Mint Capital announces investment agreement with Benchmark Capital Europe for further development of Elecsnet
Mint Capital, a Nordic private equity fund, has announced that Benchmark Capital Europe is to invest USD 2 million into its portfolio company Elecsnet, the leading Russian mobile top-up terminal network. Mint Capital invested US$10 million of shares in Elecsnet in 2005.
The investment will be used to support Elecsnet's expansion in Russia and across CIS countries, enlarge the company's asset base and service existing loans.
Elecsnet and Mint Capital will benefit from Benchmark Capital's expertise and resource. This is Benchmark Capital's first investment in Russia. The company provides convenient top-up payment services that are hugely popular in cash-based countries, like Russia. Elecsnet has a unique market position and is developing rapidly throughout Russia and CIS countries.
In the first half of 2006, Elecsnet increased its turnover to USD 223 million (nearly 50% increase year-on-year) and installed 1,265 terminals (+76% year-on-year).
«We are delighted that Benchmark Capital is to invest in the Russian market together with Mint Capital. We are confident that Benchmark's team, which has extensive and highly relevant experience in similar industries in developed markets, will add much value to Elecsnet and help raise the company to a new level of development», said Gleb Davidyuk, Partner at Mint Capital.
«We see huge development potential for top-up services in Russia, and are excited by the opportunity from our colleagues at Mint Capital to invest in Elecsnet. This move is in line with our strategy to invest in leading technology companies», said Johan Brenner, Partner at Benchmark Capital Europe.
Mint Capital is a Nordic private equity fund founded in 2000. It focuses on opportunities in the expanding domestic economies of Russia and the CIS by investing in rapidly growing entrepreneurial companies with superior management. Today Mint Capital manages two funds totaling more than $150 million. The first fund, Mint I, was launched in 2000, with commitments of $21 million. Mint I was fully invested in 2004. The second fund — Mint II — was raised in 2005, and totaled $130 million.
Mint Capital focuses on making expansion stage investments in rapidly growing companies that generally have positive operating cash flow and annual revenue of $10 — 100 million at the time of investment. Mint's current portfolio of companies includes: Maratex, Elecsnet, Gameland, ABBYY, 2V Studios, Acol, Advakom, Parallel Graphics, jNETx.
Benchmark Capital is a leading international venture capital firm, focused on helping talented entrepreneurs build great technology companies which are focused on long-term growth. Managing more than US$3 billion in committed venture capital, Benchmark's partners take an active, team-oriented, approach to venture investing.
The firm was founded in the US (Silicon Valley) in 1995, the European office opened in London in 2000 and the Israeli office in 2001. Benchmark Capital Europe has two funds totalling $875m and has made over 50 investments across a variety of geographies and technology market sectors. The European Funds include companies such as Betfair (the world's largest online betting exchange), Setanta (the leading pay-TV sports broadcaster), Bebo (the social networking site), Alphyra (the leading pan European electronic payments provider) and MySQL (the open-source database business). Other Benchmark investments include eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) and Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT).
Elecsnet group of companies was set up in 2000 with a view of launching a cash top-up services. The company's core element is the self-service mobile and bank accounts top-up terminal network providing prepaid recharge services, including payment for Internet, commercial TV, and IP telephony.
With more than 1,300 terminals, Elecsnet is today the leading top-up terminals network in Russia and is present in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Smolensk, Kazan, and Almaty.