Rossgram social network attracts investors with unprecedented interest
Social network “Rossgrambegan looking for investors, promising a 950% return in three years. But experts still doubt that the Russian analogue of Instagram will be able to attract the declared audience.
“Rossgramannounced the search for private investors and promised a yield of 850-950% within three years. This follows from the information in the telegram channel of the social network.
This year it is planned to attract 250 million rubles, the founders of the social network Alexander Zobov and Kirill Filimonov told RBC. The funds will be used to develop the product, mainly to attract users, work with bloggers and the media, Zobov explained.
Social network “Rossgram” was announced last March as an alternative to Instagram (owned by Meta Platforms, which was recognized as an extremist organization; blocked in Russia). Users were promised similar functionality and mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms.
To date, the mobile application of the social network has not appeared in the AppStore and Google Play stores. Since February 9Rossgram» is available in RuStore, a Russian app store for the Android platform. While this is a public limited beta version for a limited number of users. According to Zobov, while they are trying to calculate the load on the application, calculate the costs of the infrastructure and unit economics of the project in order to understand what investments are needed for the project.
At the end of March last year, a fraudulent application appeared on Google Play, mimicking the official customer service “Rossgrama ”(now the store has a similar application, the correspondent of RBC was convinced). Management “Rossgrama” stated that these applications are not related to their social network.
How “Rossgram» intends to provide profitability
The main legal entityRossgrama” is IT History LLC. According to SPARK, it was registered in April 2022 with an authorized capital of 10 thousand rubles. and 100% owned by Kirill Fillimonov. Data on the financial performance of this company is not given. But it is indicated that IT History is the defendant in the case of the collection of mandatory payments and sanctions to the Pension Fund in the amount of 4 thousand rubles.
According to Alexander Zobov, revenue “Rossgrama” in 2022 amounted to 20 million rubles, even before the launch of the beta version of the application, the company earned by selling business accounts. This year the company is targeting a revenue of 120-150 million rubles, and within five years – 2.5 billion rubles, he said. Based on the multiplier of 8 – the average value that the company hears from venture funds when assessing its own value, its capitalization, according to Zobov, should exceed 4 billion rubles. in the next three years. “This will enable investors to sell their shares for 8-10 times more,” he calculates. During the year, the company received more than 1 thousand applications from investors who wanted to invest mainly from 20 thousand rubles, but most of them had to be refused, Zobov said. Last year “Rossgram”, according to him, received 17 million rubles. investments from private investors.
Conditions for attracting fundingRossgram” discusses “individually with each investor”, but, as the co-founder clarified, they sign an investment agreement, which specifies the amount of investments and the share in the company that the investor receives. “Now we are starting from the minimum investment amount of 2.5 million rubles. It is difficult to say about the average check, since the amount of investment can be different,” he said.
According to Zobov, no state money was attracted for the project, although the company applied for a grant of 20 million rubles. under the Development program of the Innovation Promotion Fund, and also intend to apply for a grant of up to 700 million rubles. as part of the selection of socially significant import-substituting IT projects of the Skolkovo Foundation.
The app is now closed and has 25,000 users, Zobov claims. About 1 million more users have pre-registered, and this figure is growing “organically”. By the end of the year, the company expects the base to grow to 5.5 million users. “Like any early-stage venture startup, we burn more money than we make. This is due to the dynamics of growth, the need to release new services and application functions, ”said RBC’s interlocutor. The project development strategy assumes aggressive growth until mid-2026, “until a 25% share of the Russian targeted advertising market is captured.” Zobov also said that “the company’s elasticity allows it to withstand the risk of underfunding by up to 38%.”
Are there any prospects
For social networks, the indicated profitability at the initial stages of investment is not something unattainable. In 2012, Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital fund founded by Mark Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, reported that it made $78 million from its initial $250,000 investment in Instagram, or 312 times the return on investment. In addition, the same social network closed a $50 million round of investments from Sequoia, Thrive Capital Josh Kushner, Greylock and Benchmark at a $500 million valuation just before the sale of Facebook (previous name Meta Platforms; the social network of the same name was recognized as an extremist organization; blocked in Russia), which was valued at $1 billion.
However, in Russia, the first wave of social networks, on which Odnoklassniki and VKontakte gained a foothold, died down in the 2000s, Aleksey Zamesov, head of special projects at RU-CENTER, is sure. According to him, further attempts to create analogues of specialized social networks, such as Linkedin (blocked in Russia), ended in nothing. “If no one knows the social network in a year and it does not grow exponentially, the chance that people will suddenly tumble down there tends to zero. In addition, social networks are a story about monetization later, and in Russia there is no chance to find investors without making a profit in a short time, ”Zamesov emphasized. Speaking about why the founders do not give up the idea to promote “Rossgram“, he suggested that perhaps “these are passionate people obsessed with the idea.”
The founder of Liveinternet Herman Klimenko also expressed a “critical attitude” to the product. As a positive moment, he noted only an attempt to create an import-independent product. “Copies have a chance – analogues do not. In a copy, you can add and improve something while maintaining the main functionality. Durov launched VKontakte and Telegram as copies of foreign products. They turned out to be successful. Main problem “Rossgrama ”and other analogues in that you need to have 10–20 million audience to make money. Wu “Rossgrambut “this is not there,” Klymenko noted.
According to Mediascope, in February 2023, the top 5 in terms of monthly coverage of Russian users over 12 years of desktop and mobile versions among social networks included VKontakte (85.8 million), TikTok (68 million), Odnoklassniki (50.5 million), Instagram (reach – 28.3 million) and Facebook (reach – 23.2 million).
“I doubt that the company will be able to organically increase the number of users to the stated figure of 5.5 million users by the end of the year,” says Managing Partner of TMT Investments Artem Inyutin. “The fact is that the basic need of a person with his entire address book is now satisfied by Instagram and users are finding ways to use this social network,” he said. Inyutin noted that private investors are now “very tense with the situation on the global stock market and in the Russian economy,” so large capital from private investors “Rossgramy” will be difficult to find, an easier way to attract funding may be the choice of state or quasi-state structures.