Remember ICQ? The poster-child of Israeli startups which was sold to AOL in 1998 for $287 million (ancient link!) and later on to DST for $187 million in 2010, Yuri Milner’s holding corp, is now operating under Mail.ru, Russia’s primary email provider. ICQ is making a slight change in tac, as the company announced it will allocate $150 million to invest and acquire Israeli startups.
While only 13 employees were left from the Israeli team (down from 80 at the peak), DST entrusted Mor Yegerman, who joined ICQ in 2004, as GM of ICQ Ventures, from the office in Israel. No deals have yet been announced, but Mor estimates the first cheques will be signed in the coming weeks.
From his LinkedIn profile:
ICQ Ventures is a new Corporate VC,
Extending Mail.ru Group Investment/M&A arm to the Israeli market.
We are interested in start-ups that could grow mail.ru business in and outside Russia.
It is still unclear if the companies who take ICQ Ventures money will have to relocate to Moscow. More here in Hebrew.