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A sign above the entrance to a Sberbank of Russia PJSC bank branch in Moscow. Sberbank is a limited partner in at least one fund that invests in U.S. startups. Photo by Bloomberg
Venture Capital Startups

Startup Founders, VC Firms Reexamine Ties to Russian Investors After Attack on Ukraine

Photo: A sign above the entrance to a Sberbank of Russia PJSC bank branch in Moscow. Sberbank is a limited partner in at least one fund that invests in U.S. startups. Photo by Bloomberg

Russia’s sudden attack on Ukraine has spurred startup founders to reexamine their ties to Russian investors out of concern their funds could be linked to the Russian government.

Those entrepreneurs include Vadim Rogovskiy, co-founder and CEO of 3DLook. The San Mateo, Calif.–based developer of 3D body-scanning technology raised a Series A funding round last year from investors including OKS Group, a firm founded by two Russian businessmen.

“I just don’t feel I would be able to collaborate with any new investors with a Russian connection,” Rogovskiy said, speaking from his home in Odesa, Ukraine, the Black Sea port city where he grew up and now lives part of the year. On Thursday, Russian forces under the orders of President Vladimir Putin began bombing the area as well as several other cities across the country. By Saturday, the death toll had risen to nearly 200, according to Ukraine’s health ministry.

“We really felt it in the house,” Rogovskiy said of the vibrations from nearby explosions.

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