I’m happy to announce I’ve recently joined 500 Startups as Investment Partner covering Eastern Europe & Israel.

I’m looking for promising new seed-stage tech startups with functional products (not just ideas), customer usage & revenue, and most importantly talented, crazy, passionate founders. My interest is in Eastern Europe, Russia/CIS, Israel, Central Asia particularly in consumer internet and consumer mobile startups especially marketplaces, shared economy and on demand services, educational apps and games, health and wellness apps, communication, advertising and monetization, SAAS. I am however also open to other new products & innovative technology as well.

For many years I’ve been passionate about entrepreneurship, startups, innovation, emerging international markets, consumer internet and mobile space. I’ve successfully done global launches on key mobile platforms, negotiated distribution and revenue generating deals and taken global companies to Eastern Europe/Russia/CIS as well as taken companies founded by Eastern European/Russian teams internationally to markets like US, China and beyond. I’ve had an opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most amazing entrepreneurs and teams in the US and in Eastern Europe – my experience comes from great companies such as Zeptolab (Cut the Rope), OLX, Yandex and Google and I want to share this knowledge base with many promising early stage startup entrepreneurs to help them successfully grow their businesses worldwide.

Markets in the Eastern European region where I’ve spent much time are still underserved at seed stage. There are many top tech universities and as a result top level talented technical folks but not as much business expertise, experience building global businesses or doing business internationally. I am here to help fix it by bridging the continents – helping startups from the region learn from my own experience and through the 500 Startups accelerator program, mentor network and help launch US/international business. I am a big believer that smart founders and unicorns can be found outside of Silicon Valley 🙂 I am honored to have an opportunity to work on this together with Dave McClure and the amazing, incredibly diverse and global 500 Startups team!

Motivation to do this?

Having lived and done business internationally, particularly in Eastern Europe and US I know the challenges entrepreneurs from the region face. I am excited to find, fund, support and empower some of the brightest minds who are often underserved today and be their bridge to Silicon Valley.

The 500 Startups platform, which includes accelerator program, mentorship program, Distro team and has a huge reach and network, which combined with my 15 years in senior business roles, my vast network and passion for consumer internet and mobile in emerging markets/eastern Europe and US can open doors and provide major possibilities for growth for these startups, helping them get to the next, global level. They will have an opportunity to learn from and get inspired by other successful start up examples from Silicon Valley and other global locations and apply it back to their own so they can build successful profitable businesses with their teams in the home markets.

Some of the successful 500 Startups exits include MakerBot, Wildfire, Viki and current portfolio includes giants like Credit Karma, Twilio, GrabTaxi, Udemy, Vungle.

Who is Diana?

Diana brings 15 years of business experience in consumer internet and mobile, including advertising, search, marketplaces and gaming. Most recently she worked as Chief Revenue Officer of Zeptolab (Cut the Rope). Prior to that she was GM at OLX Russia/CIS (now part of Naspers/AVITO marketplace), did partnerships at Yandex (Russia’s #1 search engine) and was at Google in Mountain View in the earlier days. She holds an MBA degree from Duke University Fuqua School of Business.