Russia’s Pulsar firm to give priority status in acceleration programme to women-founded startups

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Russia-based seed accelerator Pulsar Venture Capital has promised to give priority status in an acceleration programme to Russian high-tech startups founded by women in a bid to boost female presence in industries where it remains low.

“According to international statistics, women are the founders of a mere 3% of startups across the world, though these startups are much more successful than the other 97%,” a statement from Pulsar quoted the company’s chief executive, Pavel Korolev, as saying in a comment on the promise, made on March 8, International Women’s Day.

Startups taking part in the programme are to represent industries that include information technology, oil, gas and medical technology, biotechnology, and new materials. Selection of companies for the program was begun by Pulsar a month ago.

Startup managers would meet experts and investors in Kazan in Russia, Moscow, Dublin and Silicon Valley. If these meetings go well, the firms would receive sums of up to 8,000,000 roubles (about $114,000 at today’s exchange rate) and the possibility of raising up to $1.11m from investors worldwide.

Besides Pulsar, the programme organisers and partners are Ireland’s National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), the Investment and Venture Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia’s fund of funds RVC and Development Support Fund for Small-Sized Scientific and Technological Enterprises, and the Irish government’s business promotion organisation Enterprise Ireland.

The programme is supported by Russia’s Development Fund for Internet Initiatives and by Novosibirsk Technopark.

Alexandra Johnson, founder and managing director of Global Technology Capital and president of the Global Technology Symposium, an investor conference on global emerging markets held annually in Silicon Valley since 2003, credited women-founded companies with being quicker to achieve success.

Diana Moldavsky, partner at US company 500 Startups, cited statistics suggesting that, in the United States, technology companies are generally the more successful the more women they have among their top managers.

Startups founded by women make profits 12% higher than those set up by men. Successful startups have had top management teams where 7.1% were women, while the top brass of unsuccessful ones was only 3.1% female, Moldavsky said.

Pulsar is headquartered in Kazan and also has offices in the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

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