American Accelerator 500 Startups Enters Russian Market

    The American venture capital fund and accelerator 500 Startups is seriously interested in Russian projects. The representative of the fund in the Russian Federation will be Diana Moldavskaya, a former top manager of Zeptolab . There she was responsible for business development, sales and international expansion. Zeptolab is the developer of one of the most popular Cut the Rope games in the world , with more than 600 million installations, about 70 million monthly active users. Prior to Zeptolab, Moldavskaya led the OLX online classifier in Russia and the CIS, worked with Yandex international partners and major advertisers at Google headquarters.

    She will search for B2C Internet services and mobile applications at an early stage of development (seed-round and A-rounds), on-demand services, as well as training and gaming applications. Of interest to the fund are projects that have gone from an idea to implementation and have received a first audience.

    The fund plans to invest “dozens of startups at an early stage” in Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as in other CIS countries, Central Asia and Israel.

    Despite Napoleonic plans, the office in Russia is not going to open 500 Startups yet, Firrma reports . Therefore, Russian startups who are in the fund’s program will go straight to Silicon Valley.

    The four-month acceleration program includes training in Internet marketing, interface design, and user engagement. Participants gain access to mentors and a workplace at headquarters in the California city of Mountain View. 500 Startups offers an investment of $ 125 thousand in exchange for a 5% stake and charges a commission of $ 25 thousand for participating in the acceleration. In addition, the fund has a special Distro team that helps startups with marketing, distribution and attracting new users.

    In April 2015, the Russian online service Linguatrip for booking language courses abroad received $ 100 thousand from 500 Startups. In July 2015, the Russian concert search service hitinto the fourteenth accelerator program 500 Startups.

    Portfolio 500 Startups has 1.2 thousand companies from 50 countries. The fund has $ 200 million at its disposal. All three 500 Startups funds show over 20 percent annual returns. According to Diana Moldavskaya, among the 500 Startups invested there are three companies, the valuation of which already exceeds $ 1 billion. This is Twilio - the developer of a platform for access to telephony, SMS and VoIP, this is an IT platform for comparing and discussing financial services Credit Karma , as well as a taxi call service Grab Taxi . In addition, the fund invested 30 companies with valuations ranging from $ 100 million to $ 1 billion ( Udemy , SendGrid , Vungle ,TalkDesk , VivaReal ) and 300 companies valued from $ 10 million to $ 100 million.

    500 Startups is a major accelerator, they have enough attention of investors, and there is almost no competition at their stage now. “They can hit a good jackpot. Diana is good at building relationships: she is one of those rare people who are her own in the Valley and in Russia, ”Nikolai Davydov, managing director of Gagarin Capital , told Kommersant.

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