Second woman in Russia becomes dollar billionaire thanks to online business

Tatiana Bakalchuk.

Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

Until 2018, there was only one woman in Russia with a fortune exceeding $1 billion: Yelena Baturina, an entrepreneur who used to own the major construction company Inteco, and now runs a chain of hotels. But as of this week, she has to share the spotlight with another woman -Tatiana Bakalchuk, the owner of Wildberries, the largest online retailer in Russia.

According to Forbes Russia, Wildberries is worth $1,2 billion, and Bakalchuk is its only official owner. Together with her husband Vladislav, Bakalchuk founded Wildberries in 2004 and, as they say, never expected to grow this big.

The Bakalchuks got their start by selling clothing from Germany, eventually developing their business into a real empire, which now sells everything from books to sports nutrition. Today, the online store gets two million daily visitors.

“Wildberries is among a few online stores that really is profitable for its owners,” Forbes Russia notes. Bakalchuk emphasizes that Wildberries remains a family business and that they “do everything together” with her husband, who owns a courier company that works with the online retailer. Making something close to the Russian version of Amazon? Not too shabby for a family hobby.

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