From Eliza to Eugene: Approaching Fifty Years of Dialogue Agents
Huma Shah
(AINL Conference 2013: Artificial Intelligence and natural language)
Commercial use of mobile assistants
Egor Naumov
(AINL Conference 2013: Artificial Intelligence and natural language)


About us

i-Free is a Russian innovation company operating in the CIS since 2001 and internationally since 2006. The company develops and implements cutting-edge solutions in mobile and NFC technology, electronic finance, digital content distribution, electronic payments and micropayments, applications for smartphones and new network devices, digital products for the B2C market, and B2B projects in mobile marketing.

i-Free is headquartered in St Petersburg and also has an office in Moscow. Outside Russia, i-Free has offices in Kiev (Ukraine), Minsk (Belarus), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Mumbai (India), Beijing (China) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The company’s products and services are available to consumers and businesses in more than 100 countries. i-Free cleared US $250 million in gross earnings in 2012. The company currently employs more than 750 staff.

i-Free partners with the leading mobile operators in Russia and the CIS, with international mobile equipment vendors, banks, transnational brands, major media groups, publishers, and online resources.


As its strategy priorities, i-Free emphasizes commitment to the public market, deep trend analysis and aggressive investing in innovation.

i-Free’s proactive investment policy has lead to the establishment of several successful businesses, each of them a leader in its field. i-Free keeps a close watch on numerous new trends in technology and in the marketplace. The company actively reaches out to potential partners and co-investors, in order to secure their support in advancing highly promising innovation ideas. With this objective in mind, i-Free in November 2010 signed a partnership deal with the Russian Venture Company’s Seed Fund.

Organizationally, i-Free’s strategy prizes flexibility, openness, employee involvement, meaningful knowledge sharing and encouragement of initiative. The company has been praised repeatedly by experts for its human resources policy. i-Free won the Most Democratic Workplaces Award in 2007 (run by US-based consultancy WorldBlu Inc.), and won the Grand Prix as the “HR Brand of the Year” in 2008 (a competition run by Headhunter). i-Free made it to the finals of the same competition again in 2009. i-Free case studies were included in the manual How to Build Your Company’s HR Brand, published in 2010.

Helping the Market Grow

i-Free is committed to promoting growth in the market of mobile value added services. i-Free has founded and annually hosts the Mobile VAS Conference, the biggest mobile VAS industry forum in the CIS and Eastern Europe. i-Free also hosts the annual Summer VAS Forum for telecommunications companies, provides support to a variety of conferences and seminars for developers, and sponsors the Russian Mobile VAS Awards, which rewards the most vibrant innovation projects.

i-Free has instrumentally contributed to the formation of two foremost mobile VAS industry associations: the Russian Mobile Content and Service Providers’ Association (CSPA) and the Russian Electronic Money Association, established in partnership with Yandex.Dengi, WebMoney and Qiwi.

Company management