Stefano Guidotti

U-Start founder Stefano Guidotti: “We see Ukraine as a key part of our global, tech-oriented family office network”

Following the merger of IDCEE, Ukraine’s leading tech event, with U-Start, Stefano Guidotti explains the recent trends in family office investment strategies and their growing interest in startups across the globe.

The Italian businessman also shares his vision of the Ukrainian tech scene and the way it can be connected to global investment flows. 

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Bitcoin accepted

Online flower shop and legal firm become Bitcoin pioneers in Ukraine

SendFlowers, a Ukrainian online store that offers the most exotic of flowers with delivery across the country and beyond, has announced that it has begun to accept Bitcoins on a test basis. It is the first such case on the Ukrainian e-commerce scene, reports

The cryptocurrency can be used on the site to buy bouquets, souvenirs, gifts and cakes. The company expects the option of Bitcoin payment to increase sales abroad. The website is prepared to deliver flowers to Europe and the United States.

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C2C e-commerce platform launched to support army and help refugees

Volunteers have launched “Murakhi,” an online trading platform where it will be possible to buy and sell second-hand items with all profits from the transactions going to the aid of the army, the wounded and refugees from the war-torn areas of Eastern Ukraine.

So far, the website is only accepting items, but it will be possible to make purchases on it beginning in early November, reports Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA.

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Ukrainian startup Petcube delays shipment of product again, hires new head of marketing

Perhaps the most famous Ukrainian hardware startup, Petcube says the release of its remote laser pointing pet-playing device is now at least six months behind schedule.

Selling at a pre-order price of $179 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, the group said the latest delay – deliveries are scheduled now for the end of November, – was due to the bankruptcy of the Chinese manufacturer that was contracted to supply camera modules, according to Petcube CEO Yaroslav Azhnyuk.

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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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