The venture capital fund VTB Venture Fund invested $4 million (100 million rubles) in EZtalk, a mobile callback service operated in Russia by Simbiotel Limited company, reported newspaper RBC Daily. EZTalk helps save on international calls from mobile. The callback service market in Russia was valued at $60 million in 2007, of which mobile callback accounted for several millions, the daily said.
Founded by private individuals in 2007, EZtalk started providing services in January 2008 and now has 30,000 users. With accelerated marketing spending, the service could reach several million subscribers out of more than 140 million mobile users in Russia.
EZtalk requires registration via its web-site and download of its application to mobile phone. After topping up an account via a payment terminal, user can make calls to Europe, US, Canada and some other countries for about $0.30 per minute or to anywhere in Russia for $0.15 per minute. EZtalk has interoperability agreements for voice traffic with several long-distance and international telecom operators including Rostelecom and Orange.
VTB Venture Fund (ВТБ – Фонд венчурный), which was formed in September 2007, is managed by VTB Asset Management, part of banking group VTB.
In June 2008, VTB Venture Fund invested in provider of indoor-advertising and interactive marketing solutions BS Graphics (Б.С. Графика).