Sberbank, Gazprombank and Digital Horizon announce the signing of a deal under which Sberbank has acquired a 51% stake in Speech Technology Center from Gazprombank. Venture company Digital Horizon has also acquired a stake in STC. Gazprombank remains a strategic shareholder of STC and will continue to play an active role in the future development of the company. The deal is scheduled to close by late May 2019, Sberbank’s webpage reports.
STC is a leading Russian developer of biometric technology. The deal will give STC access to the resources and competencies of two of Russia’s largest financial organisations, including in the field of artificial intelligence and big data. In addition, the expertise of Digital Horizon’s international team will provide STC with additional competitive advantages on the global market, which is expected to be worth around $40 bln by 2022.
“Gazprombank Group has successful experience of investing in promising hi-tech companies. This can be seen in our long-term partnership with STC. We intend to maintain our strategic focus on developing this area as part of the Group’s work to deploy cutting-edge biometric solutions for the Bank’s everyday operations in the interests of our many retail and corporate clients,” said Dmitry Zauers, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Gazprombank.
Alan Vaksman, co-founder of Digital Horizon noted: “This is a historic deal, not only for the development of biometrics, but also for the Russian venture industry. Thanks to the long-term vision of Gazprombank, which saw potential in STC more than a decade ago, today Sberbank — the leader of the Russian digital economy — is building a biometric platform that is unique by world standards. As an investor in STC we will continue our work on positioning the company on the international market and growing its shareholder value.”
STC is a leading developer of voice and facial biometric systems and solutions in the field of professional data processing and machine learning, and is well positioned to become a leading international player in this area. The company’s products are sold in more than 75 countries. In Russia, STC’s technology is used by a large number of major corporations, including Sberbank, Gazprombank, VTB, Vimpelcom, Rostelecom, and Russian Railways.