In Russia, it's not Google, but Yandex you tap up for a search query. Mail.ru outstrips Yahoo!, Amazon is trounced by OZON, and Vkontakte outperforms Facebook. Russian versions of global brands are outstripping the market leaders, thanks to targeted local market knowledge, massive internet growth and a reticence of "Western" brands to target the territory. The Russian internet scene is still ripe for more expansion. Here we take a look at the 10 new Russian internet brands that are striving to outstrip global players:
One of the secrets why Yandex is bigger in Russia than Google is because it partners with design studio Art. Lebedev. The designer of the Yandex homepage and its logos for years, the Art. Lebedev Studio is the brainchild of its founder Artemy Lebedev. Started in 1995, Art. Lebedev provides web and industrial design services out of its offices in Moscow, Kiev and New York. One of its latest projects, the innovative Optimus Popularis keyboard, was launched at CES 2012.
Cut the Rope (Om Nom)
It's blockbuster numbers for mobile games Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. Game downloads: more than 100 million versus more than a billion, respectively. 2011 revenues were $24 million versus $100 million. Their respective game studios Zeptolab of U.K./Russia and Rovio of Finland are rushing to sign further lucrative merchandising deals too. We'd love to see a mashup — Angry Om Nom Birds, perhaps?
Look At Me
What started as a street-style blog in 2006, has evolved into a powerful community of fashionistas and design junkies. Half of the content of Look At Me is generated by its two million users. In addition to fashion and design, the site covers music, movies and parties. Its users can connect to each other based on their interests and shop online.
If you want to date a real Russian, go to Mamba. Launched in 2003, Mamba is the leader in online dating in Russia, with seven million active users. Need a travel buddy? Mamba recently added a service to find one. The site was created by Andrei Andreyev who sold it to Finam and moved on to launch Badoo, a global social dating service with 150 million users.
The Russian sportscar maker Marussia Motors takes on Ferrari and Lotus in the luxury sports car market. In 2010, the Marussia F1 Team entered the Formula One World Championship in partnership with the Virgin Group of Sir Richard Branson. Last weekend, Marussia opened a showroom in Monaco during the Monaco Grand Prix.
Founded in 2006, Odnoklassniki has given millions of Russians who emigrated to Germany, Canada,USA, Australia and other countries a free online service to connect back to their old classmates from school. Being part of Mail.ru Group, Odnoklassniki (which means "Classmates" in Russian) is the second-largest social network in Russia, with 25 million users, after Vkontakte.
Global online travel agencies generated over $1 billion in gross online bookings in Russia last year. That was about half of the market. The other half is being grabbed by Russian upstart Oktogo.ru, headed up by Marina Kolesnik. The Russian online travel market looks set to rocket thanks to the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and the World Football Championship in 2018.
Remember Capital One? Need a credit card but don't want to go to a bank? Tinkoff will help. It's a pioneer in direct consumer and online banking in Russia. More than two million consumers use Tinkoff Credit Systems. Launched by the Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov in 2007, Tinkoff has attracted funding from BVCP, Goldman Sachs and Vostok Nafta.
With more than 10 million users worldwide, SPB TV allows users to watch over a hundred TV channels live from a mobile device. SPV TV was a spin-off from mobile UI software maker SPB Software which Yandex acquired for $38 million last November.
World of Tanks
Tank battle MMO, or massively multiplayer online game World of Tanks comes from the Russian neighbor, Belarus. First released two years ago, free-to-play World of Tanks has hit the gaming world like a bombshell and now counts over 25 million registered users. WoT holds the world record for the most players online simultaneously on one MMO server: 450,000.
This article first appeared here at venturevillage.eu.