Alexander Galitsky, managing partner and co-founder of leading Russian venture capital firm Almaz Capital, was one of the key speakers at the Webit congress in Istanbul this past October.
We spoke to Galitsky about how to realize global opportunities in emerging markets, how to position your company to benefit from these opportunities, and Almaz Capital’s investments, as well as his thoughts on the Russian market.
Almaz Capital primarily invests in technology, digital media and communications companies, as well as software, e-commerce, consumer technologies, fabless semiconductors, optoelectronics and clean tech. The company has started to look outside Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Galitsky thinks it’s not the size of a company or the development phase that counts. What is important is the target market. Many internet companies should focus locally and adapt their products for their own culture, but many B2B and technology businesses should be global from day one, he says. “When you develop your product, you need to turn it into a business. [Then], you need to choose where your first opportunity will be…. since you would like to get brand recognition, you need to go to the biggest market immediately,” he says.
He defines separating a company’s development and its profit center, noting that for companies approaching a global market, it’s beneficial to focus on opportunities abroad while keeping development in the local market. “Crossing a lake [needs] one team. Going across the Mediterrean, you will need a different team and different boat. When you go to the ocean, it will be [completely different].
When it comes to comparing Silicon Valley with emerging markets, Galitsky thinks that it is not easy to replicate the entrepreneurial culture there, but emerging markets have an opportunity to capitalize on a native hunger to realize success.
For more from Webit, see my interview with John Bradford of Springboard.