Cisco joint venture closes on $33m boost

Almaz Capital Partners, a Russian venture capital firm backed by global networking giant Cisco and Russia’s UFG Asset Management, is set to garner a commitment from the EBRD.

Moscow- and San Francisco-based venture firm Almaz Capital Partners is close to securing a $33 million commitment to its latest fund from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The Almaz Capital Russia Fund I held its first close on $60 million in July 2008. The two founding sponsors of the fund – networking giant Cisco and Russian investment firm UFG Asset Management – contributed $30 million each. According to documents published by the EBRD, the vehicle is targeting commitments of $100 million, with a hard cap of $125 million.

Almaz Capital Partners is led by two founding managing partners: Alexander Galitsky and Peter Loukianoff.  Galitsky previously built the information and communications technology investment team at venture capital firm Russian Technologies and Loukianoff was formerly a partner at Alloy Ventures, a Palo Alto, California-based venture capital firm with more than $1 billion under management.

The firm also counts Charlie Ryan as a venture partner. Ryan co-founded UFG with the late Boris Fedorov and masterminded its sale for close to $700 million to Deutsche Bank in 2006. He is now non executive chairman of Deutsche Bank in Russia and chairman of UFG Asset Management, which remained independent after the Deutsche Bank acquisition.

Almaz’s debut fund, which is targeting telecoms, media and technology companies in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, began deploying its capital in July this year. It invested in Moscow-based Apollo, an early-stage company that allows digital communities and social networking sites to extend their services to mobile devices, and Parallels, a Russian producer of virtualization and automation software.