Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, has invested an undisclosed amount in Seedcamp, the London-based incubator. Seedcamp’s sponsors include internet giants like Google, Microsoft, and PayPal, but this is the first time a major company has hopped on board as an investor. The company therefore gains an indirect share in all of the participating countries, and will participate in the selection of the startups.
As for the reasoning behind this move, Yandex says:
In its new role, Yandex will have an excellent opportunity to watch over and directly contribute to the startup market in Europe. Conversely, the European startup teams will benefit from Yandex’s expertise in technology and knowlege of the Russian internet market.
The company also points out that last year it started its own seed investment program called Yandex.Factory, which also provides mentoring and investment.
The Russian internet market is still a Yukon Territory wild-west style gold rush, so I’m sure Seedcamp companies will greatly benefit from any advice in taking advantage of the lack of attention given to Russia from most European and U.S. based companies.