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Ekaterinburg-based venture fund Project Ventures has become an investor in Finnish analytics startup Walkbase, as originally reported by Venture Business News. The fund, which was founded in 2010 by the husband and wife team of Leonid (Leo) Volkov and Natalia Gredina, has already invested in 9 projects and now add this Scandinavian startup to their portfolio. Another investor is internet entrepreneur from Ekaterinburg Leonid Gluzman. Terms of this deal were not disclosed.
We don’t typically cover Finnish startups, but this is a special case with the obvious Russian connection. Analytics as a service has become an increasingly popular market in recent years as companies try to use the power of the internet to allow them to better allocate their scarce resources. Some services, like Google Analytics or the Czech SocialBakers or Polish Brand24, offer companies insight into the online behavior of potential customers. Walkbase also provides analytics, but is more interested in physical activity, as the name suggests. Using sensors placed in stores or shopping malls, businesses who use the service can get a better picture of where the foot-traffic in their stores goes and how they interact with their physical environment. The system works by tracking the movement of visitors with wifi-enabled phones and analyzing their activity. As people are often concerned about having their privacy invaded online, the company says that it tracks people anonymously and doesn’t maintain private data. Going a bit further, they say that the system does not track individual users, but only presents aggregated data based on patterns from multiple users that it detects.
Also noteworthy here is that Andris Berzins, co-founder of TechHub Riga, has joined the company as its Chief Commercial Officer. Walkbase currently maintains offices in Finland and California, but Venture News reports that this investment will help them in expanding into Russia and to establish a more global presence overall.
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