Russian Flag

Microsoft teams up with Russian government-backed fund to support industrial startups

Last week FRII, the $200 million government-backed startup fund launched last year, and Microsoft announced that they were beginning an industrial accelerator to support startups developing IT solutions for education, healthcare, commerce, industry, the service sector, the financial sector and municipal services.

Vkontakte founder Pavel Durov

How Vkontakte and Mail.ru overcame lawsuits, drama, and intrigue to reach a happy ending

Last week, Mail.ru Group, the LSE-listed Russian Internet giant, announced it now fully controls Vkontakte (VK.com), the leading Russian language social network with over 250 million registered accounts and 60 million daily users. The group, which already owned 52 percent of the Vkontakte, bought the remaining 48 percent stake from UCP, the Russian investment fund that had become a VK shareholder in April last year. The all-cash transaction amounted to $1.47 billion.

The home page of Russian e-book store LitRes.

Russian e-commerce giant Ozon acquires stake in e-book store

Yesterday Ozon Holdings, one of Russia’s most established e-commerce players, announced that it acquired a stake in LitRes, the leader in Russia’s fast growing — though still embryonic — domestic e-book market. Neither the size of the stake nor the amount of the transaction has been disclosed.

from russia with love

Undeterred by Crimea, Western investors are still in the game for Russian startup deals

Launched in 2008 by Stanford graduates Maxim Faldin and Kamil Kurmakaev, Wikimart had the initial ambition of creating a Russian analog of eBay. Heavily funded by major U.S. investment funds, the startup has now become a major marketplace offering its own products alongside nearly 2 million items from 1,500 third-party merchants.

A view of Artillery Bay in Sevastopol, Crimea, dated May 5, 2013.

Russia opening gov’t-backed startup accelerator in Crimea

The Internet Initiatives Development Fund, a government-backed fund supporting startup development, plans to open a remote regional accelerator in Sevastopol, Crimea, as soon as this summer.

Play with Photoshop

Russian investors pile cash into a startup that can detect your Photoshop fakery

Flint Capital, a $30 million high-tech investment fund based in Moscow, and FRII, a government-backed $200 million seed and early-stage fund, have invested an undisclosed amount in SMTDP Tech LTD, a St. Petersburg startup that has developed a technology to verify the authenticity of photographs.

Angel investor

Russian angel investment grew 4x in 2013

Russian business angel investors put up $116.5 million for early-stage projects between January and November 2013 — a hefty 4.5-time increase from 2012.