Catch up on a month of tech news from Eastern Europe: April

Catch up on a month of tech news from Eastern Europe: April

The tech market of Eastern Europe has been quite busy this last month with deals, announcements, and news stories mushrooming all over the place. In this round-up you can catch up with significant news that came from the region and see the big picture of what was happening in CEE in April.

If you think I have missed something, or would like to draw my attention to an important story, feel free to ping me in Twitter (@shlema) or by e-mail at

Startups and infrastructure

  • Croatian coworking space¬†Impact Hub Zagreb¬†has launched an incubator programme.
  • Estonian accelerator Startup Wise Guys has¬†changed its focus¬†to B2B ecommerce projects.
  • Russian state-controlled telecommunications company Rostelekom has announced a $5 million venture fund.
  • Russian startup HealBe has raised more than $1 million on Indiegogo in what was called a ‚Äėscampaign‚Äė to fund a supposedly calorie-counting wristband.
  • Russian fund FRII supported by Vladimir Putin¬†has announced¬†launch of an acceleration program in contested Crimea.
  • Eastern European second-hand clothes marketplace Kominoi¬†has expanded¬†to Bulgaria and Hungary.
  • Results of a¬†startup competition¬†at the Login conference in Vilnius:¬†Dragdis won, BliuBliu came second.
  • Russian startup Prixel¬†has developed technology¬†that makes it possible to print copies of paintings that fully convey the texture of the artist‚Äôs brushstrokes.
  • The owners of Russian payment service provider QIWI¬†have launched¬†a new $30 million seed fund and a startup accelerator.
  • Hungarian startup Rate My Speech has won a¬†pitch competition¬†organized by Finnish¬†Startup Sauna.
  • Serbian company¬†Teleskin has won¬†a ‚ā¨250,000 prize from the¬†Next Step Challenge accelerator.
  • Hungarian-Swedish Prezi¬†has reached¬†40 million users
  • Ukrainian startup Concepter¬†has launched a Kickstarter campaign¬†for its ‚Äúsmart iPhone case‚ÄĚ Lunecase.

Funding deals

  • Russian online retailer sold a 21% for some $6.3 million to Gazprombank.
  • Russian online-hypermarket Wikimart¬†is seeking¬†a $40 million funding round.
  • Russian VC fund Flint Capital has¬†invested an undisclosed amount¬†in marketing platform SailPlay.
  • Estonian social lending startup isePankur has¬†changed its name to Bondora¬†and raised a ‚ā¨1.3 million funding round.
  • Russian educational gaming startup FlexyMind has secured a¬†Series A funding round.
  • Major IT distributor Ingram Micro¬†has invested¬†an undisclosed amount in Russian software developer Parallels.
  • Russian ABRT and Ukrainian TA Venture have invested $2 million into¬†UK startup Zesty¬†that offers a healthcare appointment booking service.
  • Russian VC fund GS Venture has¬†poured ‚ā¨200,000¬†into Helsinki-based Tellyo that develops a¬†solution for mobile sharing of TV moments.
  • Russian fund¬†Runa Capital has led a¬†$2.69 million round¬†in¬†drchrono Inc., which it found at AngelList.
  • Russian contextual advertising company eLama¬†has raised¬†$800,000 from ImpulseVC in return for a minority stake in the project.
  • Russian startup Dreamroomer has raised a¬†funding round¬†from San Francisco-based fund¬†415x Inc.
  • Russian funds¬†ABRT and Almaz Capital together with Ukrainian AVentures Capital have¬†invested $3.25¬†million into Ukraine-founded storage solutions developer StarWind.
  • Ukrainian startup Augmented Pixels has landed a round from AVentures Capital and Torben Majgaard, CEO and founder of Danish outsourcer Ciklum that has a big R&D office in Ukraine.
  • The same investors together with TA Venture¬†poured another undisclosed amount¬†of up to $500,000 into Ukrainian startup Coppertino, which is working on a¬†music player VOX.
  • Russian edutech startup Netology has¬†raised a Round A¬†from InVenture Partners at a $5.6 million valuation.
  • Russia‚Äôs largest online retailer Ozon¬†has raised $150 million¬†at a $700 million¬†valuation from¬†diversified holding company Sistema and its mobile carrier subsidiary MTS.
  • Russian software firm Parallels¬†has attracted¬†more than $5 million from Maxfield Capital.
  • Moscow Seed Fund¬†has injected¬†$210,000 into educational game publisher Mersibo.
  • Czech startup¬†Codasip¬†has attracted $2.8 million¬†in a round led by Credo Ventures.
  • Estonian startup Taxify has landed a $100,000 seed round and plans to¬†expand to Eastern Europe and Asia.
  • Bulgarian startup XForm Computing¬†has received funding¬†from Russian software company Parallels.
  • Russian company Relevant Media that owns a how-to portal¬† has secured a $1.4¬†funding round¬†from a group of private investors.
  • Russian fund iTech Capital¬†has invested $10 million¬†into¬†automatic SMS-service Mobile Finance Management Solutions (MFM Solutions)¬†in return for an undisclosed minority stake in the company.
  • Russian fund Maxfield Capital has made an¬†undisclosed investment¬†in Silicon Valley-based company Weaved.
  • Russian startup Mix Upload¬†has raised $300,000¬†for a web portal to match artists, music lovers and labels.
  • Estonian language learning startup Lingvist¬†has raised ‚ā¨1 million¬†from¬†SmartCap (the investment arm of the taxpayer-funded Estonian Development Fund), Nordic VC Inventure, and several angel investors.

So. Much. Tech.

Some of the biggest names in tech are coming to TNW Conference in Amsterdam this May.

In other news

  • German entrepreneur Oskar Hartmann has¬†left Russian retailer KupiVIP¬†that he founded as the company has been unable to break even since 2011.
  • Russian Internet giant Yandex¬†has sold its stake¬†in Facebook for $8.1 million.
  • The conflict in Ukraine, in which Russia is assumed to be playing a significant part, is having its impact on Russian Internet companies. Stocks of Yandex and Mail.Ru Group have already fallen lower than the IPO price.
  • Microsoft¬†has opened¬†a $15 million technology center in Moscow.
  • Belarusian Wargaming made¬†$475 million¬†on its hit ‚ÄúWorld of Tanks‚ÄĚ in 2013. The company has promised to commit $10 million this year into cybersports.
  • Yandex has become Russia‚Äôs¬†biggest media organization, taking over of Channel 1 in 2013.
  • Microsoft¬†has pledged $1 million¬†for Moscow University-based computer vision and big data research.
  • FBI‚Äôs Boston office¬†has warned¬†American businesses of ‚Äúthe possible perils of entering into joint partnerships with foreign venture capital firms from Russia.‚ÄĚ
  • CEE E-Commerce market¬†is set to grow¬†by 18,5 % till the end of 2014, according to Pay Group data.
  • Russian Yota Devices will launch an app store for¬†its smartphone with an e-Ink screen on the back.
  • Yandex has teamed up with 2can to launch a Square-like¬†mobile card reader.
  • Drama around Russia‚Äôs biggest social network VKontakte has taken a new turn. VK CEO Pavel Durov sold its 12% stake in the network and subsequently¬†left the CEO position. Currently he‚Äôs assumed to have left Russia as well, saying that the country is¬†‚Äúincompatible with Internet business‚ÄĚ and¬†planning to create a mobile social network. Among others,¬†Lithuanian startup community¬†would love to see Durov living and working in the country.
  • Russian government may get its¬†own search engine, Sputnik within a few weeks.
  • Mail.Ru Group has launched a¬†mobile-only email service¬†with address in domain.
  • Spotify has hired an ex-Googler¬†Alexander Kubaneishvili to lead its business in Russa,¬†which is planned¬†to launch in the Q3

Good reads from TNW and beyond

Image credit: Shutterstock

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