Mail.Ru, the Russian internet business which has expanded from its initial email service to nearly monopolise all Russian social media, has founded a wide-reaching games investment division, making a potential $100 million worth of funding available in the long term.
$10 million of that capital has already been assigned to projects, and the company says that the remit for the rest stretches from small indie teams to publishers looking for expansion funding. Strategies for the funds include royalty investments and direct M&A activity. Those who receive funding will be brought into the fold of Mail.Ru's other activities, being offered the reach of the company's publishing arm as well as exposure to the estimated 86% of Russian-speaking internet users the company reaches.
Although Mail.Ru is Russia-focused, executives make clear that the fund is intended for global investments as well as local funding. The company's portfolio of 50 games reaches over 100 million customers, with MMO revenues jumping 21.2% last year.
"Games remain one of Mail.Ru Group's top priorities," said CEO Boris Dobrodeev. "Starting games investment division is a logical next move to facilitate business development by significantly increasing the company's potential in that segment. Our new games investment division will expand Mail.Ru Group's investment platform allowing us to provide venture financing, as well as to increase our M&A activity."