SAN JOSE and MOSCOW, April 7, 2009 - Almaz Capital Russia Fund I (the "Fund" or "Almaz Capital/Cisco Russia Fund I"), which is managed by Almaz Capital Partners ("Almaz" or "Almaz Capital"), today announced its first investments in the Apollo Project ("Apollo") and Parallels, Inc. In July 2008, the Fund announced that it completed an initial closing with a $30 million anchor investment from Cisco.
Apollo, the Fund's first investment, is an early-stage company that allows digital communities and social networking sites to effectively extend their services to mobile devices. Founded in 2006 and based in Moscow, Apollo is partnering with global carriers, media companies, and Internet service providers and offering white-label solutions to help them reach and monetize mobile subscribers. Its core technology, Apollo Platform, is an online service and technical infrastructure that allows customers to create and maintain mobile social networks, integrate mobile social networking features into Web sites and mobile devices, and create SMS messaging services for marketing campaigns. For more information, please visit www.apollopr.ru.
Parallels is a later-stage company and worldwide leader in virtualization and automation software that optimizes computing for consumers, businesses, and service providers across all major hardware, operating systems, and virtualization platforms. Parallels' specific focus is mass-market cloud service providers offering compute platform, application platform, applications and online services for small and medium-sized businesses. Founded in 1999, Parallels is a fast-growing company with 700 employees in North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.parallels.com.
"These investments demonstrate the fact that technology is truly global in nature," said Alexander (Sasha) Galitsky, co-founder and managing partner of Almaz Capital Partners. "Both Apollo and Parallels were founded and have roots in Russia, but their products are applicable to the global market. In the past, we have helped both early-stage companies like Apollo and later-stage companies like Parallels achieve higher growth rates and expand globally, and we aim to repeat this process and success with the companies in which we invest."
"Russia's information and communications technology market has huge economic and innovation potential," said Robert Agee, Cisco vice president for Russia. "Recognizing this potential, Cisco's intention is to accelerate the introduction of new technologies and provide a competitive advantage through early investments in burgeoning technical innovations. Cisco, through the Fund, will continue to seek appropriate investment opportunities in Russia to support high-growth small and medium-sized companies in the technology, digital media and telecommunications sectors."
"The Internet is breaking down barriers and borders. Russian entrepreneurs can now start and build software and Internet services companies in Moscow, just as easily as in Silicon Valley," said Peter Loukianoff, co-founder and managing partner of Almaz Capital Partners. "In addition, a trend we are observing to be more common is that companies that utilize Russian technical talent are significantly more innovative and capital-efficient. This will result in a stronger competitive advantage for the companies themselves and better returns for their shareholders."
"Our commitment to Russia and Almaz Capital Partners is a continuation of a global strategy that we've implemented in Europe, Israel, China and India, which is to invest in local start-ups and the best venture teams to help promote the growth of a local innovation economy," said Hilton Romanski, vice president, corporate business development for Cisco.