Ozon.ru, Russia’s largest online bookstore, has received $18 million in venture capital funding from Cisco systems and German firm Index Ventures.
The money will go primarily on expanding Ozon’s logistical infrastructure, by allowing them to establish new distribution centres. In a country as big as Russia, you can see why this kind of investment is necessary…
Currently Ozon’s turnover is over $50 million per year, and this is expected to double over the next couple of years. It looks to me like they have pretty similar business model to Amazon.com – most of their income comes from books sales, but they’ve also diversfied into DVDs and electronics.
Apparently Cisco’s move is their first into Russia, but it looks like the Ozon.ru deal is the first of a number they will be striking in Russia and the wider region:
“As any strategic investor we intend to develop the main business of our company. After Russia we intend to move on to Ukraine and Belarus, probably Kazakhstan.
Read/Write.web has more on the Ozon story, plus the interesting statistic that Russia has the third largest overall number of internet users in Europe. They also have a fascinating roundup of Russian Web 2.0 applications.