Kirill MAKHARINSKY, President of Ostrovok.ru:
Russian language is one of our advantages. And more so that we have a 24-hour Russian-speaking call-center to respond to our customers' enquiries, even when they are abroad. We are optimising Ostrovok.ru for Russian debit/credit cards. If you try to pay with a Russian card on international sites, often it won't work, and they do not support other methods of payment. But with us, a solution to this problem, and others, is already provided, or will be in the very near future. We have paid great attention to user experience and design to ensure the simplest possible process for hotel bookings. Not long ago, we launched a new service: 'The Travellers Club' which regularly presents our subscribers with a selection of special offers on hotels throughout the world. Ostrovok.ru's special offers differ from those of others not only in our strictest selecting of hotels, but also in that users are granted the best possible discount which is only available when booking a certain hotel. This maximum discount became possible through exclusive agreements with the hotels.
Since the arrival of Andrew PYNER, the team working on the Ostrovok.ru service became one of the best on the Russian online booking market.“Andrew's task is to create the largest source of hotels for the Russian-speaking users in Russia and abroad, and it is precisely in that area where he has real experience,” explains co-founder and CEO of Ostrovok.ru Serge FAGUET.“The Ostrovok.ru project is developing very rapidly. And I am convinced that my experience in the hotel industry will add dynamics to this trend,” says Andrew PYNER himself. “It is also a great pleasure for me that Ostrovok.ru is aimed at the Russian-speaking consumer. I studied and worked in Russia for a long time, and I am glad to continue my career right here.”The overall amount of investments in Ostrovok.ru, according to figures for the past year, totals $13.6 million. Investors are: General Catalyst Partners, who previously invested in Kayak and ITA Software, Accel Partners (investor in Facebook and Groupon), Peter THIEL and Founders Fund (investments in Facebook), Niklas ZENNSTRÖM (founder of Skype), Atomico Ventures, Mark PINCUS (founder of Zynga), Esther DYSON (member of the Board of Directors of Yandex), Fritz DEMOPOULOS (founder of Qunar), Sebastien de HALLEUX (Playfish), Naval RAVIKANT (Epinions, AngelList), Felix SPIELMANN (DST), Scott BANISTER (Ironport, Slide), James HONG (Hotornot), and Sam SHANK (Hoteltonight). Investors received a non-controlling block of shares. Over 50% of the company is still controlled by the founders.