DLD Moscow was the occasion to hear from experts and key players on IT and finance in Russia. A very helpful endavour when one realizes that there is a “Russian Paradox” as moderator Adrien Henni puts it. In short, Russia is still very much a cash economy, more so than India. Moreover, the Russian online banking penetration is only 6%
Maxim Nogotkov (left) and Cindy Padnos (founder of Illuminate Ventures)
However, thanks to new technologies, Russian entrepreneurs are developping services to cater to the specific needs of their local customers. For instance, Maxim Nogotkov, who made a fortune launching cell phone company Svyaznoy, transformed his 3000 mobile phones shops to promote the banking products of Svyaznoy Bank.
“We have a full banking licence” underlines the man who, according to Forbes, is now a billionaire. This position puts him at the crossing of the growth of smartphones and mobile payment, 2 very promising markets in Russia, as the shift from cash payment is slowly taking place.
Talking about key player don’t begin to describe Boris Kim’s role in the Russian banking world. It’s simple, last year, more than half of the population of Russia used at some point one of Kim’s QIWI services.
Recognized as an integral part of Russian internet life, Qiwi’s products ranges from the omnious cash collecting kiosks to purchase online to more recent launchs like the QIWI virtual visa card, mobile apps, electronic wallets. Kim offered the audience some lessons for success: growth through cannibalization, using cloud money and getting mobile and social.