Last week two large financial institutions announced a 1.6 billion ruble investment in Eruditor, a group of online platforms for small businesses and freelancers providing home and local services.
The funding is provided jointly by the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund, a vehicle created by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF and the Chinese Investment Corporation, and Sberinvest, which is affiliated with the financial and tech giant Sber.
This is a syndicated venture loan, which Sber touts as “the first one ever in Russia.” The funding will be received by the BVI holding that controls Eruditor’s online platforms. The borrowed funds “will be invested in the development of current and new offerings and in the company’s international expansion” across Russia’s neighbouring countries, China, India, the USA, Canada, and other countries.
In 2010, a few years after inception, Eruditor had raised an initial $600,000 from serial angel investor Igor Ryabenki. In 2012, the startup secured a $4 million Series A round with participation from Runa Capital, an international venture firm with Russian roots. Then, in 2013, it attracted another $12 million from Intel Capital, Frontier Ventures and Runa Capital. Eruditor’s existing investors also include Redseed and Baring Vostok Capital Partners.
Eruditor’s properties include:
- Profi.ru, a platform that connects private or SMB service providers with individuals in need of private tutors, handymen, beauty masters, coaches, and hundreds of other areas;
- Zoon.ru, a consumer review site which claims a monthly audience of 15 million users;
- Ruki.ru, an E2E platform — in partnership with Leroy Merlin — that allows home repair professionals to form teams;
- Salon Online (Sonline), “a new type of CRM” for SMEs such as beauty salons.
These platforms are “already among the leaders in their segments, with millions of people using their services,” noted RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev.
Eruditor estimates the Russian market of home and local services “between $50 billion and $80 billion.”