When the growth of generic Russian social network sites Odnoklassniki.ru and Vkontakte is plateauing, the investors start paying more attention to niche social networks. One such social network for young parents, MiniBanda.ru (МиниБанда) has raised $50,000 from AddVenture. As a result, a YCombinator-inspired seed stage venture firm AddVenture obtained a blocking minority stake in MiniBanda. The site reminds me of ParentsConnect, a Nickelodeon’s parenting social network site.
Launched in May 2008, MiniBanda.ru offers parents an opportunity to write an electronic diary and place pictures of their kids. The diary can be customized and printed out. The parents can also join online communities to share opinions about their kids’ life. The site, whose name can be translated as “mini gang”, draws more than 2,500 daily visitors.
MiniBanda, which has more than 20,000 registered users, plans to launch online shop of “recommended” children goods including those under the MiniBanda label in September 2009.
We develop and operate a visual-based kids’-friendly search engine, Quintura for Kids (English version here) which can be utilized by the MiniBanda community.
AddVenture invests $10,000-$50,000 per start-up and helps prepare company for the next round of venture funding. Its investment portfolio includes WiFi/GSM-based positioning social service Wi2GEO, online do-it-yourself interior design service RooMix, iPhone music recommendation service TuneStory, and social network for cinema professionals KinoKrug.