For the Far East High Technology Fund, this is the first investment.
The Far East High Technology Fund (FEHTF) has invested RUB 75 mln in the cloud telephony service for Hotlead business. This is discussed by Kommersant with reference to the Fund’s CEO Ruslan Sarkisov and the founder of Hotlead, the former regional sales executive of Mail.ru Group Gennady Redko.
Hotlead will receive funds in the form of a convertible loan. The FEHTF will become the owner of a 5% stake in the company, and by 2023 the share of the Fund will grow to 40%–49.9% depending on the financial results of the service.
The Skolkovo Venture fund has become an advisor to the company — it will receive about 5% of Hotlead. The parties plan to close the deal within a month.
For the FEHTF, this is the first investment. The Fund plans to sell its stake to a strategic investor and withdraw from the project by 2023. The FEHTF expects that by that time the company will have 20%–30% of the cloud telephony market in the Far East under its control and up to 1.5%–2% in Russia.
Hotlead was founded in 2016 and is a resident of Skolkovo and the Russky Technopark. The service offers IP-telephony, virtual automatic telephone system, CRM-system and marketing analytics. The company is based in Khabarovsk, having its offices also in Vladivostok and Seoul.
Mikhail Shatrov, Head of Regional Projects at the Internet Initiatives Development Fund, notes that most of the startups in the Far East Federal District are focused on the regional market and do not often enter the nationwide market because the regions are far away from each other and because the product needs to be adapted. For startups, this often means unaffordable transportation costs, he says.