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Andrey Berezin: The Man Who Builds

The history of the Russian Federation is full of figures of entrepreneurs who were able to build large businesses from scratch. Sergey Galitsky with the Magnit, Arkady Volozh with Yandex, and Oleg Tinkov with the Tinkoff bank are all united by the complexity of the path taken and the wealth of experience accumulated along the way. Today we will highlight a businessman who may be less known to the general public but is no less critical to the modern Russian economy.

Mathematics as a Business Skill

So we have in front of us Andrey Berezin, the co-founder, and CEO of the Euroinvest holding. In 2020 “Delovoy Peterburg” magazine put him in 77th place on its rating of billionaires with a total capital of 10.9 billion rubles.

Berezin’s biography began in 1967 in Leningrad. He came to teachers’ attention in a “special” secondary school, No. 239, where gifted children focused on mathematics. This was followed by the D.F. Ustinov Leningrad Mechanical Institute (the famous Voenmeh), where Andrey Berezin succeeded. It would seem that everything was going towards a full-fledged career as a scientist or defense engineer. But it was the beginning of the 90s, and suddenly, the new business opportunities carried away the holder of a recent graduate diploma.

Andrey Berezin’s first business was to purchase products in England, which at that time were needed by the inhabitants of St. Petersburg and the surrounding regions. The same years saw the beginning of his friendship with Yuri Vasiliev.

He remains Berezin’s closest business partner, serving as general director of Euroinvest. They founded the company together, and they also used their own efforts to raise the first investments. It is reported that the partners’ participation in the business of the North-Western Fisheries Company had much to do with their success.

The Pioneers of Kudrovo and Murino

The construction projects made Euroinvest a well-known company.

By the way, the owners of Euroinvest also wanted to play by the rules in construction planning, ensuring that the blocks under construction would have enough space for public spaces and social facilities. But not all the developers who came to these sites were willing to follow this approach. This is why Kudrovo and Murino are now known to many as champions of population density.

The holding itself was not satisfied with just being a prominent developer, although year after year, it was included in the list of the most prominent developers of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. Berezin and Vasiliev’s goal was to make their company also the most advanced in the market.

For example, Euroinvest was one of the first in the North-Western region to introduce euro-planning of their buildings. It is due to the company’s efforts that today’s format has become a leader in popularity. According to Elena Burilova, marketing and PR director of Euroinvest Development, the euro apartments are the first to be sold.

The holding scrupulously fulfilled its social responsibilities, erecting the agreed number of kindergartens and schools, playgrounds, and sports grounds on the territory of its residential complexes. And now Euroinvest is building a kindergarten for 200 children in Kudrovo; the object is planned to be commissioned ahead of schedule.

And out of a responsible attitude to social issues and a desire to be first in quality, there was born an innovative type of construction, which the company has followed for several years. Of course, we are talking about the 3iD concept. It combines an emphasis on modern technologies, including the smart home, and active support of communication between residents in the club format.

The latter is worth deciphering in more detail. Euroinvest sets itself the task of ensuring its residents feel comfortable outside the doors of their apartments and in public spaces. To this end, they are organized in a sufficiently spacious and varied manner, and most importantly, they are filled with constant activity.

Every building resident becomes a club member and gets access to lectures, master classes, and meetings with interesting people, conducted both live and online. Of course, members are entitled to discounts from partners, both on goods and services, such as those in beauty salons and fitness centers nearby.

Special attention is paid to children. The holding equips its residential complexes with playgrounds, where little explorers have a wide range of opportunities for games and creativity. And for the colder months, there are playrooms with Swedish walls, pools with balls, video screens, and many other things that help to organize exciting and fruitful leisure for the young generation of tenants.

As a rule, the housing build by Euroinvest does not belong to the business class but corresponds in price to a more mass comfort segment. In fact, it was the desire to build housing for the broader population that initially pushed the company’s management to work outside St. Petersburg.

By the way, this vector proved its value. Today Euroinvest is not only one of the four most significant players in the Leningrad region development market but also receives high marks from the professional community. The latest was the victory in the contest, held in August by the Union of Construction Associations and Organizations of the Leningrad region. According to its results, the holding was named the most client-oriented developer in the area.

Top 5 developers in the Leningrad region

by current construction volume as of September 2022, Unified Resource of Developers.

Regional location

Developer, region

Under construction, m²

1

CDS Group, St. Petersburg

575 785

2

ISG MAVIS, St. Petersburg

353 082

3

PIK, Moscow

241 615

4

EUROINVEST DEVELOPMENT, St.Petersburg

232 009

5

Polis Group Group, St. Petersburg

193 904

From Conservative Development to Venture Innovation

As Euroinvest was consolidating its success in the housing market, its executives realized that it was strategically wrong to be locked into only one niche, albeit a successful one. Andrey Berezin himself said in an interview at that time that the development market in itself was very conservative.

It was logical to assume that the entrepreneur would try to expand the sphere of interest at that moment. And so it turned out in the early tens. And, it is worth remembering Berezin’s scientific and technical past; a new field of activity was also expected: the science-intensive industrial sector.

The first industrial acquisition of Euroinvest was the Svetlana factory. “Every year, the volume of the output grows. The company has four daughter-companies’. The first one, Svetlana-Electronpribor, is the leader in its field not only in Russia as well as in the world. Recently, the Center of Excellence was created there, where they are mastering new technologies based on silicon carbide. It is very promising. The second daughter company, Svetlana-Roentgen, is active in exports. A third of the world’s airports are equipped with X-ray tubes from this plant,” he said four and a half years ago.

Today, the Euroinvest production package includes, in addition to Svetlana and Rigel, a third enterprise, the Reсond factory. Together they constitute a full-fledged industrial and innovation cluster, complementing each other’s capabilities. “Svetlana, as noted above, specializes in X-ray tubes, as well as microelectronic circuit boards. Rigel is paired with the Girikond Research Institute, located on a friendly site with the plant; together, they produce a wide range of radio components, including capacitors and resistors. Recond is responsible for developing and producing batteries and all their members.

Undoubtedly, the successful operation of such a complex economy would be impossible without the organization of full-fledged expertise, both in terms of technology and business.

To provide such expertise, the leaders of Euroinvest created a unique venture fund Euro Venture. According to Berezin himself, the fund includes expert groups that evaluate the efficiency of certain developments.

And judging by the products the holding’s industrial divisions are preparing to launch on the market, this architecture of business processes has proved its worth. A striking example is an apparatus for radiation treatment of lung tumors, which is currently being finalized to be put into mass production at the Svetlana factory.

The device’s uniqueness lies in the ability to irradiate tumor tissues during surgery, combining surgical and radiological methods. To bring the project idea to life, the plant specialists cooperated with scientists from major St. Petersburg universities and medical practitioners. But the result was worth it; for example, the head of the Russian Ministry of Health, Veronika Skvortsova, highly appreciated the development.

However, the number of exciting projects in the piggy bank of Euroinvest plants is much broader. Here is an apparatus for diagnosing seed material quality based on X-ray tubes, which Svetlana is developing. And an installation for heating asphalt pavement using microwave radiation. And also a device that measures ice thickness using ultrashort pulse radiolocation. Gazprom Neft is already planning to use the latter development in its drone.

The Future is for the Teacher

The logic of expanding the intellectual component in the business of Euroinvest could not fail to lead its leaders to the thought of where to take the staff corresponding to their potential and abilities. The result was a whole network of mechanisms for supporting education and helping talented schoolchildren and students that the holding has built over the past few years.

At first, the company acted through established intermediaries in the education market. For example, it supported the Leonhard Euler International Charitable Foundation for Mathematics Support educational platforms, including the international Olympiad Formula One/Third Millennium. In addition, Euroinvest became a partner of the Prometheus Star contest, organized by the World Club of Petersburgers under the leadership of Mikhail Piotrovsky.

But the holding company did not stop there, and as a completely independent step, it launched its scholarship for the best undergraduate and graduate students of regional universities. It was named after the famous cosmonaut Georgy Grechko.

At the same time, the industrial segment of Euroinvest increased its activity in attracting young specialists, yesterday’s graduates of universities, to all kinds of positions. As the newspapers in the northern capital reported earlier this year, Andrey Berezin established cooperation with the best universities in the country to “recruit” the best senior students even before they finish their studies. At the same time, the human resources potential of the holding plants is being strengthened through tempting offers to specialists from similar enterprises on the verge of bankruptcy.

A few months ago, the company decided to raise the bar even further and announced the launch of a project to create a fundamentally new educational institution for gifted children. It would be the St. Petersburg Governor’s Lyceum, working as a boarding school. In thinking up the idea, Andrey Berezin drew on his own school experience, which did not let him down. Quite quickly, it was possible to solve several fundamental problems.

First, a site for the construction of the lyceum building will be built in the Kaselevo neighborhood on the bank of Bolshoye Lake. The structure will be large-scaled, obviously with a glance at the best achievements of their development division. There will be a virtual campus, like in the best foreign schools, educational and residential buildings, laboratories and creative space, a sports complex with a swimming pool, and even its beach.

But even more important is the certainty of who will teach the new academy’s students. The basis of the teaching staff, as Berezin himself said in the last extended interview at the moment, will consist of the teachers from the famous physics and mathematics boarding school №45. And judging by the words of the CEO of Euroinvest, the teachers will be provided with an exemplary level of support in their work because Andrey Berezin sees a motivated teacher as the person who will help Russia take the path of sustainable, innovative development and maintain and, in the future, even increase its potential in the difficult circumstances of today’s world.

“Russia had all the development opportunities because the educational base in the Soviet Union was one of the best. Both secondary and higher education especially. But to do education is not only to build schools but also to pay teachers and professors, create new educational programs, and stimulate students.

We will pay for the design of the academy, and we will support the team of teachers who will come to work there when the school is ready. Although it must be a state educational institution, we are ready to sponsor it” – taking into account the whole history of Euroinvest, these words of its head should be taken seriously.

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