Massive traction and growth is one of the most exciting and interesting periods of a startup's lifecycle, but it's safe to say most founders are unprepared to scale up their product quickly. We spoke with Vitaly Rubstein, a founder and partner at Rubylight, which is a startup fund and services company that works hands-on with companies about to enter this period. They take their experience from building the social networks Odnoklassniki.ru and One.lv.
For a short history, Rubylight was founded by the key architects of Forticom group, which twelve years ago created and ran their first Latvian social network One.lv. After some time they decided to create a "network of social networks" as an alternative to Facebook, which was growing rapidly at the time. There they started to do business in Lithuania, Russia, and Poland, uniting four social networks. Through that, they built Odnoklassniki.ru basically from scratch, which became Russia's second largest social network.
According to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) earlier this month, Odnoklassniki.ru has become Russia’s most popular social network among Russians who are 18 year-old and over – ahead of Vkontakte.ru, whose leadership is more affirmed among teenagers.
Odnoklassniki’s reach is now estimated to be no less than 61% – compared to 51% for Vkontakte, 28% for Moi Mir and just 12% for Facebook – of a total of 57.8 million adult Internet users in Russia, FOM reported.
Mail.ru, former Digital Sky Technologies from Russia, is filing for an IPO in the London Stock Exchange. The company has received quite a bit of publicity in the recent years as it has invested into some high flying internet properties including Facebook and Zynga. Reuters reports that sources close to the deal say the IPO has been oversubscribed with more than two weeks left before pricing.
Russian social networking site Odnoklassniki.ru has hit 30 million registered users, according to Quintura. Odnoklassniki is a relatively young social network, only 3 years old. The site was launched in March 2006.
Odnoklassniki has some interesting statistics as well. It has about 8 million visitors each day. Odnoklassniki's biggest competitor in the Russian market is Vkontakte, which has some 28 million registered users and 1.4 billion pageviews per day. According to the Russian TNS Web Index Vkontakte had 13.09 million visitors a month, which is slightly higher than Odnoklassniki's monthly audience.
The Russian social networking market is the fourth largest in Europe after UK, Germany and France.