WomanJournal.ru, Russia’s leading Internet portal for women, has just completed a financing round backed by three of France’s top venture capital firms. Ventech together AGF Private Equity and XAnge have become shareholders in the Russian start-up alongside Direct Group. Aelios Finance acted as advisor to womanjournal.ru.

Two years after its launch, the portal created in Moscow by a Franco-Russian team has become Russia’s leading female Internet site with over 2.5 million single visitors in an Internet market recording the strongest growth in Europe. From 25 million currently, the number of Russian web surfers is expected to top 75 million by 2011.

Pascal Clément, the Chairman of Direct Group, the company based in Moscow since 1992, behind the creation of Womanjournal.ru, stated, “This fund raising backed by investors specialised in e-media and e-services will speed the company’s development in an Internet market that has remained buoyant even in the current context”. Pierric Duthoit, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Womanjournal.ru, added, “We succeeded in creating a leader, but to establish key positions with advertisers womanjournal.ru needed to have more resources, and this has now been accomplished.

The French investors that have come onboard have a long track record in the e-media and e-services sectors, having already invested in companies such as Meetic, Viadeo, Dailymotion and Purepeople. Alain Caffi, Managing Partner of Ventech, which acted as lead investor, explained: “We have appreciated the quality of work being done by the team that entered the Russian Internet market, one of the world’s biggest markets with the most rapid growth rates and potential – more than 150 million users. Currently Womanjournal has all the advantages and opportunities to become a leader of the Russian female Internet on a level with the highest world standards.