Startup conference Slush has decided to reverse its controversial decision to award the top prize in its pitching competition to startup Immigram, founded by two Russian nationals. The decision comes later A wave of criticism At the awards, many argued that Europe’s tech scene should not support companies with any Russian ties.
“In light of new information regarding the extent of the Slush 100 Pitching Contest winners’ operations in Russia, Slush has decided to void their winnings,” contest organizers said. said in a statement on Monday.
“Slush has requested participating funds, who are currently undergoing their individual evaluations, to pull their investments in Imigram.”
As the winner of the pitch competition, Immigram, which helps transfer tech talent (including Russians) to the UK, was in line to receive €1m in investment from five major international VCs: Accel, General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, NEA and Northzone.
Neither firm responded to Shifted’s request for comment on the investment at the time of publication.
The Slush statement added: “Slush apologizes for the oversight. We should have reviewed all participants’ operations more thoroughly before allowing them to enter the competition.
Even Imigram frowns
In a statement Posted on LinkedIn Before Slush tweeted its decision on Monday, Immigram said it had “opted out” of the competition.
Immigram is a British company, founded in 2019 by two Russian nationals, Anastasia Miroluubova and Mikhail Sharonov, who both moved to the UK in 2016. The startup helps tech talent from more than 10 countries including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, India. Apply for US, UK Global Talent Visa.
Shortly after Immigram won the pitch competition, images emerged of a Russian employment board that appeared to show it recruiting for roles in Moscow. The company says it has no entities or employees based in Russia and has not received any money from Russian investors. It hires people in Russia but only on the condition that they move to another country immediately. Miroluubova has said that she is against any Russian war in Ukraine.
“We will continue to support Ukraine and build a company for millions of talented people who want to go international,” the company said in a statement.
Zosia Wanat is Sifted’s Central and Eastern Europe reporter based in Warsaw. She tweets from @zosiawanat