3D software developer Vizerra secures $5 million from giant Russian investor

Leader, an asset management company affiliated with Vneshekonombank, Gazprom, and Gazfond, has invested $5 million in Vizerra, a Moscow-based developer of 3D applications for planning cities, construction projects, product design, and virtual tourism. The news was reported last week by Russian business daily Kommersant, which quoted representatives from both companies.

Vizerra – in which Mashable saw last year one of the top 20 Russian startups – transforms static data in the form of sketches, drawings, or photographs into a 3D image that can be iterated. The company has made 3D maps of the Skolkovo innovation city, the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum, and the Brest Fortress, which users can ‘travel.’

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Telecom regulator Roskomnadzor wants Google, Facebook and Twitter to register

The Russian Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) has informed Facebook, Gmail and Twitter that they must register in Russia as “organizers of distribution of information,” according to Russian legislation.

“We informed them and one way or another we will force them to follow the law,” said deputy head of the supervisory service Maxim Ksenzov. “We are holding consultations with them and are not particularly hurrying yet.”

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Nintendo + Yandex Money

Nintendo starts selling games as digital download codes through Yandex.Money

Moscow – Two years after Nintendo eShop opened for Russian users, Nintendo made an additional step today by launching the digital distribution of its games through Yandex.Money. Starting today users from Russia and the CIS have the possibility to buy games for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U on Nintendo’s dedicated games section on Yandex.Money as digital download codes.

Yandex.Money is the largest payment service in Russia. According to a TNS survey carried out in March 2014, 87% of users from big cities are familiar with the service. In addition to its payment solution, the service offers a wide selection of digital goods from leading publishers and developers including: software, games, music and others.

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Russia wants its own

Russia could create a national online hotel booking platform, RIA Novosti and reported last week, citing Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky. “There are plans to create [such a] system. Now we are looking very actively for business partners who can create a Russian analog to Tripadvisor or,” Medinsky said at a Public Chamber session in Moscow.

The minister said creating a system of that type is not a task for the government but, nonetheless, the Culture Ministry is ready to provide financial support for the project. “For some reason, business hasn’t really taken this up, but there are a lot of claims to a booking network like,” he added.

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State fund FRII to support big data, wearable tech and Internet-of-things startups

Last week FRII, the $200 million government-backed fund launched last year to support Russian Internet startups, announced the extension of its coverage to such new fields as big data, wearable devices and the Internet-of-Things.

“We did quite a lot of research on technological trends across the world. Cloud, social and mobile technology, big data and IT-ecosystems – all of these markets have grown this year and will continue to grow in the future,” said Kirill Varlamov, director of FRII.

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Lamoda’s losses exceeded $50 million in 2013; site exposed to risk due to international tensions

Internet clothes and shoes store Lamoda chocked up losses last year, according to the IPO prospectus of business incubator Rocket Internet. In spite of the fact that its revenue more than doubled, its net loss was 1.7 billion rubles (approximately $53.4 million). These figures had not been disclosed previously.

According to the prospectus, Lamoda had 5.15 billion rubles (approximately $162 million) in revenue in 2013, 249% higher than in the previous year (1.476 billion rubles – approximately $46 million), and its EBITDA indicator was negative: -1.92 billion rubles (approximately $60 million).

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IT market in Russia 2014 – Current situation and short term outlook

Total sales of IT products and services in Russia were worth 711.6 billion rubles (€16.8 billion) in 2013, which is 0.5% less than the figure for the previous period. The IT market in the country declined for the first time since the crisis of 2009. Many leading players reported a contraction in their sales revenue last year.

Sales stagnation in some subgroups of the Russian IT market had already been observed by the end of 2012, but last year’s market decline was not expected by Russian industry analysts or business managers. There was a general consensus that there would be a modest increase in 2013.

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Almaz Capital

Almaz Capital leads $4 million funding round in US e-commerce solution provider

This past Wednesday Content Analytics, an analytics platform that recommends e-commerce catalog optimization strategies, announced it secured a $4 million Series A funding led by Almaz Capital. Geoffrey Baehr, a general partner at Almaz Capital, has joined the startup’s board of directors.

Also participarting in the round is dunnhumby Ventures, the venture capital arm of a UK customer science company. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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Yandex Master

Yandex launches home service marketplace

Yandex, the Russian search giant, has launched an online marketplace for household services. The new platform encompasses a variety of services ranging from appliance repairs and installations, to home cleaning, computing assistance and courier services.

The marketplace lists service providers’ information, including their prices and client reviews. Consumers can leave their feedback and also rate the quality of the service they received.

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Kremlin weighs options for isolating Russian Internet in event of crisis, fuelling concerns from rights activists and free-minded bloggers

On October 1st, the Russian Security Council will discuss issues of internet protection in emergency situations, such as military action or mass protests inside the country. In addition, the possibility of handing over domain administration functions to the state will be considered.

While the Kremlin insists that the main purpose of the meeting is to ensure cybersecurity in the light of unpredictable actions by the West and to defend the country against possible external actions, Russian bloggers and industry experts fear that this may be an attempt to restrict freedom and even isolate Russia from the global network.

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East-West Digital News is published with the support of:
  • Higher school of economics
  • The Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge
  • Russian Venture Company
  • Territory of tomorrow foundation