Slush revokes Immigram’s controversial win at pitch competition

Startup conference Slush has decided to reverse its controversial decision to award Immigram, a startup founded by two Russian nationals, the top prize in its pitching competition. The decision will come later a criticism On top of the award, many argue that the European tech scene should not support companies with any Russian ties.

“In light of new information about the extent of the Slush 100 Pitching contest winner’s actions in Russia, Slush has decided to withdraw their winnings,” contest organizers said in the statement on Monday.

“Slush has asked participating funds, which are currently undergoing their own due diligence, to invest in Immigram.”

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As the winner of the competition, Immigram, which helps technological talents (including Russians) to move to the UK, was to receive 1 million euros of investment from five leading international companies: Accel, General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, NEA and Northzone.

Neither company responded to Sifted’s request for comment on the investment by the time of publication.

A statement from Slush added: “Slush regrets the oversight. We should have carefully reviewed the actions of all participants before entering the contest.

Immigram also bows

In the statement Posted on LinkedIn On Monday, shortly before Slush tweeted its decision, Immigram said it had “withdrawn” from the competition.

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Immigram is a British company founded in 2019 by two Russian citizens, Anastasia Mirolyubova and Mikhail Sharonov, who both moved to the UK in 2016. Start-ups apply to tech talent from over 10 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, India and the US, for a UK Global Talent Visa.

Shortly after Immigram won the competition, images surfaced of a Russian job board that appeared to be hiring for roles in Moscow. The company says it has no organizations or employees in Russia and has not received money from Russian investors. It is said that it will hire people in Russia, but only if they move to another country immediately. Mirolyubova said that she is against any Russian war in Ukraine.

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“We will continue to support Ukraine and build a company for millions of talented people who want to move internationally,” the company said in a statement.

Zosia Vanat is Sifted’s Central and Eastern Europe correspondent based in Warsaw. He wrote on Twitter @zosiawanat


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