Russia's online population has exceeded 60 million people, making it the largest Internet market in Europe. In 2012, the fastest-growing Internet companies in Russia come from online travel, cloud computing, social and advertising businesses.
Facing fierce competition from global brands, Russian Web companies were able to emerge as market leaders due to their focus on local user needs, the Western background of their management teams and the thorough technical education of their software engineers. Here are the top web companies in Russia in 2012.
Leading Russian online hotel reservations agency Oktogo.ru won the National Geographic Traveler Awards 2012 as the best Internet service. Backed by $15 million in venture capital from VTB Capital and Mangrove Capital Partners, Oktogo.ru offers the largest selection of hotels online in Russia. Oktogo.ru is headed by founder and CEO Marina Kolesnik.
Platform-as-a-service provider Jelastic has attracted web-hosting customers around the world with its Java-based offering. Funded by Alexander Galitsky's Almaz Capital and Serguei Beloussov's Runa Capital, Jelastic is a perfect example of how to build a global software business out of Russia, Ukraine and the U.S.A.
With venture capital funding of $25 million from Atomico and Phenomen, Onetwotrip grew to sell more than 10,000 airline tickets per day 1 1/2 years from launch. Headed by founder and CEO Peter Kutis, Onetwotrip attracts online users to its Web service by an easy-to-use Web interface and flexible affiliate program.
Funded by Prostor Capital and Runa Capital, Dnevnik.ru has signed up more than 40 percent of secondary schools in Russia to its online school service. Launched in 2009, Dnevnik is based out of one of Russia's leading tech hubs, St. Petersburg. Headed by CEO Gabriel Levi, the service enters markets outside of Russia.
Founded in 2012, Tinkoff Digital aims to challenge advertising market leaders with the Real-Time Bidding (RTB) and Big Data technologies. Launched by serial Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkoff and marketing executive Anna Znamenskaya, Tinkoff Digital is backed by Goldman Sachs.
Published by former journalists from the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, Hopesandfears.com is about entrepreneurs in Russia. Headed by editor-in-chief Nickolay Kononov, Hopes & Fears is a real storyteller for Russia's Internet generation looking to start their own businesses. The online journal was launched in 2012 by Look At Me, one of the top Web magazines in Russia.
Founded by Dmitry Grishin, CEO of Mail.ru Group, Grishin Robotics is focused on investing in technologies related to personal robotics. It also supports a robotics news and analytics aggregation service.
The mobile-only business accelerator and venture investor IMI.VC is headed by Igor Matsanyuk who previously sold his online gaming business to Mail.ru Group. The portfolio of IMI.VC includes mobile game publisher Game Insight, interactive book platform NARR8, photo-sharing app WeHeartPics and startup incubator Farminers.
Founded by Alexander Agapitov in Perm, Xsolla has moved to Los Angeles to operate its global in-game payment optimization service. Xsolla develops monetization tools for massive multiplayer, casual, social and mobile games.
Based in St. Petersburg, Topface offers online and mobile social dating based on your popularity ratings. First launched in April 2011, Topface reached more than 45 million registered users, most of whom comes from outside of Russia. Topface is headed by founder and CEO Dmitry Filatov.Yakov Sadchikov is the founder of Quintura, a visual search engine.