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Russian venture fund Prostor Capital last made headlines here and on sites like TechCrunch back in late October when they announced $2 million (1.5 million euro) in funding for health website VitaPortal. Now it seems that they’ve turned their attention to automobiles, as the company has announced that they and the Moscow Seed Fund have joined to offer $400,000 (300,000 euro) to automated online broker Car-Fin.
Car-Fin is a comparison-shopping service for those interested in buying a car. Prospective buyers can select from a variety of cars and then compare the rates that they would face from banks and leasing companies. Having decided on the best option, customers can then buy their car on credit online. Essentially, this service streamlines the process of purchasing a car by offering a portal through which users are able to compare offers and then complete agreements with the bank, leasing company, insurance company, and dealership.
Car-Fin also claims that its buyback program, already quite popular in Europe and the United States, will be a unique service in Russia. Under this program, the dealership agrees to buy the car back at a fixed price when the loan period is due to end. This allows customers to loan cars at much lower rates.
Last June we wrote that GTI Labs, a startup accelerator back by Global TechInnovations and Prostor themselves, would be opening its doors to prospective startups. With this news from a graduate of that program, Car-Fin, we’re beginning to see the fruits of their labor. The company’s beta launched in October 2012 and they were required to hit a series of milestones over a 3-month period before receiving funding.
Car-Fin is not the online auto-related investment story this week, though, as Unova reports that autoparts startup Avtozaper has also received funding. In this case, the startup managed to raise $100,000 (75,000 euro) in funding from an angel investor from Kazan, Russia. A resident at the business incubator at the IT Park in Naberezhnye Chelny, this startup provides users the opportunity to locate auto parts, even without knowing the part’s exact name or brand. This is expected to be an online portal for buying and selling car parts. The firm’s service remains in beta, but will be ready for a full launch in the coming months. This startup has made it a priority to establish a foothold in the Tatarstan market first and then to move on to the rest of Russia.
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