“You have to run as fast as you can just to stay in place.”
This phrase belongs to one of the characters in Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but it could easily be signed to almost every Russian entrepreneur. Since the emergence of private business as a phenomenon in the country, it has been in a state of change, resulting in the process being fast and often forced. He who does not take them into account and does not adapt to them will certainly not stay in the entrepreneurial stratum for long.
But some can, in accordance with the wording of Alice, run twice as fast as the rest. This is because they are not only among the leaders, but also those who shape trends and work as actors of change.
From Traders to Builders
Andrey Berezin, the head of Euroinvest holding in St. Petersburg, arouses significant interest in this situation. On the one hand, this person has never been the focal point of attention and has never been in the spotlight with substantial positive (or negative) news. On the other hand, it is impossible not to recognize his ability to create something new over and over again on practically nothing.
The first time he succeeded in doing so was at the beginning of economic liberalization in Russia during the 80-90s. At that time, a former graduate of the Military Academy of Mechanical Engineering was able to organize communications with the British out of nothing and arrange for the delivery of essential goods and supplies to an underfed Leningrad.
However, this would not have been particularly exclusive; after all, thousands of businesspeople took advantage of the opportunities that opened up and made their fortunes in trade in those years. Berezin made a very clever next step, finding a way to leave the business in something more fundamental.
At the beginning of zero years, people finally began to have free funds and a desire to invest them more reliably. Naturally, the most reliable investment was real estate. It was in this sphere that Andrey Berezin could enter, along with his future long-term business partner Yury Vasilyev.
Berezin’s ability to adapt and change for the circumstances showed itself for the first time. Entering the residential construction market, he slightly changed the rules. For starters, he abandoned infill development, even though it was then what fed the vast majority of developers.
Instead of looking for vacant lots that were not yet built up, settling communal flats, or demolishing ruined factories for future construction, Berezina’s Euroinvest suggested looking beyond the city borders. As it turned out, it pointed to a gold mine: the land plots acquired by the company in several suburban communities turned into the most dynamically developing areas of the greater St. Petersburg area within a few years.
As a result, the names of both settlements became famous throughout the country and perhaps even beyond its borders. The accommodations were called Kudrovo and Murino, of which are now cities with populations of many thousands.
However, these changes made by Berezin and his colleagues were not the only ones. A little later, the company decided to change the fundamental approach to the sale of housing. Development by Euroinvest began to imply not just square meters of concrete for future settlement, but a particular style and atmosphere that was so different from others to the point that it was not a sin to pay extra for them.
The first element of the new style was the active use of Europlanning. The solution would seem straightforward; the motion would be to open up the interior space to eliminate long corridors or disproportionate room formats. It has, however, brought up significant results; people began to take such apartments like you would hotcakes.
Euroinvest could then offer its buyers an opportunity to enjoy their leisure time, family life, and socializing within their apartment complexes. The company developed a concept called 3ID, where each residential complex has an entire network of public spaces for children and adults. For these spaces to be attractive, the company is creating a full line of events for them. Interesting speakers are invited, and there are screenings and workshops; in short, everything is being done to make the residents feel more interested in the public area than in their apartments.
And it appears to work;.the company’s latest offerings in the housing market are talked about as business class at a price of comfort. The company itself is referred to as one of the most reliable developers in the North-West, and at the same time, the most client-oriented developer in the region. Such a title was given to Euroinvest by the Union of Construction Associations and Organizations of the Leningrad Region in 2022.
Interim results of IC Euroinvest’ work in the development market:
- 28 years in the market of integrated development of territories and land plots
- 0 delay in the commissioning of the objects
- 2 years is the maximum term from the moment of the project commissioning to the handover of the keys
- 700 ha is the area of land plots owned by Euroinvest Group
Betting on the Land
It would seem now that Andrey Berezin should live and make a fortune, resting on the laurels of victories, but such people do not know how to stop. Having built a solid business foundation in construction, the head of Euroinvest immediately began looking for new areas for activity.
He found several at once. One of them, surprisingly enough, was agriculture.
In the North-West, not many people look at agricultural production due to the climate conditions, but Berezin could see the opportunities.
Several years ago, having bought the lands of one of the farms in the Dnovsky district of the Pskov region, the company founded its agro-cluster, Krasnoye Znamya. It included fields for sowing, mainly with forage crops, a dairy herd, and its dairy product line under the MoleMe brand.
The brand had to invest a lot; the amount totaled to hundreds of millions of rubles. The results were noticeable; today, even the Leningrad Zoo itself is among the buyers of the agro-cluster’s products. In addition, its animals are supplied with fodder by Krasnoye Znamya. The authorities of the Pskov region ranked the farm as one of the most essential agricultural complexes in the area.
Nevertheless, the agricultural business remained successful, but rather a test of a pen. According to Berezin’s confession, it is on pause; the owners are not planning to give up the cluster, but they are not going to invest new funds into it yet. The problem is the complicated economic situation of the last few months and, most specifically, the sharp price fluctuations for fertilizers.
According to Euroinvest, when the case settles down, it will be possible to return to the issues of long-term development of own agricultural production.
Andrey Berezin and his team are much more active in the industrial sector. Where is Berezin’s background as a merchant developer? Where is the industry? First of all, it is worth considering the personal experience of the head of Euroinvest:
“Interest in innovation is not a spontaneous decision. The fact is that I got my higher education at the Leningrad Ustinov Mechanical Institute. I graduated from Leningrad Ustinov Mechanical Institute, majoring in automatic control systems for aircraft. Even then, in the late 1980s, I was interested in finding applications for scientific ideas and developments and ways to scale them up. For example, at the Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity of Youth, a group of my classmates and I created checkpoint systems for enterprises. At the same time, I founded the first Research and Production Unit (NPO), which was engaged in creating computer programs.”
First, the Svetlana plant was acquired, whose name, let us recall, is an acronym for an incandescent light bulb. It still specializes in everything that glows and radiates, whether X-ray tubes or high-frequency radiation sensors.
The second acquisition was of the battery factory Rigel, an old-timer in the St. Petersburg industry which used to equip with batteries traction substations of the St. Petersburg tramway back in the times of the tsar.
The third is the Recond factory, which used to be a production site for the Positron Research and Production Association, a legendary maker of household appliances, including VM-12 VCRs, the pipe dream of a late-Soviet citizen.
While observers wondered what the companies they had bought had in common, Andrey Berezin announced the creation of a unique venture fund within Euroinvest. The main task of the Euro Venture was to support the operation of the new industrial assets of the holding. investments for the development of each of the plants were made by the holding directly, but it is through the fund that specific innovative projects are paid for. Moreover, the fund and its expert council determine which projects have perspectives worthy of investment.
This tactic justifies itself: the company has several developments that arouse great interest in the professional community. The best known development is the robotic complex for radiation treatment of lung tumors, created at the Svetlana plant. It is now being prepared to be put into mass production, and there is reliable information that there are those who want to buy the device in Russia. Moreover, the sales market is estimated at over one thousand pieces per year; it is na significant number of specialized and expensive equipment.
Such interest is primarily due to the device’s unique capabilities, allowing doctors to irradiate tumors during surgeries. The exceptionally high exposure precision eliminates the problems associated with radiation damage to healthy tissues, as is the case with traditional techniques of such treatment.
Even this development alone would already be enough to consider Euroinvest’s policy in the industrial sector a success, but the company has lined up a relatively wide range of innovative projects of varying readiness. Medical devices, seed quality evaluation devices, and particular types of microchips needed for PCR tests are all now familiar to us from our shared experiences during the pandemic.
From Production Capacity to Intellectual Capacity
As has become clear in recent months, Andrey Berezin still does not think it is possible to stop there. After acquiring the Recond plant, he dropped information that this purchase could be the beginning of a full-fledged recovery of the already mentioned NPO Positron. This means that each of the three factories in Berezin’s plans is a piece of the overall puzzle, a considerable electronic concern at the federal level.
In this connection, the appointment of Igor Kozlov, who used to manage the Roselectronika holding, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Svetlana was a significant strategic move. Another understandable step is the serious activity that Euroinvest has deployed in the personnel market. There were examples when entire mini teams were taken to Svetlana, as happened with a group of developers from a bankrupt research institute.
It appears, however, that the main focus of the holding is not on already established specialists and managers but young people with growth potential. Berezin’s people work closely with the most famous St. Petersburg universities. For instance, the Euro Venture Foundation has a contract with Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, but in some places, such work is done without assurances, it does not prevent the holding representatives from making tempting career offers to graduates and even senior students.
The latest step by the management of Euroinvest left many surprised. The holding company announced that they would create a fundamentally new educational institution for gifted children in St. Petersburg. Naturally, it will require severe investments, but Berezin is not afraid of the costs, and he sees the benefits for himself and his business in such a long-lasting game.
In other words, it has managed to change the circumstances, first in development and then in industrial innovations; Andrey Berezin aims at something more, at proving that business can be a partner in development processes and the customer and the locomotive of these processes. This is a serious bid for leadership, not only on the scale of the St. Petersburg agglomeration or the Northwestern Federal District, but for the whole of Russia.
Andrey Valeryevich Berezin
Born in 1967 in Leningrad.
Graduated from high school № 239 with an advanced study of mathematics. In 1990 graduated with honors from Leningrad Ustinov Mechanical Institute (VOENMEKh) with a degree in automatic control systems engineering. During his studies, he was Lenin’s and Ustinov’s scholar and had scientific publications. In 1990 he was enrolled in a post-graduate course at LMI and started his parallel business activity.
From 1994 to the present, he has been the chairman of the board of Euroinvest Investment Company, founded jointly with Yuri Vasiliev.
In 2017, Andrey Berezin was awarded a certificate of merit by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia for his outstanding contribution to developing the Russian industry and many years of diligent work.
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