Press about RVC

Experts identify most active venture capital investors of the year

Source: RBC

In 2018, private investors, corporations, and venture capital funds from Russia invested more than $ 350 million, according to RVC experts’ estimates. The real figures are higher since many investors prefer to hide their transactions’ details.

The ranking of the most active venture capital investors from Russia, prepared by the Russian Venture Company (RVC) jointly with EY, the National Association of Business Angels and PwC, included 214 participants who made 685 deals for a total of $ 351 million, according to the rating presentation (RBC has it). The most active were venture funds, which accounted for 65% of known transactions. The share of transactions made by business angels, that is, private investors, was 24%, corporations — 11%.

According to another study by RVC, conducted jointly with Inc portal, total investments in Russian startups in 2018 alone amounted to more than 26.7 billion rubles. ($ 388 million at the current rate of the Central Bank), with 12.6 billion rubles. ($ 183 million) received from foreign investors.

When creating the ranking, RVC experts took into account transactions concluded from December 2017 to December 2018. The ranking was made based on open data on transactions as well as a survey of market participants. The activities of corporate investors were analyzed for the first time.

Following the results of 2018, Joint-Stock Financial Corporation Sistema (AFK Sistems) was recognized as the most active corporate venture capital investor. It made 15 transactions.

As Deputy General Director and RVC Investment Director Alexei Basov noted, all the three categories of investors had long been operating in the Russian venture capital market and there were no fundamental obstacles for their work at the time.

“We see that the number of investors is growing, purchase size is increasing in general, corporations are actively exploring the market and are starting to make significant deals. The legal framework is improving, increasingly approaching international standards for investment transactions,” he said.

Hard to count

It is difficult to determine the exact volume of the venture capital market since many investors do not disclose the amounts of invested funds, and sometimes assets into which funds are directed. Private investors and corporations get secretive in particular.

“Such “secrecy” always has individual reasons. First, each transaction is unique both in its composition and structure. Secondly, if a startup develops a unique technology, the corporation may wish that competitors do not know anything about it,” explained representative of Sberbank Press Service.

Elena Volotovskaya, Vice President for Investments at Softline and Head of Softline Venture Partners Foundation, agrees that when it comes to investments solely for the benefit of a corporation, “disclosure of this information may indeed be very sensitive in terms of development strategy in its market”.

However, secrecy is not peculiar to everyone. Alexei Katkov, managing partner of AFK Sistema, noted that the corporation discloses information on transactions of its venture funds.

“In 2018, the investments of venture funds of AFK Sistema exceeded $ 100 million, which is significantly higher than last year,” he said.

Alexey Basov is sure that the market opacity is not so much connected with the corporate activities or other participants’ secrecy, as with its immaturity.

“The experience of many mature markets shows that the transparency of information about transactions and the activities of players work for all of its participants,” he said.

Contributed by: Alexandra Posypkina, Yevgeniya Balenko.

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