I travel to Moscow, Russia every 5-6 weeks for my work with Live Journal, (a leading Russian social media service) and I often get asked about "cool new Internet & Tech companies in Russia". Outside of the obviously recently popular Chat Roulette, my typical answer is that there are not yet a bunch of unique Russian success stories in Internet Media/Tech, but that there are lot of smaller firms starting to bubble up. However, there are a few that have broken through in Russia which have good shots at succeeding beyond the homeland, and I'll discuss one of them below:
Yota is the Clearwire of Russia, delivering 4G WiMax services to both data cards and mobile handsets in key large Russian cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg - that means delivering up to 10MB to various mobile devices, plus some associated data services such as Music and TV. Russia is very heavily penetrated (140%) in traditional wireless, but 3G wireless is still not deployed in Moscow due to some historic spectrum issues with the military, now worked out. Yota stepped into that gap with one of the best designed, engineered and marketed services since Apple rolled out the iPhone.
The core hardware is beautiful and brand-consistent, as you can see below - a clear white approach for Yota devices ("Egg" transmitter, 4G modem, 4G wi-fi router) and then partnerships with cutting edge vendor partners like the HTC phone below. The marketing is crisp, and even the headquarters offices are cool-looking. With over 200,000 subscribers (blog), Yota is starting to deliver a meaningful revenue line, as well as a cool alternative to the other service providers.
There appear to be some growing pains for Yota in Moscow as they look for more ways to expand their infrastructure, but Yota has been so successful in Russia that it is now one of the few Russian tech companies to be actively expanding beyond Russia, with announced operations in Peru and Nicaragua, with more countries apparently arriving in 2010/2011.
Plugging into Yota when I go to Russia (vs my slower Sprint 3G modem) just points out that there are still a lot of cool companies around the world starting to deliver amazing new media and tech services. Definitely check it out if you are in a country where Yota has deployed services.