Central regions | Finance, business | Retail, FMCG

Ukrainian start-up secures funding from Russian VC fund

7 Aug '14
Life.SREDA, a Moscow-based venture capital firm focusing on mobile and online fintech start-ups, is to invest $1.5m in Settle, a mobile payment service developed by Kiev-based start-up Advice Wallet, reported East-West Digital News, the first all English-language online resource dedicated to Russian digital industries.

Combining mobile payments and a loyalty scheme in one app, Settle makes it possible to both order and then pay your bill at a restaurant or café through a smartphone. Users register via a social network and link their bank card to the app. The app displays the menu and allows clients to divide up a bill between friends, carry out P2P transactions and receive offers from establishments.

Establishments can join the program for free, receiving a special tablet with software that tracks the activity of clients and delivers their bill. Settle takes a commission on every bill.

The start-up is planning to use the iBeacon technology with the application, Russian tech blog Rusbase reported. A sensor would thus detect when a client arrives with the app, sending them a personal greeting and a discount on one of their favorite drinks.

“We made the decision to invest in Settle and the Advice Wallet team because they were the first to understand that a loyalty scheme in itself is pointless. The key is what it can help the restaurant or bar owner to get from their clients. This information allows for personalization, with the help of which the café or restaurant can form a one-to-one relationship with their clients,” Rusbase quoted Life.SREDA partner Alexander Ivanov as saying.

The trial version is set to be launched on August 8 at the Kiev bar “Chashka.” The service may be launched further across Russia and the Eastern European market, starting with Poland.

In August 2013, Advice Wallet received a $300,000 investment from the Russian venture fund Imperious Group. In 2012, the Ukrainian start-up also received $70,000 from the Kiev-based Happy Farm incubator, according to Rusbase.

Life.SREDA is not the only Russian fund still interested in Ukrainian start-ups in spite of the current tensions between the two states. A few weeks ago Runa Capital, a Moscow-based global tech-focused venture capital firm, announced a new fund focusing especially on Europe – without excluding Ukraine. “The technology business should be outside of politics. Our goal is to find the best teams [wherever they are],” the fund’s Managing Partner Dmitry Chikhachev said in an interview with East-West Digital News.

“Discriminating in business or science by country of origin is equally irrelevant,” he added.
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