One of the shareholders of the operator of a Wi-Fi network in the subway was ex-restaurateur

Photo: Mikhail Japaridze / TASS

The operator is free Wi-Fi in the Moscow metro “Maximalism” RBC called its second shareholder. Together with Sergey Aslanyan four years ago, a co-owner of the companies, which signed long-term contract for the provision of services in the subway, was a former restaurateur Aleko Krikheli

A shareholder and co-founder of operator’s free Wi-Fi in the Moscow metro “Maximalism” was a former restaurateur Aleko Krikheli. He told this to RBC through a representative of the company. Before to enter into technology business, Krikheli was co-owner of Red Espresso Bar, “yesterday cafe”, “Dryer”, Shisha.

According to “SPARK-Interfax”, “Maximalism” was registered in Moscow in 2004. The company is owned equally RBS involved in telecommunications and system integrator NVision group. However, a representative of the operator argues that “Maximalism” for a long time has nothing to do with these companies. As reported by “Vedomosti”, in 2013 the company was sold to a group of private investors headed by Sergei Aslanian, the former President of SITRONICS, who is now the Chairman of the Board Director of “Maximalism”. This group of investors included Aleko Krikheli, said the representative of the operator, not mentioning the size of his share. He noted that Aslanian and Krikheli not the only owners of the company, but the other names are not called.

In the same 2013, succeeding owners, the company “Maximalism” has signed a contract with GUP “Moscow metro” for the Wi-Fi network’s rolling stock subway for a period of fifteen years with possibility of extension. At that time car fleet, metro had more than 4,5 thousand units. Under the terms of the contract, “Maximalism” assumed all costs for the project is about 1.5 billion rubles, wrote “Vedomosti” with reference to Sergey Aslanyan. In addition, with the “Maximalism” to expand their coverage cooperating operators “the big three”. They were also interested in the infrastructure of Metropolitan, but initially did not participate in its tenders because of the high tariffs for cabling and installation of base stations. For example, in February of this year, thanks to the cooperation with the “Maximalism”, MTS “included” for its 3G subscribers in 4 thousand cars, and in March, Tele2 agreed with the operator Wi-Fi about Wi-Fi Calling in the subway.

Before you enter into the composition of the Board of Directors of the company, Krikheli developed the restaurant business in Russia. In particular, he was co-owner of the coffee shop chain Red Espresso Bar, which led to the domestic market, the Israeli chain Aroma Espresso Bar. Kommersant wrote that Moscow was planned to open seven institutions, and by 2015 — 150 points all over Russia. However, due to the devaluation of the ruble and the fall of the catering market, coffee shops began to close. Also, the publication reported that Krikheli was co-owner of networks “Malinka cafe”, “Dryer”, A, but now the businessman is not listed among the owners of these and other restaurants.

“Some assets I owned jointly with the well-known restaurant holdings, told Krikheli. But in 2013-2014, I am completely out of data of the business segments, focusing on the development of “Maximalism”. According to him, “Maximalism” isn’t the only technological project, which involved the shareholder, but to talk about other details, he did not.

Krikheli said that taking part in the operating activities of “Maximalism” and is responsible for the development of its infrastructure business. In particular, he made the decision on the development of the company in St. Petersburg, where she also became the operator of the free Wi-Fi in the subway. Originally “Maximalism” planned to launch the network in February-March this year. According to Krikheli, the launch will happen before the end of the year.

“Maximalism” does not disclose its financial performance. According to the latest data from SPARK, in 2015, its revenue was 1.4 billion rubles According to Krikheli, the company plans to return the investments to the Moscow free Wi-Fi sooner than expected (originally it was about 2019-2020).

At this point in the day to networks MT_FREE on the Moscow transport (available in the metro, and the Moscow Central ring, surface transit “Aeroexpress”) is connected to 1.5 million users. Just network MT_FREE phone numbers identified more than 12 million users.

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