Moscow’s video-on-demand service IVI has raised $250 million in a Series D round led by VTB. Invest AG, and Millhouse also participated in the round, and existing investors Flashpoint Venture Capital, Baring Vostok, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) also followed on. With this raise, VTB will become one of IVI’s largest shareholders, and Baring Vostok, Flashpoint and RTP Global will all take seats on the board. The company is reporting that the funds will be used to expand the platform’s content catalogue and foster the creation of original content. To date, the firm has raised $434.7 million in equity and debt financing.
“Our country has the largest Internet user base in Europe, and as a result, digital transformation and the transition to online business create tremendous opportunities for dynamic companies that are national champions in the digital services space,” comments VTB’s Yuri Soloviev. “This deal is another important step in the development of an open ecosystem that is being formed organically through the creation of strategic partnerships between VTB Group and other leading companies in their market segments.”
The raise highlights a significant marker in the Russian tech ecosystem, as IVI highlights that this is the largest private equity deal in recent years.
Founded in 2010 by Oleg Tumanov, IVI focuses on video content specifically aimed at Russian-speaking audiences. In this author’s opinion, the “Netflix of Russia” is not an unfair statement to make. In addition to traditional broadcasters, IVI also offers independent content producers to create live streaming channels.
“We are creating the right conditions for content producers to monetise their best creative ideas by creating engaging and relevant stories for our users. We are also continuing to focus on further enhancing our service and user experience,” notes CEO Tumanov.