Filed application for my project "Zeptobars" to Skolkovo

The idea of the project is to design and manufacture (on existing fabs) general purpose microcontrollers (just like AVR, PIC, STM32 and others), but of course better and cheaper That is the reason I was doing decapping of various microchips last months - I needed to find out cost of manufacturing of existing products to see if it's commercially viable.

Why microcontrollers and not "yet another innovative IT startup"? I believe market is full of IT startups, and business in adjacent areas is more viable. Days of offsore software development which I was heavily involved in are numbered - mainly due to rapidly closing gap of salaries of good developers between US and Russia. Only large and well-established offshore development companies would survive what's coming.

Few words about Skolkovo

Contrary to popular belief (in Russia), Skolkovo is not an magic box full of government money. Being Skolkovo resident (if I would manage to get one) only means that you can pay less taxes for some time, and less hassle dealing with customs. The trade-off is more bureaucracy (Skolkovo controls every ruble you spend) and certain limitations (project must be executed in Russia, there are some legal things which you would not be allowed to do).

They don't really give all the money to the "poor innovators"- according to their grant policy, without co-investing they can invest 5 mln. roubles max (~125k$), larger sums require co-investor who would invest 25-75% of the total budget. This is understandable - 100% government funding is prone to corruption and would yield companies which are not ready for the world-market.

So, effectively Skolkovo is just a "sweetener" for usual investors - they throw in fraction of the money, offer some cooperation, but do not get any ownership in the company.

Let's see how it would work
January 22, 2013