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Top 10 Venture Capital Companies Investing in Russia

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



ABRT Venture Fund†was launched by†Andrei Baronov†and†Ratmir Timashev (above) who sold†Aelita Software†to†Quest Software†in 2004. Since then,†ABRT†has made more than 10 seed-stage investments in Internet and software ventures in Russia.†Baronov†and†Timashev†also teamed up to launch†Veeam Software†for virtual infrastructure management and data protection. Based in Moscow,†ABRT†is co-run by investment managers†Nikolai Mitushin†and†Andrei Gershfeld. Mr.†Mitushin†is active in entrepreneurial education via†RIS Ventures. The investment portfolio of ABRT includes Acronis, InvisibleCRM, Drimmi, HomeMe and Oktogo.ru.


BVCP



Baring Vostok Capital Partners†(BVCP), which has invested more than $1.5 billion in companies in Russia, was an early backer of†Yandex†and†OZON.ru. In 2000, BVCP invested in†Yandex, valuing it at $15 million. In 2011,†Yandex†was valued at $8 billion in a NASDAQ IPO. Headed by Michael Calvey (pictured) and Elena Ivashentseva,†BVCP†recently invested in ER-Telecom (Dom.ru) and Russia's leading software vendor†1C Company.

Mangrove Capital Partners



Founded by†Mark Tluszcz,†Gerard Lopez†and†Hans-Jürgen Schmitz in Luxembourg,†Mangrove Capital Partners†has made its first fortune by racking up $200 million from a $2 million investment in†Skype. The partners of†Mangrove†do not only make VC investments but also support development projects in emerging markets via the†Mangrove Foundation.

They are also active in sports: Gerard Lopez†is the chairman of the†Lotus F1 Team†and†Marc Ingla†is former vice chairman of†the Barcelona football club. In 2006,†Mangrove Capital†made a foray into Russia, where it aimed to be the first institutional investor. With†Mangrove's Russian portfolio run by partner†David Waroquier (above), its investment strategy is set to pay off big for such companies as e-commerce group†KupiVIP†and online hotel booking service†Oktogo.ru.

Intel Capital



Managed by†Igor Taber (pictured) in Russia,†Intel Capital†has backed mobile application services of personal assistant Speaktoit and geo-social community†AlterGeo. In e-commerce,†Intel Capital†invested in†KupiVIP and†Sapato†(merged into OZON.ru). Intel Capital†is also an investor in†Rock Flow Dynamics,†InfiNet Wireless†and†DeNovo.

Insight Venture Partners



Based in New York,†Insight Venture Partners†has invested in Acronis, Parallels and Aelita Software. Insight also recently acquired stakes in online marketplace†B2B-Center†and financial services provider†MICEX Group.†The former managing director at†Insight†who was in charge of the Acronis and Aelita deals,†Scott Maxwell (above), has launched†OpenView Venture Partners†in Boston.†OpenView†has yet to make an investment in Russia.

e.ventures



Backed by Otto Group of Germany,†e.ventures†invests mostly in e-commerce companies. Active in Russia from 2009, e.ventures financed local ventures with copycat business models such as†Darberry†(merged into†Groupon) and online shoes store†Sapato. The Moscow-based office of†e.ventures†is managed by†Damian Doberstein (pictured) who previously co-founded†KupiVIP.

Runa Capital

Launched by†Parallels†and†Acronis†founders†Serguei Beloussov (above) and†Ilya Zubarev†as well as by†Dmitry Chikhachev, the venture firm†Runa Capital†invests 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 included†Nginx,†Jelastic,†ThinkGrid†and†Talkbits. Backed by European private investors Andreas Gauger, Achim Weiss and Oleg Tscheltzoff, among others,†Runa Capital†aims to make disruptive investments in cloud computing and innovative mobile apps.

ru-Net



Founded by Leonid Boguslavsky (pictured),†ru-Net†is one of the oldest venture capital investors in Russian Internet companies. Being a stakeholder in both Yandex†and†OZON.ru, Boguslavsky invests globally. Apart from Russia,†ru-Net†has invested in Vietnam, India and Turkey. In the United States, it operates as†RTP Ventures†and is managed by Kirill Sheynkman.

S-Group Ventures



Managed by S-Group Capital Management,†S-Group Ventures†is headed by Vladimir Yakushev (above). Funded by the†Russian Venture Company†and S-Group,†S-Group Ventures†has invested in†Bisant,†Sonda Technologies†and†Vocord. One of its portfolio companies,†Competentum†is a leading e-learning software solutions provider.

VTB Capital



VTB Capital Venture Capital†(VTB Capital's venture business) is managed by Aidar Kaliev (pictured) and Victor Belogub. VTB Capital is the investment business of VTB Group. VTB Capital's venture business has invested in†AiHit†and†Mobi.Money. It is also an investor in the†Russian Navigation Technologies†(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 company†Oktogo.ru.

This article first appeared on venturevillage.eu.

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