The European venture capital investors are going across the border and scouting for opportunities outside of their home markets, the ones that have proven business models and success stories. Take auFeminin.com, a women-centric network of sites with over 20 million monthly users founded in France in 2001. It was valued at EUR 284 million when Axel Springer acquired the company in July 2007. Here is a tip for a successful internet venture in Russia – replicate the best business model from the West and bring in Western investors to help with business relationship and exit strategy.
One of those businesses that has done it right so far is the leading Russian women-centric site WomanJournal.ru. It has just raised US$ 6 million from French venture capital investors Ventech Capital, XAnge Capital and AGF Private Equity, reported business daily newspaper Kommersant. As a result, the funds acquired a significant minority stake in WomanJournal.ru that got funding to expand the site content and offer new services.
WomanJournal.ru, which has more than 1.5 million monthly users, reported revenues of $1.5 million in 2007. The online ad spending on female web-sites in Russia is expected to increase to over $40 million in 2008 from $22 million in 2007.
Since July 2008, Quintura powers site search for LeLuxe.ru, a sister site of WomanJournal.ru. According to our statistics, over 25 percent site visitors of LeLuxe.ru use Quintura‘s search on the site, implying a very high conversion rate.
Quintura also provides site search and analytics solution for two other leading women-centric online sites in Russia such as Passion.ru and Russian Cosmopolitan magazine site, Cosmo.ru with 1.5 million and 1 million monthly users, respectively.
The other major sites for women in Russian Internet (RuNet) include Eva.ru (0.7 million users per month) and WDay.ru (0.8 million users). The latter was launched by Hachette Filipacchi Shkulev publishing house in November 2007 and pulls in content from Elle, Marie Claire and Psychologies magazines.
In December 2007, the Russian Cosmopolitan-publisher Indepenedent Media Sanoma acquired Ameno.ru, a horoscope site for women, for almost $3 million.