Fast Lane Ventures sells Sapato.ru to Ozon

Fast Lane Ventures, the leading developer of Internet companies in the fast growing Russian Internet market, is pleased to announce the sale of Sapato.ru, Russia’s principal online shoe and accessories retailer, to Russian online store OZON Group.

The 100% sale of Sapato.ru to OZON is a mutually beneficial transaction for both parties validating Fast Lane Ventures’ strategic focus on developing web projects based on internationally proven models to capitalize on the significant opportunities within the Russian internet sector.

Fast Lane Ventures CEO, Marina Treshchova, said the acquisition of Sapato.ru represents the first sale from Fast Lane Ventures’ portfolio of web companies which has grown to 15 since the Company was founded in June 2010 and has attracted more than $60 million in investments.

“Sapato.ru was the first online business founded by Fast Lane Ventures. The company has demonstrated dynamic growth over the last two years and captured significant market share to develop into a leading online retailer in Russia,” said Ms Treshchova.

“We have attracted a significant amount of investment into the venture and are very pleased by the success of Sapato.ru in the Russian market.  We have big ambitions for all of our portfolio companies and look forward to the continued growth of our investments.

“Today’s sale of Sapato.ru has further significance as it is the first sale in the Russian e-commerce market in the last 12 months and provides immediate validation of our strategy and commitment to developing quality online businesses in Russia. We hope to repeat the success marked by today’s milestone right across our portfolio,” Ms Treshchova added.

Since its launch just 18 months ago, Sapato.ru has recorded 2.5 million visitors per month and is the third most recognised online retailer in Russia. The online shoe retailer’s success clearly reflects the expansion of Russia as the fastest-growing internet market in Europe  and the upward trend of Russians buying online, with more than seven million Russians making online purchases in 2011 (up from six million in 2010 ).

Andreas Haug, the Managing Partner of eVenture Capital Partners, who invested in Sapato.ru said the online retail website was a remarkable example of efficient execution and the entrepreneurial spirit of its founders who adopted a global e-commerce business model very successfully to the emerging Russian internet market.

“It is impressive to see that Fast Lane Ventures has launched 15 fast growing internet companies in less than two years. What is more impressive is that quite a few of the companies are already market leaders or on their way to a market leading position in their segments,” Mr Haug said.

“The acquisition of Sapato.ru is the first notable transaction in the e-commerce segment in Runet for more than a year and a very positive sign for both Russian and international investors. It confirms the enormous potential of b2c e-commerce in Russia.” 

Intel Capital (invested in Sapato.ru in June, 2011) congratulates both Sapato and Ozon with the acquisition. As part of Ozon, Sapato will be positioned even better to maintain its leadership as an online footwear retailer.  “We would like to thank Sapato management team and our co-investors for this outstanding outcome.” said Igor Taber , Investment Director of Intel Capital Russia and CIS, “This acquisition is proof that our strategy of investing in emerging Russian internet market and supporting the entrepreneurial talent there, is the right one. We look forward to continue working with Ozon and Sapato management team to help drive future growth and success of the combined company.”

Kinnevik, an early investor in Sapato.ru, is very pleased with the company’s development so far and excited about the opportunity presented through OZON’s acquisition of Sapato.ru. Kinnevik is very positive about the strong e-commerce trend and is convinced about the favourable momentum of the online sector in Russia, where Kinnevik remains an active investor.

Sapato.ru CEO, Matthieu Lannegrand, said that Sapato.ru’s established, loyal and active customer base and strong brand recognition were key deciding factors behind OZON’s acquisition.
“We have worked hard to master the art of online fashion retail, and our expansive and loyal customer base speaks for itself. This is a result of efforts made by our team and its firm commitment to quality and success,” Mr Lannegrand said. “Moreover, this deal is exciting for all Russian Internet entrepreneurs as it highlights the huge career and material growth opportunities available in the web start-up industry. I am very grateful that the Sapato team has always believed in our business model and our future success.”

The terms of the Sapato.ru sale were undisclosed and the transaction completed on February 15.

Fast Lane Ventures is aiming to replicate the success it has achieved with Sapato.ru across its entire portfolio – growing businesses from zero to become market leaders in areas including e-commerce, travel and other business-to-consumer web offerings.

The Russian e-commerce market is one of the Top-5 fastest growing markets in Europe and is forecast to grow by 19% this year which means Fast Lane Ventures is ideally positioned to continue to capitalise on the growing demand for online services in Russia.

Fast Lane Ventures is the leading developer of internet companies in the high growth Russian internet market acting as both an investor and operational partner assisting with management and promotion of its portfolio companies after their launch.

Sapato.ru is Russia’s leading online shoe and accessories retailer offering a broad range of well-known shoe brands for women, men and children. Launched in June 2010, Sapato.ru offers more than 90,000 pairs of women’s, men’s and children’s shoes and bags from more than 200 brands. Sapato.ru is a privately-held company backed by Direct Group, eVenture Capital Partners, Kinnevik, Intel Capital.
eVenture Capital Partners – an early stage venture capital firm specialized in initial investments in digital businesses. eVenture Capital Partners invests in growing internet companies in the USA, Europe, Russia, Latin America and Asia. Being a supporter for first-time entrepreneurs, eVenture often acts as an institutional investor offering broad range of services and support in important commercial decisions. In Russia eVenture Capital Partners has been early supporter of such companies as Groupon.ru, Sapato.ru, Heverest.ru, NGINX and several other online businesses.

Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment and M&A organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, mobility, health, consumer Internet, digital media, semiconductor manufacturing and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$10.4 billion in over 1,212 companies in 51 countries. In that timeframe, 194 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 289 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2011, Intel Capital invested US$526 million in 158 investments with approximately 51 percent of funds invested outside the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit www.intelcapital.com.

Kinnevik, a Swedish investment firm, was founded in 1936 and thus embodies more than seventy years of entrepreneurship under the same group of principal owners. The company’s holdings of growth companies are focused around business sectors such as Telecom & Services, Media and Online. Kinnevik has a long history of investing in emerging markets, which has resulted in a considerable exposure to consumer sectors in these markets. Within the online space, Kinnevik has made several investments in Russia and actively seeks out new opportunities in markets with strong internet development. For more information about Kinnevik, please visit www.kinnevik.se.

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