Russia: Rusnano to launch two new nanotech funds in 2017

A man walks past the office of state-owned technology company RUSNANO in the town of Yaroslavl, north of Moscow, Russia, November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

State-owned Russian nanotechnology corporation Rusnano, which is headquartered in Moscow, will be establishing two new investment funds in H1 2017. It is currently in discussions with co-investors from China and the Middle East. Rusnano was founded as a private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) vehicle by Moscow to commercialise nanotechnology developments.

In an interview with Russian publication Prime in late December 2016, Rusnanos’ executive director Boris Podolsky shared that Rusnano was looking to launch the funds and disclosed that during the Russian-Japanese intergovernmental Commission in November 2016, the prospect of partnering with Japanese institutional investors had been raised.

This could see Rusnano launching a joint fund with a Japanese co-investor such as the Japan Bank for International Cooperations(JBIC) or other Japanese institutional investors.

Podolsky said, “Our idea is to attract an institutional investor, with banks like JBIC or other investors operating in this segment. We also deal with a wide range of technology companies, for example, we talked to Mitsui, but it is a preliminary agreement. I think $100 million is a comfortable amount for the agreement, it is better to start working with the small fund size.”

Russia and Japan have already agreed to launch a joint fund with a corpus of $1 billion that will target investments in the pharmaceuticals and energy sectors, amongst other industry verticals. This specific fund is managed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and JBIC, who are each investing $500 million into the fund.

To date, Rusnano reports that it has attracted 16.45 billion rubles ($273.3 million), with a mandate to raise up to 150 billion rubles ($2.49 billion) by 2020.

In an exchange with Prime, Podolsky said, “We believe that the goal to attract 150 billion rubles up to 2020 will be met. It is clear that from the moment we took on these responsibilities, up to the current day, there were a lot of different events, including the introduction of sanctions against Russia. Yes, they we not very helpful, and we may again look at these goals, but still intend to comply with them.”

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