Immigram won €1M at Slush. It is Russian startup that assists Russian migrating to UK

Russian-founded Immigram, a SaaS platform that is guiding tech workers during their relocation journey to the UK, won the Slush 100 Pitching Competition. The startup was awarded with €1 million investment, coming from five top venture capital funds — Accel, General Catalyst, Lightspeed, NEA, and Northzone.

It looks like a deeply controversial decision. Yaroslav Krempovych, Senior Associate at Movens Capital, has provided a short but comprehensive explanation why.

Just yesterday, Russians launched ballistic missiles against the city of Dnipro, killing over 20 people. Only two days ago, Russia launched more than 100 missiles, further devastating Ukraine’s critical civilian infrastructure and leaving millions without electricity, warmth, or water. Two people were killed in Poland as a consequence of the attack. 

Meanwhile, Immigram, a software-enabled agency with a 100% Russian team, some of whom still live in Russia, actively assists Russians in navigating complex immigration procedures and managing the migration process to maximize the chances of Russians immigrating to the UK and thus escaping the consequences of economic strain imposed on Russia by international sanctions and business leaving country. 

“The business is growing. But it’s so sad,”

The co-founder of Immigram Anastasia Mirolyubova said to DW in April 2022. The demand for the startup’s services has significantly increased starting from February, when Russia invaded Ukraine. Mirolyubova in her interview to Forbes Russia said that the number of clients that applied for relocation has increased three times, and 65% of them were submitted from Russians, who want to leave.

As millions of Ukrainians were forced to flee a country and thousands of entrepreneurs joined Armed Forces because of Russians attacked our cities, next door tens of thousands of tech workers have left Russia as Western sanctions begin to affect the industry. It’s estimated that in February, March, and April, almost 200,000 people have fled Russia.

Meanwhile, €1 million investment was not the first Immigram has raised since February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine. In April 2022, in the second month of the full-scale war, the startup received $500,000 in a funding round led by Xploration Capital. Also participating was Mikita Mikado, a Belarusian founder and СEO of PandaDoc.

Based in London, Immigram is hiring in Moscow

Immigram was co-founded by Russians Anastasia Mirolyubova and Mikhail Sharonov in 2020. The startup is headquartered in London. The data from Russian job website shows that the startup is hiring in Moscow. There are 6 job openings available for applying. The same positions can be found on the startup’s career page, and they are marked as remote.

Immigram is hiring in Moscow. There are 6 job openings available for applying.
Screenshot: AIN.Capital

So yes, supporting Russian projects during the full-scale war launched by Russia, which has also caused immigration problems and energy crises, looks like a deeply controversial decision.

UPD: The criticism forced Slush and the investors to do due diligence on Immigram and to look into the founders’ backgrounds. As the results, Slush has reconsidered its decision and revoked €1 million prize for immigram.