The growth of the internet in Russia to its current 60 million users, the strong technical background of Russian software engineers and the sound entrepreneurial skills of local managers have attracted major money to the market. According to various estimates, more than €300 million is expected to be invested in information technology companies in Russia in 2012. So who is opening their coffers to make this happen? Our guest blogger Yakov Sadchikov casts his eye over the biggest movers and shakers in the Russian VC scene…
ABRT Venture Fund was launched by Andrey Baronov and Ratmir Timashev (left) who sold Aelita Software to Quest Software in 2004. Since then, ABRT has made more than 10 seed-stage investments in internet and software ventures in Russia. Ratmir and Andrey also teamed up to launch Veeam Software for virtual infrastructure management and data protection. Based in Moscow, ABRT is co-run by investment managers Nikolay Mitushin and Andrey Gershfeld. Mr. Mitushin is active in entrepreneur education via RIS Ventures. The investment portfolio of ABRT includes Acronis, Invi
Baring Vostok Capital Partners (BVCP), which has invested over $1.5 billion in companies in Russia, was an early backer of Yandex and OZON.ru. In 2000, BVCP invested in Yandex, valuing it at $15 million. In 2011, Yandex was valued at $8 billion at NASDAQ IPO. Headed by Michael Calvey and Elena Ivashentseva, BVCP recently invested in ER-Telecom (Dom.ru) and Russia’s leading software vendor 1C Company.
Mangrove Capital Partners
Founded by Mark Tluszcz, Gerard Lopez and Hans-Jürgen Schmitz in Luxembourg, Mangrove Capital Partners has made its first fortune by racking up $200 million from a $2 million investment in Skype. The partners of Mangrove do not only make VC investments but also support development projects in emerging markets via the Mangrove Foundation.
They are also active in sports: Gerard Lopez is the Chairman of the Lotus F1 Team and Marc Ingla is former Vice Chairman of Football Club Barcelona. In 2006, Mangrove Capital made a foray into Russia where it aimed to be the first institutional investor. With Mangrove‘s Russian portfolio run by partner David Waroquier (left), its investment strategy is set to pay off big for such investees as e-commerce group KupiVIP and online hotel booking service Oktogo.ru.
Managed by Igor Taber (left) in Russia, Intel Capital has backed mobile application services of personal assistant Speaktoit and geo-social community AlterGeo. In e-commerce, Intel Capital invested in KupiVIP and Sapato (merged into OZON.ru). Intel Capital is also an investor in Rock Flow Dynamics, InfiNet Wireless and DeNovo.
Insight Venture Partners
Based in New York, Insight Venture Partners has invested in Acronis, Parallels and Aeli
Backed by Otto Group of Germany, e.ventures invests mostly in e-commerce companies. Active in Russia from 2009, e.ventures financed local ventures with copycat business models such as Darberry (merged into Groupon) and online shoes store Sapato. The Moscow-based office of e.ventures is managed by Damian Doberstein who previously co-founded KupiVIP.
Launched by Parallels and Acronis
Runa‘s notable investments included Nginx, Jelastic, Thin
Founded by Leonid Boguslavsky, ru-Net is one of the oldest venture capital investors in Russian internet companies. Being a stake holder in both Yandex and OZON.ru, Leonid invests globally. Apart from Russia, ru-Net invested in Vietnam, India and Turkey. In the U.S., it operates as RTP Ventures managed by Kirill Sheynkman.
Managed by S-Group Capital Management, S-Group Ventures is headed by Vladimir Yakushev. Funded by the Russian Venture Company and S-Group, S-Group Ventures has invested in Bisant, Sonda Technologies and Vocord. One of its investee companies, Competentum is a leading e-learning software solutions provider.
VTB CAPITAL VENTURE CAPITAL
VTB Capital Venture Capital (VTB Capital’s venture business) is managed by Aidar Kaliev (left) and Victor Belogub. VTB Capital is the investment business of VTB Group. VTB Capital’s venture business has invested in AiHit and Mobi.Money. It is also an investor in the Russian Navigation Technologies (Autotracker), which has completed Russia’s first venture-backed IPO.
In 2012, VTB Capital’s venture business began investing in the internet industry, including online business incubator Fast Lane Ventures, social network FamilySpace and online travel company Oktogo.ru.