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Internet Initiatives Development Fund starts accepting applications for financing

July 15, 2013, 2:57 UTC+3
The Fund will not support projects related to excise goods, religion, politics and legislatively restricted goods
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MOSCOW, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Internet Initiatives Development Fund established last March starts accepting applications for financing, the Fund’s director, Kirill Varlamov, told the Izvestia daily.

“We plan to invest into most different projects related to the Internet, including “wide-ranging” ones. For instance, these can be projects regarding the improvement of space around (urban planning), education, living standards (roads, environment),” he said.

The Fund will not support projects related to excise goods, religion, politics and legislatively restricted goods and services (medicines, drugs, etc.)

Both startups and successful online businesses, which need funds for further development, will be able to compete for financing, Varlamov said.

“The existing infrastructure of the market focuses on mature projects and there are a few of them. We will invest in online projects at most different stages. At this moment almost nobody does this in Russia,” he said.

The Internet Initiatives Development Fund manages 6 billion roubles. During three years over 400 Russian Internet projects will be able to bid for this money.

Executive Investment Manager at ABRT Venture Fund Andrei Gershfeld said 6 billion roubles are “a typical volume” and Russia’s top ten venture internet funds manage similar capitals.

“However, the Internet Initiatives Development Fund pursues a non-typical strategy. Usually this sum is given not to 400, but to a smaller number of projects, approximately 30-40,” Gershfeld said. “In general, good projects in Russia have no problems to attract 15 million roubles. More often it is much more difficult to find money for the next stage of financing.”

There are over 120 venture funds in Russia, whose interests are concentrated on the Internet, he said. Even more projects appear, but a percentage of investment attractive projects does not change and remains low.

The Internet Initiatives Development Fund was established by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. E-libraries, websites of charitable education and distance learning could get the Fund’s support.

The Fund’s management highlights that the Internet Initiatives Development Fund faces more large-scale tasks as compared to other venture investment companies. Aside from financing Internet projects the Fund plans to inject funds into the development of broader infrastructure necessary for successful implementation of online projects and to carry out education programmes.

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