Sikorsky Challenge

Ukrainian VCs invest in spying drones, energy analysis and “the art of dreaming”

Last week, Kyiv (Kiev) Polytechnic Institute (KPI) hosted the final of Sikorsky Challenge 2014, a contest that attracted innovative projects working in the startup incubator and the science park at the institute. Investors have developed an interest in many of the finalists, to the point that deals or intentions to invest were announced during the competition.

Besides funds created within the framework of the competition (the Mikhalevich Fund and Kalinin Invention Fund), investors monitoring startups from the KPI incubator included representatives from Noosphere Ventures, Detonate Ventures and AVentures Capital.

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Aleksandr Olshanskiy

Alexander Olshansky launches military startup incubator

Prominent Ukrainian entrepreneur Alexander Olshansky and partners have opened a business incubator in Ukraine called Voenkubator, which can be translated as “Armincubator.” The project is planned exclusively to develop startups that show promise for the military and intelligence fields, Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA reports.

Voenkubator targets startups that develop information processing and retrieval, image processing, monitoring of public places and work with large sets of data. In addition, hardware startups will be chosen to develop drones, simulators and terrain observation systems.

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e-democracy e-vote

Six online initiatives to enable citizen control over the election process

Perhaps never before have elections to Ukraine’s parliament, which will take place this Sunday, been held under such public scrutiny. Ukraine paid a high price for free elections, which is why voters want the process conducted honestly this time around. Thus the country is seeing the emergence of a variety of online-voting services, mobile apps and websites with the aim of making the elections honest and transparent.

Leading Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA has selected six of the most popular pre-election online projects.

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Aviram Eisenberg

What happens on the Ukrainian IT-market?

I started my career in a company called “MIND CTI”. It is an Israeli hi-tech public company, traded at NASDAQ, NY. In several years, I became the Chief Architect. One of my activities there was to set up an R&D-center for the company, at that time in Romania. I started with five guys and after five years I had 230 guys there. I said to myself: “If I’m so good in doing something like that, why do I do it for another person? I can do it for myself”.

But at that time Romania joined the EU, so it didn’t make sense to do it there anymore, because the prices started to go up, and the good developers started leaving Romania. So I started looking for other locations in Central and Eastern Europe. That could be interesting for me. And I decided to start my company in Ukraine. The talent pull in Ukraine is much bigger than the one in Romania, the education system is better, the prices seemed right.

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6 Ukrainian high tech stories

Six global high tech success stories from Ukraine

Ukraine, which has made the headlines lately for its political tumult and war-torn areas in the Eastern side of the country, is also home to a number of IT entrepreneurs who have founded worldwide known IT companies. Their profits range in the millions of dollars and their services are used by dozens of millions around the globe.

Prominent Ukrainian venture capitalist Yevgen Sysoyev of AVentures Capital presents six of these companies.

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IDCEE 2014

IDCEE 2014: Investors and entrepreneurs gathered en masse in Kyiv ignoring “politicians’ bullshit”

Lifting any possible doubt about the resilience of Ukraine’s high-tech sector in these troubled times, the IDCEE conference was held brilliantly last week at the Olympic stadium of Kyiv (Kiev). Some 2,000 local and foreign startup entrepreneurs, venture investors, representative of small and large high tech and financial companies, industry experts and other IT people gathered in the gigantic venue.

In the startup area, the Ukrainian contingent was the most numerous – perhaps even more than in the event’s previous editions. This was not fully expected given the recent calls to boycott IDCEE for political reasons, as the main organizer’s husband, Sergiy Tigipko, used to belong to ex-president Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions.

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Ukraine money

Government launches web instruments for investors willing to place money in Ukraine

In a new attempt to attract additional foreign money to Ukraine, the State Agency for Investment and National Projects is developing an interactive map that’s aimed at showing a potential investor all the possibilities at a glance. The agency presented a beta version of the map on Oct. 16.

It is part of the strategy that is supposed to bring as much as $40 billion in foreign investments by 2020. This comes as the agency’s last project since the Cabinet of Ministers disbanded it on Sept. 10 and passed its functions to the Economy Ministry.

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Maidan revolutionary releases app for creating video-maps of the world

Ukrainian developers have released VideoMap, a free mobile app that allows owners of Android smartphones and tablets to create their own maps and add photos and videos, reports tech blog AIN.UA. On the map, these photos and videos are identified with special icons, which will allow the user to see what was shot in a particular place.

Photos and videos can be shot directly in the app and downloaded to the map or users can download materials which have already been prepared.

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Broadband Ukraine

Legislative initiatives to boost IT sector: What does the future hold?

Ukraine’s information technology companies already have considerable benefits, including cheaper taxes, but the industry is looking for improvement from new faces in government who understand the IT world.

One of the repeatedly stated goals of the new Ukrainian government — and of the new parliament, which will be elected on Oct. 26 — is to turn the country into an innovative state where the information technology business is acknowledged as an important part of the economy.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 12.47.07

Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk strikes media-for-equity deal with top fashion e-commerce site

The Ukrainain Internet store, has agreed a media-for-equity transaction with broadcasting group company StarLightMedia, a property of Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Pinchuk. According to the parties to the agreement, this represents the first such deal in the Ukrainian market.

The essence of the deal is that StarLightMedia will provide concessional TV advertising on its sites valued at $3.2 million. In exchange, the media-holding firm will receive equity in the startup. The size of the share has not been disclosed. The deal is due to be closed by the end of next month.

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