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.

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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