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 euros ($371 million) is expected to be invested in information technology companies in Russia in 2012. So who is opening their coffers to make this happen?
ABRT Venture Fundáwas launched byáAndrei BaronováandáRatmir Timashev (above) who soldáAelita SoftwareátoáQuest Softwareáin 2004. Since then,áABRTáhas made more than 10 seed-stage investments in Internet and software ventures in Russia.áBaronováandáTimasheváalso teamed up to launcháVeeam Softwareáfor virtual infrastructure management and data protection. Based in Moscow,áABRTáis co-run by investment managersáNikolai MitushináandáAndrei Gershfeld. Mr.áMitushináis active in entrepreneurial education viaáRIS Ventures. The investment portfolio of ABRT includes Acronis, InvisibleCRM, Drimmi, HomeMe and Oktogo.ru.
Baring Vostok Capital Partnersá(BVCP), which has invested more than $1.5 billion in companies in Russia, was an early backer ofáYandexáandáOZON.ru. In 2000, BVCP invested ináYandex, valuing it at $15 million. In 2011,áYandexáwas valued at $8 billion in a NASDAQ IPO. Headed by Michael Calvey (pictured) and Elena Ivashentseva,áBVCPárecently invested in ER-Telecom (Dom.ru) and Russia's leading software vendorá1C Company.
Mangrove Capital Partners
Founded byáMark Tluszcz,áGerard LopezáandáHans-Jürgen Schmitz in Luxembourg,áMangrove Capital Partnersáhas made its first fortune by racking up $200 million from a $2 million investment ináSkype. The partners ofáMangroveádo not only make VC investments but also support development projects in emerging markets via theáMangrove Foundation.
They are also active in sports: Gerard Lopezáis the chairman of theáLotus F1 TeamáandáMarc Inglaáis former vice chairman ofáthe Barcelona football club. In 2006,áMangrove Capitalámade a foray into Russia, where it aimed to be the first institutional investor. WitháMangrove's Russian portfolio run by partneráDavid Waroquier (above), its investment strategy is set to pay off big for such companies as e-commerce groupáKupiVIPáand online hotel booking serviceáOktogo.ru.
Managed byáIgor Taber (pictured) in Russia,áIntel Capitaláhas backed mobile application services of personal assistant Speaktoit and geo-social communityáAlterGeo. In e-commerce,áIntel Capitaláinvested ináKupiVIP andáSapatoá(merged into OZON.ru). Intel Capitaláis also an investor ináRock Flow Dynamics,áInfiNet WirelessáandáDeNovo.
Insight Venture Partners
Based in New York,áInsight Venture Partnersáhas invested in Acronis, Parallels and Aelita Software. Insight also recently acquired stakes in online marketplaceáB2B-Centeráand financial services provideráMICEX Group.áThe former managing director atáInsightáwho was in charge of the Acronis and Aelita deals,áScott Maxwell (above), has launchedáOpenView Venture Partnersáin Boston.áOpenViewáhas yet to make an investment in Russia.
Backed by Otto Group of Germany,áe.venturesáinvests mostly in e-commerce companies. Active in Russia from 2009, e.ventures financed local ventures with copycat business models such asáDarberryá(merged intoáGroupon) and online shoes storeáSapato. The Moscow-based office ofáe.venturesáis managed byáDamian Doberstein (pictured) who previously co-foundedáKupiVIP.
Launched byáParallelsáandáAcronisáfoundersáSerguei Beloussov (above) andáIlya Zubareváas well as byáDmitry Chikhachev, the venture firmáRuna Capitaláinvests between $0.1 million and $10 million in Internet and software companies with global ambitions from the seed to growth stages. Out of 12 portfolio companies on its corporate website, only one focuses purely on the Russian-speaking market.
Runa's notable investments includedáNginx,áJelastic,áThinkGridáandáTalkbits. Backed by European private investors Andreas Gauger, Achim Weiss and Oleg Tscheltzoff, among others,áRuna Capitaláaims to make disruptive investments in cloud computing and innovative mobile apps.
Founded by Leonid Boguslavsky (pictured),áru-Netáis one of the oldest venture capital investors in Russian Internet companies. Being a stakeholder in both YandexáandáOZON.ru, Boguslavsky invests globally. Apart from Russia,áru-Netáhas invested in Vietnam, India and Turkey. In the United States, it operates asáRTP Venturesáand is managed by Kirill Sheynkman.
Managed by S-Group Capital Management,áS-Group Venturesáis headed by Vladimir Yakushev (above). Funded by theáRussian Venture Companyáand S-Group,áS-Group Venturesáhas invested ináBisant,áSonda TechnologiesáandáVocord. One of its portfolio companies,áCompetentumáis a leading e-learning software solutions provider.
VTB Capital Venture Capitalá(VTB Capital's venture business) is managed by Aidar Kaliev (pictured) and Victor Belogub.Capital is the investment business of VTB Group. VTB Capital's venture business has invested ináAiHitáandáMobi.Money. It is also an investor in theáRussian Navigation Technologiesá(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 companyáOktogo.ru.
This article first appeared on venturevillage.eu.