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Russia's Largest E-Commerce Site Purchases Sapato, Online Shoe Retailer

In a story with clear parallels to Amazon.com's purchase of Zappos, OZON, Russia's largest online retailer has purchased Sapato.ru, an online shoe and accessories retailer. Sapato.ru was the first company funded by Fast Lane Ventures, and has also become the first exit by Russia-focused venture firm. OZON was able to acquire the shoe retailer after it raised $100 million last September. The purchase price of Sapato.ru has been not been disclosed.

Since its launch just 18 months ago, Sapato.ru has recorded 2.5 million visitors per month and is the third most recognized online retailer in Russia. OZON, in comparison, reaches more than 700,000 unique visitors a day, and largely sells books and electronics.

This acquisition and the shoe retailer's success clearly reflects the upward trend of Russians buying online, with more than seven million Russians making online purchases in 2011 up from six million in 2010.

The sale marks the first Russian e-commerce acquisiton in some time. Fast Lane Ventures CEO, Marina Treshchova comments, "Today’s sale of Sapato.ru has further significance as it is the first sale in the Russian e-commerce market in the last 12 months and provides immediate validation of our strategy and commitment to developing quality online businesses in Russia. We hope to repeat the success marked by today’s milestone right across our portfolio.”

Along these lines, Fast Lane also recently invested $4.3 million in Heverest.ru, a sports clothing and equipment e-commerce site targeting the Russian market.

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