bne IntelliNews – Russian tech entrepreneurs are on the rise: Forbes identifies 10 “future unicorns”

Away from their home country, Russian-speaking entrepreneurs are thriving in the world’s major tech hotspots – from Silicon Valley to Western Europe to Southeast Asia, reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).

These entrepreneurs have colonized the best accelerators in the world, such as Y Combinator, 500 Startups and Techstars. Russian-speaking entrepreneurs reportedly accounted for 40% of a recent batch of Alchemist.

Recent years have seen the international triumph of a range of unicorns founded by Eastern European entrepreneurs – including Arrival, Badoo, inDriver, Nexters, Personio, TradingView, Veeam Software and Wrike, to name but a few. with Russian founders.

Russian-founded decacorns include Miro – which is now valued at $17.5 billion – as well as Pavel Durov’s Telegram and Nikolay Storonsky’s Revolut, which are worth $30 billion or more. The Ukrainians are behind GitLab ($11 billion) and Grammarly ($13 billion).

At the end of December, Forbes Russia, in collaboration with research agency DSight, identified 10 “future unicorns” founded by Russian entrepreneurs. Selection criteria included business growth, international market penetration, target segment growth and team experience. The focus was on companies that emerged in the past five years, raised less than $50 million, and have yet to reach $1 billion in valuation.

An expert panel of nine of Russia’s top VCs – from Leonid Buguslavsky to Igor Ryabenkiy to Nick Davydov, to name a few – helped identify the strongest startups that meet these criteria. .

10 “future unicorns” founded in Russia according to Forbes Russia

  • Amma pregnancy follow-up (femtech) — Launched in 2016 by Andrey Podgornov, Boris Shkolnikov and Yevgeny Zhikharev — Main investors: SOSV, Prytek, Sergey Solonin ($4 million raised to date) — Operates from Hong Kong with a development team in Moscow (in know more).
  • Collectively (fintech for the health sector) — Launched in 2016 by Levon Brutyan and Maxim Mizotin — Main investors: TMT Investments, Goahead Ventures ($4.9 million raised to date) — Accepted in California
  • EBAC online (e-learning) — Launched in 2020 by Russians Pavel Aleshin, Andrey Anishchenko, Alexander Avramov and Brazilian Rafael Steinhauser — Main investors: Baring Vostok, Sergey Solonin, Angelsdeck ($12.5 million raised to date) — Based in Brazil with plans to expand into Latin America
  • Endel (AI-powered soundscapes) — Launched in 2018 by Dmitry Bezugly, Kirill Bulatsev and Oleg Stavitsky — Major investors: Amazon Alexa Fund, Avex Group, Impulse Ventures, Target Global ($7.1m raised to date ) — Based in Berlin
  • More fridge (food delivery) – Launched in 2020 by Pavel Danilov and Anton Gladkoborodov – Major investors: Altair capital, Insight partners, Davidovs VC ($16.9m raised so far) – Based and operating in New York.
  • Index (enterprise software adoption) — Launched in 2018 by Artem Tanganov and Sergey Yartsev — Major investors: Kirov Group Ventures, Softline Venture Partners — Based in Moscow
  • Maru (buy now, pay later in the wedding industry) – Launched in 2020 by Alexey Nikityuk, Andrei Riaskov and Anja Winikka – Major investors: Acrobator ventures, Y Combinator, Davidovs VC ($3.8m raised up to present) – Based in New York City
  • Osome (business process automation) — Launched in 2018 by Konstantin Lange and Viktor Lysenko — Main investors: Altair capital, Target Global, Phystech Ventures ($24.5 million raised to date) — Based in Berlin.
  • Prodly (software development tool) — Launched in 2017 by Max and Daniel Rudman — Main investors: Norwest Venture Partners, Leta Capital ($17 million raised to date) — Headquarters in California
  • SpatialChat (group video chats and virtual events) — Launched in 2020 by Almas Abulkhairov, Andrey Grudkin, Roman Skvazh and Vladimir Zakoulov — Undisclosed financial information — Based in the United States

As noted by Forbes, Russian or Eastern European tech founders are increasingly attracting the attention of global investors: “A stream of American VCs regularly come to us to inquire about interesting projects involving such entrepreneurs – which was not the case just a few years ago”. Denis Efremov was quoted as saying.

Efremov is a director at Fort Ross Ventures, a Russia-connected venture capital firm operating in Silicon Valley. He believes that Russian-speaking entrepreneurs have become the third largest “ethnic business community” in the United States.

Many of these entrepreneurs have the backing of investors with roots in Eastern Europe. Among the most established are Almaz Capital, Gagarin Capital Partners, LVL1, Runa Capital and Target Global, to name a few big names of Russian origin, as well as Ukraine-based AVentures Capital and TA Ventures, and Acrobator Ventures. , a fund managed by the West. Funds such as Leta Capital, NRG Ventures and The Untitled have started operating in this area more recently.

This article first appeared in East-West Digital News (EWDN), a partner publication of bne IntelliNews.


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