Top Tech Stories March 21: Hungry Teams, startups mobilize for change


Arkady Dvorkovich, the former Russian deputy prime minister, resigned as the chair of Skolkovo Foundation. Previously, Dvorkovich expressed dissent with the war on Ukraine, which resulted in the criticism from the Russian establishment. [Source: The Moscow Times

Russian scientists and scientific journalists are opposing the war on Ukraine. The petition against Russia’s military actions was signed by 8,000 scientists, including the Nobel Prize Winners.  [Source: Insider]

Taiwan’s electronic giant ASUS suspended shipments to Russia following a tweet by an Ukranian top-official with a request to do so. The company is “deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” according to the ASUS statement.  [Source: Reuters]

Russian Internet giant Yandex said it’s considering selling two of its products – the news aggregation service and infotainment platform Zen. Instead the company wants to focus on technology-related businesses like search, advertising, cloud and self-driving as well as ride-hailing, e-commerce, video/audio and streaming offerings.  [Source: Yandex]


Epic Games committed to send all money earned for sales of Fortnite from March 20 April 3 to the organizations that provide ground emergency aid for Ukranians suffering from the Russian invasion. Microsoft’s Xbox joined the effort.   [Source: Epic Games]

Ukrainian game development company’s Lviv office has become a home for stranded developers. N-iX Game & VR Studio company continues to deliver gaming development projects to clients as well as navigate the challenges of operating in a conflict zone. [Source: VentureBeat]


Roscosmos will accomplish a Mars mission on its own after the European Space Agency had suspended the cooperation with the company on the project. Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin admitted the mission initially scheduled for September 2022 will be completed a few years later.  [Source:]


Majority of Instagram users in Russia will lose their income generated through this social network. For most of them the network was the only source of income. Instagram was blocked by Russian authorities in mid-March because of Meta Corporation’s permission for users to call for violence towards Russian military personnel deployed in Ukraine.  [Source: Forbes]

Russian social network VK established a public council of entrepreneurs last week. The new body’s goal is to help small and medium-sized businesses to adapt to the new reality. Currently more than two million entrepreneurs use VK to promote their goods and services. [Source: VK]

VK Group is reportedly planning to revive the famous messenger ICQ as well as corporate messager, Vedomosti reports. The idea was discussed inside the company before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the war accelerated the need for Russia-based messengers as the country’s authorities blocked foreign social networks.  [Source: Vedomosti]

Russian social video network Yappy, a homegrown TikTok competitor, saw a 68% hike in the number of views in March compared to February. The amount of user-generated video content has more than doubled in March compared to the month before, according to data provided by Gazprom Media. [Source: RB]


Russian telecommunication provider YOTA recorded a growth of interest in yoga mobile apps. From February 26 through March 4, the first week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, these types of apps accounted for nearly 13% of traffic, a 1.5 increase compared to the first weeks of the year.  [Source: RB]


Russian AI-based startup Beorg, a Skolkovo resident, launched a new service Beorg Smart Vision that enables companies to complete hiring paperwork in 10 minutes. The service scans, digitalizes and detects documents like passports and handwritten applications. Previously Beorg has completed projects for X5 Retail Group, IKEA, Rosatom and other companies, according to Skolkovo website.

[Source: RB, Skolkovo]

Russian taxi service Maxim launched a ride-hailing service in Turkey. Istanbul became the first city to be followed by Antalya, Alanya, and Mersin in the coming months. The company plans to expand to Thailand.   [Source: RB]

Russian ride-hailing service Citymobil was closed, which analysts say cements the Yandex dominance in the ride-sharing space. [Source:]

In Russia, a startup looking to aggregate talented startup teams relocating from Eastern Europe, launched a platform called Hungry Teams providing resources for startups looking to do business in Asia, Europe, MENA, LATAM, and the US. Their target audience are investors seeking talent. [Source: HungryTeams]

Moscow authorities selected the five medical startups through the Future Healthcare accelerator. The projects of the winners will be completed and adjusted by clinics and medical professionals and may become part of the city’s healthcare system. [Source: RBC]


The e-commerce platform Ozon received a license for its second bank Ekom bank. The license granted by the Central Bank of Russia will enable the company to create a wide range of B2B and B2C services. [Source: RB


28% of Russian cybersecurity companies considered relocation of their businesses outside abroad. An estimated 11% said they cannot continue operations and development in the country.  [Source: Kommersant]


The Russian government adopted the legal framework for testing self-driving vehicles, which could pave the way for self-driving becoming a reality in Moscow by 2025.  [Source: The Russian Government]

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