It is ironic that agile startups are making use of the decay from Russia’s planned economy. Ulyanovsk was once a town known for producing the now extinct Lada cars and Vladimir Lenin. Now it is bubbling with IT talent and entrepreneurial energy. Russia’s entrepreneurs are taking advantage of abandoned infrastructure to answer the skyrocketing price of imports.
Cities once known for government guided research and manufacturing came upon hard times after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Infrastructure facing abandonment is now home to startup talent that has gained the attention of global investors. Ecwid, a Russian e-commerce company, is an example of exactly this. A young startup that has the ability to be agile and scale globally has taken residence in a three-story house located near the heart of Ulyanovsk. The Ecwid team enjoys amenities like a kitchen, backyard and spacious offices in a home once meant for a soviet manufacturing family. This is typical of the sort of reuse startups are exercising in cities across Russia.