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Software and education challenge e-commerce dominance

0 June 2013


June 2013 was a successful month for three sectors. The first, e-commerce, is no surprise. However, the success of two ‘fringe’ sectors - computer software and education projects - is more unexpected. It is unlikely though that the success of either of these sectors will develop into a trend.

The software sector was boosted by significant grant support and the acquisition by foreign companies of a number of Russian projects. However, such acquisitions are unlikely to become commonplace, because the process of developing a software company to the point that it is ready to be acquired is very long - often lasting up to 10 years.

The proliferation of successful education startups is held back by administrative barriers, which ensure that only projects from within a privileged circle can succeed. 

Below you can see an infographic analysis of the Russian venture market in June 2013, brought to life by GoVisual


$ 130 million

Investors: Access Industries, Summit Partners and Tengelmann

Why:, an online retailer of clothes, shoes and accessories, completed a big round in which investors pledged cash in return for equity in the firm. This brings the total invested in the project to more than $200 million. This strategy is typical of Lamoda’s owners, the German business incubator Rocket Internet, who seek to reduce their stake in the project by attracting top institutional investors. 


$ 7 million

Investor: Business Angel (unkown)

Why: Travel club HipClub, which caters to those who want something different to the average tourist package holiday, has raised $7 million from an unknown business-angel. The service, owned by HipWay, offers discounts to members by aggregating special offers. Both the details of the deal and the company’s exact plans for the money remain unknown. However, the CEO has confirmed that they want to relaunch the project and increase their user base. 

Global Lab

$ 3 million

Investors: VEB InnovatciiNew Technologies Institute

Why: Skolkovo startup Global Lab, an online community for schools, received funding from "VEB Innovatcii" fund and the New Technologies Institute. The project, based on a similar model to Coursera, has attracted schools from Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the USA and Asia. The resource currently focuses on subjects relating to our natural surroundings - including geography, biology and ecology, but it plans to introduce physics, chemistry and humanities subjects. This is already Web Capital’s fourth investment in 2013. 



Skolkovo Fund

Why: The Skolkovo Fund’s 57 Russian and foreign partners could invest up to $600 million in resident projects. The Presidential administration recently reaffirmed its commitment to the Skolkovo project despite recent scandals, pledging to provide all the necessary resources to make it a success.

The Russian state’s ongoing commitment was confirmed by Sergey Ivanov at a meeting attended by Viktor Vekselberg (Skolkovo Fund), Craig Barrett (Skolkovo Fund), John Chambers (Cisco), Peter Lesher (Siemens), William Savage (Intel), Jean-Pascale Tricoire (Schneider Electric), Paul Stoffels (Johnson&Johnson), Bruno de Leo (IBM) and Jim Hagemann Snabe (SAP).


Oleg Kovrigin

Why: Russian academic Oleg Kovrigin’s software company Alfabet, which specializes in planning and optimizing IT infrastructures, was acquired by leading German IT-developer Software AG for €30-40 million. Before moving to Germany Kovrigin worked in the Systems Analysis Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, where he gained his PhD.



Why: ClipClock, a service for exchanging short video clips which had received $3 million from a number of Russian investors including Runa Capital ($2.5 million) was shut down. According to Andrey Krainov, who created the project, investors gave the team a chance to test their business model, but it didn’t work out. The closure of ClipClock triggered widespread gossip regarding possible reasons and also the quality of work done by those who had invested money. 


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