Russian venture fund iTech Capital announced last week its investment in iConText, a leading independent provider of search engine marketing (SEM) services. The transaction amount has not been disclosed, but the fund stated that it acquired “more than 25%” of the company.
Founded in 2002, iConText focuses on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Among its 650 clients are top multinational and local agencies and advertisers: Ozon.ru, UniCredit bank, and AVITO.ru among others.
iConText is a parent company of online agency Registratura.ru, Internet marketing agency Webprofiters, search engine optimization agency iSeo, and social media marketing agency Sociorama. In addition, iConText is the exclusive Russian reseller of the leading international technology Efficient Frontier, a property of Adobe.
In 2008, the agency secured an investment from Ru-Net, a major Russian Internet investment fund.
iTech Capital has already invested important amounts in Russia’s thriving online advertising market. One year ago, the fund injected no less than $10 million in SEO Pult, a leading SEO and online advertising automation platform. In April of this year, the fund invested $3.5 million in Garpun, a Moscow-based startup that provides digital agencies and corporate advertisers with online ad management tools.
The fund is now considering “the opportunity to create a media group” based on the resources of its portfolio companies, “each being a leader in its marketing niche.”
“The most important trends in online marketing are technological advancement and the increasing complexity of advertising campaigns, which leads to a higher demand for professional solutions for large accounts, flexible usage of technologies, and multichannel strategies management. All of these are the core competencies of iContext thanks to our 11-year experience and the expertise of our team,” commented iTech Capital’s investment director Nikolai Davydov.
Another portfolio company is The Battle of Brands, in which iTech Capital invested soon after its launch in early 2011. The site, which collected information about users’ preferences through play fights between different brands or types of products, is no more accessible today. “This startup, which brought good financial results in its initial stage, is still under development. We still support it and are helping it to find a new business model, even though we are now focused on larger projects in our portfolio,” the fund’s PR director Viktoria Gracheva told East-West Digital News.