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Cisco to finance Russian start-ups

Cisco Systems announced its plans to expand on Russian technology market as a venture capitalist. To launch the initiative, Cisco also announced that it has made an investment in a leading Russian e-commerce site, Ozon. With this acquisition Ozon's top-management would be reappointed for the second time in the last half year. In October, 2006 Baring Vostok Private Equity Fund (BVPEF) bought the 50%+1 share of Ozon from its co-owner PPE Group and restored the total 85% share that it has owned until 2002. Along with Cisco's entrance, BVEPF announced it has sold a part of its share to Swedish fund Index Ventures (former Scype shareholder). According to sources familiar with the situation new shareholders got together 20% share of Ozon.ru, BVPEF holds another 65%.

"While Russia has low Internet penetration in terms of percentage of its overall population, in absolute terms it has as many Internet users as some Western European countries," said Bob Agee, vice president, Cisco Russia. "The amount of technical talent in Russia shows that the country is ready to become more technologically advanced. Increased investment in communications infrastructure can help improve productivity, diversify the economy and increase the standard of living across the country." The same reason made Esther Dyson from EDventure to bet for $5,000 with Intuit's chairman Bill Campbell that in 2012 Wall Street Journal and New York Times would call Russia the world leading software developer.

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