often copying what has already happened in more developed markets. It is more likely to buy ready-made technologies, doing a product from the existing puzzles rather than going into deep development. For startups, it recruits hard workers, not stars, and takes on key entrepreneurial risks,” explained the head of TechnoSpark, which had become one of the world’s first startup studios in the material industries.

The startup studio does not wait for the appearance of the entrepreneur, and independently replaces the entrepreneurial function in the very first stages of the startup construction, and then sells this blank startup to those who will scale it and invest in its growth tens and hundreds of mlns of dollars.

According to European analysts, the success rate of startups as part of the studios is 45%. This is a much higher rate than the survival rate of startups in traditional ecosystems and higher than that of venture capital funds. On the one hand, startup studios sharply increase the level of “suitable exit” in the venture industry and drastically reduce the cost of construction of technology companies on the other. They can make a startup, for example, in the field of robotics, an order of magnitude cheaper than their competing individual entrepreneurs. This is due both to the principles of line production of startups and to the common infrastructure for all companies created by the startup studio.

The results of the work of the investment network of the RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs can be seen at the Startup Expo virtual exhibition, traditionally held as part of the Open Innovations Forum. There are 48 technological startups in a wide variety of areas including microelectronics, medical equipment, genomics, robotics, lighting, sports medicine, flexible electronics, and photovoltaics.


The Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs was established in 2010 in accordance with Federal Law No. 211-FZ “On reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.” The Fund aims to develop the innovative infrastructure in the sphere of nanotechnology and implement the educational and infrastructure programs already started by RUSNANO.

The supreme collegial management body of the Fund is the Supervisory Board. Under the Fund’s Charter, the competence of the Supervisory Council, in particular, includes the issues of determining the priority directions of the Fund’s activity, as well as its strategy and budget. The Chairman of the Fund’s Executive Board, the collegial management body, is the Chairman of the Board of Management Company RUSNANO LLC Sergey Kulikov.

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The TechnoSpark Group of Companies, a part of the investment network of the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, is involved in all aspects of venture creation: from establishing a start-up to its sale. The TechnoSpark Group of Companies is in the hardware industry, working in areas, such as robotics in logistics, energy storage systems, hi-tech medical equipment, diamond optics, braided composites, optical and industrial surfaces, genomics, industrial microbiology, thin-film integrated photovoltaics, additive technologies and flexible electronics. The Group of Companies is in first place according to the National rating of Russia’s most effective technology parks and was included in the National Rating of Russian Fast-growing Technology Companies, TechUp 2019. It is also a part of the community of startup studios, the Global Startup Studio Network (GSSN).

For more information about the company, visit