More than 700 innovation companies have been created at higher education schools, officials report, and they are promising to them various privileges, preferences and support. STRF.ru has decided to learn how young businessmen-innovators really live. We went to visit the aviation company "FALT-Dynamics", which develops software for flight simulators, and is preparing to launch its first large-scale project – virtual air salon "MAKS-2011 in 3D».
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The company is located in the science city of Zhukovsky near Moscow. It has several rooms at MIPT, at the Faculty of Aerodynamics and Flight Engineering. Equipment includes computers, educational and research piloting stand. Employees of “FALT-Dynamics"create software systems for flight simulators that simulate the take-off and landing in mountainous terrain (taking into account turbulent flows that occur in the flow of a mountain landscape), aircraft landing on aircraft carrier in the wake of the ship, and many other situations. The task of developers is to create the model that is most close to reality, taking into account the physics of real turbulent flows.
"The unique feature of our software is that we build program support of flight simulators with models that reflect the physics of the impact of turbulent flows of different origin on the plane,” says Anatoly Khokhlov, CTO," FALT-Dynamics. "Right now we are finishing work associated with simulation of the process in the aviation simulator aircraft refueling in flight, taking into account the impact on aircraft that is being refueled and on the refueling hose-cone of the wake vortex from the wake of a tanker aircraft under different levels of atmospheric turbulence."
300,000 for the start
The simulator which cost about three million rubles was gifted to the Faculty of Aerodynamics and Flight Engineering by CSTS "Dynamics," a company related to the faculty:the majority of graduates of the Faculty of Aerodynamics and Flight Engineering are employed here. So when in 2009 higher education institutions were allowed to set up companies (based on 217-FZ), looking for another business partner was out of the question.
Evgeni Voitenkov: "When we started, the students were invited to cooperate. In the framework of "MAKS-2011 in 3D," we carried out a three-month training course in 3D-modeling for anyone interested. Those who have attended, received a special scholarship - five thousand rubles."
"FALT-Dynamics" Ltd. is the first innovation company at the institute. As you might guess from the name, the two friendly organizations are its founders, the total contribution of which to the founding capital amounted to 300 thousand rubles. From the "Dynamics" 198,000 was received, everything else - from the Faculty of Aerospace and Flight Engineering, though not in terms of money (last year higher education institutions were not allowed to transfer money to the created companies) – 102 thousand - this is the cost of development (model of the wakes created when refueling aircraft in the air), for which MIPT gave its intellectual property rights to the new enterprise.
The company's staff includes 9 employees. Those who are employed full-time are paid about 30 thousand rubles. Another 11 people are employed under contract. Plus, students are actively recruited - about 35 people (there are 350 students at the faculty).
"When we started, the students were invited to collaborate, - says Evgeni Voitenkov, general director of "FALT-Dynamics." In the framework of "MAKS-2011 in 3D" for three months we carried out a training course in 3D-modeling for everyone. Those who have attended received a special scholarship - five thousand rubles, after which the best students have continued to work with us under contract. "
The creators of "FALT-Dynamics" consider themselves pioneers in innovation activities related to aviation. Symbolically, the company's birthday is celebrated on April 12 - this year it will be a year old. Currently, all hopes are connected with the project "MAKS-2011 in 3D».
"MAKS in 3D» - business card of the innovators
The idea came a few years ago to a group of students and graduates of MIPT. "Air Salon is held every two years, and to the majority of visitors it is only open for three days,” explains Evgenii. Many people are not able to go there and get acquainted with the exhibits. So we decided to create a virtual exhibition - analog to the "MAKS" on the Internet. "
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The authors began to embody their ideas in July 2010. Today, almost half of the external exhibit of the air salon is ready: this includes landscape and pavilions, and, of course, a number of aircraft and helicopters that definitely will be presented at the air salon "MAKS-2011".
"Since September of last year we have started to promote our marketing plan to attract participants,” says the head of the project Virtual Air Salon “MAKS-2011 in 3D” Stanislav Smirnov. “Initially, we hoped that this will be a virtual exhibition. But later, an opportunity arose to create an information portal with sections "Career", "News" and other elements of the business social network, so the project was expanded. "
The developers have set themselves three goals. First - to help companies enhance the effect of participation in the air salon (exhibition will last not for five days, but for two years until the next "MAKS-2013"). The second - to promote the air salon itself, to increase its prestige in foreign and domestic arena (this will be facilitated, in part, by a bilingual version of the website). The third - to maintain the status Zhukovsky as a science city, a center of aviation science, involving young professionals in the aviation industry.
This year, "FALT-Dynamics' plans to pay back the costs of the project. To do this they need to attract at least 100 companies (2009 air salon was attended by more than 800).
The project is quite expensive. Creation of one model airplane takes about three weeks. If you take into account all the taxes, the cost is about 50 thousand rubles. In total, the cost would be 9.5 million rubles (180 models, plus the creation of the information resource and the work of the team during the year).
Invested funds are borrowed from the parent company CSTS "Dynamics": banks refuse to give such large loans for innovation projects.
Young businessmen expect that in the future the service of visiting the virtual salon will be included in the "MAKS" participant package. If all participants of the air show will utilize it, then the cost will be about 20 thousand rubles. Right now three packages are offered: Standard (50,000 rubles), premium (100,000 rubles) and gold (200,000 rubles). Only those companies who want to provide extended information about themselves, post pictures and videos, as well as a catalog of their products (including the ability to create 3D-models of the work), have to pay. All of this will be presented in a virtual stand of the participant of the virtual salon. Companies wishing to advertise on the resource of the project can choose the appropriate sponsorship package. For ordinary users access to the resource is free.
Since April, companies that participated in the virtual air salon will be able to get into their private online accounts set up displays. Large-scale launch of the project is scheduled for early August.
This year is successful for the launch of similar projects: 100 years of Russian aviation exhibition, 100 years of aviation in Russia, 50 years of man’s first flight into space. Plus it's an anniversary, tenth "MAX".
"We hope that this project will be a kind of starting point, our business card - says Stanislav. - In Zhukovskythere is also an annual exhibition of "weapons technology and engineering" held. For this event weplan to make a virtual salon of military equipment. This is just the beginning of virtualization of many exhibitions, including civilian exhibitions."
On the way to the 4D
“FALT-Dynamics” is planning to use the experience in the development of 3D-models in related areas, such as the modeling of unique structures and complex developments (13 stadiums that will be built for the World Cup in 2018, or 3D objects in Sochi for the 2014 Olympics). At the moment, employees are working on projects related to medicine.
Lonstantin Zudov: "With our program, we want to build a 3D-model, which will change over time, and will be duplicated in stereo. In practice, this will be a complete 4D-image."
"Ultrasound scanning devices allow you to do scanning layer by layer and to get a three-dimensional image as a result, for example a fetus during pregnancy,” says Konstantin Zudov, Deputy Director General for IT. “With the help of our program we want to build a 3D-model, which will change over time. And it will also be duplicated in stereo. In practice, this will be a complete 4D-image (3D, time-varying). This way we will be able to observe a heartbeat. In the future it could be used for the collection of statistical data on heart diseases. "
Topics for the projects are born during the creative process. Employees admit they are not afraid to pick up new themes. They actively monitor existing problems and try to solve them. For example, they would like to create a simplified flight simulator with multi-user mode and access to the Internet. It must be in stereo and "to run on any machine."
"Together with" Dynamics" we are planning to address Ministry of Education and Science with a proposal to join the program of military-patriotic education of school students,” -says Evgeni Voitenkov. “For example, every hundredth school could receive an entry-level simulator, plus specially designed software; to prepare the method of the course of the basics of flying. It will take up children’s free time in the framework of the elective. In addition, some of them would want to tie their future professional life to aviation. "
Of course, the schools will not be supplied with simulators that cost several million. As explained by the developers, you can remove the cabin with the dashboard, replacing them with virtual reality goggles and special software for visualizing all the appliances, which will reduce the cost of the system three to four times. There are simulators without an external cabin and only a helmet: in this case the student will sit in a chair mounted on a platform that has a certain degree of mobility. "FALT-Dynamics” has a strategic business plan ready. First you need to get at least a pre-production series ready, and then move on to set the scale. With luck, in two or three years we would be able to take this niche.
Money, not breaks, are needed
The company is developing with the help of loans. "As long as there is no money to invest, we cannot fully promote the projects,” says Konstantin. “We banally lack the equipment. We cannot lure over and retain staff, or hire experts. It turns out that we are not competitive in the resource support sphere. At the same time, we keep hearing about support of innovation companies, their privileged position, and the like. The facts do not yet show that. "
"FALT-Dynamics" planned to take advantage of tax breaks this year, it timely executed all necessary documents, but was refused. "Tax authorities told us "Created by a university? Then the company should be 100 per cent-owned by the university." In Russia there is not a single innovation company which is 100 per cent-owned by the university,” - explains Evgeni Voitenkov. "The co-founders are either natural persons or legal entities. The bottom line is that officials are not executing the decree of the president. We are now looking for precedents."
Last year, the company expected to receive a subsidy: the government pledged in its budget subsidies for the essential needs of small business. Unfortunately, the methods for issuing such subsidies were not agreed upon. In the end, all companies that applied for them were denied. In the near future there will be a meeting with heads of small innovation enterprises for discussion and refinement of this technique. Perhaps, then, the situation will get moving.
Meanwhile, "FALT-Dynamics" is not even thinking about a profit, we at least want to be self-sufficient,” the developers say.
"In the future, when we will make a profit, co-founders will share it among themselves:“Dynamics” will receive 66 percent, and MIPT – 34,” explains Evgeni Voitenkov. “ MIPT will distribute its portion of the profits as it sees fit, including giving bonuses to the authors of the development, the rights to which we received. And our company will get as much as the founders decide. They can leave everything to us, to invest in development - I think for the first five years they will do that. Because practically, we only have loans at this point. "
Despite all the difficulties, beginning businessmen do not despair. They have a strong partner in "Dynamics", support of MIPT, support the administration of Zhukovsky, and the ability to attract talented students from the faculty. At the moment, all depends on funding. But it is fixable. The company has gathered enthusiasts who intend to achieve their goals, including actively promoting the project to build the Zhukovskyaviatechnopark.