15 December 2014
Best Places for Business Meetings in Moscow
This article was published as part of USRCCNE's free monthly newsletter.
Best Places for Business Meetings in Moscow
The Village, a Russian-language internet publication, interviewed Moscow businessmen and investors about their favorite places to hold business meetings and make business contacts. This article was translated by USRCCNE member company The School of Russian and Asian Studies, which runs translation study abroad programs in Russia.
Oleg Mikhalsky, business angel
Favorite locations: McDonald’s, over 100 locations throughout Moscow.
Most important conversations, for some reason, often take places in McDonald’s restaurants. It is a lively, affordable place, and predisposed to social interaction. Anyone can invite and treat another, and if you are alone – there are plenty of other unoccupied people and a good chance that you can strike up an interesting conversation. Similar food offers an easy beginning for a conversation. But now more business connections are created online – through LinkedIn or Facebook. These sites allow opportunity to quickly exchange several phrases, to determine common interest, confirm potentiality of the new contact and then schedule a meeting (in McDonald’s). Many interesting business contacts, some of which grew into business arrangements, I made during my MBA study in business school. Ten years ago business school was an effective and justified investment of time and money. The same principle of networking effectiveness I applied when selecting a gym/sport club. Many years I attended World Class gym and there made many fruitful contacts. If I would have to choose it now, I would select a large gym, in a price range above average.
Pavel Kovsharov, investor
Favorite locations: Coffeemania – ul. Lesnaya, 5; Friends Forever – Bolshoy Kozikhinsky pereulok, 18; ul. Nikol’skaya, 25.
I am a manager of operations and do not have much time for my projects during the day. On weekends and in the evenings/nights it is better to do it “elsewhere.” My favorite place – the Coffeemania coffee shop by the Belorusskaya metro station, where there will be business meetings and deal closings often taking place at several tables. Sometimes I manage to schedule four or five meetings in a row, and I move from table to table. From a side it looks like a sprint. On weekends, we schedule meetings in Friends Forever. It has the warm atmosphere of San Francisco and wonderful breakfasts.
Now industry has many well-known locations where investors and businesspersons meet on regular basis. Some of them, such as Startup Village, organize periodic events, and others – API Moscow, IIDF (ÔÐÈÈ) have ongoing professional meet ups. Russian National Association of Business Angels and Venture Club hold closed events for business angels where investors meet to discuss partnerships.
Natalia Tsarevskaya-Dyakina, Managing Director, Synergy Innovations Venture Capital Fund
Favorite locations: Vapiano, Prospect Mira, 26, bldg. 1; Prospect Vernadskogo, 105, bldg. 1.
I am a new mom so my plans often get altered by my little boy. I can be late to morning appointments by up to 30 minutes; and evening meetings I always schedule in a restaurant called “Vapiano,” close to my house. I spent much time there while telecommuting. They did not mind a person spent half a day using their Wi-Fi connection while purchasing only two cups of coffee. Now I schedule meetings for the projects I like in Vapiano, sometimes three-four teams in a row. Sometimes I ask the entrepreneur I’m meeting with to use the restaurant’s clients as a target audience, to approach them and tell about their product, to try selling it to them. It is very sobering. Those who are brave receive real responses. One start-up entrepreneur with an idea for an application for restaurants had been asking me for an advice for long time whether he should start his project. I suggested approaching the administrator of Vapiano to find out whether the restaurant would find this application useful. He did not shy away! He called the administrator; they had a lengthy conversation and exchanged contact information. Now I am expecting a beta-version of his website any day.
Elena Privalova, Curator, VentureClub.ru
Favorite locations: Paul – Arbat, 54/2, bldg. 1, metro Smolenskaya. Coffeemania (multiple locations).
One of my favorite coffee shops is Paul at Smolenskaya metro; I schedule my morning meetings there. I live close and go there often. Sometimes it has the most incredible aroma of Venezuelan roses and coffee. Unfortunately, the food could stand some improvement. For someone who has to attend business meetings often, one cannot avoid Coffeemania coffee shops. My most important and productive meetings take place in Coffeemania on Cherkassky pereulok, and also on Kudrinskaya and Bolshaya Nikitskaya streets. Advantages of this chain – tasty food and comfortable atmosphere. Starbucks and Una Bar (1st floor of the Moskva Shopping Center near Okhotnyi Ryad metro station) – are my favorite places for dinner meetings. They won me over when the shopping center just opened and had very few visitors, and Wi-Fi speed allowed for easy sending of large messages. Now I go there out of a habit because it is easy to arrange meetings for large groups. Moreover, it is a great location from a logistics standpoint, with access to several metro lines and underground parking.
George Mikaberidze, Founder, Healbe Project
Favorite locations: Starlite Diner - Korovy Val, 9a; Ceretto – Leningradsky prospect, 37, bldg. 6.
For our company we selected two ‘external offices’ for business meetings: Starlite Diner by the Oktyabrskaya metro station and Ceretto, a restaurant by the Dinamo metro station. The former is convenient for morning and day meetings – central location, parking, delicious food and comfortable atmosphere to discuss business issues. The latter is for evening meetings. Several of our investors live in this area and the restaurant’s location is convenient for them. For us it is important that location would allow us to demonstrate our product. The easiest way to do it is by drinking something sweet (such as Coca-Cola) prior to a meal. Our Healbe GoBe bracelet will immediately calculate how many calories have been consumed. Also, using Starlite’s burgers, we demonstrate how long it takes to digest fatty and protein-rich foods.
Dmitry Shmakov, CEO, Goodwin (electronic shopping platform)
Favorite locations: Progress Bar – Bersenevsky pereulok, 2, bldg.1; Goodman – 12 locations in Moscow.
I often hold my business meetings in Progress Bar by the Krasny Oktyabr metro station, near API Moscow where our head office is located. I also really like meat, so I often schedule negotiations in Goodman Steak House restaurants. On weekends I try not to take too much time from my home and family, so, if necessary, I meet close to Neskuchny Sad, for example, in Le Pain Quotidien.
Semyon Yakushev, co-founder, Goodwin (electronic shopping platform).
Favorite locations: Correa’s – ulitsa Sergeya Makeeva, 13; Strelka Bar – Bersenevskaya nab. 14, bldg. 5
I have two favorite places for business meetings in Moscow. First of them – Strelka Bar – is great for business breakfasts, where, in a comfortable atmosphere, you can discuss important issues with business partners and start your day with delicious food. Another advantage is a beautiful scenic location with a view of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Moscow River. Another favorite is Correa’s cafes; I prefer the one on ulitsa Sergeya Makeeva, 13. It is a great place for a business lunch. They always have a fast service, polite servers, and delicious food.
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