Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Vkontakte (Russia's biggest social network) prefers to keep a low profile in the media. He rarely gives interviews and almost never looks in the camera when his photos are being taken. Though he frequently addresses the 2.7M audience of his personal blog and this month Pavel gave an extensive interview to Forbes.ru. The article gives an insight on Pavel's early days and Vkontakte's future plans. Perhaps the interview itself was part of the company's strategy of raising its profile before entering other markets and possibly going public. Rumors about Vkontakte's IPO resurfaced a few weeks ago but has been unconfirmed so far. Vkontakte was founded in 2006 by Pavel and two of his friends. Today the social network attracts the largest audience with estimated 26 million unique daily visits. Read on to learn how it all started and where the company is at right now.
Mail.ru Group recently reported a fiscal year revenue growth of 63,5% in 2010, reaching $324M. The Group's net profit was reported to be $76.7M, up from $47.2M in 2009. Dmitry Grishin, co-founder and CEO, explained that the growing revenues came as a result of the Group's ability to benefit from a growing potential and engagement in the Russian Internet market. Other likely reasons are the general economic recovery and a strong shift among advertisers towards online ads, which were the biggest source of Mail.ru Group's revenue. They made up $124M of the overall sum (up from $75.9M in 2009). MMO games brought in almost a third of the overall revenue - a whopping $99.8M, up from $61.4 in 2009.The overall number of unique monthly visits to Mail.ru Group's properties amounted to 27,2M in December 2010, 21% more than in 2009 but still slightly less than Yandex got that year.
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.
Groupon announced this week that they are going to partner with one of Russia's biggest social networks - Odnoklassniki. This means the social network's users will soon be able to buy Groupon's discounted deals with one-click without having to leave the Odnoklassniki website. Odnoklassniki is owned by the Mail.ru Group, which in its turn is owned by DST, which last year invested $135M in Groupon. With so many overlaps, it is not surprising that Groupon made a deal with that particular social network, even though it is not the biggest in Runet (Vkontakte is).