group Group hands over its e-currency to QIWI

NASDAQ-listed Russian payment operator QIWI announced today the acquisition of the e-currency business of Group, a major Russian Internet group. After the completion of transition period all Money.Mail.Ru transactions will be performed by QIWI. The terms of the deal, which is presented as part of a “long term strategic partnership,” have not been disclosed. (Money.Mail.Ru in English) is not among the main electronic currencies on the market, but it enjoys a non negligible 6% reach among Internet users in major Russian cities, according to a TNS survey in early 2014.

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Kazan Startup Week

Kazan Startup Week: Startups get $1 million commitment from VCs and ask Putin to establish a “Russia Startup Day”

This month saw the hosting of the Kazan Startup Week, a nine-day event dedicated to the five-year anniversary of the Kazan IT-Park, a business incubator for IT firms located in the innovation-friendly Republic of Tatarstan, around 800 km east of Moscow.

The highlight of the event was the DemoDay, which offered participating startups the chance to showcase their products to potential investors. As a result, the total amount of investment pledged to successful companies was $980,000.

Continue reading group group to sell headhunter business to investor consortium led by Elbrus Capital Group, a leading, LSE-listed Russian Internet group, is to sell 100% of shares in HeadHunter ( to a consortium of investors led by direct investment fund Elbrus Capital.

The deal, which is worth a total of 9.85 billion rubles (a little less than $210 million at the current exchange rate), is still “subject to third-party approval,” the group announced. It expected to be completed in Q1 2015.

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The Hague Tech

Netherlands still a “promising market” for Russian software development companies

Last month, Russian software industry association Russoft organized the presence of Russian IT firms at a major Dutch technological event – The Hague Tech 2014. This initiative was supported by the Westholland Foreign Investment Agency.

The expo specializes in innovative IT technologies, equipment and solutions. One of the key parts of the event was the Smart City Conference where companies presented their solutions and technologies for the creation of a global information environment for a megapolis. The Hague Tech gathered over 600 delegates from the government sector, IT corporations and tech startups.

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E-commerce study

New EWDN study: Cross-border sales still growing fast, Chinese players invading the market

Far from the international tumult, the Russian e-commerce market is still growing – and many players in Russia and from abroad continue serving an ever-increasing number of online shoppers from this country. In spite of the ruble’s fall, cross-border sales are expected to increase by at least 50% in value, and by 75% in the number of parcels, to around $5 billion this year, with e-commerce remaining one of the few growth drivers of the Russian economy.

A detailed study by East-West Digital News, with the participation of Ernst & Young, PayU, Qiwi and Yandex, industry association NAMO as well as dozens of industry players including Alibaba Group, ASOS and eBay, reveals the following key trends.

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Rambler & Co

Rambler & Co seeks startups in its shift to becoming an Internet tech firm

Rambler & Co, a major Russian tech media group, is seeking to move away from its present status as a media company towards Internet technologies. As reported by Russian daily Vedomosti, the company is creating two startup accelerators to achieve this goal.

Speaking at an event hosted by the $200 million government-backed startup fund FRII (IIDF) launched last year, Rambler’s management stated its disappointment at the fact that the company’s EBITDA performance indicators are only half that of Internet tech firms, as reported by Russian tech blog ROEM.

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Russia’s Imperious Group injects $400,000 in American-Ukrainian private jet service startup Jetme

In California, Ukrainian developers have launched the startup JetMe, a service which allows users to reserve and pay for flights on private jets to any point around the globe.

One of the startup’s founders is Yuriy Romanyukha, an associate for Russia-based fund Imperious Group. Almost immediately after the project launched, JetMe obtained $400,000 in funding from this fund and several angels, reported Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA.

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St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg libraries creating an ‘alternative Wikipedia’ about Russia

The Presidential Library and National Library of Russia, both located in St. Petersburg, are working on a project that aims to become the Russian answer to Wikipedia.

According to the Presidential Library’s chief spokesman Valentin Sidorin, the creators will not be writing an e-encyclopedia from scratch; they will merely systematize, digitize, and grant open access to already existing material that covers all aspects of Russia’s historical development.

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USA Russia

US and Russia still developing scientific and technological ties

Although the relations between the two powers have reached historic lows, US-Russian cooperation in scientific and technological fields is still alive.

“The Russian government is not imposing any sanctions whatsoever against the USA in the field of scientific interaction,” reported earlier this month, citing Russian ambassador to the USA Sergey Kislyak.

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New video advertising service launched with VC support

Launched earlier this month, programmatic advertising service ViHub makes it possible to target views by audience and user interest, monitor the coverage and overall hit rate for all sites and resources, filter out negative content from pages and simultaneously protect traffic from bots.

According to Ilya Mikin, general director of ViHub, the rapid growth of online video advertising turnover in Russia in the last three years demands more technical means of ad placement, which is what RTB (real-time bidding) and programmatic technology offer.

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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