Startup conference Slush has decided to reverse its controversial decision to award Immigram, a startup founded by two Russian citizens, the top prize in its pitching competition. The decision comes after a flurry of criticism over the award, with many arguing that Europe’s tech scene shouldn’t back companies with any Russian ties.
- “In light of new information on the extent of the Slush 100 Pitching Competition winner’s operations in Russia, Slush has decided to revoke their win,” the competition’s organisers said in a statement on Monday. “Slush has requested the participating funds, who are currently going through their individual assessment, to pull their investment into Immigram.”
- As the pitch competition’s winner, Immigram, which helps tech talent (including Russians) relocate to the UK, was in line to get €1m in investment from five leading international VCs: Accel, General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, NEA and Northzone.
- None of the firms replied to Sifted’s request for comment about the investment by the time of the publication.
- The Slush statement added: “Slush is sorry for the oversight. We should have reviewed all participants’ operations more closely before letting them enter the competition.
Come Back Alive is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.