It was a particularly dramatic moment for i-Free in 2010 when the company shifted its market strategy and made some staff changes to go with it. From then on, innovation became the company’s number one priority, the goal being to secure a stronger hold on the high-tech markets.
i-Free established a special division, i-Free Innovations, dedicated to advancing this objective. The i-Free founders, Kirill Gorynya, Kirill Petrov and Sergei Shulga, left their respective positions in the company to stand at the helm of the new division, and Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov, former chief of i-Free marketing and operations, was appointed the new General Director.
Within a very short time, i-Free Innovations has developed and trial-launched several projects employing innovative technologies, making i-Free eligible to sign a partnership deal with the Russian Venture Company and join NFC Forum, the international association that spearheads NFC-based product development globally.
Two trailblazing i-Free products won prizes at high-profile international competitions in 2010. Mobile Vending won a prize at WSA Mobile, while the mobile application, Smartive, won the Mobile VAS Awards.
Some other 2010 highlights included the launch of TUSIM!, a mobile social utility with GPS and geo-blogging capabilities, a range of mobile value added services for some popular TV shows on Channel One, SMS voting on Eurovision, interactive mobile promo events for a few worldwide FMCG brands, and others.
One of the milestones for i-Free internationally was its win in a tender run by China Mobile, gaining the company the title of “Top Content Provider for China Mobile” and the right to supply mobile games directly to China Mobile, the largest cellular company in the world.
Quite a few top notch professionals joined the i-Free team in the past year. In total, 122 new staff were hired for the company’s various departments and offices. Eight weddings were celebrated in the company, and 21 children were born: 7 girls and 14 boys.
“We look back on the past year every time before New Year’s Eve and this time, we have a lot to be proud of,” said i-Free CEO Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov. “Our market showings have improved dramatically, while i-Free’s unique team spirit, values and traditions have remained intact.”
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i-Free, a Russian innovation-focused company operating in the CIS market since 2001, is a specialist developer and implementer of cutting-edge products and services in mobile technology, electronic finance, digital content distribution, electronic payment systems, micropayments, applications for smartphones and new network devices, B2C digital product marketing, B2B mobile marketing projects, and NFC technology and services.
Outside Russia, i-Free operates successfully and has offices in Kiev (Ukraine), Minsk (Belarus), Almaty (Kazakhstan)
i-Free, headquartered in St. Petersburg, also has an office in Moscow. The company currently employs more than 350 staff.