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UPDATED: CrowdIPR $135 000 funding, Friday night story on TechCrunch.
We have picked up the format having seen the benefit of what Zuzanna Fedorkova at Eastist has been doing, and have recently seen Arctic Startup preparing weekly digest as well. Weekly news format goes against the “Blogger’ golden rule” which is something along the line of “shorter posts frequently”, but it saves you clicks and time. Here I once again will cram as much information as possible in the following paragraphs.
The big news over the past two weeks were from Russia. Russian ecommerce shopping mall Wikimart raised a significant funding round of $30 million, Oktogo, Russian travel website raised $10 million, Runa and Almaz Capital funded their existing portfolio company Travelmenu (packaged tours sold online), and Yuri Milner, having left the board of Mail.ru Group, is now after one billion for his new DST fund.
Shopme.ru has received $50 million from the founders of Russian private shopping club KupiVIP.ru holding, according to East West Digital News. And fourth largest Internet company AnywayAnyday is rumored to be preparing from an IPO (hat tip to their investor Djois Sronipah and Kommersant coverage in Russian).
Russian search engine Yandex has been included in the NASDAQ Internet Index and launched real-time bidding for advertisers (public testing).
Reksoft, Russian software development company from St. Petersburg we know, like and respect, has launched a new service Offering Technical Assessment of Technology Start-Up Ventures (investors, please take note). Of interest is the fact that Reksoft has created Ozon.ru (Russian Amazon) but just as DataArt did with its then a baby portal Mail.ru, sold it far too soon.
To touch on the Y-combinator’s controversional approach to accelerate founders without an idea, I suggest to look at this post in Inc Magazine about Russian Olga Vidisheva, Goldman Sachs alumna, who was the only non-technical solo founder Y-Combinator ever accepted. Vidisheva’s Shoptiques aggregate designer boutiques online and is rumoured to have received funding from Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz.
Ukranian TA Venture has backed not only US online wedding merchandise aggregator Tailored as we reported earlier, but also Mile High Organics, a US e-commerce company that delivers organic produce as well as GMO-free groceries for homes and offices. Interestingly, Jose Marin of IG Expansion and Fabrice Ginda of OIx have also invested.
My participation in HackFwd Build0.9 in Berlin a couple of weeks back has stopped me from releasing news digest last week. Another Polish startup ScatchApp has won the audience award during Pitch in Berlin startup contest. The live demo caused if not standing, but ovation from the geeks-dominated audience. (The winner was automated Facebook app builder Hike Social Apps, the second place went to the cloud services notification aggregator AppHub).
While Polish accelerator Gamma Rebels have been fairly quiet recently (with the possible exception of its graduate BusyFlow taking a second place in London Web Summit), its investor HardGamma backed British accelerator Sprinboard, according to Mam Startup (the size of the funding was not disclosed).
Filmaster’s Borys Musielak has been instrumental to help me understand how TV and movie recommendations work and subsequently was featured in my TechCrunch post on Hungarian Gravity R&D news about their first IPTV deal with Canadian telecom operator. Slovak Synopsi.tv was also mentioned. It looks like the debate about the recommendation approach is still ongoing in the post’s comments.
CEE startup award Aulery is now receiving applications. In as much as I would like to attend the award ceremony on the 27th of April, I won’t make it (conflicting schedule). But I will get the banner up soon, so that more Eastern European startups can apply.
And finally, fresh entry in my mailbox is a report about financial results from Polish venture investor MCI Capital. The company generated Euro 4.5 million dollars in profit in 2011, and realized internal rate of return of 28 percent in the past year (which is about the average expected rate of return of a VC fund, if I remember correctly from my M&A days). In 2011 MCI invested Euro 19 million. It plans to expand its investment focus geographically to other CEE countries as well as Russia and Turkey. The fund is looking to allocate between 70 and 120 million Euros for the new investments in 2012-2013.
News from Lingibli and Piano Media. The former has released a new version of its mobile language learning app including Slovak to its list of languages. Lingibli is building on the idea that in learning a foreign language one must rely on as many senses as possible.
Paywall aggregator Piano Media has reported revenue after its launch in Slovenia (26 000 Euros in the first month, including new revenue for online publishers and itself). Having posted the link on my Google+ account, I received comments from a skeptical reader from Balkans. He doubted that the quality of the content will increase, because the premium material allegedly contains a good deal of yellow-press.
Baltic startups got some press this week. Aside from Lithuanian BusyFlow mentioned above, Pumbr.eu, the Java memory leaks spotting startup has been reviewed by Arctic Startup. Estonian Cloudseal has announced launch of its Cloud Authentication and Single Sign on Platform for Java Developers (Ha! ArcticStartup’s Friday round-up missed that one, but they have plently of Scandinavian startup news we know little about). According to TNW, subpoenas in Estonia are now going to be served via email, Facebook and Twitter. Blogger Jamillah Knowles rightfully noted that unless the suspect follows the local post on Twitter, being served court papers suddenly becomes very public.
CrowdIPR has raised $135 000 and launches premium version as reported by Toivo Tänavsuu on TechCrunch.
Garage48’s Music Event takes place in Tallinn over the coming weekend during Tallinn Music Week.
Voice calls startup and Skype challenger Vox.io was covered by PC World (and I have finally met Tomaz Stolfa in person at London Web Summit this week). Mobile advertisement technology company Celtra was reviewed by xconomy.com. Boston-based Celtra, which received $ 5 million from GrandBanks Capital and Fairhaven Capital in early 2011, has started off in 2006 as an SMS text-based advertisement technology, but now offers a platform to publish rich media interactive ads.
That’s all people. Thank you for reading to the end, enjoy the weekend which I hope is as warm and sunny as it is here in the Northern Germany.
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vita at goaleurope dot com