Seed money

“The Deal Book of Ukraine” sheds full light on Ukraine’s young venture and startup industry

AVentures Capital, a major Ukrainian investment fund, and Ukraine Digital News, today released “The Deal Book of Ukraine” – the first-ever report on the Ukrainian venture and startup industry. Made available in English, this 120-page study features more than 250 deals that have been made public or identified since 2012 and involved more than one thousand startups.

Also included are interviews with leading Ukrainian and foreign investors, who speak frankly about the attractiveness, or not, of Ukraine’s high-tech industry in these troubled times, as well as a series of articles highlighting the current key industry issues and most notable entrepreneur stories.

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Polish incubator Next.Step invests $50,000 in Ukrainian startup Treasurer

Odessa-based Kaznachey (Russian for “Treasurer”) has developed a cloud-based processing platform for Internet sites and mobile applications which allows users to purchase goods and services with any legal currency (bank cards, through self-service terminals, or by credit) as well as through sellers to be paid by account or by card.

The startup has obtained $50,000 from Polish incubator Next.Step, which will be used for the implementation of a pilot project in Poland with the goal of obtaining access to other European markets.

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Ukrainian Post

Ukrainian Post to speed delivery of purchases from the UK and US

Ukrainian Post, the national postal operator, intends to speed connections with the United States and United Kingdom for cross-border e-commerce shipments, the online business publication reported last week.

The Post’s general manager Mikhail Pankiv noted increasing interest among Ukrainians towards online purchases from abroad, with shoppers primarily looking towards companies from China, the UAS and the UK. Ukrainian Post has already reached an agreement with the Chinese postal service on the accelerated transfer of goods and will move to test the service.

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Ukrainian startup challenges Adobe with app “PDF Office”

Earlier this week Readdle, an Odessa, Ukraine-based startup operating globally, released the app “PDF Office,” a new flagship product, in the AppStore. This app is a mobile PDF editor that enables users to create and edit PDF directly on an iPad. Users can also make annotations, convert files from different formats to PDFs, and to scan documents and pages. The startup claims that this is “the best instrument on iOS for working with PDFs.”

Only the demo version is available for free, as users of the full version will need to spend $5 monthly or $40 annually for a subscription. The potential user base, in the company’s estimation, may amount to hundreds of thousands of people globally.

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Andrey Axelrod

US entrepreneur Andrey Akselrod: “We’ll continue to do business in Ukraine if possible because the country has a strong technical workforce”

If you’re wondering whether African disease outbreaks, Ukrainian instability and Syrian civil war could have an effect on your business, you’re not alone: A September 2014 survey of business executives by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. discovered that 80 percent of responders believe geopolitical instability in the Middle East and North Africa is either very likely or extremely likely to upset the global economy in the next year. And the executives most likely to be worried are those in North America and Europe, due to concerns about tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

Andrey Akselrod, co-founder of the New York-based translation technology firm Smartling, keeps a close eye on Ukraine even when he’s not there overseeing Smartling’s facilities abroad. Akselrod, who was born in Ukraine and has lived in the United States for 20 years, staffs two offices in Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk with about 40 software development and support staff.

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Mobile navigation startup QROK secures $500,000 from Estonian investor and prepares move to Austria

Last month, Ukrainian startup QROK, which has developed a mobile app for navigation within buildings and malls, received a capital injection of half a million US dollars from an unnamed Estonian investment company.

“The investor will launch its activities officially across the CIS in a few weeks, and it might be a big surprise for Ukraine,” QROK founder Igor Snizhko told Ukraine Digital News.

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Kit Soft

Online map keeps track of Kyiv’s utility problems

Kyiv City Hall, which is constantly criticized for paying more attention to distributing expensive land to insiders than serving residents’ needs, launched an online map that reflects the breakdowns in the city’s utility system on Nov. 19.

KitSoft, a local website developer, made an interactive map that shows the exact addresses of the buildings experiencing any utility problems, whether this is water or power supply.

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Natalia Berezovska

How business angel practice is emerging in Ukraine

Business angel practice — a term that covers a variety of individual situations and approaches — has grown slowly but noticeably over the past few years in Ukraine. Not only did the political tumult of this year not stop this development, 2014 even saw the creation of a dedicated association, UAngel, along with that of UVCA, which gathers venture capitalists.

UAngel chairman Natalia Berezovska shares her vision of this emerging practice, its challenges and prospects. This analysis is an excerpt from “The Deal Book of Ukraine,” a report on the Ukrainian venture and startup scene to be released later this week.

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Computer Ukraine

IT systems integrators launch Digital Ukraine Association

A new professional association has emerged in Ukraine in Digital Ukraine, an association of IT systems integrators. Joining the association are 12 IT players which operate in the Ukrainian market. Members of the association include key system integrators, such as AMI, BMS Consulting, Inkom, Integrity Vision, IT-Solutions, KM Ware, ProNET, System Integration Service (SIS), S&T, Supportio, and SI BIS. Also joining the association is Octava Business Development, which is a division of asset-management firm Octava Capital.

The association aims to attract a greater number of systems integrators, other specialized IT companies and software publishers actively operating in the Ukrainian market.

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Imperious Group

Pavel Aleshin and Kirill Mazur of Imperious Group: “There are greater economic and political risks in investing in Russian projects, so we have begun looking more at the Ukrainian market”

Launched in 2010 in Russia, Imperious Group began investing in Ukrainian startups last year. Regardless of the political tumult, the fund’s interest in this market was maintained this year to such an extent that has it has become one of the most active funds in Ukraine with more than $3 million invested so far.

This year, Imperious Group invested in seven Ukrainian projects at the seed stage – which came in addition to transactions in Russia and other countries. In an interview with the Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA, Imperious Group analysts Pavel Aleshin and Kirill Mazur talked about the fund’s activities in Ukraine, investing in startups and market conditions in general.

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