With Russia's internet scene really starting to hot up, and the former Soviet republics also showing a good degree of web promise, Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO) has teamed with Russia's Almaz Capital Partners to create a $60 million fund for the region's technology, media and telecoms sector. The networks company made its first Russian investment in April 2007 when it joined Index Ventures to put $18 million in etailer Ozon. Now it says the fastest international growth is in areas like eastern Europe, which counts the former Russian states of Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia, according to Reuters: "Targets could include communications service providers, media companies, and content development companies." They will be targeted at mid-size outfits.
Russian portals Yandex and Mail.ru are planning big IPOs. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer in May toured central and eastern Europe and Russia, calling it "one of the world's most exciting areas for investment".
By Robert Andrews