21 July 2011

Asteros receives Skolkovo grant for development of IT product family

Asteros Labs, a member of Asteros Group, received a 90 million RUB grant from Skolkovo Foundation for development of an IT product family. The purpose of this project is to develop a family of IT products for integration of applications for customer service automation that would outperform all competing solutions worldwide.

Asteros Labs will invest 180 million RUB in this project over the next 2 years. Asteros Labs will finance 50% of this project, while Skolkovo Foundation will finance the remaining 50%. Asteros Group companies will be responsible for commercialization of all expertise resulting from this project. The project is expected to break even in 5 years.

The Investment Committee of Skolkovo Foundation used several criteria to identify this project of Asteros Labs as a promising investment. First, this project is focused on development of unique technologies with competitive edge over its competitors on the global arena. Second, this project has strong market potential. The niche of Asteros Labs products, which is the frontal integration of business applications, is expected to grow by 48% per annum over the next 4 years.

Asteros, in its turn, supports the government initiative on innovative development of Russia. This is why Asteros management team decided to finance the development project from corporate profits with a prior approval of IFC, a minority shareholder of the company. “We constantly keep looking for innovative ideas that would not only prove to be financially successful but also provide new competitive advantages to Russian businesses. Skolkovo Foundation is trying to identify and support the most successful ideas. For Skolkovo, the greatest differentiators are the level of innovation and the potential impact of the project as opposed to scale of business or accolades of the applicant. So getting a grant from Skolkovo Foundation is an affirmation of quality for us. It is a proof that our idea to develop IT products for application integration is innovative and will bring new technologies to the Russian market,” says Aleksey Demidov, Chief Executive of Asteros Labs.

This project is focused on development of a family of IT products for automation of customer service. These products will be useful for organizations providing a wide range of consumer services and using many different business applications. Typical examples include airlines and airports, banks, utilities and telecommunications companies. The new family of IT products will be fine-tuned for these industries. Asteros Labs software will offer service agents a unified and ergonomic interface to work with required applications, and will help to improve customer service performance.

Asteros Labs products will have a unique innovative differentiator: An embedded business process automation feature including an integrated process designer and a BI module for productivity analysis of existing customer service flows. Another advantage will be the use of thin client technology in the wake of trend for IT migration to the cloud. This approach will give clients an opportunity to use software flexibly and reduce its deployment and maintenance costs.

Asteros Labs has been a Resident Business of Skolkovo Innovation Centre since April 1, 2011. This status gives Asteros Labs access to preferential treatment in several areas including tax incentives and insurance incentives; on top of that, the Centre provides its infrastructure to its members and helps them to establish contacts with potential partners.