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Four FRII graduates secure seed investment

0 7 February 2014

The first batch of startups completed their three month stay in the Internet Initiative Development Foundation (FRII in Russian) incubator last week. 

Of the 50 projects initially chosen to take part, 29 actually took up their places in the central-Moscow incubator in October and 20 completed the program. Of these, four secured a $250,000-450,000 investment from the state-owned fund, while another two will be funded if a private co-investor can be found. 

The foundation is one of the President’s pet projects, and has been dubbed by some “Putin’s Skolkovo”. Putin personally promoted the idea before the project was officially launched in July last year, and he welcomed a delegation including many FRII residents to his country residence at Novo Ogaryovo in November, where he promised more funding (on top of the $190 million already promised) if necessary. 

When the startups entered the incubator in October they received around $25,000 in return for a 7% stake. Each project was assessed and given a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to fulfil during their time in the program. 20 out of 29 managed to do so.

Out of these 20 projects, four succeeded in attracting a $250,000 - $450,000 seed investment from FRII: ReAction, Picture Manipulation Inspector, Dr Tariff and All Recovery Services of Russia (Vsye Evakuatory Rossii). 

ReAction was created by Skolkovo resident Vision Labs, which is aiming to provide an all-in-one video solution for the banking, retail, biometrics and security sectors. It currently offers face and vehicle license-plate recognition for video and images. 
Astrakhan startup “All Recovery Services of Russia” has created an app that allows drivers to order a recovery vehicle or technical support at the same time. The app also sends their location to the control centre. During their time at FRII they increased their sales from 5 per month to 1500, which was enough to attract investment not only from the state-owned fund, but also from an unnamed private investor. 
Dr Tariff, a Moscow-based project, is a free Android app that helps users get the best tariff for their mobile phones. It also received investment from an unnamed investor.
The only project publicly backed by a private fund was Picture Manipulation Inspector, a service created by St. Petersburg firm SMTDP Tech Ltd. It received funding from Flint Capital, who reckon that the startup is capable of claiming 10% of the global market for measuring digital-image authenticity, which it estimates to be worth $1 billion. You can read more about the deal here

Looking forward, FRII is planning to build on the success of the first accelerator program by adding pre-accelerator and post-accelerator programs. 

The pre-accelerator is a distance-learning program designed to prepare startups for either acceleration, raising funds from investors, or both. The fund hopes to pre-accelerate more than 2000 projects per year, and the application process is already open.

The post-accelerator will give accelerated projects the opportunity to consult with fund-representatives once a fortnight and to attend masterclasses and other relevant events at FRII. 

Top image via Shutterstock

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