MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russian billionaire and social media investor Yury Milner and VKontakte social network founder Pavel Durov have invested $300,000 in 12 Internet startups under the Start Fellows grant program for young developers, the VKontakte press office reported on Thursday.
“The founders of projects will get grants, and also the possibility of participating in regular events and meetings with leading Russian and foreign Internet-market representatives,” VKontakte said.
Each of the winning projects will get $25,000 under the program, launched by the internet moguls in late 2011.
The winners of the grants are: space layout service planner5d.com; web-page recommendation engine Surfingbird; programming skills platform Rosalind.info; acquaintances apps Astrotheapp.com; tour and master-class search engine Sptnik.com; acquaintances service Takepin.com; interactive video travel service Avatrip.com; hotel catalog Lookinhotels.ru; complaints book Dialoggy.ru; blood donor search engine DonorSearch.ru; Weheartpics.com social network and the YouDo.com service.
Millner and Durov have already invested in 12 other projects in the Start Fellows program. Applications for the startup grants are accepted from Russian citizens or companies registered in Russia.
Milner, who began his business career as a banking specialist, amassed his fortune through a string of Internet-related investments, including stakes in Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. Last year, Forbes estimated his net worth at $1 billion.