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While I was off duty, startup world in Eastern Europe continued to work overtime. Here are some news I managed to collect from the blogosphere.
Fast Lane Ventures reports that its online dating service Teamo.ru has raised funding from Japanese investors UMJ Russia Fund, the venture fund managed by United Managers Japan Inc. Teamo.ru now boasts over $2 million total funding to date. Teamo.ru caters to those who look for lasting relationships, reports over 1 million customers and subscription fees as a source of income. It uses scientific algorithms to match its users based on 17 character traits and appears to enter Match.com or eHarmony’s model.
Russian Venture Company has launched Biotech Venture Fund in Boston, US, which will spend $100 million on the life sciences startups together with private investors. It will invest between $1 million and $5 million per company.
Russia and CIS-focused Almaz Capital has backed nScaled.com, a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery company. What’s interesting is that despite Almaz’s strict mandate to invest in Russian and CIS technology companies, nScaled appears to be a US company, with international management team and European office based in the UK.
The link with the CIS region is Ilya Beyer, its CTO and VP of engineering and the company’s development team based in Vladivostok, according to the founding partner of Almaz Capital Alexander Galitsky. Together with Doughty Hanson, Almaz Capital invested $7 million into the company, and its founding partner Peter Loukianoff joined nScaled’s board of directors.
In Belarus, a G-Incubator has begun its operations, focusing on educational activities to help increase Belarusian IT managers’ competences in tech entrepreneurship and facilitate fund-raising and networking opportunities.
Baltic startups Campalyst, TransferWise, Pult.io and Qminder and a number of other Eastern European teams took part of the Seedcamp’s US tour as reported by The Next Web, and Pult.io got reviewed by Arctic Startup.
Both TransferWise and Pult.io were distinguished by TechCrunch’s Top 5 startups to watch from Seedcamp’S 2012 Demo Day.
Lithuanian game developer Tag of Joy won AppCircus Best App Award in the Mobile Premier Awards 2012 as reported by Edmundas Balčikonis. The winning app is the Bear Care, an augmented reality game where players have to protect their teddy bear.
Lithuanian success story GetJar (largest free app store with over 2 billion downloads) introduced virtual currency to encourage its users download free apps and earn points to exchange them for premium apps, as reported by the Arctic Startup.
Another Lithuanian company Eskimi, a mobile social and dating network saw its user numbers soar in Nigeria (almost 50% of its over 5 million users). It has also introduced location based dating and flirting service, using a regular mobile phone. Read more on Arctic Startup.
Latvian infographics development tool Infogr.am won not only TC Baltics and got funded by HackFwd, but was also selected as the winning team during the Startup Sauna Warmup in Warsaw last week.
Estonian startup TransferWise reported Euro 10.1 million in currency exchange volume during the first year of operations, having completed 5500 transactions. This means on average Euro 1852 per transaction, and with the charges per such transaction of Euro 8,76 based on the TransferWise calculator, the company would have made around Euro 48 000 in revenue. Not bad for the first year of operation.
And finally Estonian accelerator Startup Wise Guys still accepts applications for its first program until the 10th of March.
Mobile app platform fullXS has launched at the Mobile World Congress, according to the company’s press release. The platform, developed by Hungarian ArtKlikk, offers video content providers and major brands to simplify development of video apps, such as “how-to” guides (think Ikea explained), sign language videos or cooking courses. The product comes to market which has already seen emergence of app building tools such as Appscelerator, ShoutEm and Appscend.
Polish startup Booklikes from Poznan, which delivers personalized book recommendations (something LivingSocial used to offer on Facebook with its VisualShelf), has expanded to Germany, boasting one of the largest German book databases on the Internet.
Polish venture capital firm HardGAMMA Ventures invested in Showroom, Warsaw based startups which helps clothing brands sell their products through three channels simultaneously: Facebook fan page, their websites as well as ShowRoom’s own multibrand store. This was originally reported by MAMStartup. The founding partner of HardGAMMA Ventures Krzysztof Kowalczyk joined as a mentor of the Estonian Startup Wise Guys.
To improve networking and fundraising opportunities for provincial tech entrepreneurs , Czech government has created CzechAccelerator which is set to offer free working space and networking opportunities for Czech technology companies based outside of Prague. Selected teams will be offer to stay in the US, Switzerland, Israel and Singapore. The accelerator is created by investment and business development agency CzechInvest.
Backed by Czech Venture fund Credo Ventures, semantic Q&A service Beepl has just parted ways with its Irish CEO Steve O’Hear, the ex-TechCrunch blogger, according to TechCrunch. Apparently co-founders disagreed on the company’ strategy.
Slovakian GPS navigation app for Android Sygic has made it to the top 10 most downloaded GPS apps in the US and 38 other countries, as reported by Netokracija. I suppose, one of the reasons the Slovak app being reviewed by Croatian tech blog is the availability of detailed Croatian maps. In fact the app offers maps for 111 countries, whilst Google maps are available for only 22 countries. It is also interesting that the app is going against incumbent Google maps, citing translation to 36 languages, offline availability of its maps, as well as other valuable features.
South East Europe
Croatian startup Business Exchange has won Startup Bootcamp Wildcard competition and will participate in the Startup Bootcamp Amsterdam’s finals on the 13th and 14th March. Business Exchange allows SMEs rate each other based on their work experience, building reference s, just like individuals do on LinkedIn.
Phew! That was quite a dense news digest but saved me finding a photo for each story.
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vita at goaleurope dot com