‘Russian CrunchBase’ raises $3 million to showcase RuNet startups

GigaOM recently reported AOL is considering spinning out CrunchBase, the TechCrunch database that has become a valuable source of information about tech startups.

Now a Russian equivalent site is hoping to grow its own influence, by taking American funding to go global.

Startup Afisha, which already operates a Russian-language web database of tech startups and investors in the country, is due to launch an English-language site, RusBase, in November.

For the new launch, it has just taken $3 million from New York-based early-stage digital media investor and incubator Black Ocean, which says it wants the site to showcase Russian tech startups to an audience of investors.

The competition for such a database is, of course, CrunchBase as well as Angellist,” according to a GoalEurope article endorsed by Startup Afisha.

Black Ocean and Startup Afisha, led by CEO Marusya Podlesnova have not spelled out why the money is needed. After all, the whole idea is for the sites to be low-maintenance. According to the announcement:

“Initially, the data about startups and investors is collected by Startup Afisha, but, once the database gains a critical mass, it is expected that the organizations themselves will maintain their own record.

“The business model of the project is to provide business analysis and consulting. The first partners of StartupAfisha are Runa Capital, Fast Lane Ventures, RVC, Skolkovo, Moscow Seed Fund and Digital October.

“Western venture funds and investment banks will be target customers which will be offered a subscription to the database at 500 Euro per month.”

Russia is a fast-growing internet market with the largest online population in the wider European area. Although the industry has been treated to the sight of Russian investment in firms like Facebook and Twitter through DST, Startup Afisha is also betting that western investors will regard the site as a qualified source of information about potential investments in Russia itself.