GVA © 2017

17 May, Wed
The thaw of the Russian venture market

After two years of apathy, the Russian venture market showed signs of revival in 2016, reveals the latest edition of the Russian venture report published annually by RG Partners, in partnership with EY and East-West Digital News.

From the seed stage to maturity deals, venture investment amounted to $894 million last year, up from just $383 million in 2015. “Market growth was essentially driven by a dramatic increase in expansion deals, whereas the volume of seed- and startup-stage deals fell to new lows,” notes Arseniy Dabbakh of RG Partners

While the total number of deals at all stages was approximately the same (around 300), the average deal value jumped from $1.3 million in 2015 to $3 million in 2016. Last year also saw 11 exits, with transactions amounting to $663 million, up from just $11 million in 2015.

“The euphoria of 2012-2013 was followed by two years of apathy as the international sanctions against Russia, the plunge of oil prices and of the ruble alike took their toll. The upturn in exits in 2016 makes us hope that a significant part of this money will come back to the innovation ecosystem this year,” says EY Partner Anton Ustimenko.

Key Russian VC market figures in 2016

Key trends in 2016:

Analysis by segment:

  • In 2016, traditional B2B technologies (corporate management systems, platforms, e-commerce and search/recommendations) shrank by a half or more, while service start-ups reigned supreme —  in which the authors of the report see a possible “sign of uberization.”
  • Software and Internet remained investors’ favorite playground, with VC preferences shifting from social networks and e-commerce to education and gaming.
  • Investment in industrial tech was on the rise with the involvement of several corporations and private-public partnerships. State-backed or state-related investors were also active this segment, in line with the government’s strategy to develop the national economy.

On the investor side:

  • In 2016, private VC funds and corporations focused on the growth and expansion stages.
  • Angel investment was vibrant, including the formation of angel and micro-angel investor groups as well as P2P and crowdfunding platforms. Last year also saw a new wave of investments from what appears to be a new type of private venture capitalists, including senior corporate executives and SME leaders, both in Moscow and in the regions.
  • State-backed or state-related investors continued to support startups at the seed and start-up stages, remaining key investors in certain segments, even though an increasing part of this support took the form of grants rather than equity investments.
  • On the corporate side, 2016 appears as a year of transition. Several Russian corporations made noticeable moves, from startup acceleration to acquisitions, to corporate venturing initiatives. Thus new funds were set up by such powerful players as Sberbank, Rostelecom, AFK Sistema and others. However, a range of Russian corporations have not clearly defined their innovation and venture strategies yet and remained little active in 2016. “There is huge potential for more efficient interactions between venture funds and corporations, and this area could drive an upturn in the venture market in 2017,” believes Ustimenko.

In addition:

  • Several of the Russian venture funds of the first generation are now raising new money. This is no easy task since the key investors for Russia’s VC funds are not institutions (as elsewhere in the world), but high net worth individuals and their families – a relatively small population, a part of which is already deeply involved in venture investment.
  • In 2016, many Russian VC funds continued to invest in foreign startups — an orientation which started in 2011 and accelerated in 2014-2015, with Russian investors seeking abroad better profitability in dollar terms. (The present report, however, reflects essentially domestic investment activity.)

June 2017
22 June, Thursday
X-Ray Eyes in the Sky

UCSB researchers have proposed a new method for 3D through-wall imaging that utilizes drones and WiFi

21 June, Wednesday
Why Atlanta is a great place for startups

Atlanta has long been a hub for big companies—think Home Depot, UPS, Cisco, and Coca-Cola—and now it’s quickly becoming the tech startup center of the South

20 June, Tuesday
Global risk analysis gets an artificial intelligence upgrade with GeoQuant

The global risk analysis used by big banks, hedge funds, and governments to inform their decision-making around everything from foreign currency investment to foreign aid is getting the machine learning treatment with the launch of the new startup GeoQuant.

May 2017
31 May, Wednesday
Elon Musk's Solar Roofs Have Some Serious (and Seriously Cheap) Competition

A team of researchers in Australia has created a solution that could make solar energy far more accessible.

25 May, Thursday
Airbnb is running its own internal university to teach data science

Tech companies, and increasingly even non-tech companies, are struggling with the fact that there are not enough trained data scientists to fill market demand. 

23 May, Tuesday
IKEA launches online sales and builds giant distribution center in Russia

Illustrating the appeal of the Russian e-commerce market, IKEA Russia has made a substantial part of its assortment available online to the inhabitants of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and their surrounding areas, as well as of several cities of Siberia, the Far East, the Central and Northwestern federal districts.

22 May, Monday
2017 VC Market: U.S. Startup Investment Picks Up In Q1

U.S. startup investment activity somewhat rebounded after a downturn late last year, with larger rounds and an improving environment for tech IPOs. However, funding totals are still below the highs set several quarters ago...

18 May, Thursday
Russian programing language - Kotlin - on Android. Now official

Today, at the Google I/O keynote, the Android team announced first-class support for Kotlin. We believe this is a great step for Kotlin, and fantastic news for Android developers as well as the rest of our community. We’re thrilled with the opportunities this opens up.

17 May, Wednesday
The thaw of the Russian venture market

From the seed stage to maturity deals, venture investment amounted to $894 million last year, up from just $383 million in 2015. “Market growth was essentially driven by a dramatic increase in expansion deals, whereas the volume of seed- and startup-stage deals fell to new lows,” notes Arseniy Dabbakh of RG Partners

16 May, Tuesday
Mid-sized Japanese firms invest in robots and automation due to labor shortage

Desperate to overcome Japan’s growing shortage of labor, mid-sized companies are planning to buy robots and other equipment to automate a wide range of tasks, including manufacturing, earthmoving and hotel room service.

According to a Bank of Japan survey, companies with share capital of 100 million yen to 1 billion yen plan to boost investment in the fiscal year that started in April by 17.5 percent, the highest level on record.

15 May, Monday
Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars

SAN FRANCISCO — As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the public intensifies, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players are teaming up.

12 May, Friday
Apple invested $200 million in a company that helped make the first iPhone

Apple isn't out to get all of its third-party suppliers, it seems. 

The company has handed $200 million (£155 million) to one of its most important suppliers for the iPhone — glass and ceramics maker Corning.

11 May, Thursday
Nvidia announced a plan to go up against Amazon, Google and Microsoft

Nvidia announced the launch of a cloud service for developers to train artificial intelligence models. But the company, whose stock has been on a tear this week, already sells its graphics processing units to the biggest cloud companies to do just that. What it means is that Nvidia plans to directly compete with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure, and Alphabet's Google Cloud Platform.

10 May, Wednesday
Amazon unveils the $230 Echo Show, with a screen for calls, shipping June 28

Look out, world: Alexa is coming to a screen near you. Today Amazon unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo range of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.

05 May, Friday
Startup investment in Central and Eastern Europe: A ground-breaking research

Already recognized for their engineering excellence, several countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are now emerging on the global startup scene. Thus for the past couple of years Belarus, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine...

04 May, Thursday
Apple to create $1 billion U.S. advanced manufacturing fund

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) plans to create a $1 billion fund to invest in U.S. companies that perform advanced manufacturing, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said on Wednesday, the iPhone maker's latest effort to show how it is creating U.S. jobs. Read more...

03 May, Wednesday
Data management startup Rubrik confirms $180M round at a $1.3B valuation

Rubrik, a startup that provides data backup and recovery services for enterprises across both cloud and on-premises environments, has closed a $180 million round of funding that values the company at $1.3 billion. 

02 May, Tuesday
New Zealand Launches A Three-Year Visa Program For Impact Entrepreneurs

New Zealand recently launched a first-of-its kind program for global impact entrepreneurs interested in setting up shop in the country.

April 2017
28 April, Friday
Robinhood stock-trading app confirms $110M raise at $1.3B valuation

Zero-fee stock-trading app Robinhood has joined the unicorn club.That’s thanks to it reaching 2 million total users, and 17 percent month-over-month growth of its revenue-driving Robinhood Gold subscription product. 

27 April, Thursday
Uber looks to soar with flying taxis by 2020

Uber expects to deploy its flying taxis in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai by 2020, Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas on Tuesday.