Tech news roundup from Eastern Europe: December

Tech news roundup from Eastern Europe: December

Another month, another round-up of the most significant and important stories from the tech scene of Eastern Europe. Although the last month of 2014 was traditionally somewhat quiet, there’s more than enough reads that you definitely shouldn’t miss.

If you think that something is missing, or would like to draw our attention to an important story, feel free to ping the author on Twitter (@shlema) or by e-mail at shlema@gmail.com.

Startups, funds, accelerators

  • Latvia/Lithuania based startup Sellfy has launched Sellfy Market for selling digital goods
  • Russian fund Altair Capital Management is planning to attract $20 million for new investments
  • Polish startup Omni3D applies 3D printing to energy with compact wind turbine
  • Nine startups have been selected to participate in the joint accelerator by Microsoft and Russia’s Foundation for Internet Development Initiatives’ (FRII)
  • Ukrainian startup Readdle has released the “Adobe killer” mobile PDF editor PDF Office
  • Romanian accelerator Spherik has presented its first batch of seven startups

Laws and governments

  • Russia is building a unified system to defend against cyber attacks
  • Russia has blacklisted and temporarily blocked GitHub over pages that refer to suicide, GitHub subsequently gave in to the demands
  • Intel has blocked Russian-language blogs and forums on its Developer Zone website, avoiding the necessity to comply with Russia’s infamous “Blogger’s law”
  • Personal data storage on Russian servers will be mandatory starting from September 2015
  • Complying with the U.S. regulations, freelance marketplace Elance-oDesk has blocked accounts of users based in Crimea
  • The President of the U.S. Barack Obama has allocated $60 million for the financing of Russian independent media
  • Father of Web tells Russia’s Putin: Internet is not a ‘CIA project’
  • Belarus has blocked access to a number of opposition websites, news outlets and e-commerce sites

Funding deals, grants and M&A

  • SBT Venture Capital, founded by Russian bank Sberbank, has invested $5 million in Advanced Merchant Payments
  • Russian corporate software publisher Dashboard Systems has received $2 million in funding from Buran Venture Capital and LANIT
  • Infographics platform Infogr.am has bought infographics blog Visualoop to promote awareness of
 infographics
  • Russia’s Flint Capital has invested $6.2 million in European data-driven consumer lending technology company Cream Finance
  • Russian e-commerce shipment service provider Top Delivery has secured an undisclosed investment from Impulse VC
  • Latvian startup ZoomCharts has received a follow-on €500,000 investment from Imprimatur
  • Ukrainian mobile navigation startup Qrok has received $500,000 in funding from an unnamed Estonian investment company
  • Russian venture fund Life.SREDA has purchased a stake of up to 10 percent in mobile banking startup Rocketbank
  • Russia-based startup Croice has received $500,000 in funding from Imperious Group
  • PayQR, a Russian company enabling mobile payments through QR codes, has raised $1.5 million in new funding from two unnamed investors
  • Russian financial services aggregator Moneymatika has attracted $1 million in funding from InVenture Partners and angel investors
  • Russian virtual shoe-fitting startup Fitanny has won a $275,000 grant from Skolkovo Foundation
  • Russian investor Yuri Milner has participated in yet another funding round for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi
  • Russian search giant Yandex has acquired a browser application developed by Metabar, a portfolio company of Runa Capital
  • Russia-based open-source web server Nginx has raised $20 million from U.S. fund NEA
  • Russian fund Phenomen Ventures has participated in a $16.8 funding round for Helpling, the online marketplace for household cleaners backed by Germany’s Rocket Internet
  • French fund BNP Paribas has purchased 4 percent of Luxoft, Russia-funded software development company, for some $50 million
  • Polish incubator Next.Step has invested $50,000 in Ukrainian startup Treasurer
  • Rocket Internet’s Foodpanda has gobbled up Central and Eastern Europe food delivery startups
  • Estonian Taxify has raised €1.4 million to expand to Eastern and Central Europe
  • Russian startup Livemap has landed a $300,000 grant for its motorcycle helmet with built-in navigation

In other news

  • EBRD considers launching a tech investment fund of up to $60 million for Ukrainian companies
  • Game development company Gameloft has opened an office in Lviv, Ukraine for 50 to 100 new employees
  • Dual screen, e-paper display-equipped, 5-inch YotaPhone 2 has officially gone on sale for ÂŁ555. Yota Devices says the next version of the gadget will be announced in the next 12 to 18 months
  • Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has been given $70 million by the Russian National Wealth Fund to eradicate ‘digital inequality’ across the country’s regions
  • Mail.Ru Group, QIWI, and Yandex stocks have plummeted as only Luxoft remains tall on Western exchanges
  • Asus has stopped shipments of its products to Russia “to avoid the tumbling ruble”
  • China’s Alibaba Group subsidiary company UCWeb will open office in Russia
  • Panasonic is set to open next year an R&D center in Skolkovo, the international tech hub under completion on the outskirts of Moscow
  • Google has shut down R&D office in Russia, but the real reasons behind the move are yet to be determined
  • Mobile users have become the majority on the Russian Internet
  • Yandex has launched the Data Factory project that will provide B2B big data solutions
  • Cyprus Stock Exchange requests SEC’s approval for delisting of Wargaming, Belarus-based game developer known by its World of Tanks title
  • Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh has backed Google antitrust probes
  • With 2,500+ clients and high growth, Prague-founded social analytics firm Socialbakers to consider going public
  • Mobile app Maps.me Pro, which was recently purchased by Mail.Ru Group, has been made free of charge
  • Apple has shut down its Russian web store and reopened it in a few days after boosting iPhone 6 price by 35%
  • Steam has region-locked PC games in Russia and CIS to thwart low currency value exploits
  • Creator of YotaPhone is planning to develop new smart watch
  • Mysterious Russian malware has infected 100,000+ WordPress websites

Good (long) reads from TNW and beyond

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