Thursday, September 13, 2007

Investing in Russian IT Companies - Useful Tips From Experts

Due to relatively low competition, the interest of investors in Russian software and innovation companies is growing despite the potential risks and the reason is simple: the return on investment (ROI) could be quite outstanding. Many analysts believe that presently the Russian market lacks local companies with original developments, while those which have unique products or services are already acquired. As CRN reports , the growing demand for IT products in Russia from small businesses and ordinary people substantiates rapid development of the Russian IT sector.

Here are some common principles that are crucial for investors success:

If you are a potential investor, it will be very important for you to look at some existing cases and make conclusions as to which filters or criteria you would use to identify strong cases. Venture fund gurus, like Mr. Martinson of MartinsonTrigon identified a few problems on the IT segment of the market in his interview for a CRN article , including:

-- While Russias foreign investors mainly look into mature and profitable companies, Russian companies do not necessarily understand that a good investor is not about money, but rather a complex deal when it can provide some real assistance and support.

-- There is a tight competition among VCs in Russia for the best companies. Therefore, it may seem that in the Russian IT industry there is extra capital floating. In reality, on the contrary there is a deficit. Today the investors choose where they want to invest and not otherwise.

-- There is a need for investments to the second and third echelon companies, which would facilitate the development of the industry sector.

-- Another problem is poor preparedness of the companies themselves for receiving the investments. A majority of the companies have huge confusion in accounting and bookkeeping.

-- In the next two years almost all of the IT sector will be developing fast, but the most probable investment segment should be Internet technologies and services, mobile services and software export. The venture investment turnover in Russia may reach USD 100-150 million per annum. This will be a good growth compared to an average USD 50 million investments in 2005.

Notes from History:

Put field Marshall KUTUZOVs strategy to work: go for a long-term investment, rely on your partisans (local partners), endure some bumps in the road, and you will defeat the Napoleon of doubts and pessimistic media critics. Or, as Ivan Andreyevich Krylov, Russias own Aesop of the 19th century, put it in one of his tremendously popular fables of the time, a Vaska slushaet da est - (The cat Vaska is listening, yet still eating). He refers to a smart cat that listened to the cries of the chef who found him devouring a nice piece of meat from the kitchen, but kept eating anyway. So, listen to the critique critically, even give some unhappy interviews if you wish, but keep the meat!

Find out more about investments to Russia in my upcoming book "Riding the Russian Technology Boom" (

Dr. Andrey Gidaspov has over ten years of experience in business consulting in the IT and telecom (ICT) fields in Russia, CIS and Asia. Andrey has sealed deals for hundreds of American companies with Russian and CIS partners, ranging from start-up businesses to large multi-national corporations throughout Eurasia. His past clients include well-known technology leaders such as Motorola, Harris, Tekelec, Oracle, Corning, Tellabs, Qualcomm, Net2Phone, Nortel, Andrew and many others.

In September 2004 Andrey opened his own consulting business, Gidabyte (, based in Hong Kong, China. The company provides a wide range of business consulting in the ICT sector for international companies in Eurasia and Asia Pacific. GidaByte's bi-monthly newsletter "GidaScope" has become an instant success ( among various businesses interested in doing business in Russia. Andrey recently authored his first book - "Riding the Russian Technology Boom" - which will soon be available on Amazon. See more info about the book at:

Mutual Funds - A Secure Investment For Your Future

Investment opportunities galore in today's globalized world, but if you do not want to take too many risks and earn handsome returns as well, then mutual fund investments are certainly your best bet. No doubt, a large portion of your invested money will be ultimately channeled to the so-called volatile stock markets, but you need not worry because your funds and that of other investors will be put under the management of seasoned professionals who will take care of the risks involved and ensure that you get the best possible returns from your investments. Moreover, since the mutual fund company will not charge you anything more than a small amount as processing fees, it makes more sense to opt for mutual funds rather than to make direct investments in the stock market.

Mutual funds have always been one of the most secure investment options available because they are based on the time tested logic - "never place all your eggs in the same basket." Money collected from retail investors such as you is channeled to various investment avenues such as equities, bonds, short-term money-market instruments and others, something that automatically reduces the associated investment risks. Investments risks are also reduced because most mutual fund companies often have intra company shareholdings that act as insurance against potential future downfalls or volatility in the money market.

It is not that your returns are guaranteed, but since the chances of earning profits is relatively more in case of mutual fund investments, it is always better to park your hard earned money in such secure instruments. You will benefit not only from the dividends that you will be entitled to receive, but also from the appreciation in the NAV (Net Asset Value) of your mutual fund units. Liquidity is also not a problem because you can sell your mutual fund units as and when you want at market rates (NAV). Your decision to sell will however be dictated by factors such as your present financial needs and your present and future financial goals and objectives.

Mutual funds are certainly one of the most secure investment avenues, but still you need to be prudent simply because not all mutual funds available in the market offer the same benefits. To ensure the safety and profitability of your investments, you will thus have to select only those funds that hold the most potential for future growth. It is only then will you be able to do justice to the phraseology: "Mutual Funds - A secure investment!"

GREG S. owns and manages his Mutual Funds website where you can get more useful information about investing in various types of Mutual Funds.

Real Estate is Still a Good Investment

With the problems some mortgage companies are going through in New York and nationwide, one may think today isn't the right time to invest. The only thing you may fear is your lack of confidence and know-how as you proceed into this endeavor.

There are many get-rich quick promises and schemes to be weary of. Real estate investing shows its rewards after a few years, be it 5, 10 or 15. Knowing how to deal with mortgage brokers and bankers may be compared to wandering through a maze. Investing in a consumer protection book, which can certainly guide you through the dos and don'ts as well as what to be alerted for, may be your first sensible and necessary step towards arriving at your dream.

There are mortgage brokers and bankers who do care about their clients desires, knowing of the long-term relationship they will be in, and these are the ones to be shooting for. Knowing the loan programs available before meeting with your mortgage broker, prepares you somewhat. Knowing if you can invest little money down, no money down, whether you qualify if you have bad credit or no credit, is also beneficial to know in advance. If you know someone who has successfully invested in real estate and has a firm understanding of how the mortgage process works, well, the more guidance you seek, the less stress as you proceed.

Take your time. Do your research. Find your resources. Proceed into the world of real estate investment without a single trace of fear. Your riches shall come.

King of the Middle Class -

Forex Trading Understand the Risks for a Money Making Second Income

What is The Foreign Exchange trades market (also known by the acronym FOREX) is sometimes called the Spot market. Every day the value of trades made on Forex is anything up to $2 trillion. There are no physical goods or stocks traded in Forex: the currency is, quite simply, hard cash money.

Traders in the Forex market buying one currency at the same time as they selling another, using a Forex broker to make the trade. This paired form of trading means you might be selling US Dollars (USD) at the same time as you are buying GB Pounds (GBP). The trading of currencies is a barometer of current confidence in a country and its economic prospects. The strength of one currency is a demonstration of its position against other competing nations economies.

Newcomers to Forex might want to know where the hub of the market is situated: the answer is it has no physical location. The Trading in the Forex market operates electronically through the Interbank network. Unlike other markets, there are no opening or closing prices on Forex, as the market runs 24 hours a day, from Sundays to Fridays.

It is now easy for any individual to start trading in Forex as the high entry thresholds, which served to restrict Forex trading to financial institutions, no longer apply. No longer do you need to have millions of dollars to enter this market, so individuals can start trading online from their homes.

Unlike traditional stock markets, there are no commissions payable to brokers: they receive a bid-ask payment instead. The bid-ask spread value varies: usually 0.1 per cent of much lower depending on the dealer and the lot or contract size.

Why is Forex trading becoming more popular with private investors?

Here are some of the attractions of getting involved in Forex trading:

  • You pay no commissions, clearing fees, exchange fees, government fees, or brokerage commission.
  • You deal direct in your chosen currency market, you cut out the middle man.
  • The minimum trade is low, so it is easy to start trading in Forex.
  • Transaction costs are not excessive.
  • The market is open 24 hours a day between Sunday evening and Friday afternoon so you can star Forex investing even if you have a full time job.
  • Traders compete on equal terms because nobody can corner this vast market.
  • Huge capital reserves are not necessary, and investor can start with less than $1000.
  • Your investment is instantly available so your money is not tied up if you need it.
How you can get started in Forex trading from home

All you actually need to get started is a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. Most of the reputable Forex trading sites have helpful step by step instructions to help you, and you can even start out with dummy trades where you do not even risk any of your own money.

The cost of trading in Forex

You can open an account with a deposit of around $250 in your account - this is called your margin. To get a true feel of the market, it would be better to allocate around $1000 if you can afford it remember you should only deposit this money if you are ready to risk losing it!!

How you can make money in Forex trading The key is to buy low and sell high, of course but easier said than done. Any currency that is fluctuating is a potential candidate for a trade, and you can profit well from a change as low as one per cent in the value of a currency.

How you can get started Have a look at any of the major Forex websites on a Business Opportunity Review website where you can check how they are rated, deposit your initial margin and you are ready to become an international Forex Trader. Think of me when you make your first million...

Adrienne Davis runs Forex Trading Help with advice on the risks and rewards of Forex Trading. She has extensive experience in marketing and business start up and publishes a FREE Internet Business Tips Ezine.

The Water Factor in Uranium Mining

Water plays an integral role for In Situ Recovery (ISR) uranium mining. If the water is not in the right place, ISR mining can not take place. A companys pounds in the ground are nearly worthless or may have to be extracted through other means.

One of the purposes of the Advanced ISR series is to finally bury the misleading Pounds in the Ground mantra. Some uranium companies have given the wrong impression about their resource estimates by championing the number of their historical pounds. Some of those pounds might never be mined or even permitted for mining. Having NI 43-101 compliant resources does not necessarily confirm whether companies have economic deposits in which the extraction process can take place. Water could be the issue.

Our interview with Glenn Catchpole of Uranerz Energy explains what investors should know about waters role in ISR uranium mining. Companies with an ISR project may disappoint shareholders because of the water location, or lack of water, in relation to the ore body. Many analysts have assigned values to an ore body without taking water into consideration. We hope this interview will help shed new light on these valuations.

StockInterview: Lets start with the basics. What is the first requirement for an In Situ Recovery uranium mine?

Glenn Catchpole: The uranium ore body itself must or should be in a confined aquifer. What you are looking for is that the uranium-mineralized sandstone is in this aquifer. If theres no water in the formation and its dry, then you cant solution mine (also known as ISR).

StockInterview: What do you mean by a confined aquifer?

Glenn Catchpole: A confined aquifer is one that is confined between two impermeable geologic strata. In Wyoming, typically they would be either mud, stone, shale or some type of clay which forms an impermeable barrier above and below the sandstone hosting the uranium. Over time, water has moved down the sandstone strata. As it moves, the water comes under pressure and becomes confined.

StockInterview: Why is this important?

Glenn Catchpole: If you complete a water well in a sandstone strata that is under pressure and encase it in cement, the water will actually rise in that casing to some level based on the pressure in the aquifer. In some cases, there could be enough pressure or head, where the well will actually flow onto the surface on its own. You want the water under pressure because the more pressure in the formation, or in the sandstone unit, then the more oxygen you can put in the solution. In the United States, you either add CO2 or sodium bicarbonate plus an oxidant, such as oxygen, to the groundwater. Then you re-inject the solution into the sandstone host formation to dissolve the uranium off the sandstone. The more oxygen you can put into the solution, the more effectively you can dissolve or oxidize the uranium.

StockInterview: How do you find out how much pressure you have in the aquifer?

Glenn Catchpole: Lets assume youve got good uranium values from the results of your exploration program, and that you may have an economic ore body using the ISR method. You then need to confirm that the ore body is in an aquifer or that the sandstone is saturated with water. To do that, you would install hydrologic testing wells. Assuming there is water in those wells, you would then do a pump test to determine the hydrologic properties of this aquifer.

StockInterview: How do you know if your properties have mineralized sandstone formations which are saturated with water?

Glenn Catchpole: There are deposits in Wyoming that are good in terms of grade, but they are completely above the water table. They are not saturated. In our case, we focused our acquisition activities in the Powder River Basin, which we know from our previous work. Most of those sands that are hosting uranium are indeed saturated with water. There are some that are not. From our experience we pretty much know those deposits that may be sitting above the water table. In other words, they are not saturated with water. If uranium went to $500/pound, maybe some day you could put a conventional mine on them.

StockInterview: What about those in the exploration stage?

Glenn Catchpole: If you were working in a new area doing raw exploration, and you did come across good mineralization that looked like you had an ore body there, you might not know for sure about the hydrology and what the water levels are like. You could get into a situation where either the sandstone is dry, or it is only partially filled with water. Or its filled with water, but it doesnt have much head or pressure on it. Youve got to do some test work and nail that down.

StockInterview: Is there any way of detecting the problem in advance, before you discover youve got an inadequately saturated formation?

Glenn Catchpole: When you are drilling an exploration hole, the driller knows when he encounters any water at all. If he doesnt get any water, you know right away, youve got a problem very early on. When the driller starts out, he can start drilling with air. If he encounters water in his drilling, then hes going to switch over to drilling mud to carry the cuttings. As hes drilling a hole, he is creating cuttings. He has to have a mud slurry in order to carry those cuttings out of the hole. An experienced driller will have a good feel for how much water hes encountered. These drillers have worked all over Wyoming; theyve got some feel for the local geology and what the water situation might be.

StockInterview: Once youve established the saturation and pressure, whats next on your checklist?

Glenn Catchpole: Assuming the mineralization is not tied up in clay streaks in the sandstone unit, then you want to know the permeability of the aquifer. How readily can you move water through the formation? To do that, you have to do a pump test, or aquifer test to calculate the value of the permeability of that aquifer. The higher the permeability, the more helpful its going to be in your mining process. You have to be able to move the solution through the formation in order to leach uranium off the sandstone grains. The more permeable the formation, the more fluid you can move through it; the more effective you can be in extracting uranium.

StockInterview: How do you determine your rate of production?

Glenn Catchpole: Two things determine your ISR mining production rate. Thats the concentration of the uranium in the fluid coming out of your recovery wells and the flow rate. Theres an equation you can use to determine the rate of production in pounds. You multiply your flow rate by your concentration, also known as head grade.

StockInterview: Is this how companies conclude how many pounds they will annually produce on their ISR project?

Glenn Catchpole: Generally, you have a production rate you are trying to achieve. For example, if I want to produce one million pounds per year, and my head grade is 80 milligrams per liter (a typical number used for U.S. projects) and my hydrologist tells me Ive going to recover 10 gallons per minute, I will need 400 recovery wells. Based upon these hypothetical calculations, I will need 4,000 gallons per minute, or 400 recovery wells each recovering 10 gallons/minute, to produce one million pounds. As a side comment, when people say Im going to have a solution mine that produces three million pounds per year, it turns out to be a lot of wells. Your major cost in a solution mining operation, once youve got the plant built, is putting in your wells. (Editors Note: Discussing costs to put in wells with others in the uranium mining sector, we found a range of $20 to $30/foot for each well.)


In a separate information sheet, Glenn Catchpole provided us with a hypothetical approximation of an ISR wellfield in Wyoming. He wrote, Production at an ISR uranium mine is directly related to the flow rate (FR) coming from the recovery wells and the concentration of the uranium or head grade (HG) in the recovery solution.

In this theoretical calculation, Mr. Catchpole assumed a head grade of 65 milligrams per liter, a flow rate of 10 gallons per minute for each recovery well, and an ore bodys average depth below surface of 500 feet. In order to produce one million pounds U3O8, this would require 350 production wells, 420 injection wells and 20 monitor wells. Using these assumptions, the theoretical well field would cost approximately $12 million to construct. Amortized over two years for the life of the well field, the cost for the well field construction using annual production figures of one million pounds would be about $6/pound U3O8. By lowering cost/foot for each well, a company could reduce their construction cost to about $4/pound U3O8.

Mr. Catchpole cautioned these are simplistic and very rough approximations of an ISR wellfield cost in Wyoming. He also wrote, These are presented for illustrative purposes only and the numbers generated should not be used in financial calculations or project evaluations.

COPYRIGHT 2007 by StockInterview, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

James Finch contributes to and other publications. His focus on the uranium mining and nuclear fuel sector resulted in the widely popular Investing in the Great Uranium Bull Market, which is now available on and on

Straight From The Hard Drive

Goodbye Big Brother; Hello Peer-to-Peer... a forerunner of whats to come...

We all know that big business dictates to musicians what music they should be writing and performing. Ask Tony Bennet, Angus Young, and Fergie. Unless musicians cooperate with the big label companies, who control the purse strings, they have little chance of enduring in the mainstream of commercial music. An upstart has little chance to go to the top of the charts without an infusion of promotional dollars from big business. The overall result is the production of mediocre music that the gurus at the big label companies believe appeals to the masses, the common denominator.

Too bad for the creative, inspired music that never sees the light of day. With very rare exceptions, stifled musicians either bow out of the game, or make compromises to at least part of the time toe the line set by music company executives.


Move over, executives. Hard drive to hard drive is here. Downloading MP3 files, through todays technology, is easier than ever. No corporate executive is at the toll-gate dictating the content and style of the product.

Whats so important about all this for stock photographers?

This distribution process paves the way for the possibility of an entirely new delivery method for photographers, artists, game makers, musicians, and writers, who have historically been at the mercy of middle-men to promote and distribute their work. Its called peer-to-peer. Your hard drive to my hard drive, without going through the Web.

Heres how it would work. As a buyer, to get the creative work you are looking for, you circumvent the usual distributor (label company in this case) and download the music file youre looking for from the supplier's hard drive. In our case, as stock photographers and photobuyers, it would be an image to download.

At first glance, you might think that Napster-sparked free trading of music files would cause a serious reduction in retail sales. On the contrary, it turns out to be a catalyst. Studies show that music sales have never been better. After Napster was reduced to a common sense Internet company by the courts, it evolved to a company that promotes new artists.

Could this work in our industry? The marketing part already has. Stock photo agencies such as iStock and Shutterstock, that practically give pictures away through royalty-free distribution, have found that the system both encourages on-line purchasing plus educates buyers in image utilization and graduating to higher-ticket image purchasing. Usage, the saying goes, begets more usage.


But wait, if we give our photos away practically free, wont that discourage photographers from making images in the future? This is a natural reaction. Every time a new technology has come along, the purveyors of the former technology get up in arms, trying to prevent the new from destroying the old. Whether radio (it was going to destroy newspapers), TV (it was going to destroy radio), cable TV (it was going to destroy network TV), or DVDs (they were going to destroy movie theaters). These media have learned to live harmoniously side by side, and everyone has benefited.

The Internet has opened the window for us to cease viewing business strategies through traditional, old-think lenses, and instead see all kinds of new possibilities. The Internets peer-to-peer possibilities open new distribution doors for creators of all products.

For stock photography freelancers, the system could work like this. Software known as digital rights management systems will soon become available that will allow a photobuyer to enter your computers hard drive, search for specific pictures, download them, and purchase them. The fee may be low (like with RF photography) but the volume will be high (several visitors a day). The bottom line will be that pictures that otherwise would languish in your files gathering dust, will generate activity and sales for you. The peer-to-peer system probably wont do away with the big boys (agencies). They themselves could evolve into a pay-per-use or subscription-based model. They would share the revenue from sales with their photographers.

Both models could survive. The conglomerates could enter into general vertical markets themselves. The peer-to-peer system would open a new door where the conglomerates would continue to produce and sell their generic images. The vertical (specialized) market where most individual freelance photographers would reside, would be too spare for the big conglomerates, and not as lucrative for them as the commercial stock photo market. This would open new possibilities in specialized markets for freelancers who have deep files of keyworded content in their image databases. Internet technology today is too powerful, too ambitious, for lawmakers to regulate freedom of exchange of music, images, and graphic files. The istock phenomenon has proven this. Eventually the dust will settle, and individual freelance stock photographers are bound to come out in an even better position than was available for them in the last century.

Rohn Engh, veteran stock photographer and best-selling author of Sell & ReSell Your Photos and, has helped scores of photographers launch their careers. For access to great information on making money from pictures you like to take, and to receive this free report: 8 Steps to Becoming a Published Photographer, visit