Investment continues to pour into the soaring Russian internet market, which recently overtook Germany as Europe’s largest by users.
The latest mega-deal sees Avito.ru, a Russian online classified site along the lines of Craigslist, raising $75m from local private equity firm Baring Vostok and global venture capitalists Accel Partners, alongside existing investors Kinnevik and Northzone. Read more
A delegation from Russia’s proposed ‘Silicon Valley’ development, Skolkovo, came to the UK this week in an effort to persuade UK businesses to invest in the high-tech hub being built on the outskirts of Moscow.
They faced awkward questions, however, about the political landscape that companies might face if they transferred operations to Russia. Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, wrote to Lord Green, the trade minister, criticising the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry for hosting the conference, and pointing to the difficulties that many UK companies had faced in Russia. Read more
The two-day London Cyber Conference wrapped up Thursday with a remarkable lack of unity for such a carefully staged, invite-only event for world political and technology leaders. Read more
Last week saw the biggest venture-capital fundraising yet in Russia’s fast-growing e-commerce market.
But even with $100m in its coffers, how long can Ozon.ru – the “Amazon.com of Russia” – fend off Amazon itself? Russian idiosyncrasies in payments, deliveries and culture suggest that domestic online retailers such as KupiVIP, Molotok and Avito may be able to repel the foreign invaders looking to capture a share of what will soon become Europe’s largest internet market. Read more
Russia’s booming internet market has received another huge injection of growth funding. Ozon.ru, the largest Russian online retailer, has raised $100m in new venture-capital funding.
The investment in the self-styled “Russian Amazon” is the largest in the country’s e-commerce market after KupiVIP, a private buying club with big ambitions, raised $55m in April. Ozon’s round follows the stock-market debuts of Mail.ru and Yandex at eye-popping valuations. Read more
Ukraine authorities said on Tuesday that the 20 suspects, including 5 key targets they detained as part of a global crackdown on crime rings using the Zeus malware to steal from online bank accounts, brought a total of $40m into the country.
At a press conference covered by the FT’s Mark Rachkevych, officials from the Ukraine’s SBU confirmed that the alleged kingpins had been released, but said the five could expect to be charged this week.
Potentially among them are money laundering, interfering with computer transmissions, and distributing malicious programs. Prison terms for conviction on the second or third of those start at two years, while money laundering can fetch as many as 15. Read more
Microsoft’s shareholders have applauded in recent years as it has fought a zealous campaign against software piracy. But it clearly should have tempered that zeal with much more circumspection.
General counsel Brad Smith was forced into a humiliating concession on Monday. Quoting a piece in The New York Times over the weekend, he said there had been reports that police in Russia have used the crackdown on piracy of Windows and other Microsoft software as a cover for human rights abuses, confiscating the computers of campaigners and journalists who have caused the government trouble. In some cases, according the the NYT, outside lawyers representing Microsoft were willing and eager participants in the actions. Read more