Adrien Henni_new

Fast growth appeal vs. pressure of sanctions: Western VCs’ new Russia dilemma

The past few weeks have demonstrated the uncomfortable position Western venture capitalists that have traditionally invested in Russia are finding themselves in as a result of the international tensions. While, in the eyes of some them, the Russia label has become a stigma, other VCs have proclaimed their commitment to continue investing in Russian startups – with all the possible nuances of strategy and expression in between.

Among those loyal to Russia is Intel Capital, one of the pioneers in global emerging market investments. Having developed over the years a portfolio of more than 10 Russian companies, the fund led recently a $7.3 million Series A round in, a Russian web- and video-conferencing software company.

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Maxfield Capital

Maxfield Capital leads $5 million round in Boston-based cloud data storage startup

Maxfield Capital, a venture fund operating globally from its offices in Moscow, New York City and Tel Aviv, has led a funding round of “more than $5 million” in nCrypted Cloud, a Boston-based online security service for cloud data storage. A pool of business angels from companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Reveal Imaging and Broadcom has also participated in the round.

In addition to encrypting data stored in Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive Box and other popular cloud storage providers, nCrypted Cloud also allows data owners to monitor and control who has access. A record is kept of all requests to view files, and it is also possible to restrict outside users to limited access.

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Vkontakte still facilitates IP rights breaches, says US industry association

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represent six major Hollywood studios, has informed the US Government about two dozen piracy-promoting websites it would like to be gone. Alongside with major torrent sites The Pirate Bay and, the list includes – as in previous years – Russia’s leading social network Vkontakte (VK), file-hosting service and torrent site

VK now fully belongs to Group, a major Russian Internet group listed on the London stock exchange.

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Almaz Capital, Fastlane Ventures and e.Venture inject $2 million in

Last week online car sales and valuation service received $2 million in seed investment. The principal investors were Almaz CapitalFastlane Ventures, along with several other Russian and foreign funds.

The company was founded very recently, in June of this year, by Edward Gurinovich, Oskar Hartmann, Alexander Danilov and Artem Bolshakov.

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E-commerce study

Cross-border sales to Russia: super mild tax regime maintained

In what looks as a final decision after a long period of discussions and unconfirmed announcements, Russia Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukaev announced yesterday a new threshold for customs taxation affecting cross-border sales to Russian online consumers.

These will continue to enjoy tax-free shopping through foreign retailers, as long as their purchases do not exceed a value of 500 euros per parcel. Above this limit, purchases will be subject to a 30% tax, as previously.

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Online  Retail 2014

Online Retail Russia 2014: Senior e-commerce management to meet in Skolkovo on Nov. 27-28

This year, the annual Online Retail Russia conference will be held on November 27-28 at the Skolkovo Business School. With its unique format and content, this forum is designed for networking and the exchange of information between key market players.

The event will be a mix of informative presentations, business contacts and informal networking for e-commerce senior management from Russia and abroad.

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Hacking trail leads to Russia, experts say

Earlier this year, investigators for Silicon Valley security company FireEye Inc. visited a U.S. firm to determine who, and what, sneaked into the firm’s network harboring military secrets.

There they found what they call a sophisticated cyberweapon, able to evade detection and hop between computers walled off from the Internet. The spy tool was programmed on Russian-language machines and built during working hours in Moscow. FireEye’s conclusion, in a report to be released Tuesday: The cyberspying has a “government sponsor—specifically, a government based in Moscow.”

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3D printer for ultra-strong components under development

Scientists at the Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) are working on a new 3D printer they claim will enable the printing of body components for spacecraft and submarines, the TPU website announced.

According to Alexei Yakovlev, head of the TPU’s Institute of High Tech Physics, “Five different technologies have been developed to produce nanopowder and nanopowder-based materials. When integrated, the technologies will make it possible to print components containing ceramics, metals and polymers.” Yakovlev adds that the manufactured materials will therefore be “ultra-strong and ready for use.”

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Angry citizen_logo

State-backed venture fund supports online project to turn “angry citizens” into “satisfied citizens”

Earlier this month FRII, the $200 million government-backed fund launched last year to support Russian Internet startups, announced an investment of 44 million rubles (approximately $1.1 million) in Intelligent Social Systems.

This company develops IT projects for facilitating effective interaction between the public and state agencies and commercial organisations. Its first project was “Angry Citizen,” an independent online resource for handling complaints and finding solutions to problems for residents of Russia.

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brain drain emigration russia

Russian brain drain saps talent as sanctions hit financing

Artem Kulizhnikov, founder of a startup designed to help musicians annotate music, is packing his bags to leave Moscow in December. His destination: Dubai or Singapore, where he sees a better chance of securing funding for his second company.

“Russian venture-capital funds want to invest their money only in Russia, but we want to build an international business and they won’t support us,” Kulizhnikov, a former analyst at investment firm Alor SPB, said at a forum at Moscow’s Digital October center on Oct. 10. “We don’t need that much. Maybe $5 million to $10 million, to hire engineers, specialists, etc.”

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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