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Russian Probki Iz okna (Traffic From The Window) announces that they have obtained $300,000 (230,000 euro) from the Moscow Seed Fund. We actually first heard about this last week, but we wanted to try and get into contact with the founders to find out a bit more about this business. I spoke to the co-founder Maxim Gruzdev and he told me about the project.
According to Gruzdev, the project was established in September 2010 and they have previously raised $100,000 (77,000 euro) from a private investor and FASIE (a governmental fund dedicated to supporting small businesses through venture capital investment in scientific and technical areas in Moscow). The company operates video cameras across Russia which can be used for monitoring traffic, construction sites, weather, and road accidents. Interestingly, the network is created by ordinary users. Russians who live in places with a clear view of “problematic” or at least well-travelled streets can visit the company’s website and apply to host a webcam. Not only are they sent a free webcam in the mail, but they’re offered 7 euro/month as compensation for their help.
At the moment, Gruzdev tells us that they have more than 900 cameras in over 80 cities and that their site receives 100,000 unique visitors on a daily basis. He tells me that the main objective right now is to continue to build their network of cameras and to test various business models. Content collected is offered to map portals and to news services. Of course, Waze deals with the traffic issues by simply measuring the speed of the Wazers moving along the street and as everywhere else this strong competitors has strong following in Russia. As for the Moscow Seed Fund, we have done a handful of posts about their investment activities over the past few months.
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