Russian startup puts wireless technology to good use
thinkRUSSIA spoke with Alexander Afanasjev, founder and CEO of WirelessInMotion LLC, on his company’s wireless development services and the startup market in Russia.
Tell us about WirelessInMotion LLC.
I am Alexander Afanasjev, founder and CEO WirelessInMotion LLC, a technology startup based in both Russia and the U.S. I founded WirelessInMotion (WIM) LLC in 2011 to provide development services and products in the area of wireless embedded systems and consumer electronics.
The first WirelessInMotion project was related to wireless video monitoring using 2G+ and 3G networks. This project used wireless video monitoring devices together with WEB services to help with real-time video monitoring subjects with no access to wired or WiFi Internet. Additional features implemented, like GPS/GLONASS navigation and vehicle interfaces like CAN BUS and OBD2, offer an opportunity to incorporate GPS positioning and vehicle information (ignition, RPM, sensors data). The project was funded partially by me, though we have won several Russian State grants. WirelessInMotion has successfully finished its first project by creating several working prototypes of 3G GPS mobile vehicle video terminals. Now we are on the way creating the samples.
Other projects we are working on include various wireless technology projects such as GSM GPS devices for personal and commercial GPS monitoring. Devices we have developed and manufactured help people to give additional protection for children, the elderly and relatives using real-time GPS monitoring services and features, like freefall detection, SOS button and so on. Furthermore, we are ready to offer wireless vehicle controllers for vehicle real-time diagnostic, GPS monitoring and SOS/alarm notification.
A significant part of our business is professional consulting in wireless technology hardware and embedded firmware development. For customers who want create own their product, like a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) GPS tracker or device with any wireless connectivity channel (WiFi, ISM, ZigBee, BLE), WirelessInMotion offers reference designs as a complete solution which can help reduce R&D costs and accelerate time to market.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I was interested in electronics since middle school and my father, an electronics engineer, gave me the first lessons and shared his knowledge and experience. Later, I graduated from Nizhny Novgorod Technical College, and in 1998 from the Radio Engineering Department of Nizhny Novgorod State University. All this time I - together with my colleges and my scientific advisor, professor Igor Yakovlevich Orlov - worked on projects related to research equipment development for Infrared remote temperature measurement. We created several Infrared pyrometers and laboratory equipment.
In 2006, I found myself interested in business development, and I decided to pursue further higher education and again became a student of Faculty of Management and Business at Nizhny Novgorod State University. At the same time, I worked at a software development company, and was promoted several times from an engineering position to a position of senior project manager. I had good background and strong skills in both engineering, technical and project management, and I wanted to be a PMP (Project Management Professional) - I successfully passed the PMP exam in 2009.
Having a deep knowledge, appropriate background, rich experience, connection with great engineers and several ideas, I decided to open my first company and become an entrepreneur. I started with delivering the hardware development services to Russian market. I was very interested in wireless technology and I had started to study it. “Wireless” is around all of us and has become so needed for us like air; because of this, I believe that I chose the right profession.
Later, I opened other companies, working on particular projects. WirelessInMotion LLC keeps all my ventures together under the same brand name “WirelessInMotion.” Entrepreneurship and running my own business give me a lot of opportunities and freedom in all I do and all I want to do.
What is your perception of the startup market in Russia?
As I see it, the startup market in Russia is growing up. Russian government works hard to keep it rising. Now, young entrepreneurs have more opportunities to find project support in different ways, like funding, help with marketing research, and accounting. Looking forward, I hope venture businesses in Russia will become so attractive and profitable for more people who would like to invest in innovation and the newest technology.
Appropriate role in this process are being played by business incubators. Last year, several business incubators were opened in Nizhny Novgorod and nearby cities. Many talented entrepreneurs had the chance to have a new “own business home” in incubators.
WirelessInMotion LLC in Russia has been the resident of the business incubator Clever in Nizhny Novgorod since 2012. The Clever role is like a hub, which gives my company and other residents a connection to the government, investors and customers, and lets us grow our businesses even more.
The “EURECA” Program (Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity) initiated by U.S.-Russian Foundation also offers good opportunities for innovative Russian companies connect with American universities and offers a chance to start their business in the U.S.
What is the future of WirelessInMotion LLC in the U.S.?
In October 2013, WirelessInMotion LLC established a presence in Maryland. Although we already had several products offered in the U.S. market, I wanted to bring my business to the U.S. with hardware and embedded firmware development services. The WIM team has got a scientific background, strong skills and rich experience to deliver the quality services and product to our customers.
I have several ideas which could work for the U.S. market, closely connected with wireless technology and I hope I will have opportunity to bring them to life here.
Alexander Afanasjev is founder and CEO of WirelessInMotion LLC, a technology startup based in Russia and the U.S. He has degrees from Nizhny Novgorod Technical College and Nizhny Novgorod State University and is a certified Project Management Professional.
How do you think WirelessInMotion LLC’s technology can help users in Russia and the U.S.?