A new Russian venture capital fund worth $10M

A new Russian venture capital fund worth $10MLIFE Financial Group creates Life.SREDA venture fund. The vice president for marketing of LIFE Financial Group Vladislav Solodkiy will manage the Fund. The initial amount of investment in the Fund will be $10M, and the average investment in a project will be about $1M. Thus, the fund intends to enter 10 projects next year.

Sergey Leontiev, the CEO of the group, comments the importance of the project: I believe that there will be a lot of highly specialized projects on the Internet in the near future, especially those related to financial services. Our financial group should be the best starting point for such projects - we offer expertise in addition to capital, license and our own client base to start. On the one hand, investments in such projects may become good investments in the future, on the other hand, they will increase existing customers’ loyalty and the growth of non-interest income from current products and services. In consideration of the dynamics of sales of mobile devices and mobile Internet traffic growth, we are particularly interested in projects in mobile industry. In general, the banking industry itself should change radically in the near future. Such foreign projects as Simple show that banks may become banal commodity-services providers, and the main margin and customer loyalty will be concentrated at the owners of communications with clients.

Life.SREDA, according to its founders, will provide a number of options in addition to such basic services as capital, back office, office space. First of all, the examination and licensing in the financial sector. Secondly, the ability to monetize through indirect results - CRM users data aggregation, synergy with existing products and services of the group. Third - the ability to be independent and not committed. The Founders of the Fund emphasize that the corporate culture of the financial group was originally built as a flat-organized business incubator rather than a regulated vertically hierarchical and unwieldy company. Fourth, the Foundation works with project at any stage. And finally, fifth: it has a great distribution network with deep penetration and staff able to sell ‘heavy’ products. But the most important, according to Vladislav Solodky, is the sixth: our own customer base which includes 3 M natural persons and 100 K legal entities which allows you to scale the projects in timely manner.

Vladislav Solodkiy also disclosed the current status of projects in the fund: We have already invested in two projects, two more are being signed. The key advantage of our fund in talks with startups is a corporate culture of the entire financial group. Talented guys see that we are very quick in making decisions, mobile and flexible in negotiations and not trying to merge the project team. Most funds work for about 3-5 years with the projects and they want to spend less, and then exit faster with more money gained. We build our own ecosystem, and it is a long and not easy way.

LIFE Financial Group (www.life-group.ru) consists of 8 banks (Probusinessbank, Express-Volga Bank Gazenergobank, VUZ-Bank, Bank24.ru, Life Bank, National Savings Bank, a Bureau of financial decisions Go!), it has about 3 million natural persons, 100K legal persons, 16K employees and more than 700 offices.