TMT Investments_new

TMT Investments backs Israeli startup Twtrland

Earlier this month TMT Investments, a UK-headquartered venture fund backed by Russian businessmen, announced an investment in Israeli startup Twtrland. The size of the investment has not been disclosed.

Twtrland analyses social network content to help users find new contacts based on social media output, interests, age, location etc. It also provides graphics to help users visualise their social footprint, helping them to better expand their personal network, reported Rusbase.com.

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Cybercrime

Mobile banking botnet creator arrested for the first time in Russia

Global Internet security company Group-IB has assisted the Directorate K of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs to investigate and suppress the activities of a criminal group that specialized in stealing funds from the bank accounts of individuals.

Towards the end of 2013, the security service of Sberbank detected a cyber-attack on owners of Android smartphones. The attackers infected the phones with malicious software through mass mailing of MMS messages from “RomanticVK” or “VK_Gift” with the promise of a “romantic gift.”

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Intel

Far from international turmoil, Intel teams up with Russian technoparks and continues Skolkovo partnership

Last week, Intel signed a strategic collaboration agreement with the Association of Technoparks in the field of High Technologies, a nonprofit partnership created in 2011 to implement the Russian government’s strategy for innovative development.

The collaboration encompasses the organization of joint initiatives to develop corporate management systems, enhance HR management techniques, adopt best practices, improve relations with emerging entrepreneurs, and conduct joint project expertise.

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Ostrovok_2

US investors sail away from Ostrovok.ru

Early last year, Russian travel booking site Ostrovok.ru raised $28 million in a Series B round led by General Catalyst Partners, to much fanfare. By the end of the year, however, both General Catalyst and another investor, Accel Partners, had quietly divested their holdings, as Dow Jones VentureWire reported this morning.

General Catalyst Managing Director and Co-Founder Joel Cutler confirmed that the firm is no longer an investor. Sonali De Rycker, partner at Accel, also confirmed that the startup is no longer in its portfolio.

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Yandex EN

Yandex introduces personal recommendations to its music streaming service

Yandex has re-launched Yandex.Music, its music streaming service. The newly revamped service now offers a system of personal recommendations for Yandex.Music users to discover new songs and artists every day.

Yandex.Music recommendations are based on users’ personal preferences, music that their friends on VK.com or Facebook listen to, as well as the latest new hits, such as compositions that inspire popular artists, blockbuster soundtracks, or festival hits.

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Vkontakte

Mail.ru Group takes over Vkontakte: The happy end of a 3-year financial, legal and political saga

Yesterday, Mail.ru Group, the LSE-listed Russian Internet giant, announced it now fully controls Vkontakte (VK.com), the leading Russian language social network with over 250 million registered accounts and 60 million daily users. The group, which already owned 52% of the company, bought the remaining 48% stake from UCP, the Russian investment fund that had become a VK shareholder in April last year. The all-cash transaction amounted to $1.47 billion.

The move is putting an end to a three-year-long saga over the ownership of the company, which involved financial interests, personal disputes, international lawsuits and political pressures.

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Skolkovo

Indian delegation visits Skolkovo on fact-finding mission

A delegation of scientists, educators and ministry officials from India paid a visit Wednesday to the Skolkovo Foundation, on a fact-finding mission to study the opportunities available for Indian students and startups in Russia.

Led by Inder Jit Singh of India’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the 30-strong delegation visited the foundation’s headquarters in downtown Moscow for presentations on programs available to ease entry into the Russian market for Indian enterprises, among others.

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Bas Godska_2

International e-marketing expert Bas Godska: “Digital marketing in Russia is hotter than ever before, and young professionals are craving for knowledge”

Dutch online marketing expert Bas Godska came to Russia in 2008, when the Russian e-marketing and e-commerce markets were still embryonic. He helped a range of international and Russian players – from Ozon, to Lamoda, to KupiVIP, to Enter.ru – reach major positions on the market and optimize their budget. Lesser known, but prolific, has been Godska’s activity as a business angel: with more than 30 portfolio companies so far, he became the number one foreign business angel on the Russian startup scene.

Godska, CEO of digital marketing and e-commerce consulting firm Acrobator and a lead contributor to EWDN’s research studies on Russian e-commerce, shares here his vision of the market, its maturation over the past few years and development prospects in today’s troubled times.

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TC Disrupt

TC Disrupt winners – “pale imitations of Russian startups?”

Twelve months ago at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, Russia had its very own ‘pavilion’ on Startup Alley featuring some of Skolkovo’s best projects. How times have changed…

This year Stanislav Sazhin, CEO of social network for health professionals, “Doctor at Work”, commented that “last year there was a whole crowd from Russia. This year it seems like it’s just me and [Russian serial business angel] Igor Ryabenkiy.”

Sad, but perhaps unsurprising given the current state of US-Russia relations.

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ADFOX

Yandex acquires ad tech platform ADFOX

Last week Yandex, the Russian search giant, announced the acquisition of ADFOX, a Russian technological platform for ad serving, independent statistics and advertising campaign analysis. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Founded in 2005, the platform enables advertisers to place banners, mobile ads, videos and other popular formats. ADFOX claims to serve more than 750 clients, including major publishers, agencies and direct advertisers placing “more than a billion ads” every day.

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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