Meet the top Russian
entrepreneurs under 30
How do we know who is the best of the best?
Read more on methodology
Founder of LinguaLeo
The founder of the LinguaLeo English language learning service with the 4.5 million people audience. The investment into the project totals $3.2 million and $100 000 come from personal capital. The company successfully entered the Brazilian market in 2012. The business idea came up on holiday in Thailand. The company is now in top three worldwide, #1 in Russia. Best start-up of the year in 2008.
BIT 2011 award, winner.
Young Lions 2011 contest, winner.
Founder of Xsolla
The founder of Xsolla, a payment services provider, Aleksandr is originally from Russia, and now lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Xsolla (previously 2pay), is a market leader in Russia and the CIS working with over 1000 game developers and publishers: Gameforge, Bigpoint, Nekki, InnoGames, Wargaming, Innova Systems, Mail.ru, Valve, Riot Games, Ubisoft, Goodgame Studios, CCP Games, etc.
It is a leading developer of payment solutions for games with over 500 payment methods. Xsolla has offices in Russia, Ukraine, and Korea. A European office is to be opened soon. The company has 120 staff members. The market share is about 20% of all game payments in Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe.
Xsolla presence on American, European, and Asian markets is also very strong and continues to see stable growth.
Founder of Empatika
The founder of the business developing mobile apps for global market (own products, no commissions). The company employs 17 people. Bayram sets the market share at 0.5% with 370 000 apps users in 2013. The project has raised $300 000 in investment. Currently 60% users are in the US, Norway, Russia, UK. The company plans to develop further in these markets and become an app #1 for users travelling by air.
Founder of Look at Me
Co-founder of Look At Media, a digital publishing house with the audience of 4 million unique users per month. Look At Media unites popular web-sites Lookatme.ru, the-village.ru, hopesandfears.com, furfurmag.ru (FurFur) and wonderzine.com.
The publishing house is one of the market leaders in terms of creating and placing unusual media adverts and has been awarded many Russian and foreign advertising awards, including the Cannes Golden Eagle.
In 2012 Association of Communication Agencies of Russia called Look At Media became top digital agency (which is not strictly speaking an agency).
The company employs 130 people. Look At Media is a niche audience project. Our readers are well-educated, well off opinion leaders. The media internet-advertising market share was 1% in 2012 with over 4 million unique visitors per month. There is no raised investment; the company has grown from its own capital from the start.
There is huge potential in developing into the European, US, Latin American and Asian markets.
Founder of Wheely
The mobile app for hailing a premium-cab is currently working in Moscow, Perm, London and more European cities are to be covered soon. The project is almost at the breakeven point, and the founder is planning a first round of investment raising to scale out into new cities. While Wheely guarantees the service by a new non-brand car, the company does not own a single car serving its clients. Drivers come to join Wheely voluntarily, some of them team up to buy Mercedes E and S class cars as the company offers more attractive terms than the competitors from the taxi service sector. Apart from the standard system of driver appraisal, there’s a system of passenger appraisal. Passengers may be blocked from service after repeated disrespectful behaviour with the drivers.
Founder of Virool
Born in Rostov region, he moved to the US at an early age. He won the competition for young entrepreneurs at Babson college, one of the best entrepreneurial colleges in the US. Co-founded the global students-entrepreneurs’ community Kairos, launched a video-marketing project Virool, which at the first round of venture funding raised $6 million.
Founder of KupiKupon
Founded the leading multi-national internet company, specialising on the development and management of discount services, customer loyalty schemes and high-tech VAS. The company counts some 15 million people in Russia, Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia. The company employs 230 people and has 50 000 merchants.
Market share in Russia is 30% and over 40% in other countries.
The business is worth around $75-100 million.
The only transnational company in this market with Russian origins (international assets make up about 25% of revenue). There are plans of vertical integration.
The founder of the biggest social network on the post-Soviet market and one of the largest in the world after having. The company started up from successfully copying the Facebook model. After the Vkontakte success, he started charitable and venture investment activities.
Founder of Ostrovok
Co-founder of Ostrovok, the leading local hotel booking service in Russia and CIS. He is in charge of the operational and financial activity, search marketing. The company has 135 staff members. About 10% Russian-speaking users booking hotels online do that through Ostrovok. At the start of 2013 there were 1 million visitors per month and 100 000 clients. $38 million raised in investment from General Catalyst Partners, Accel Partners, Founders Fund etc. Kirill is building an innovative technological and marketing platform for hotel sales and travel product production. At the moment the company is focused on Russia and CIS, and plans to compete globally in the long-term. One of the objectives is to be an example of how tech-companies can be built in Russia, and set a benchmark for them.
Founder of Workle
The founder of Workle – the official internet employer (over 120 companies in 80 regions). The company employs 80 people and has 400 000 users (target amount by 2013 is 600 000).
Workle is one of the most dynamically developing business models LAAS with no rivals so far. The growth rate is 25-30%. The company has offices in CIS and plans to open in Brazil and India. The market share is 100%.
$11 million raised in investment.
Entering the international market is very cheap for an internet-platform, so the company is likely to operate worldwide soon.
A young entrepreneur, son of a professional armourer.
Basing on his father’s inventions, he launched a few products in demand for lifeguards, special services staff and the military. He is currently managing the new products development and is investing in new perspective technologies.
Founder of Displair
Founder of Displair – the developer and producer of the first air displays with the MultiTouch system of gesture recognition. The sales launch is planned for autumn 2013, the company is currently taking pre-sale orders. The company employs 80 people and has raised $3.8 million investment capital. The target countries for the business are the US, China, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Italy, Australia, the Middles Eastern countries (UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait), Mexico, South Africa. There are official distributors in the US, Spain, Russia, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan.
General Director at VCV
General director/shareholder in VCV – a cloud service for online candidates interviewing. The company has raised over $1 million in investment funds and employs 10 people. It is currently developing recruitment in the regions and has got over 20 clients, big Russian companies, since its launch in March 2013.
Founder of RealtimeBoard
Andrey is co-founder and CEO of RealtimeBoard, SaaS collaborative service. RealtimeBoard is an endless online whiteboard where you can post pictures, videos and documents, draw, add notes, comments, post-its and do whatever you would normally do on a whiteboard but do it from the comfort of your own home or your office. Now there are almost 200 000 users all over the world, most of them work as entrepreneurs, project managers, developers, creative specialists.
There are 15 people working in the company, which is planning an international expansion next year.
DEMO Europe winner.
Cisco I-Prize winner.
He used to have 13% share in Vkontakte, which was sold in 2013. Co-founder of Selektel, the biggest chain of data-centres in Russia and the biggest hosting company in Russia. There are 6 data-centres in action with 120 employees. The market share is at least 15% in Russia. It counts 3 250 clients and plans to open foreign platforms in the next 1.5 years.
Founder of Ostrovok
Co-founder of Ostrovok, the leading local hotel booking service in Russia and CIS. He is in charge of the product strategy and brand marketing. Graduated from Oxford University majoring in mathematics. Aged 22 founded YouNoodle – the biggest entrepreneurs’ and innovators’ movement worldwide. In 2009 started Quid, the leading information provider on new enterprises worldwide. He is among top-30 most influential Runet people according to Forbes.ru 2011. The company employs 135 people. About 10% Russian-speaking users booking hotels online do that through Ostrovok. There were 1 million visitors per month and 100 000 clients at the beginning of 2013. $38 million raised investment from General Catalyst Partners, Accel Partners, Founders Fund etc. Kirill is building an innovative technological and marketing platform for hotel sales and travel product production. At the moment the company is focused on Russia and CIS, and plans to compete globally in the long-term. One of the objectives is to be an example of how tech-companies can be built in Russia, set a benchmark for them.
Founder of Groupon
The founder of the coupon marketing company Darberry (Groupon model), which Groupon then bought. At the moment is working at launching a Russian project in quality online education.
Founder of DishFM
The founder of the DishFM start-up – a mobile application which allows to assess (and chose basing on this assessment) individual menu entries in restaurants rather than restaurants themselves. The app is catching up in the US. At the venture round of investment the company raised $300 000.
Co-Founder at Vkontakte
Lev Leviev’s partner, co-founder Selektel - the biggest chain of data-centres in Russia and the biggest hosting company in Russia. There are 6 data-centres in action with 120 employees. The market share is at least 15% in Russia. It counts 3 250 clients and plans to open foreign platforms in the next 1.5 years.
The founder of Bear Hostels, the biggest and the best known chain of hostels in Moscow. The company has 25 staff members and outsources about 50 more people. The Moscow market makes up 12.5%. Investor capital is $1 million, planned investment lines by the end of the year total $1.5 million, $2.2 million for the new launches. The plan is to grow in Russia till 2018 and then expand into the CIS.
CEO and co-founder of RusBase, the media and service platform serving the whole Russian venture market. This is an infrastructure industry player which also transfers the market events onto the international audience and promotes venture industry in Russia. The business is quickly growing. The company almost hit the annual break-even in 8 months. The company employs 14 people. Its share in the media niche market is 30%. RusBase produces a few product lines for different target audiences- investors and funds, entrepreneurs and business accelerators. The partnership RusBase programme now counts 66 funds and 28 private investors. Individual start-up package work is led with 10 clients. The provider programmes for accelerators there are currently 4 regional clients and has established contacts with 14 different regions. The current investor (Black Ocea) and a few potential new investors assess RusBase at $2.5 million worth. The company attracted $650 000 in 2012 at the a-round from Black Ocean NY. RusBase is planning to expand internationally in the near future.
The developer and founder of the innovative navigation systems WayRay, which will be installed in the Marussia sportcars. The company operates actively in the US, employs augmented reality systems.
He’s a programmer, internet entrepreneur and a businessman with $40 million fortune in 2012. The Kefir design-studio develops internet games, extremely popular apps in social networks. He is listed in Hopes&Fears’ 25 most successful young entrepreneurs in Russia. The cost of gaming extras – cigarettes, tattoos etc – $9.5 million per annum.
Founder of Trends Brands
Trends Brands – is the only ecommerce business in Russia where young people can buy a fashionable catwalk item at the mass market price. The company employs 50 people, and has over 30 000 unique visitors daily. The company’s roughly worth $20 million and plan to expand into the CIS market in 2015-2016.
Founder of i-Ogorod
A serial entrepreneur. The founder of AT Energy, a hydrogen producing start-up, Awear.me – and internet service on product search in offline sops, Stopsleep - a start-up producing gadgets controlling drivers or on shift from falling asleep. Plans to dominate in the Russian hydrogen engine market. Stopsleep is set on international expansion. Аvear.me has 20 000 users. Raised investment: AT Energy: $120 000 plus commitments for $500 000, Awear.me - $100 000, Stopsleep $350 000.
Founder of Sotmarket
The founder of an Internet-shop with a unique range of items on sale: over 200 000 SKU from data cables to children toys. A retailer delivering orders across Russian from Kalinigrad to Khabarovsk.
The company employs over 1000 people. Its market share is hard to define as the market is immature. Sotmarket is among top-10 biggest Internet-shops and top-5 online electronics retailers. The web-site is visited by 300 000 people daily, the shop has up to 50 000 customers monthly.
At the moment the company aims at the CIS market. There are orders from the neighbouring countries, the delivery and customs procedures are being fine-tuned. The company is generally positive about expanding internationally.
The founder of Smart Start – the platform for search and selection of new generation professionals for rapidly growing companies and creating tools for Social Recruitment. The company employs 7 people. At present SmartStart is just entering the market and the share is insignificant. Some 60 000 candidates are using the apps in the social networks Vkontakte and Facebook. The investment raised reaches $300 000.
The staff search and selection is a business with great scaling perspectives. “We are helping rapidly growing companies (start-ups) to find key people for driving their business. Our clients enter new markets using our help among other tools and we develop our expertise in the new markets”
Founder at Eastbanc Technologies
Eastbanc Technologies – a group of software development companies for multi-industry companies enterprises in Russia, Europe and USA. The development centres are located in Novosibirsk, Berlin and Washington. Eastbanc Technologies holds top partnership status with Microsoft, MicroStrategy, SAS. At the core of its staff are highly professional experts in Microsoft, Java, Mobile (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Titanium), MicroStrategy, SAS.
Eastbanc Technologies’ clients are scores of organisations across the world including such market leaders as S7 Arilines, BKS, Ingosstrakh, International Monetary Fund, Washington Post, Microsoft, as well as governmental bodies in Russia and the USA.
Founder of Usalytics
The founder of the programming company Itima which has successfully operated for a few years with an annual growth at 50%. At present he launches a new project – Usalytics which allows to change the approach at the core of the web-site traffic analysis and therefore to the network marketing in general. The project has won a few Start-up competitions’ awards.
Founder of Knopka Zhizni
The found of the Knopka Zhizni (the Life Button) – the first in Russia system of emergency help service for old and disabled people. It works at the intersection of IT and telecoms. The best known and awarded company in 2011-2013. In 2013 the revenues grew by 200%. Eleven franchises were opened in Russian regions, the client base has reached 10 000 clients. The big long term target is IPO in 10 years. The company employs about 60 people. The market share is 70% with about 10 000 users. $2 million raised in investment. The plan is to grow the business in 10 years into a highly technological company with shares traded on Russian and foreign stock exchanges. The company holds 60% of the medical alarms market and 20% of the mobile medicine in the CIS, actively moving further abroad. The business is diversified in the direction of the services and production (development and sale of own devices). The markets shows high rates of growth and gets closer to the western in terms of turnover volume.