Sberbank and the company Maginvest belonging to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK) Viktor Rashnikov, have become co-investors of the venture fund of AFK Sistema, Sistema Venture Capital (VC). They have invested 2 billion rubles in exchange for an aggregate share of 20% of the fund, as told Vedomosti the representatives of Sistema VC Anna Yanchevskaya, Sberbank and Rashnikov. How much was invested by each party, and what proportion was, they do not disclose. According to the register, Sberbank and Rashnikov each own 10% of the fund.
Rashnikov controls 87.26% of MMK. In 2016, MMK paid $157.5 million of dividends for that package. The agreement on the participation of these investors in the fund was in the spring of 2016 and the transaction was closed at the end of last year, says Yanchevskaya. Sistema VC invested in projects in the field of the Internet of things, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advertising and financial technology. Now the fund has invested in six projects. Its first deal was the investment in the Computer Vision VisionLabs project: the fund bought 25% of the company for 350 million rubles. Last December, Sistema VC bought a 50% subsidiary of Sberbank Segmento (machine learning technology targeting digital signage), the amount of the transaction was not disclosed. The negotiations on this with Sberbank began long before the bank entered the fund, at the time of signing the deal Sberbank nad not yet been the co-investor of Sistema VC, clarifies Yanchevskaya.
Last year, the fund was looking for projects in Russia and the CIS, this year it plans to enter the international market, says Yanchevskaya. The minimum amount of the fund's investments, according to her, is $2 million. The target size of Sistema VC is 10 billion rubles, said a spokesman of Sistema, Sergey Kopytov. AFK invested both is money and assets, a stake in retailer Ozon, he explains. According to Kopytov, Sistema is in talks to attract new investors to the fund. The scenarios can be different: a sale of the fund share to a new investor, as well as going via contributions to the charter capital, said Yanchevskaya. The first scenario involves the preservation of the claimed amount of the fund; in the second, the capital may exceed the initially planned 10 billion rubles, Kopytov explains. The fund is ready to attract investors within three years from the date of formation. According to the plan, the fund return exceeds the market average, says Yanchevskaya. A source close to one of the participants in the fund, knows that the fund expects the annual yield of over 25%.
Technology start-ups need more than money: the access to the business sector experts (especially in new niches) is equally important, informed therepresentative of the President of Sistema VC Alexey Katkov. Sberbank knows all about the banking industry, Rashnikov - about metallurgy, and the participation of these investors would open for startups access to this expertise, he hopes. Sistema VC Fund is interesting as both the financial investment, and the access to the fund's available technologies, Rashnikov conveyed through a representative. MMK is no stranger to technology: in 2016, the plant with the help of Yandex Data Factory (Yandex department engaged in big data) learned to save steel in smelting. The first deputy chairman of Sberbank Lev Khasis also looks forward to the synergy of cooperation between the Fund's assets and Sberbank companies. Participation in the fund will enable the bank to expand the search to promising projects, Khasis hopes.
It is believed that the fund managers are more aware of what to invest, and, as a rule, the investors of venture capital funds are rarely involved in the management of investments (although it is not forbidden), explains the managing partner of Target Global Mikhail Lobanov. Otherwise, it is easier to decide where to invest. Plus it solves the problem of a possible conflict of interest with other investors, says Lobanov. But after the fund invested, investors may well work with the portfolio companies and the fund's task here is to introduce potential customers to the startup, he continues. Most often, the fund investors give money and wait for the dividend, but if the investor's participation in the life of a startup will help its growth, a rare fund manager refuses to introduce them, according to managing partner of venture fund Leta Capital Alexander Chachava. Sberbank is actively looking for startups to invest in them and become their customer, says Chachava.
Sberbank has its own venture capital funds. The first fund, SBT Ventures with a capital of $100 million to finance useful for bank technology projects, was opened in 2012. Last year, it was announced about the plans to establish a second fund with a capital of $200 million. From them, Sberbank will invest up to $50 million, and the rest will make the co-investors. The Fund will engage in artificial intelligence, biometric technology, cybersecurity, Big Data, predictive analytics.
The market is growing
In 2015, the Russian venture market grew by 31% to $2.19 billion, says a joint report of PwC and the Russian Venture Company. The lion's share of $1.57 billion is due to 26 investors leaving the projects, including the sale of 50.5% of service online ads Avito South African Naspers for $1.2 billion In 2014, the aggregate value of withdrawals amounted to $731.5 million.