April has been extremely rich on news from startups all over Central and Eastern Europe that received funding, started expanding to new markets or launched new products. If you’re interested in what’s going on in this rapidly developing region, check out the recent stories below.
To help you stay up to date, we’ve compiled the most significant headlines into one handy roundup post. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Startups, funds, accelerators
- Estonia’s ResultsOnAir, which wants to solve the problem of inefficiency of TV advertising, has been selected as part of the next 500 Startups batch.
- Ukrainian startup Petcube has released an Apple Watch app, through which users can play with their (or someone else’s) pets.
- Russian startup Oriense is developing a 3D camera that helps blind and visually impaired people navigate around obstacles.
- Estonian peer-to-peer lending startup Investly is eyeing the UK to close the funding gap for small and medium businesses.
- Polish-made affordable 3D printer ZMorph priced at under $3,000 has entered the US market.
- Ukraine-based 3D marketplace Kwamb.io has announced its own under $1,000 3D printer, which will only be working with the platform itself.
- Ukrainian startup Luciding has developed a headband device to guarantee customers lucid dreams every night.
- Russian-born micro-learning startup Coursmos has announced that it has gathered over 30,000 micro-courses on its platform.
- Ukrainian startup RollApp has launched RollMyFile, a service that allows users to open online nearly any file one may have on their computer.
- Estonian team messaging app Fleep built and backed by a number of ex-Skype engineers has introduced a so-called “Fleep ID,” an email-compatible universal ID to help wean you off email.
- Polish mobile shooter game Dekompresja (“Decompression”) has turned to crowdfunding to raise some $13,000 for development.
- Russian entrepreneur Mike Ushakov, who previously sold his company Metabar to Yandex, his former employer, has launched Timewaste Timer, an anti-distraction tool with a twist.
- ‘Ukrainian Startup Rating’ has been published to reveal top startups, people and industry figures.
- Top 10 teams have been announced that will participate in the pitch contest at Latitude59 conference in Estonia.
- Last-minute booking app HotelTonight is on its way to Russian market.
- Lithuanian neighborhood livability rating PlaceILive has expanded to New York, London, San Francisco, Chicago, and Berlin.
- Russian Skolkovo Foundation and Chinese investment group Cybernaut have agreed to launch a $200 million joint VC fund.
- Igor Ryabenkiy’s VC fund AltaIR is about to raise $30 million to invest in Israeli startups.
- Russian government-backed fund RVC and Da Vinci Capital Management have launched a $100 million joint fund to help local tech companies on their road to IPO.
- Russian-born VC firm Life.SREDA has announced a plan to pour $90 million in Asian fintech startups over the next six months.
- Polish startup Brainly has opened second European office in Berlin.
- Credo Ventures, the Prague-based VC targeting the CEE region, has closed its second fund, which, at €34 million, is more than twice that of the firm’s original €18 million fund launched in 2010.
- Woolet, a smart wallet from Poland, had surpassed its Kickstarter goal by over $312,000.
- Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman has founded investment firm LetterOne Technology, which is to invest $16 billion in European and American companies.
- Polish beacon hardware and software startup Kontakt.io has announced it will open the biggest “Beacon Playground” in the Bay Area.
- Latvian Lokalise makes it easier to get your app international.
- Startup Academy Demo Day has showcased best new Serbian startups in front of 600+ attendees.
Funding deals and M&A
- Ukrainian startup Coppertino known by its VOX Player for Mac and iOS has raised about $200,000 from BeValue.
- Russian VC Yuri Milner has participated in a $118 million Series C round of Planet Labs, a startup that has pledged to cover the Earth in tiny satellites.
- Russian fund Maxfield Capital has invested $2.3 million in UK online estate agent eMoov.
- Yuri Milner’s fund DST Global has participated in Slack’s $160 million funding round.
- Russian investor Anvar Mamedov has sold his VC fund Cayman Invest, which owns an 11.7% stake in US payment provider Net Element, losing some $4 million.
- Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has invested $15 million in Israeli music startup Music Messenger.
- Russian-born fund TMT Investments poured $4.3 million in 15 companies in 2014.
- Yuri Milner’s DST Global has led a $150 million funding round in UK-based P2P lending service Funding Circle.
- Russian Akado’s ex-president Victor Savyuk has spent $1 million to purchase 5% of a local company that works on a Google Docs rival.
- Russian VC fund ru-Net has participated in a $15.9 million funding round for Indian AppsDaily Solutions.
- Yuri Milner’s DST Global has invested over $200 million in Indian online cab aggregator Ola Cabs.
- Moscow Seed Fund and Life.Sreda have invested some $240,000 in microcredit scoring technology startup Scorista.ru.
- Lithuanian Practica Capital has invested some $130,000 in a startup Hello Hungry accelerated in Startup.lt.
Laws and governments
- US sanctions are blocking Crimeans from playing World of Warcraft and Diablo III.
- Latest Russian censorship move: Banning Internet memes using photos of celebrities.
- US officials have revealed that Russian hackers read some of Obama’s unclassified emails last year (here are some technical details).
- Russia might adopt the “right to be forgotten” in the future.
- Ukrainian government has partnered with Microsoft on cyber security.
- eBay has become the first US company to say it will comply with the new Russian legislation requiring businesses to store Russian users’ personal data in Russia.
- Russian government has launched two major internationally oriented tech funds.
In other news
- O2 Czech Republic’s extensive telecoms infrastructure assets that are to be spun off into a separate company contribute about 50 percent of the group’s operating profit.
- Mail.Ru Group’s vice president and commercial director Alexey Katkov has left the company.
- Norwegian Opera Software has cut 70 jobs mainly due to poor performance on the Russian market, however the company’s CEO says markets developing positively.
- Tesla electric cars will be sold in Russia with Internet connection provided by Yota.
- KupiVIP, a major Russian online fashion group, has announced the acquisition of footwear retailer Sapato.ru and its 6-million client base from the Ozon group.
- Mail.Ru Group has reported 7.3% year-over-year revenue growth in Q1’2015, mostly thanks to VK.com.
- Yandex has released Manul, an open-source antivirus tool for websites.
- Russia’s Internet behemoth Yandex saw its shares price rise by nearly 13% after the news about the EU officially accusing Google in abusing its position on the search market.
- Kaspersky Lab has opened an office in Singapore, which is to become its regional HQ in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Survarium, the MMO shooter from a Ukrainian studio whose developers worked on the STALKER series, was released on April 2.
- Russian Internet firm Yandex has decided to reduce its staff by 3 percent and slash hiring as the country’s economic crisis forces the company to optimize its operations and expenses.
- US interior design platform Houzz has launched in Russia.
- Italian coworking network Talent Garden has begun its expansion to CEE region.
- Polish researchers claimed to have created the fastest 8-bit industry-fit microcontroller ever built.
- Yandex has announced Q1’2015 financial results.
Good (long) reads from around the Web
- A Case for the Polish Game Developer – Interview with Sos Sosowski
- Twins from Yakut village in SIberia make millions on online games
- CEEDS 2015: Digital and Tech in the CEE Region
- Tomasz Czechowicz of Polish fund MCI: “It’s a time to buy and build in Russia”
- A tech individualist for a post-Snowden world: An interview with Pavel Durov
- Entrepreneurship in the Balkans, a region with little-known but big appeal
- Playing To Win: Romania And Its Gaming Entrepreneurs
- Accelerating Europe – An Interview with Max Gurvits
- From military airplane navigation to EdTech startup: Latvian Experiential Simulations
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