Eastern Europe: February tech news roundup

Eastern Europe: February tech news roundup

After a rather slow January, technology companies, funds and startups from Eastern Europe are gaining full speed and seemingly trying to overwhelm journalists and reader with the news stories, funding announcements and campaigns. As usual, we’ve gathered everything significant in a handy roundup.

Check the headlines — from the standoff between Yandex and Google and to crowdfunding news from all over CEE — to make sure you’re not missing out.

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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

  • Ukrainian online tutoring platform Preply has entered Polish market
  • A Russian startup claimed to have developed a charging device that uses ordinary water and activated aluminum powder
  • Ukrainian startup GastroLab iPhone and iPad apps let make professionally looking cooking videos with fixed shooting plan
  • Ukrainian startups have rated their biggest obstacles, with bureaucracy and bribery leading the list
  • “Latvia’s Facebook” Draugiem Group hits Kickstarter with two new hardware projects
  • Russian venture fund Life.SREDA plans to sell the majority of its projects, which make up the portfolio of its first fund, and will not invest in domestic startups in the near future
  • QIWI Venture, the investment arm of Russian electronic payment giant QIWI Group, has launched a new acceleration program
  • Latvian edtech startup Edurio won the pitch contest at TechChill Baltics
  • Wayra CEE announced its closure in March, more may shut down in the next few months

Laws and governments

  • Belarus has moved to block access to all Internet anonymizers in the country, including Tor
  • Yandex asked Russian antitrust authorities to probe Google over bundling of Android with Google services (including search)
  • Russia has committed to pay local developers to migrate apps to Tizen and Sailfish
  • Macedonia was accused of spying on 20,000 citizens over four years
  • Russia, Turkey and the US wanted more of your Twitter data last year

Funding deals and M&A

  • Ukrainian startup DelFast secured a $250,000 funding round to develop e-commerce delivery by electric bikes
  • Photo marketplace Lobster raised £100,000 from Russian investors group SmartHub
  • Russian-born online micro-course platform Coursmos received $600,000 in seed investment in a deal led by Altera Capital Group
  • New Ukrainian venture fund BeValue invested $200,000 in a local startup Wishround
  • Russian Internet giant Yandex purchased Ros.Taxi, a taxi management software suite
  • Russian online education and training platform Netology Group closed an investment deal worth $2.1 million
  • Ukrainian restaurant table-booking startup Eatsmart.ua attracted $11,000 in angel investment
  • Maxfield Capital invested in Russian company Zdravprint, which specializes in 3D-printing for medical purposes
  • Siguler Guff and CapMan invested in Maximum Education, a major Russian provider of educational test preparation services
  • NFC payments startup Mobeewave secured a $6.5 million funding round led by Russian Sberbank’s fund SBT Venture Capital
  • Estonia’s software performance error tool Plumbr announced a $700,000 funding round
  • Russian Rostelecom announced a $13 million investment in the local search engine Sputnik
  • Russian fintech fund Life.Sreda purchased Southeast Asian mobile acquiring startup iboxPro
  • Lithuanian startup Mobile Worker launched a B2B version with $560,000 of Norwegian capital
  • Russian-born virtualization tech company Parallels has acquired 2X Software
  • Russian startup and former Skolkovo resident RoboCV received $3 million in series A funding round from a group of five venture funds
  • Moscow-based fund Buran Venture Capital contributed $8.5 million to Shazam’s latest funding round
  • Wahanda, the health and beauty marketplace — which has grown to be Europe’s largest to date, — acquired Lithuanian-based Lemon Labs
  • Croatian startup Teddy the Guardian raised $400,000 in funding
  • Russia’s Runa Capital invested $3.4 million in database firm MariaDB

In other news

  • Spotify has cancelled its launch in Russia due to economic crisis
  • Russian Internet behemoth Mail.Ru Group opened an office in Amsterdam to promote its games
  • Google is reportedly planning to introduce its Google Startup Launch program in Russia
  • The biggest startup and gamedev center in the Baltics will launch in the beginning of 2016 next to the historic old town of Vilnius
  • Russian manufacturer of smartphones Yota Devices has found a partner, Potevio, to enter the Chinese market
  • Yandex announced its fourth quarter and full-year 2014 financial results
  • Russian social network VK.com agreed with the country’s first TV channel to legalize its video content
  • VK.com’s revenue in 2014 grew to about $70 million, up 12.9 percent from 2013
  • Forget North Korea, Russian hackers are selling access to Sony Pictures, claims US security firm
  • Kaspersky Lab claimed that a group of Russian, Chinese and European hackers have stolen $300 million from various banks in the past few months

Good (long) reads from around the Web

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