Venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson -- known for such hits as Skype (now part of eBay
Earlier this week, DFJ announced the formation of a partnership with VTB, a major Russian commercial bank. DFJ is known for its broad-reaching network of affiliate funds around the world, and the firm has been aggressively scouting out new locales that are primed for VC investors.
Many investors have had cold feet regarding Russia because of its rather opaque (to put it lightly) political climate. DFJ co-founder Tim Draper, however, seems more confident. He was quoted in a press release as saying, "It is safe to say that with the influx of institutional money, governmental support, and the migration of management talent of Russian origin back to Russia, the ecosystem for technology startups is now emerging." Of course, should Draper be right, it could still be years before the budding start-up environment in Russia brings us any companies of note.
For U.S. investors who don't have the kind of money to get into a DFJ fund, there are fairly limited choices if they want to invest in a company based in Russia. These include Vimpel-Communications
So is DFJ hopping on the leading edge of a new age for the motherland? The country certainly has the human resources for it, but time will tell whether its government can avoid choking off the entrepreneurial spirit.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can visit Matt on the Fool's CAPS service here, or check out his blog here. eBay is a Stock Advisor recommendation, and Baidu.com is a Rule Breakers pick. The Fool's disclosure policy just learned that Chicken Kiev did not actually originate in Kiev. Thanks, Food Network!