Divan.TV turns profitable, broadcasts user-generated channels worldwide via Smart TV

Content-creators now have the ability to broadcast videos or even launch and monetize their own channels through Divan.TV, a Ukrainian multiscreen OTT service that targets Ukrainian and Russian-speaking users around the globe.

Advantages of using this service, in contrast with that of YouTube, lies in the fact that the owner of the channel will receive coverage not only online, but also in 200 countries around the world through Smart TV, without having to invest additional funding for distribution.

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Ukrainian startups

Ukrainian startups rate their biggest obstacles

Ukraine’s turbulent 2014 worsened the investment climate, including in venture capital – which dropped in half to $40 million. It’s a big problem for the more than 2,000 Ukrainian startups.

A Kyiv Post survey of 47 startups, from e-commerce to mobile applications and hardware products, shows bureaucracy and bribery are key obstacles. Other problems: Russia’s war in the east, general investor disinterest, weak corporate legislation, low purchasing ability, a lack of incubators, accelerators and mentors, hryvnia devaluation and poor intellectual property rights protection.

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Crimean software developers are trying to bypass sanctions

Ordinary programmers have suffered greatly from the economic sanctions against Russia. Apple and Google have fully suspended accounts belonging to Crimean software developers. Their applications are no longer available for downloading and their earnings are blocked.

Many mobile application developers in Crimea are closing their operations in order to move to Russia or Ukraine, says Alexei Sinitsa, owner of Ideas World, a mobile developer in Simferopol, one of Crimea’s largest cities. The main factor is the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, signed into force by U.S. President Barack Obama in late 2014, which forbids economic relations between American companies and those located on the Crimean peninsula.

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Israeli thought leaders to help “next high-tech miracle” emerge from Ukraine

Could Ukraine follow Israel’s path in building a “startup nation?” This is the scenario which many in Ukraine’s high-tech industry are hoping for, considering the country’s abundant and highly skilled IT specialists and its fast-growing startup ecosystem. The analogy with Israel also suggests that even a country affected by serious security threats may succeed on this path.

Some steps to realize this best-case scenario are being made by Kyiv (Kiev)-based business accelerator GrowthUP, in partnership with California-based entrepreneur network AmBAR and tech conference SVOD. Their joint program, christened “Israel-Ukraine Tech Bridge,” has started with a series of conferences offered in Kyiv by top representatives of the Israeli tech community.

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Tech sector’s China love not always reciprocated

Ukraine’s technology sector can often find no better outsourcing option than the low-cost production center known as China.

Oleksandr Nesterenko, the head of ARTKB, a Ukrainian hardware developer, says that China has “huge production platforms.” Production in European Union countries is much more expensive by comparison. Other options on the low-cost front are Taiwan, India, Philippines and Malaysia.

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Online marketplace PROM.UA acquires platform for personal service classifieds

PROM.UA, a major B2B and B2C marketplace owned by Poland-based Allegro Group, has acquired Metnis Kabanchikom, an online service that allows users to post work requests and find people to complete the tasks. According to Ukrainian tech news site AIN.UA, negotiations regarding the acquisition began last autumn and were concluded last week.

“As part of the deal, PROM.UA has acquired the intellectual property of Metnis Kabanchikom, its team, and its userbase, everything except its legal entity”, reported the company. Other terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. The service will continue under the “Metnis Kabanchikom” name.

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IAOP Top 100

Four Ukrainian outsourcing firms make global top 100 list

Earlier this week, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOPreleased its annual “Global Outsourcing 100” list, which includes four Ukrainian firms.

The list includes Ukrainian firms Eleks, Miratech, Softengi, and SoftServe, as well foreign firms with major offices in Ukraine. The latter group includes Luxoft, Russian company Artezio, Belarusian company Intetics, and American firms TEAM International Services and Softjourn.

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Odessa startup promises easy 3D printing

Volodymyr Usov, a founder and chief executive officer at Odessa-based startup Kwambio that provides an online platform for easy 3D printing, says that everyone will have such a printer at home in the near future. The main problem with 3D printing now, however, is it is too complicated for many people.

The first time Usov discovered a 3D printer was at the IDCEE conference, an annual high-profile technology conference in Kyiv in 2013. “I asked many questions about how printers work. And even though I understood what opportunities it can give to the manhood, the biggest challenge is that regular people cannot understand how you can print a physical object,” he says.

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Russian fund Life.Sreda cancels investment in Ukrainian startup Settle

Life.Sreda, which looked just a few months ago as one of the most successful Russian  funds, is now seeking buyers for the greater part of its portfolio companies, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported last week.

The fund also cancelled its investment in Advice Wallet, a Kyiv (Kiev)-based startup which develops mobile payment service Settle. In July last year, Life.Sreda committed itself to inject $1.5 million in the startup, but actually disbursed just 10% of this amount, reported the Ukrainian media.

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Advertising UA

Online display ad market grew 10.7% in 2014

Internet display advertising in Ukraine reached a total volume of 1.01 billion hryvnias (around $82 million at the average exchange rate) in 2014, up 10.7% from 2013.

Almost half of advertising budgets went for banner ads, with video advertising coming in as the second most popular format, according to a report just published by the Ukraine Internet Association.

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