Zubr Capital plans to invest in Ukrainian startups. It is a Belarusian fund
Recently, an investment fund called Zubr Capital began to be mentioned more often in Ukraine. Several Ukrainian startups reported that representatives of the fund approached them with an investment proposal. Some agreed, but didn’t announce the deals. The reason is clear — Zubr Capital is a Belarusian fund and its funds are. AIN.Capital briefly tells what you need to know about the fund.
About Zubr Capital
Zubr Capital is not a new fund for Ukraine. In 2021 it invested in Ukrainian startup 3DLOOK that closed Series A round amounted at $6.5 million. Almaz Capital and TMT Investments were also among the backers. As the Belarusian media reported, this was the first foreign investment for Zubr Capital.
The investment company Zubr Capital was founded in 2010, its founder and head is Oleg Husayenov, who made his fortune developing the Atlant-M car dealer. The company continues to operate in Belarus even after the start of the full-scale invasion, and Husayenov remains chairman of the board of directors, although he indicates that he now holds Cypriot citizenship. It is not known whether he got rid of his Belarusian passport.
In 2016, Husayenov launched Zubr Capital Fund I with a volume of $50 million. Last year, a new $96 million Zubr Capital Fund II was opened and has already started investing actively: the first deal was with the Oro platform amounted at $13 million. In total, the fund plans to invest from $2 million to $10 million.
Zubr Capital and Ukraine
One of the focuses of the new fund is Ukraine. Earlier, one of the representatives of the fund, who now lives in Warsaw, wrote that they promise to allocate from $2 million to $7 million for Ukrainian startups.
Recently, the company has increased its activity. Several startups told AIN.Capital that the fund approached them with an investment proposal. Some refused, considering the origin of the fund: although the fund positions itself as Cypriot, in fact, a significant part of the team is in Belarus, the country from where, among other things, the full-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine began. At the same time, the fund started an active advertising campaign for itself, in particular, among the Ukrainian media. The fact that the fund is from Belarus is not indicated in the text.
Also, the fund started an active promotion activity in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, in particular, materials appeared in Polish and Lithuanian media — as a part of PR campaign, which was reported by the agency that organized it. In all the articles that mention Zubr Capital, there is no information that this is a Belarusian fund.
We also drew attention to the fact that the investment company does not list its LPs under the new Zubr Capital Fund II, although it says on the website that among the investors is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which was actually among the Zubr Capital Fund I LPs.
We also did not manage to find a single post from the top managers of Zubr Capital condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine, only tolerant words of support for Ukraine and general words that “Ukrainian IT has survived.” But it is not indicated there, whose rockets shelling it must constantly survive.