Central regions | Finance, business | Technology & innovation

Rambler & Co seeks start-ups in its shift to becoming Internet tech firm

26 Nov '14
Rambler & Co, a major Russian tech media group, is seeking to move away from its present status as a media company towards Internet technologies. To achieve this goal, the company is creating two start-up accelerators, East-West Digital News, the first international information company dedicated to Russian digital industries, reported earlier this month, citing the Russian business daily Vedomosti.

Speaking at an event hosted by the $200m government-backed start-up fund FRII (IIDF) launched last year, Ramblers management stated its disappointment at the fact that the companys EBITDA performance indicators are only half that of Internet tech firms, as reported by Russian tech blog ROEM.

Once every quarter we have a major product launch. However, it is always in media and we remain at the profit margins characteristic of a media holding. We are dissatisfied with this and want to do more, said Rambler COO Dmitry Malov.

As a result, the company is ready to offer its experience, traffic and financing for a share in technology start-ups, and has expressed a desire to talk to hundreds of potential collaborators, not just a few.

One accelerator will be created jointly with the FRII and another in partnership with the government fund of funds RVC. These accelerators will operate under the Rambler brand and house start-ups active in segments of interest to the company, such as advertising technology, entertainment sites and e-commerce. The basic model of cooperation will be media (in the form of traffic and installations) for equity.

According to Mr. Malov, Rambler will continue to develop media content but will implement a significant shift in corporate culture so that market players can come to Rambler for technologies also. The COO expects the hiring of appropriate talent to achieve this strategy change but concedes this will take a lengthy period.

Rambler & Co was formed in 2013 following the merger of two important Internet groups, Rambler-Afisha and SUP media. The group controls a number of online media outlets, including Afisha.ru, Lenta.ru and Motor.ru, as well as contextual advertising service Begun. Rambler.ru used to be Russias leading search engine in the 1990s but now, with around 1% of the search market, Rambler positions itself as a media tech platform, aggregating content from 2,000 publishers across the country.

In October 2014, Rambler & Cos properties reached a 32.6 million consolidated audience among users from 12 to 64 years of age in Russia, according to TNS.
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