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This article was published on March 3, 2014

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

Catch up on a month of tech news from Eastern Europe: February
Andrii Degeler
Story by

Andrii Degeler

Andrii is the Head of Media at TNW, with over a decade of experience in covering the European tech ecosystem. Talk to him about new and exci Andrii is the Head of Media at TNW, with over a decade of experience in covering the European tech ecosystem. Talk to him about new and exciting developments in tech, especially those involving vastly underreported industry niches and geographies.

Check out the headlines and make sure you haven’t missed anything important from the Eastern European tech scene. Judging by the number of links below, the 28 days of February have been absolutely crazy as they brought an unbelievable number of news stories.

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 [email protected].

Investments and acquisitions

  • Hungarian SaaS startup Maven7 has raised €575,000 from Primus Capital.
  • Russian government-backed seed fund and accelerator Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF) has invested $1.3 million into 34 local startups.
  • Russian startup Cubic Robotics that develops a personal assistant robot has landed $500,000 in funding from private investor Konstantin Senchenko.
  • Russian content recommendation service Surfingbird has attracted $2.5 million from Klever Internet Investment Ltd. in exchange for 25.1% of the company.
  • Mail.Ru Group has poured $2 million into Israeli mobile video platform Magisto.
  • Latvian SonarWorks has landed €600,000 in funding from Imprimatur Capital Technology Venture Fund.
  • Russian technology university MISiS has received a $2.7 million grant from the country’s government to start developing Russia’s first supercomputer-based capabilities in order to create new materials for various industrial sectors.
  • Russian fund IMI.VC has invested an undisclosed amount into Russian OMI Robotics that is working on a robotized snowplow.
  • Infogr.am has landed the largest investment in Latvia of $1.8 million, with a reported 8 million unique visitors monthly.
  • Bulgarian distributed storage management startup StorPool has attracted funding from a strategic investor.
  • Russian group Renova has acquired Italo-British “smart insurance” provider Octo Telematics for alleged $400 to $500 million.
  • Lithuania-founded mobile app distribution company GetJar has been acquired by China-based Sungy, the developer of Go apps for Android, for estimated $35 million, including $5.3 million in cash.
  • Russian investment company Altair and venture fund IMI.VC have poured $1.3 million into travel SIM startup Keepgo.
  • Russian Flint capital and IIDF have made a joint investment into Picture Manipulation Inspector (PMI), a startup developing a service to determine if an image has been tampered with.
  • Russian travel meta search engine Aviasales has secured $10 million in funding from iTech Capital.
  • Russian Mango Telecom has landed a $10 million round from Intel Capital.
  • Russian investment fund Da Vinci Private Equity Fund II has acquired a 63% stake in major Russian online broker ITinvest for alleged $30 to $50 million.
  • Russian education startup YaKlass has raised $450,000 from Almaz Capital, Vesna Investment, and Pavel Kovsharov.
  • Second-hand clothing marketplace Vinted has raised €20 million series B round and became Baltics’ highest valued startup.
  • Polish startup UXPin has secured $1.6 million in funding led by Freestyle Capital to further develop its online design tool set.
  • Bulgarian outsourcing company Sofica has been acquired by US-based Teletech.
  • Russian Internet advertising platform CityAds has attracted $5 million in funding from Klever Internet Investments Ltd (KIIL) in exchange to an undisclosed minority stake in the company.
  • Czech social media-based customer care services startup Brand Embassy has raised $1 million in funding from Rockaway Capital and Spread Capital.
  • Russian tech investor Yuri Milner has invested in cloud graphics company Otoy.
  • Russian online classifieds company Avito has landed about $17 million in funding from Swedish investment group Kinnevik.
  • Ukrainian startup Kabanchik.com.ua has raised $60,000 in funding from four angel investors.

Startups, accelerators, and venture funds news

  • Russian fintech fund Life.SREDA has made its first exit as banking startup Simple was acquired by Spanish bank BBVA.
  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) has launched a $30 million seed fund of its own, which will focus on fintech, edutech, digital health, 3D-printing, efficient energy use and oil & gas technology sectors.
  • Russian VC fund Runa Capital has made an exit from its portfolio project StopTheHacker two years after the investment.
  • CEE-focused accelerator program StartupHighway has teamed up with Lithuanian VC Practica Capital to create a €200,000 fund to invest in accelerated startups.
  • New Estonian hardware-focused startup accelerator BuildIt launches its first program.
  • Lithuanian 3D-design market platform CGTrader has landed a funding round from Intel Capital, marking the fund’s first deal in the country.
  • The Russian Venture Company has launched two new funds of almost $2 million in total.
  • US language learning startup Duolingo has entered Russian market.
  • Lithuanian startup TrackDuck has launched a new version of its interactive website  feedback and bug-tracking tool.
  • Lithuanian Practica Venture Capital has closed a €15.7 million fund to invest in the country’s startups.
  • Ukrainian-born startup Attendify (formerly KitApps) has teamed up with Eventbrite to let event planners create ‘mini social networks’ for their events.
  • Hungary-founded Kenguru has announced a $25,000 electric car for wheelchair users.
  • Slovenian hardware startup CarLock has joined the first Serbian accelerator StartLabs.
  • Mailbox app’s alternative iMAGINe has become the first Bulgarian startup to join Y Combinator.
  • Bulgarian online sales management startup DeskGod has relocated to the US, joined the Plug and Play accelerator, and signed a partnership agreement with Salesforce.
  • Russian fashion startup Looksima has introduced a new feature that allows users to put together complete “looks” from clothes and accessories sold by partner online retailers and get a sales commission. Now the company is looking for additional funding of $1 to $3 million to fuel its expansion to the US market.

In other news

  • Security-focused messenger Telegram, launched by VK.com CEO Pavel Durov, has seen a huge surge in popularity as WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook for $19 billion.
  • Russian Internet behemoth Yandex has teamed up with Google to make the advertising networks of the two companies accessible to each other’s clients.
  • A creepy Steve Jobs monument has been opened in Serbia’s capital Belgrade.
  • Yandex has teamed up with browser developer Maxthon to offer the latter’s desktop and mobile browsers to Russian customers with pre-loaded Yandex’s services.
  • Spotify has opened an office in Russia, though the service is not available to Russian users yet.
  • Russia’s YotaPhone has unveiled the second generation of its smartphone with a touchscreen e-ink display on the back.
  • The first Internet pirate to be convicted in Russia received a sentence of two years’ probation.
  • Yandex has launched Yandex.Kit, free Android firmware with Google apps ditched for Yandex’s services.
  • Yandex and Mail.Ru Group presented their 2013 financial reports.
  • Apps4all, Russian mobile app developer community, has entered the UK market.
  • Ukraine’s Viewdle, the startup acquired by Google through Motorola Mobility in 2012 for alleged $30 to $45 million, has been shut down. About 20 Ukrainian developers will relocate to the US, most of them will work in Motorola Mobility’s software department.
  • The International Intellectual Property Alliance recommends keeping Ukraine among the world’s most dangerous countries in terms of Internet piracy.
  • Both Russia and Ukraine have effectively banned Bitcoin.
  • Yandex has opened an R&D office in Berlin.
  • Hungary-founded Prezi has become the first European company to join the White House ConnectED Initiative.
  • Mail.Ru Group’s international brand My.com has released its fourth mobile game.
  • First Russian private technology park for hardware startups, Navigator Campus, has been opened in Kazan.
  • Software developer company EPAM, with R&D offices all around Central and Eastern Europe, has released its 2013 financial report.
  • Google has opened its Map Maker service to users in Greece, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
  • Fashion e-retailer Modnique has launched its localized versions in Ukraine and Belarus (as well as in Australia and Canada).
  • Slovenian developer Outfit7 says its ‘Talking Tom and Friends’ apps have 230 million monthly active users, which makes it bigger than Twitter (on mobile, of course).
  • Vkontakte shareholder clashes has continued as UCP threatened to sue Mail.ru Group and Ivan Tavrin.

Good reads

Image credit: Shutterstock

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