Crimean accelerator packing its bags as region moves to embrace Russian ideals

The Crimean region’s only startup accelerator Ant-Lab, located in Sevastopol, recently closed its doors because the owner did not want to be taken over by Russia, according to Ant-Lab owner Igor Petrov.

Petrov was in the middle of packing up to move to Kiev when contacted by Geektime and he told us that a Russian takeover would be bad for business so Ant-Lab stopped all the work on its startups.

“Sorry that I write short. I’m busy right now pack bags,” he wrote in an email.

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Russian government paper’s site taken down by pro-Ukraine hackers

Hackers have taken down several Russian media website in the past week and alleged attacks on defense infrastructure in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Among the latest victims, on March 7, was the website of Rossiyskaya Gazeta, one of the largest Russian dailies, the paper of record of the Russian government, and the parent company of RBTH. The website was taken offline by cyber terrorists with its title on Google changed to “pwned by CyberMaidan.”

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Ukraine after the crisis: Moving to a knowledge-based economy – an invitation to act now

Dear Mr. Sheremeta,

I would like to extend this invitation to you, as a representative of the government, to have a meeting with “IT Ukraine” association using this document as the agenda. We should immediately establish a working group to transform these ideas into concrete plans that can be put into action right away.

As you stated on CNN Amanpour yesterday: “I am very happy to note that we completely on the same page here. We should start now to look at how we can strengthen Ukraine and show the way forward.”

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Russia’s telecom regulator blocks access to “terrorist” pro-Maidan social media content

Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) announced yesterday that it has blocked access to 13 virtual communities of Ukrainian organizations on (also known as, the leading Russian-language social network.

“These communities promoted the activity of Ukrainian nationalist groups, including open calls for the Russian people to conduct terrorist activity and participate in unauthorized mass demonstrations in Moscow” and elsewhere in Russia, the regulator stated.

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French car-sharing service BlaBlaCar expands to Ukraine and Russia

The French search engine for car-sharing BlaBlaCar has taken over the Ukrainian site Podorozhniki, in order to enter the Russian and Ukrainian market. The cost of the deal has not been disclosed, as was the case with the expansion in Italy and Spain, but the Podorozhniki site is no longer available and all of its accounts have now transferred over to BlaBlaCar.

At the time of the deal there were around 30 thousand users registered on the Ukrainian site, and approximately half of them were living in Russia.

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Keen raises $1.625 million to create a support system for complex printing projects

Vitaly M. Golomb is taking on a decidedly unsexy incumbent market: the printing industry. While the rest of us are ebooks this and PDFs that, millions of dollars are changing hands in order to print out signs, brochures, and other collateral. But that world of offsets and ink is still primitive, which is why Golomb built Keen.

“Keen capitalizes on the fast growing web-to-print market that is already measured at $141 billion of the total $640 billion print market and growing. The industry includes everything from business cards and brochures to posters and car wraps to apparel and packaging. Almost that entire business is highly time sensitive and therefore is driven by the hundreds of thousands of local shops – shipping is very expensive,” said Golomb.

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New fund to turn Ukraine’s e-commerce potential into scalable reality

Earlier this month, the Moscow-based management company Flint Management launched a venture fund dedicating to developing e-commerce in Ukraine. This move comes just weeks after the company announced the creation of Flint Capital, a $35 million fund with a large high tech investment focus in Russia and Ukraine.

Christened ‘Bull Ventures,’ the new fund has $10 million of committed capital at the time of first closing, but its managers told East-West Digital News that they target no less than $40 million. The new fund’s LPs include “Russian and Ukrainian individual and institutional investors from the financial, logistics, media, IT and retail sectors.”

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Divan.TV launches worldwide for 300-million Russian and Ukrainian language audience

Divan.TV, a Ukrainian developer of OTT middleware and pay TV channels with 125,000 users in Ukraine, has made its programs available worldwide, targeting Russian- and Ukrainian speaking audiences.

According to the company, this audience reaches about 80 million households in total, including 16 million in Ukraine, 32 million in Russia and more than 30 million in other countries across the globe. This corresponds to an up to 300-million global audience.

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Online education, e-commerce and entrepreneurship discussed in Kiev by investors and startups from all over the world

As in the previous years, the 2013 IDCEE conference attracted to Kiev, Ukraine earlier this month an impressive number of investors, startup entrepreneurs and IT professionals from over 45 countries (see videos).

The core topics of this year’s conference were online education, e-commerce, and entrepreneurship in Brazil. The event – which took place in a huge sports complex –  featured over 70 outstanding speakers, 50 keynotes and 8 panel discussions from the industry leaders across the globe.

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TA Venture Managing Director and IDCEE organizer Viktoriya Tigipko: “Kiev is an entry point for international VCs for Central and Eastern Europe”

Not only is Mrs Tigipko one of these exquisitely educated and beautiful ladies one can meet in Kiev, she also is an inexhaustible source of ideas and energy when it comes to innovation and venture activity. In a mere three years, she has transformed a Kiev event, IDCEE, into the international face of the East-European startup and venture scene. Meanwhile, her fund TA Venture has invested in dozens of startups in Europe and as far away as Brazil and India.

Just a few days before the opening of IDCEE 2013, the business woman presented to East-West Digital News a contrasted picture of the Ukrainian high-tech industry and shared her vision of her country’s digital future. She also unveiled behind-the-scene details on how she came to the venture industry and how IDCEE started and grew, as well as key facts and figures on TA Venture.

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