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Did a Russian investor finance Spotify in its early days?

Tuesday, February 8, 2022
By Lisa Freedland
YES

Early in 2011, Russian tech investor Yuri Milner helped finance Spotify. One such investment was indirectly funded by VTB Bank, a majority state-owned Russian bank. This, along with Milner's investments in Facebook and Twitter, have led to conspiracy theories that Milner is "working for Russia to turn social media against democracy," according to Vox. 

Milner's investments were made through his venture fund, DST Global, an international investment firm headquartered in Hong Kong. DST Global itself is funded by many international, passive investors who have no say in which companies DST decides to fund. VTB Bank is amongst these passive investors, having no influence in DST's decision to fund Spotify. VTB Bank is responsible for less than 5% of the contributions made to DST Global.

Milner states that such theories are only compelling amongst those "that see my nationality as inherently suspicious."

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