30 October 2012
EADS Innovation Works’ unique approach to developing relationships with Russian startups, technology companies and institutes is supported by an organization that is unique in itself: the woman-owned and managed Meridian Capital, a Moscow-based independent investment boutique.
Meridian Capital’s Managing Partner Yuila Leonova (at left) and Inna Yumasheva, Meridian Capital’s General Director, are supporting EADS Innovation Works’ growing presence in Russia.
“Being a woman-owned company is both a challenge and an advantage,” explained Yuila Leonova, who is Meridian Capital’s Managing Partner and a founding member of the company. “It continues to be a man’s world in mergers, acquisitions and innovation – which is a challenge – but the advantage is that we still can achieve a great deal by being unique, having the right connections, adding value to business…and not making mistakes.” Leonova, who has a background in investment banking that dates back to 1993, has been working with Meridian Capital since the company’s 1997 creation.
The Skolkovo high-tech hub
Meridian Capital’s relationship with EADS evolved through the Russian Academy of Sciences starting in 2003, and much of the current focus with EADS Innovation Works is on advancing this outreach through the Skolkovo high-tech hub in the Moscow region – Russia’s leading technology incubation center, for which EADS has the status as a key partner. “EADS Innovation Works is a good match with Russia’s focus on advancing its technology through startups and promising young companies – a strategy that is reflected in the government’s high-level support for Skolkovo,” Leonova explained. “With Skolkovo, government funding is made available for such new ventures, while EADS’ cooperation provides an opening to Europe and the world.”
Promoting innovation in Russia
Both Leonova and Inna Yumasheva – Meridian Capital’s General Director, who joined the company in 2008 – are upbeat about the future of Russian innovation, especially with the success demonstrated by Skolkovo through its collaboration with EADS and other partners.“Skolkovo has clearly shown its capability to promote innovative companies and technologies, and it certainly will not be the last organization of its kind in Russia,” Yumasheva added. “Russia has much to offer: its solid foundation in technology from the former Soviet Union is now being built upon by the new generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.”