For bringing online travel booking to a distrustful country. Only 10% of business in Russia is handled online, and yet this online travel-booking company made $30 million last year, up from $6 million in 2011. It’s done so by catering its services to a wary public and a tech-resistant local travel industry–creating ways to complete transactions in person, and providing hotels with software to track billing and reservations.
For being the server to web stars. Between WordPress, Hulu, Netflix, Pinterest and Wikipedia, Nginx hosts about 12% of the world’s more than 630 millon websites and gained about 2 million new hostnames in December 2012. With a total of 76 million websites under its belt, Igor Syosev’s Nginx is one of the premier online servers.
For encouraging a burgeoning Russian tech scene. Since its inauguration in 2009, the Skolkovo Foundation has pushed to develop Russia’s tech sector. With nearly 800 companies under its incubation lamp, plans of a university partnership with MIT, continued and hosting the 2014 G8 Summit, it appears to be succeeding.
For taking phone calls to the internet. In 2012, Zingaya surpassed two impressive milestones: 250,000 calls made per month, and more than 1 million minutes of talk time routing through its service. By using WebRTC over Flash, Zingaya has high call and video quality and can embed a “call” button on any website.
For committing to safer oil. Corrosion is the leading cause of oil pipeline failures. So in 2012, Bashneft committed more than $366 million over the next five years to improve pipeline reliability. The plan is to repair and replace nearly 800 miles of pipe and funnel more than 110,000 barrels of oil.
For being the Russian Rovio. Its smash hit, Cut The Rope, was downloaded more than 250 million times. Now the company is rallying behind its most recent game, Pudding Monsters, which features 75 levels of “easy to play, tough to master” puzzles.
7_Russian Venture Company
For instituting a collaborative innovation lab. This government-formed coalition–including seven Russian funds and some of the biggest name Russian VCs–now represents 139 companies, with investment capital totaling $400 million.
For beating Facebook in Russia. Tallying more than 195 million users and the no. 27 website in the world, following Facebook’s model seems to be good business for Vkontakte, which brought in more than $150 million in 2011. Though it wisely knew when to change course: When it saw Facebook’s stock troubles, it scrapped plans for its own IPO.
For leading the nano-tech charge. Rusnano is charged with leading the Russian nano-tech sales to $30 billion by 2015. With 78 companies valued at more than $5 billion, the firm opened up 16 factories in 2012.
For championing a local, online dating scene. For the more than 45 million users on Topface, it’s arguably the most popular way to date. The platform has big plans for 2013: expanding into China, opening a London office and partnering with the largest social network in the country, Vkontakte.
[Image: Flickr user Andrew Beirne]