Russian OTA Oktogo nets $11 million roundNewsBy Sean O'Neil | March 13, 2013Share This article was originally published on Booming Russian online travel agency (OTA) Oktogo.ru has raised $11 million in its latest financing round, raising its total to $26 million.Not bad for a company that only earned $30 million in 2012. As Tnooz has previously reported, the company forecasts that its gross bookings will more than treble this year to $100 million.Venture capital firms participating in this round include VTB Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners and Ventech, while the angel investors are Javier Perez-Tenessa, Fabrice Grinda, and Jose Marin, as first reported by The Next Web.Russia's leading hotel booking service continues to go from strength to strength. In February, it was named the number one most innovative company in Russia by Fast Company.It has the best shot at solidifying an early lead among OTAs in the market. Travel bookings in the Russian Federation have been estimated by PhoCusWright to be worth more than $50 billion a year.What will the upside be for investors?Some analysts may wonder if investors are over-bidding in the Russian travel sector.There is an uphill struggle ahead. Russian customers are said to be uncomfortable with using credit cards and online transactions. Oktogo says just over a half of payments for hotel bookings through it are made by credit card. Alternative purchase methods include payments via cash at instant payment terminals and retail outlets.In its favor, Oktogo claims half of all Russian hotels are listed on its booking engine, far more than any competitor. It further claims that only one in five hotels have their own websites, so in many ways, Oktogo is becoming the primary lead generation source.But how many hotels are we truly talking about? A search on Oktogo today shows heavy listings mostly in Moscow and St Petersburg, but not much beyond. Contracting in the regions is a huge struggle, too, say experts.What really are the chances for Oktogo or its competitors of making large yields at the level of Booking.com or Expedia in the near future to justify investor expectations?We'll soon find out.Victor Sazhin joins the company’s board, whose director is Philip Wolf, founder of PhoCusWright.The site debuted a new homepage in mid-February. It also recently tied up a deal with Momondo.The founders of Oktogo previously created Russia's blockbuster product, Mail.ru.