All of the businesses I started began with some sort of passion I had. By the age of 10, I took an interest in astronomy, built my very own telescopes, and went on expeditions as a schoolboy. Later I would go on to study for a degree in astronomy and mathematics before finding a job at Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory. Photographic emulsion had long been the only means by which any kind of astrophysical images could be recorded. However, it was at the time of my involvement in the industry that the first CCD sensors were developed, thus giving rise to a breathtaking opportunity — to create a high-sensitivity digital camera for telescopes. It was presumed that this new camera would usher in a whole new era of celestial observations. And so it became my dream. Thus, I founded my first company — ISTA, followed by the subsequent establishment of ISTA Group.
ISTA’s first product was a low-light CCD-based digital imaging system for telescopes cooled by liquid nitrogen. ISTA was among the first companies in the world who invented this revolutionary system (along with Astromed from the University of Cambridge and Princeton Instruments from Princeton University).
Many large telescopes and observatories around the globe were equipped with these systems.
The management team includes former scientists from Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory and Electron National Research Institute (as well as scientists from other institutions) who participated in the development of the device.
ISTA later initiated the production of a wider assortment of low-light imaging systems and software for:
- Materials science
- Biology & medicine
- Nuclear physics
As the business continued to grow, so too did demand for more proficient specialization on the market and relevant competencies became more common. We identified several fields of concentration for ISTA and created the following business units as parts of ISTA Group: ISTA Systems, ISTA Technics, and Itrium; for the purpose of achieving a more accurate marketing standing.
ISTA Systems currently manufactures complex security systems, large-scale CCTV, access control systems and software, as well as security risk assessment services for:
- Nuclear power plants
- Oil production refineries and gas processing plants
- Subway networks
- Military bases
- Airports etc.
ISTA Technics specializes in two fields:
Itrium develops software and hardware for physical security systems. The company began as ISTA’s R&D department. Itrium was the first in Russia and one of the global leaders to develop an eponymous hardware-independent software environment for large-scale, complex security systems. The company mostly supplies OEM-based solutions.
As the owner of the business, over the last ten years I have almost taken no part at all in the operational control of the ISTA Group companies, but I take pleasure in leading management trainings as a coach.
Fifteen years ago, I took an interest in photography. For a while I even made photography a commercial activity of mine. That led to new companies being created.
In 2007 I founded FOTO ONE. The company was the first professional photo equipment retailer in Saint-Petersburg.
FOTO ONE would later become an authorized service center for Canon, Nikon, and other major brands. After that — it saw the opening of a professional printing, editing, and photo processing center. FOTO ONE became the epicenter of Saint Petersburg’s entire professional photo community. In 2017, I sold FOTO ONE to Yarkiy Mir.
In 2009, I founded Moonlight Media Productions. The company is dedicated to photo & film production. The personnel we hired for our new team were people who worked with me as a photographer.
Today, Moonlight Media Productions (aka Andy Fiord Production) operates all across the world. Some of its major customers include the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Beats by Dre, Puma, Louis Vuitton and more.
In 2010, Moonlight Media Productions founded a modeling agency called Andy Fiord Models. Currently, it is a major company in Russia which enjoys great recognition worldwide. Its models are represented by all of the world’s top model agencies (IMG, Elite, Next, Women, Marylin, Silent…) and worked for nearly all well-known fashion brands.
Andy Fiord Models and Andy Fiord Production together operate under the brand AFFA.