From Russian funding to an American exit: French startup Capptain acquired by Microsoft
Yesterday, French mobile analytics startup Capptain, which so far had been funded by Moscow-based venture fund Runa Capital, announced it was being acquired by Microsoft. The amount of transaction has not been disclosed, but Runa’s PR Director Liliana Pertenava told East-West Digital News that the fund had made “lots of money” on this investment.
While the startup will remain a separate product development entity, its technology will be integrated into Microsoft Azure, a line of cloud services intended to accelerate mobile app development and enable ongoing customer engagement.
With Capptain, app publishers can analyze customer behavior in real-time, segment customers based on usage, and respond by pushing targeted messages, announcements, information and offers directly to their mobile device.
“Our technology supplies a critical element to enhance the end-to-end story for mobile app development: real-time user data and push analytics combined with in-app messaging. This allows our clients to send targeted content based on real-time user behavior,” Capptain co-founder and CEO Laurent Lathieyre explained to East-West Digital News.
The challenge of going global
In 2012, facing a lack of post-seed startup financing in his home country, the French entrepreneur secured $1,5 million from Moscow’s Runa Capital in exchange for an undisclosed minority stake. “The world is our playground,” he says.
Capptain’s acquisition by Microsoft marks the third international exit for Runa, whose portfolio is comprised of a majority US and Western European startups. Earlier this year, Runa’s former portfolio company StopTheHacker was acquired by CloudFare. In 2012, its UK investee ThinkGrid was sold to Colt Telecom, Pertenava indicated.
“France, which has sound engineering/scientific education and a true culture of innovation, will remain in our focus,” Runa Capital Managing Partner Dmitry Chikhachev stated in an exchange with East-West Digital News.
“In a sense, French startups are similar to Eastern European ones: they have strong engineering but sometimes underestimate the marketing side. Going global may be a challenge for them, since they enjoy a large domestic market and a specific culture. Here we can be the type of investor and partner they need to succeed,” Chikhachev added.
Runa looks primarily for early-stage startups with a strong technology component – like Capptain – especially in the fields of cloud, big data, virtualization, and mobile.