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Russians Play Farmville For Real

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Russia’s i-Ogorod service will let users remotely grow real flowers and vegetables

Russians are being given the chance to play a game similar to the once-popular FarmVille Facebook app – but using real vegetable gardens.

The i-Ogorod web service – ‘i Garden’ in Russian – will allow its users to set up vegetable gardens and manage them through the Internet, when it launches in late summer, much like the Zynga application FarmVille. However i-Ogorod users will be managing real, productive gardens, unlike Zynga users who simply annoy their friends with information about their virtual farm.

A long way from the Soviet collective

i-Ogorod provides a live video feed

Synergy Innovations, the venture arm of the Moscow University of Industry and Finance, will invest $1 million i-Ogorod, which has real farms located in the Moscow and Vladimir regions.

The project aims at turning farming into a game by merging the virtual with the real worlds, letting i-Ogorod users  monitor their gardens through web cameras while producing ecologically clean vegetables, berries and flowers which are delivered to their homes.

The site, masterminded by the general manager of Synergy Innovations Vadim Lobov, claims to be the first ever hybrid online and offline agricultural project available to end users. Its launch is slated for late summer in August or September, Danila Shaposhnikov, the head of the project, said in an exchange with East-West Digital News.

Synergy Innovations is a Moscow based early stage venture fund focused on obtaining significant minority or controlling stakes in investment targets, the fund’s website reads. Synergy Innovations uses both its own and attracted funds to finance projects in electronic commerce, SaaS, online advertising technologies and other web related fields. Announced in 2011, the fund already lists some ambitious projects in its portfolio. Among them is IntellectMoney.ru, a Russian online payment system which was launched in 2009 and served more than half a million users in its first year of operation.

There is no information yet on pricing for the i-Ogorod service.

Source:  East West Digital News the international resource on Russian IT industries.