— Miriam, why did you decide to invest in a Russian startup? It would not appear to be an obvious decision, given the state of the market.
— One cannot fail to see that over the past few years, the Russian market has taken a great step towards innovation. Russia has many splendid entrepreneurs seeking every possible way to develop, to export, to promote their technologies and their products on successful markets. Consequently, now is the right time to take your money to Russia in particular.
— What attracted you to the JetHunter startup? Do you have your own ways of approaching the selection of projects worth investing in?
— Yes. In business, I am guided by the “Three Ts Rule” – team, technology and timing. JetHunter meets all three criteria.
— How much in investments are we talking about? And in what format will they be made?
— My support for this start up amounts to preseeding investments in the format customary in the West. But I am not prepared to reveal the sum involved at this stage.
— When do you expect to see a return on your investments?
— It usually takes young newly-starting companies many years to develop and to reach a successful size, or, for example to get as far as an IPO. (Ed. note: Initial Public Offer) I believe that JetHunter will achieve a rapid rate of growth in the next few years. But I can’t say more precisely than that.
— Does the company’s present strategy meet your expectations? Do you influence its management policy in any way?
— As a shareholder, I may help the company in its management to some extent, but this is not my main business. As I said, one of my key criteria for investment is an exceptional team, one to which I can fully trust to ensure that the company is moving in the right direction. At present they are developing successfully, and I am only helping them with my network of contacts, in order to maximize profit.
— Startups which integrate traditional industries and IT innovations appear very promising. Do you think technologies will be able to change existing markets? In this same field of aviation and air transport, for example?
— I think that at the present time, JetHunter is creating a real new market, which previously simply did not exist. And this new market, more accessible and convenient than what was there before, will rapidly grow and richly reward those working in it.
I am sure that innovation in general brings about the appearance of new flows of incomes in those industries in which there have not recently been many breakthroughs in technology or new solutions. So in effect, the change amounts to using technologies to bring the client as close as possible to the desired product.
— Do you think JetHunter is likely to meet the same problem as Uber did at one time? You remember how it raised a storm of indignation in the market? Do you think aviation is ready for serious changes, for a model of consumption that is new in principle?
— Obviously, this project, like any other, could very well have problems in how it is received. But all the same, it seems to me that the aviation market is ready for changes, and in general, changes leading to a better market, to one which is more convenient for consumers and operators, are just what we are all trying to achieve. It is no secret that this industry has been stagnating recently, and JetHunter can bring basic motive forces into operation to increase traffic considerably.Therefore its appearance on the market will be beneficial for most players.
— Have you used this service yourself?
— Although JetHunter is operating successfully and developing, showing exceptional results, I personally have not yet had a chance to use it. But it’s on my To Do list.
— Will you invest in other Russian startups?
— I am thinking about it quite seriously just now. But I cannot and will not show my hand now. That’s business.
— Could you please tell me about other companies you’ve invested in? What are their stories?
— Stories of success are very similar but at the same time different in each specific case, The recipe is roughly this: a combination of great passion with outstanding ability and know-how in an individual industry.
The projects which usually attract me are those created on the basis of ideas which are simple, but globally applicable and very technological. Those are always the ones with great market potential. It doesn’t happen any other way.