Russia+Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian VCs team up to invest in US software startup

As Russia and Ukraine were escalating to a new level of mutual threats and recriminations earlier this week, venture funds offered a welcome illustration that nationalism has not completely spoiled relations between the two countries.

A leading Kiev-based fund, AVentures Capital, teamed up with two Russian funds, Almaz Capital and ABRT, to inject $3.25 million into StarWind Software, a major US-based provider of software-defined storage for Microsoft Hyper-V environments, in a Series B round.

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James Bond - From Russia with love

From venture investment to strategic missile transport: Boston FBI warns US tech community of possible scams by “malicious Russian investors”

In a bid to “educate the private sector and raise awareness about economic espionage and cyber counterintelligence,” FBI special agents Lucia M. Ziobro and Vincent B. Lisi warned Boston-area businesses and academic institutions earlier this month of “scams involving malicious [Russian] venture capitalists.”

The warning took the form of a notification to local players and an op-ed published in the Boston Business Journal. The text urged those contacted by Russian venture capitalists “to remain vigilant and cognizant of the potential losses and compromises of company assets.”

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Russia microelectronics

Russian-made chips for bank cards could appear in 2015

Russia is setting up its own payment operation and clearing centers to circumvent US-based Visa and Mastercard – and may have its own homemade chip for banking cards as early as next year.

According to the Russian business daily Vedomosti, microelectronics developer and manufacturer Mikron Group has high hopes of getting a new chip certified with MasterCard and Visa no later than in 2015, then starting production of up to 10 million such chips a month. The price will be “competitive enough to rival foreign chipmakers’ products,” Mikron spokesman Alexei Dianov told Vedomosti.

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Skolkovo

Skolkovo to bring eight Russian startups to China

The Skolkovo Foundation will bring 8 startups to participate in a road show in Hong Kong and Mainland China. All the companies will show their innovative developments during the International ICT Expo, which will take place on 13-16 April 2014 at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The management team of Skolkovo and the startups will visit Shenzhen Technopark, Cyberport IT Park, meet with the representatives of Invest Hong Kong, Commission for Innovation and Technology of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and exchange expertise with Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.

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Microsoft

Microsoft pledges $1 million for Moscow University-based computer vision and big data research

Microsoft and Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU; Russian MGU), Russia’s most renowned institution of higher learning, shook hands earlier this month on a joint $1 million research project, the US company announced.

The three-year agreement calls for close collaboration between the investor, Microsoft Research, and two of MSU’s leading labs – one that develops computer vision technologies and another with long experience in the processing and visualization of big data.

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eLama

Impulse VC invests in contextual advertising automation service eLama

Russian venture fund Impulse VC has announced an investment of $800,000 in exchange for a minority stake in the contextual advertising automation service eLama.ru, CNews.ru reported yesterday.

eLama.ru, which allows ad placement on Yandex.Direct and Google Adwords, is appreciated for its flexibility and ease of use. The company claims to serve more than 1,500 advertisers and small agencies. Its turnover is growing rapidly, increasing by 2.5 times (150%) annually. In 2013, total turnover was more than $6 million, according to the company.

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Facebook + Yandex

Yandex sells off Facebook shares

Russian seach giant Yandex has completed the sell-off of its Facebook shareholding. Commenting on Yandex’s Form 20-F annual report for foreign private issuers, the Russian business daily Vedomosti estimated that a 142,479 share package sold in two chunks over the past 12 months may have brought the Russian Internet company $8.1 million – a fairly healthy return on an investment of some $3 million in 2010.

The Russian player paid that amount four years ago for an 18.4% stake in Face.com (initially known as Vizi Labs), an Israeli startup developing face recognition solutions.

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Dreamroomer

TechCrunch Moscow winner Dreamroomer attracts US investor

Dreamroomer, which won the Startup Battle at TechCrunch Moscow in December 2013, has raised investment from San Francisco fund 415x Inc.

The project has created a service that aims to turn the property rental market on its head by helping landlords to find tenants, instead of vice versa. Property owners add their apartment to DreamRoomer’s database, along with an invitation to prospective clients to come and check it out.

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e-days e-commerce

International event to highlight Russia’s latest e-commerce trends and solutions

East-West Digital News is proud to announce the upcoming e-Days E-Commerce Conference, Russia’s first internationally-oriented industry event. The conference will be held in Moscow on June 6, with InternetRetailer.com, the chambers of commerce of France and Great Britain and online marketing agency BuzzFactory joining EWDN as co-organizers and partners.

A bevy of CEOs and top executives from leading companies – including Enter.ru, e96.ru, Groupon Russia, Ikea, KupiVIP, Lamoda, La Redoute, Otto Group, Ozon, and many others – will join Russia’s front-rank experts to share insights on current developments and their vision of the industry’s future.

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Play gaming

The online gaming industry, Russia’s secret weapon?

The gaming industry is a lucrative, growing business with new opportunities continually developing around the globe — and Russia is no exception. Their gaming community is one of the most unique in the world and has grown exponentially over the last few years.

In fact, Russians are known to be the most game-crazy of all with an even distribution of both male and female users and very particular online payment behaviors for gamers. Currently #1 in the world for PC gaming and fast developing for both mobile and online gaming, Russia is set for even more growth.

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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