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KupiVip's Oskar Hartmann - Deserting a sinking ship?

0 1 April 2014

Oskar Hartmann, the young German entrepreneur who founded fashion retailer KupiVIP, has handed over the role of CEO to Vladimir Kholyaznikov, leading to speculation about the company's survival. 

KupiVip's press service confirmed that Kholyaznikov, the project's former managing director, would take over running the firm’s day-to-day operations, while Hartmann will focus his attention on general strategy and representing the firm to investors and potential partners as vice-president. 

Some analysts have suggested that Hartmann’s decision indicates that the project is facing bankruptcy in the not-so-distant future. Despite raising around $100 million from a range of Russian and foreign investors, including ABRT, Accel Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners, Russia Partners, Balderton Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners, the project has failed to break even every year since it was founded in 2011. 

A glance at the search frequency of KupiVip on Yandex, in comparison with other online retailers, also signals its failure to establish a strong position in the Russian online fashion sector. 

Two years ago Yandex users searched for KupiVip 3 times less frequently than Lamoda and Wildberries, and since then interest in Hartmann’s company has declined further, while KupiVip’s rivals have strengthened their position. In December 2013 KupiVip was searched for less than 15,000 times, while both Lamoda and Wildberries were entered 250,000+ times.

In these circumstances, Hartmann’s promised $1 billion annual revenue seems a distant dream, while it also seems unlikely that the firm will be able to hold its proposed IPO on the New York stock exchange later in the year. 


Top image via Shutterstock

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