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The first half of February we had a section devoted to Polish startup news, but in the second part of February news digest Russian-born startups rock.
You’ll know that you can book a private jet flight easily (if you are a college student, you might need to split the cost between two credit cards:), how to save money on roaming fees while you’re abroad, and how not to sleep through your flight back home with a help of a total stranger :).
Sergey Petrossov’s company JetSmarter, headquartered in the US, got a $26M the royal family of Saudi Arabia. JetSmarter is a service for private flights booking. Members who bought an annual subscription of $9,000 can charter a flight for free, but one also can charter the private flight without being a member, and the prices are affordable and will decrease even further. Ad The royal funding will be used to improve the app itself, open new routes, and to expand to Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Previously, in July 2015, JetSmarter had received $20 million in a Series B round led by Saudi royal family with participation from Jay-Z, and top managers of Goldman Sachs and Twitter, all clients of the service. Strongly recommend reading the story on Bloomberg and Business Insider. (Spoiler: a college kid booked a private flight and split the cost between two credit cards). Although the users who are reading attentively JetSmarter’s user agreement, are outraged by their privacy policies.
Online travel agency and content portal Oktogo secures another tranche from MCI Management - one the most established private equity groups working closely with travel companies across Europe. The money will be spent to develop the domestic travel market – the only segment which is still growing in Russia after the ruble’s depreciation. Previously Oktogo was backed with nearly $40 million from Western and Russian funds. Back then, MCI had invested nearly $4 million in exchange for a stake of less than 10%. The additional $2 million injection was announced as an option. Source: EWDN.
Virtual SIM Card is the ComfortWay’s new project that will allow leisure and business travelers access data plans from local operators at local prices. The ComfortWay Company has already been spotlighted with its Wi-Fi router with flat rates on mobile data across EU. Now they have announced closing the round with the pull of undisclosed European investors with total worth at €6 million for the development of Virtual SIM Card, which is promising to change the way consumers pay for roaming. Continue reading here.
Wakie allows users to request a wake-up call from a stranger using its app. The startup was founded in 2014 by Hrachik Adjamian and his brother Tatul. Recently, it has announced a $1M investment from Y Combinator and several US-based business-angels. The team also pivoted a new concept, which would allow users not only to wake up each other, but also to discuss absolutely any topic with someone who might know the answer. In summer of 2014, Wakie had already snagged a $1M funding from two Russian funds: Leta Capital and Titanium Venture Capital. Learn more on TechCrunch.
Michail Fridman, head of the International investment group LetterOne (L1), has become the third Russian Uber investor after Ziyavudin Magomedov and Alisher Usmanov. The amount of “strategic investment” constitutes $200 million. LetterOne specializes in retail, banking, telecoms and energy sectors. Its knowledge of the developing market might help the American company, which has entered Russia in 2013 and wasn’t able to sweep away the market as it did in other countries. For more info visit EWDN
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