VK (MOEX: VKCO) acquired 70% in the structure of the development company red_mad_robot, which, based on archived copies of the site, participated in the development of the RuStore mobile application store. The purpose of the deal is to strengthen the internal development team, including for other VK projects. Experts note that given the shortage of qualified personnel, it is logical for large IT companies to acquire contractors whose employees are already familiar with its business processes.
VK Company LLC acquired 70% in Mnogo Applications LLC, previously wholly owned by the developer of digital services red_mad_robot (Redmedrobot LLC), follows from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. The change is dated February 5th. "Many Apps" was created in February 2023, the company's website states that it is developing an app store for Android devices. The current version of the site does not specify which store we are talking about, however, the version saved in the Google cache has a QR code with a link to download RuStore (developed by VK).
VK told Kommersant that “various contractors are being involved in the work on RuStore to conduct research and analytics.” The acquisition of a stake in “Many Applications,” VK explained, “is aimed at strengthening the digital product development team.” The company did not disclose the terms of the deal. Red_mad_robot does not comment on the situation. Red_mad_robot CEO Veronika Vasilyeva only confirmed that the company cooperates with VK, as well as with “many large companies,” but noted that all technological processes for the development of RuStore are concentrated within VK.
A Kommersant source in the IT market, familiar with the details of the deal, connected it with the “shortage of qualified IT personnel” that large Russian holdings are experiencing, noting that “in this situation, attracting ready-made teams through the acquisition of an asset is a normal solution.”
Large companies, in conditions of personnel shortages, have already followed a similar strategy, “including T1 and Interros resorted to this to strengthen IT teams,” says Nikita Shabakevich, CEO of AWG and co-founder of SkillStaff. In his opinion, this tactic is advantageous precisely in cases where specialists from a small company have been working on large business projects for a long time, “but when combining teams, it is necessary to establish proper interaction between them.”
According to the chairman of the board of directors of Robbo, Ilya Dinershtein, the scheme for purchasing specialists through the acquisition of companies is especially suitable “in the case of creating new developments in a fairly short time.” As a general rule, however, large businesses absorb small ones not only for the sake of staff - “product developments are also needed,” says Nikolai Ulrich, director of infrastructure consulting and cybersecurity practice at Axenix.
It is more profitable for large companies to acquire ready-made teams that are already aware of their business logic than to waste time searching and training “people from the street.” “During the sale, red_mad_robot probably had a strong negotiating position,” confirms Pavel, co-founder of the digital platform development company Arcsinus Blue At the same time, he noted that “not every team wants to be absorbed, and in such transactions, some employees often leave the acquired studio.”
“Many applications” was “obviously created for cooperation with VK,” but, according to Mr. Golub, it was hardly about the original purpose of the sale, “rather, within the company there was a need to allocate a division for specific tasks and customer requirements.”
CorpSoft CEO Konstantin Renzyaev estimated the deal at approximately 20 million rubles: “Most likely, VK bought a stake in Many Applications in order to quickly acquire the necessary resource. Considering the shortage of personnel and the short deadlines for implementing tasks, such a deal is justified.” He admits that in two years VK will buy out the company completely.