Almaz Capital Partners, a major Russian venture fund, has participated in a $6.5 million round to fund If You Can, a California-based startup that uses gameplay to teach children social and emotional learning (SEL) skills.
The Series A round was led by Greylock Partners with the participation of other investors. The startup had previously raised $2.8 million from the founders, angels and seed funds including Andreessen Horowitz, Founder’s Fund, Maveron and several others.
A former Apple executive in the 1980s, Trip Hawkins presents himself as “a Hall of Fame game industry leader who played a key role in defining the PC industry.” Prior to launching If You Can, he founded Electronic Arts and Digital Chocolate.
Launched in 2008 by Alexander Galitsky, a veteran of the Russian venture industry, Almaz Capital is widely seen as one of the most established Russian funds. Its LPs include Cisco and EBRD as well as the World Bank subsidiary IFC. The fund’s “geo-connect strategy” focuses on early- and expansion-stage venture investments in high-tech sectors such as enterprise and cloud computing, mobile, Internet infrastructure and services, data storage and management, and ecommerce.
Initially focusing on Russia and neighboring countries, the fund has progressively enlarged its focus to encompass companies virtually anywhere in the world with connections to Russia. In 2013 it invested in global game developer Nival, cloud ERP vendor Acumatica, US big data solution provider GridGain, and US-Russian mobile analytics provider Cinarra.