Andrey Berezin: Summit After Summit
Some people in business give off the impression that their goal is not to make money, but to overcome obstacles and, in turn, innovate. As a result, their biographies are stories of the myriad of times they have overcoming barriers that are unattainable for most people. Andrey Berezin, one of the wealthiest men in St. Petersburg, is one of these accomplished people, and for three decades, he has continued to discover new grounds for business.
There is a well-known axiom that you cannot stop in business. As soon as an entrepreneur comes out of the endless race with himself, he begins to be outmaneuvered by his competitors. Working in industry means that there is a willingness to spin like a hamster in a wheel, fighting against all the immediate and long-term risks that could affect the company. Losing your grip means losing everything, and the practice of the Russian market has confirmed this rule to be true on several occasions.
Continuing with this axiom, it is often used in their speeches by business coaches of all ranks. One of the most famous American entrepreneurs and motivational speakers, Robert Kiyosaki, worded the principle in a different perspective: Burn like a torch. You need to be passionate about wanting more, moving forward; it is a necessity to overcome obstacles and reap the successes of persistent business ventures.
Real success requires self-confidence, determination, and the willingness to take risks. Suppose it takes a lifetime of trying out jobs in food, development, and industry, respectively starting a dairy farm in the middle of nowhere, investing in African mines, and trying to find a cure for cancer. In any case, it will mean that you have tried everything and it sets you up to be ready for new challenges.
The scenarios above are not unknown when people start to broaden their areas of interest. In fact, it is a far from a complete list of the professional occupancies and ventures listed in Berezin’s own biography. This is all to say that, in accordance with the memoirs detailed in his biography, we have to find ways to surpass and push the limits. For now, however, it is worth learning and experiencing a range of influences that can provide general pictures of such a unique history.
The Beginning of the Baoipik
Many books and films have been made regarding the Perestroika period, but sincere works created under the direct guidance of the heroes of the events can be counted on your fingers. One of them is the sensational “The Big Ration”, unsuccessfully adapted in 2002 by Pavel Lungin in the film “The Oligarch”. Even Vladimir Mashkov in the title role couldn’t help the end result because it turned out to be a first-rate cranberry about the new Russians from the jokes.
On the other hand, the original ‘Big Ration’ devoted most of its attention to the biographies of those who shaped the country. This may come as a surprise to some, but practically every one of them had an outstanding education. Most of them are former employees of research institutes with long academic records. Those who are used to being portrayed as thugs in movies were actually brilliant Soviet intellectuals who understood better than anyone else the depth of the changes that were taking place.
Another example are modern venture capitalists. If we analyze all Cypriot funds that work with CIS countries, in more than half of the cases, their managers can boast of work experience in some Soviet research institute. Even if folk legends say education is unimportant, practical experience directly contradicts this judgment.
Berezin nicely fits in this trend. He graduated from Physics and Mathematics School No. 239 in St. Petersburg, one of the most famous schools in Russia. Today, it is an academy, and the Ministry of Education and Science has named it the best academy in the country across three consecutive years; in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Moreover, in 2014, the academy was the first in the country to receive Presidential status, remaining the only public educational institution with this status to this day.
The next stage of Berezin's education led him to Voenmeh, the Baltic State Technical University named after Dmitry Ustinov. This is Russia's iconic university, where many great inventors, engineers, and cosmonauts studied. In modern day, it is a critical source of personnel for a range of defense industry enterprises.
Berezin went on to graduate with an honors from both the school and the institute. He then went to graduate school and published several scientific articles, but decided to give up on his career as an engineer. For that time, it was an understandable choice given the labor that the job required and the poor conditions most in the engineering field were subjected to; even the best personnel could not count on a stable and comfortable future. As a result, many decided to try their hand at business, but not many were successful, with much fewer being as successful as Berezin went on to be.
Finding Our Way
Those who grew up in older generations enjoy plunging themselves into nostalgia when recollecting about the Soviet Union. However, it is likely that they have forgotten about the problems it brought, such as the food crisis of the 90s. The problems that surrounded this period provided plenty of opportunities for those ready to tackle them.
Berezin took on the issue of providing food to the Northern Capital. His first project to combat these issues was to organize food supplies from Great Britain. Being a man without any commercial experience, he had to rely on his own faith with his competencies to conduct negotiations. The idea took off, and for several years it was his priority. Many other businesspeople carried out similar work with him, resulting in a resolved food crisis during the paralysis of state power.
Russia has since been feeding on this model for almost a decade. Even at the beginning of the noughties, food imports reached 70%. Only in the last two decades has the balance been changed by large-scale government support, and now, food security is ensured for almost all positions.
Work in this field allowed Berezin to accumulate initial capital, which he went on to use to enter the fishing market. Unfortunately, there was absolute lawlessness in this sector. One of the largest fishery fleets in the USSR was at the point of considering being scrapped. However, due to Berezin and his partners' efforts, the North-West Fisheries Company was organized, which managed to cope with the erosion of the infrastructure.
A few years later, the businessman left the project, but he had earned enough money to start his landmark company, Euroinvest. With this company, Berezin would go on to specialize in real estate development, and it became the basis for the rest of his professional career.
The Blossoming of the Business
From the very beginning of Berezin's construction business, his operations relied on innovations and complex planning. As a result, his company was one of the first in the country to implement neighborhood development projects that sligned with European standards. Euroinvest specialists were open to novelties, travelling the world and gaining experience from industry leaders. The result was immediate, and people praised the company, of which cared about the future of its residents.
The commercial success can already be judged by the purchases that Euroinvest could afford at the peak of the construction market. In 2008, for example, its management bought gold mines in Burkina Faso, investing $12 million in geological exploration and preparations for constructing a mining and processing plant. The idea was to create all the necessary infrastructure and find an operator for the ready-made business. However, no one was planning to manage the mines thousands of kilometers away from the Russian border by themselves. The calculation was explicit: gold mining will be the mainstay of the Burkina Faso economy (which is almost 80% of the exports of this state). Equally, it is almost entirely controlled by foreign companies. Nevertheless, in 2018, Berezin refused to develop the project further; the unstable political situation in Africa had a significant impact.
Another unusual example is an investment in Russian industry. Euroinvest's success has been much more long-lasting in this sector of the industry, and it is a place that the company continues in and remains a leading corporation. Currently, the company has three enterprises under its wing, successfully and rapidly increasing their profits and introducing new products to the competitive market. Moreover, some of their abandoned areas have been successfully reintegrated into the urban space and used for residential development.
Such a range of activities allowed Berezin to begin developing the most advanced construction projects in modern times. The 3ID complex offers its customers the broadest range of smart appliances and meters, all integrated into a mobile app. Everything can be controlled remotely; you can get the necessary information about everything happening in the house. The territory of the complex has open spaces for work, as well as the development of hobby clubs. It is a territory for life, self-education, and professional work, and that pertains to its unconditional know-how.
Venture Capital Investments
One of the relatively new areas that Berezin took interest in is the sphere of venture capital investments. He founded Euro Venture with his partner and a fund with a start-up capital of $10 million. The sphere of its investment interests is declared to be rather broad; to put it into specifics, it is a highly technological, medical, agricultural, and biotechnological. The list fully corresponds to the profile of the parent company, with almost all possible needs being accounted for.
Currently, the fund is working with the promising development that industrial enterprises are becoming part of Euroinvest's assets. The algorithm is the same in each case: the fund's management identifies promising new technologies and helps their authors through all the stages, from the idea to serial production. For example, the first and flagship project, Eurovenchur, was a robotic complex for the diagnostics and treatment of oncological diseases. The authors of the development have already passed the preclinical testing stage, but, as the experts say, the device has broad application prospects. Its main feature is the ability to perform two operations simultaneously: to remove the tumor, and to irradiate the body's affected tissues. This saves time and takes care of the patient's health, and there are no analogs of this complex in Russia.
Euroinvest helped the complex to pass the most difficult stages, and the machine was taken to clinical trials in one of the country's leading cancer centers. Considering all the sanctions restrictions and logistical difficulties in 2022, there is every reason to believe that the trials will be successful, and the device will be purchased for all specialized institutions in Russia. In this case, Berezin will successfully enter another new industry, in which being medical technology and equipment.
Burning Like a Torch
The founder of Euroinvest is not some hero from a TV series. In his biography, he made note of many of his complications and mistakes. For example, the gold mine in Africa mentioned above was a gamble, which the businessman readily admits.
"Investing in gold mining was originally a venture story for me. Although Africa is a developing region with great growth potential, I invested money in this project with a degree of adventurism: I was prepared that it would not come back." Berezin was aware of the risk, but it was equally full of potential if the effort was put in, which he certainly managed to achieve.
Nevertheless, he is always moving forward, epitomizing genuine entrepreneurial fervor and acumen. What's more, he now wants those of the next generation to carry this entrepreneurial desire with them. This is why he chose to make investments in education; from establishing scholarships and supporting foundations, to constructing a new specialized academy in his native city.
Berezin’s successes continue to prosper, and he still wishes to give his country more significant victories, remaining one of the most successful businessmen in the native city. It is worth looking up to him, and thus his biography deserves attention.
All directions in which Berezin was engaged: