Digital Sky Technologies (DST Global), the global investment fund led by Yuri Milner, appears to be a major investor in German startup incubator Rocket Internet. According to the incubator’s slide deck, found by The Manager magazine, DST has already pumped $315 million into the project.
This makes DST the second biggest investor in the incubator after Swedish Investment AB Kinnevik, whose $1.34 billion was provided directly and through its Millicom subsidiary. Among other investors listed in the slide deck is Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk, whose contribution extends to $30 million.
DST Global did not answer EWDN’s inquiry on the matter.
A leading IT fund at the global scale, DST has stakes in Facebook, Groupon, Spotify, Twitter, Zalando and Zynga. One of its main backers is Alisher Usmanov, a Russian oligarch of Uzbek origin who made his fortune in the 1990’s from mining, lumber and investment.
A global fund with local roots
Before becoming a prominent international investor, DST established itself as the main financial player on the Russian-language Internet scene, mainly Russia and neighboring countries. Founded in 2005, the fund owned stakes, in particular, in Mail.ru, the leading Russian language email service and portal, Vkontakte.ru and Odnoklassniki.ru, the dominant social networks, Mamba, the leading dating site, Astrum Online Entertainment, the leading online game publisher, LiveInternet.ru, Free-lance.ru, Headhunter.ru as well as Qiwi, Russia’s leading operator of offline electronic payment terminals which was recently introduced on the NASDAQ.
In September 2010, DST rebranded itself, giving its operational wing the name Mail.ru Group and calling its investment fund DST Global. Mail.ru Group includes a host of Russian-language sites as well as a fraction of DST’s stakes in international sites, including a 2.4% stake in Facebook.
Among other backers of DST Global and Mail.ru Group are Tencent Holding (China), Naspers (South Africa), Tiger Global as well as Goldman Sachs, to which DST is closely connected.
As a global investor, DST has launched three technology funds, called simply DST Global I, II and III. The first of these produced an annual 151 percent gross internal rate of return.