AlterGeo (formally Wi2Geo) is a Russian equivalent of Foursquare. Launched in 2008, it is a location-based mobile platform that lets users socially interect with locations through check-ins, badges and coupons. Quintura reported that the start-up has just secured third round of investment from Intel Capital and Almaz Capital. The exact sum is not disclosed, though both Quintura and Vedomosti speculate it can be between $5-$10M. Investors took 25% stake in the company and valued it at $20-$25M. AlterGeo's earlier investments include $50,000 in 2008 from seed investor Addventure and around $1M from Kite Ventures in 2009.
Travelmenu is among numerous online travel booking start-ups in Russia that recently closed impressive funding rounds. Runa Capital and Almaz Capital each contributed $800,000 to the project. Alexander Galitsky, Managing Director of Almaz Capital, commented: 'In Travelmenu we found a company that holds a promising position in the emerging market of online tourist services and in the future can claim a large share of that market'. The new investment would be used to attracted more users to the service as well as develop its infrastructure and establish a strong position in Russia and Ukraine.
'Venture capitalism works like the solar system: when the sun moves, the rest follow',- said Lubov Simonova-Emelyanova of Almaz Capital Partners. The sun in this metaphor is Digital Sky Technologies (DST). The fund's sheer size and growing activity prompted other Russian investors to increase their investment activities. Russian venture capitalists are expected to make much more investments this year compared to 2010. The catalyst might have been DST's announcement of opening a new fund, DST Global2, which already invested in Groupon this January and is said to be negotiating a $100M-worth funding round with Spotify. Following the lead Almaz Capital Partners announced their plans to invest in four start-ups with the overall sum of investment comprising $30M.
In the previous post we introduced the latter half of the top ten Runet's movers and shakers. Now is the time to talk about the top five. But first a few words about the rest of the high-flyers on the Forbes top 30. The types of companies top executes belonged to varied: from social networks, game-developers and e-commerce sites to recruitment website HeadHunter (owns up to 50% of marketshare and earned $1.7 in first half of last year) and antivirus software Kaspersky Labs (4th largest in the world with income of over $500M last year alone). Founders of internationally known services like Evernote (Stepan Pachikov) and Chatroulette (Andrey Ternovsky) were placed 13th and 15th respectively. Evernote attracted $20M from Sequoia Capital in 2010 and Chatroulette was one of the most talked-about services that year.
Forbes.ru has recently published a list of 30 most notable web players in Russia. Judging by the results, the most influential people in Runet have been in the business for decades. There are some young talents there too, though very few. Internet market is clearly dominated by local businesses: the only person working in a foreign company, placed 25th, was Vladimir Dolgov, the head of Google Russia. One-quarter of all the people on the list belonged to Mail.ru Group, clearly the most prominent player of all. Investors ranked much higher than founders of recent services and unsurprisingly the list included only two women. In the first part of presenting the list, we looked at the latter half of the top 10 movers and shakers of Runet.
Almaz Capital is not the biggest venture capital fund in Russia but it is definitely aiming there. It has just announced that it raised an extra $40M of funding, making up a total of almost $100M. Alexander Galitsky, CEO, shared that Almaz Capital planned to expand the fund already in 2009 but had to postpone the process due to the recession. The additional funding came mostly from one of the fund's partners - the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The resulting sum is planned to be spent on 8-10 projects, which is double of its current portfolio. Almaz Capital invests in small and medium-sized business with high growth potential in IT, media and telecommunications. The fund recently reported making a nice profit by selling it's 20% share of Qik to Skype.