Why did you decide to settle in Valencia?
After a degree in Maths, I wanted to do my Masters in statistics in Europe because it is well regarded to study abroad in Russia. My first thought was to go to England, because I can speak English. But instead, I went to Spain, though. Lloret de Mar was the first place I visited, although it sounds a pretty weird choice now that I know the country better. I started studying Spanish when I arrived in 2011 and picked it up quickly while studying at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and so finally settled here.
What are the advantages of living in Valencia?
I love my life here, I never thought I would stay so long. There are plenty of little things that make me feel very comfortable in Valencia compared to Moscow; The weather, the beach is very near from the University and I can walk to work everyday. It´s also a very relaxed way of life, which I think makes it easier to handle the daily stress.
You have set up some start-ups in Moscow, do you think it is easy to be an entrepreneur in Spain?
I have set up business both in Russia and Spain. I would say that compared to Russia, Spain is a bureaucratic paradise! In Moscow every step of the process is slower. There´s a lot of paperwork and you must be there in person to fill out every form. On the other hand, setting up your business in Moscow is cheaper because you pay fewer taxes.
Can you tell us about your app, Smartaxi?
The idea began as a final project of my Master studies, where I met my partner Federico López. Mathematics is my thing so I developed the statistics data parts. The app provides taxi drivers real time information about potential customers. Smartaxi is a tool to improve productivity and we are testing it in Moscow and Barcelona. We have some major investors involved with it, Principia tech Valencia, created by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and UPV (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia), Wayra (Telefónica startup accelerator) and the American Plug and Play.
Any other business ideas on the horizon?
I enjoy doing new and different things. Now I'm involved in ‘Salir con Arte’, an activity to show that everybody can paint. And it’s true because I had never attempted to paint before and I believe painting helps to express yourself. I have been working with the art teacher, Noelia, to develop this activity in a relaxed atmosphere. We had over 30 people in our first gathering in Ruzafa neighbourhood in Valencia. Now we are planning to do it in Madrid and Barcelona.
Interview by Agustin Millan, a Spanish journalist student based in Valencia