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US-style Russian startup raises $500,000 to compete with SlideShare

Russian venture fund Prostor Capital has just invested $500,000 in Penxy, a Moscow-based startup that allows presenters to create “narrated slide shows.”

The Penxy iOS app, which was released this past June, allows for one-tap streaming and recording of live presentations. The free app is easier to use than SlideShare, as presenters do not have to upload their slides, specify the timing of transitions individually, and then upload a separate audio file, all the while ensuring that these files are in sync.

Penxy streams and records live presentations as narrated slide shows (example). It has “nothing of a copycat,” Vladimir Platov said in an exchange with East-West Digital News. “Basically we merge the idea of using an iPhone to switch slides on a screen or a projector instead of remote control with the webinar concept (e.g. WebEx).”

Three months after release, Penxy has 77 high-quality presentation records and 5,258 unique views of these records.

The startup is now focused on building a platform for sharing knowledge in partnership with conference and event organizers.

“Our business model hasn’t been precisely defined yet,” Platov admitted. “We may consider revenue sharing or lead generation models with experts monetizing their presentations or finding clients among the viewers.”

The project, which started in April 2012, is now supported by a team of ten people, including four software engineers, two QA engineers, and two business development managers. Based in Moscow, Penxy has international aspirations: it has opened a development office in San Francisco and employs a business development lead for US promotion. “From day one we understood that USA was the best market for our product,” Platov said.

The startup’s founders Vladimir Platov and Alexey Petrov created Penxy in April 2012 after graduating from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Previous investments in the startup include a $70,000 grant from Microsoft Seed Fund and a $50,000 grant from Skolkovo. The company’s pre-money valuation prior to this most recent investment was $1.85 million, Platov told EWDN. 

2013-09-13, East-West Digital News.

Keywords: investment, startups, Prostor Capital

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