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Cisco expands investment in Russia tech industry

Posted: 08 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:venture capital? Russia technology industry? telecommunications?

Cisco has furthered its investment in the Russian technology industry with an anchor investment in a venture capital fund that will focus on Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In collaboration with Almaz Capital Partners, Cisco has made the anchor investment in Almaz Capital Russia Fund I, L.P., which has initially closed at $60 million. Almaz Capital Partners will seek investment opportunities and manage the fund's investments. The target companies for the fund primarily include high-growth small and medium-sized companies in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. Cisco will pursue investment opportunities in technology-related start-ups in the region, both directly as well as indirectly through this regional venture fund.

"Today's announcement underscores Cisco's recognition of the innovation and potential that the Russia technology market offers," said Paul Mountford, president of emerging markets for Cisco. "As part of its globalization strategy, Cisco's intention is to strengthen links to key centers of innovation. The growing number of start-ups originating from the region is reflective of the growing importance of the technology sector to Russia's continued socio-economic development and competitiveness."

Cisco has already announced key direct investment commitments to the Russian market, including a stake last year in Ozon, the leading Russian online retailer. "Russia is unique relative to other emerging venture capital markets, in that it offers both innovation and market opportunities. Like Israel, Russia has tremendous technology and innovation potential, and similar to China and India, it has a large and fast growing enterprise and consumer market," said Peter Loukianoff, managing partner of Almaz Capital Partners. "Russia has a growing community of savvy entrepreneurs that are building companies based on both innovative technologies for global markets and proven business models for the internal Russian/CIS market."

Yoav Samet, head of Cisco's corporate development for Israel, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia/CIS, will lead the new initiative.

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