Chipmaker Intel invests in two Russian internet firms

SANTA CLARA, Calif. ― U.S. chipmaker Intel announced “multi-million” investments in two Russian online firms Thursday, in a fresh sign of investor confidence in growth prospects of internet businesses.

Intel Capital, charged with backing business models that complement its Santa Clara, Calif., parent’s long-term strategy, said it provided financing for social networking company AlterGeo and online shoe retailer Sapato.ru.

The company, which invested a total of $327 million in 119 deals last year, did not disclose financial detail of the latest transactions.

Investor appetite for internet assets was highlighted last month by the listings of Yandex YNDX.MM, Russia’s most popular search engine, and U.S. social networking firm LinkedIn.

AlterGeo, which offers location-based services to more than 700,000 users, plans to use Intel Capital’s financing to expand user base and develop new services.

Sapato.ru is the leading online shoe retailer in Russia, launched in June 2010 by Fast Ventures, eVenture Capital Partners, Direct Group and investment holding company Kinnevik.