Some more VC activity in Russia’s gaming industry: Almaz Capital Russia Fund is picking up a 23 percent stake in Alawar Entertainment, the country’s leading casual games developer, for $3 million.
Almaz plans to extend Alawar’s operations and international reach. The moves follows another investment in Russian games less than a month ago, when Mangrove and ERBT (NYSE: BT) put $1 million into new social gaming startup Drimmi.
Almaz picked up its stake from Finam Capital Partners (15 percent) and angel investor Alexander Katalov (8 percent). Finam had invested around $1 million in Alawar in 2007.
Alawar titles include Tales of Montezuma and Farm Frenzy, and it also develops white-label games and in-game advertising. It claims to have some 70 percent of the Russian market, and distributes its games in 60 countries. Overall, the Russian casual games market is estimated to be worth around $32 million, according to figures from IKS-Consulting (via Vedomosti). Vedomosti estimates that Alawar is currently valued at around $10-12 million.
The Fund, which is managed by Almaz Captial Partners, has previously also invested in leading Russian search engine Yandex and Apollo Project, which develops white-label mobile apps and social-networking services (via Quintura).