When you hear that somebody is going to invest $3 million dollars into a company that is aiming to create a local version of CrunchBase and a platform for linking worldwide venture capitalists to the Russian startup ecosystem, your eyebrows should shift slightly upwards. After all that is a very sizable amount for such a service, so something must have gotten the investors excited.
Naturally we were very curious, so we got together with the CEO of RusBase, Marusya Podlesnova to figure it all out, and from the get-go it looks very promising. In essence what they want to do is to provide content, analytics, startup & investor services as well as a local startup database.
According to Podlesnova, the idea came from the fact that they have been successfully running StartupAfisha since 2010, a Russian version with similar services EDIT: I stand corrected, StartupAfisha did not have similar services before RusBase, but it was an inspiration and in fact is an aggregation platform of services and content for the Russian startup community. They got together with Black Ocean capital in February of 2011 and an investment was made into making not just another database but a single point of entry into the Russian market both for international investors and startups.
“I see our unique selling proposition in aggregation of content and services and also in the fact that we are perhaps the very first fully functional platform, that is available in English, for international investors and startups that want to enter the Russian market” says Podlesnova.
The project has three main target groups: international investors, local and international startups and media communities. For investors, they have developed a partner program to help enter the Russian market with a set of all the necessary services: recruitment, legal counsel, investor matchmaking. For international startups, they also provide a full set of services aiming to ease and make sense of entering the Russian market. Finally, the local start-ups benefit from increased chances of getting local and international investments and knowledge.
Currently they have 412 companies in the open start-up database and 41 in the exclusive, hand-picked for investors one. Every week they get about 20 pitches and they only choose a maximum of two to join the exclusive set. In terms of investors, they already have 26 local funds and 4 international ones with an aim to reach a network of 65 funds by the end of 2013. Keep in mind, they have only opened shop on the 30th of November 2012.
Russia is becoming a go-to market for the Nordic region as well, which we witnessed at Slush, so we are teaming up with RusBase in terms of content and also other areas of partnership. More exciting news on the matter will be available soon.