US high tech and payment firms blacklist Crimea

Russia’s absorption of the Crimea region in early 2014 continues to be a source of friction between Washington and Moscow. The issue was illustrated recently by several US firms which cut ties with the disputed territory altogether.

Due to sanctions placed on the region last year by the US authorities, which include an export ban of US goods, technology, sales and services to Crimea, Apple and Valve are the latest companies to blacklist Crimea, in addition to payment operators Visa and MasterCard.

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LiveUAmap: How an interactive mapping tool became a global media resource

As events in central Kyiv (Kiev) unfolded before the eyes of the world during the Maidan protests in early 2014, conflicting news reports flooded the international media. At the same time, three founders of IT company Altwork began to think of a way to resolve the media mess and separate fact from fiction.

Their solution was an interactive map based on Google Maps, which could pinpoint government and protest factions street by street.

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UK-based Ukrainian startup obtains $30,000 from Ciklum founder Torben Majgaard

Ukrainian startup, which provides a marketplace for hiring musicians and photographers, has obtained $30,000 from Torben Majgaard, the Danish businessman who founded Ciklum, a leading Ukrainian nearshore software development firm. Further details of the deal were not disclosed.

“I like Poptop’s area of business as well as the team’s attitude,” Majgaard said in an exchange with Ukraine Digital News. “The fact that they have moved their focus to the UK market, in which I have strong connections, has put me in a good position to contribute.”

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AIN Awards

Top 10 Ukrainian startups in 2014

Leading Ukrainian online tech publication AIN.UA has revealed their list of the top 10 most promising domestic startups that have appeared in recent years. The publication asked experts (angels, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs) to identify their top five startups, based primarily on achievements from 2014.

Notable achievements may have included the completion of new investment deals, the release of a product, a pivot, winning a prestigious competition, and so forth. Each startup named received a point and the winners were then listed by score.

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Eating on the run? A Ukrainian startup has application to cut out wasted restaurant time

For those so busy that they don’t have time for leisurely lunches during workdays, the Ukrainian startup Settle offers a solution: ordering food ahead of time so it’s ready when you are ready to eat.

What started only as idea last summer is now a free application used in 20 restaurants in Kyiv. It reached almost 10,000 downloads on iOS and Android devices and 4+ rating in the Apple App Store.

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CES + Ukraine

Five startups that showcased Ukrainian high-tech at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas

Last week Las Vegas played host to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), a huge annual event which draws nearly 150,000 attendees from more than 100 countries. While participation among startups was quite high with around 375 in attendance, several Ukrainian startups, hardware and non-hardware in focus, stood out. All of them have successfully carried out Kickstarter campaigns, or intend to do so soon.

The first Ukrainian startup to gain attention at CES was Concepter, which already unveiled its iBlazr app at last year’s event.

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BrainBasket Foundation

BrainBasket Foundation prepares tech specialists to boost the market

While many talented tech students from Ukraine choose to pursue studies abroad at some point of their career, local market players launched a BrainBasket Foundation last year to fund free trainings for those who wish to study programming.

The first programs started in November. The goal is to prepare as many as 100,000 tech specialists by 2020, which would boost the $2 billion local information technology industry by ten times.

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Odessa aims to become a ‘smart city’

By March 1, 2015, an information system for urban management called “Electronic City” will be launched in Odessa, a major city in southern Ukraine, announced Serhiy Dubenko, adviser to the mayor. As reported by the publication IT Vesti, the purpose of the system will be to improve control by city officials and their staff over carrying out their responsibilities.

After the system is launched, Odessa inhabitants will be able to send an electronic request or application regarding a city problem, including photos of the problem area (such as trash that has not been picked up or a parking violation committed by a city employee).

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High tech Ukraine

Lawmakers from IT industry pledge to boost conditions for peers

Ukrainian IT sector received a bit of hope that good changes are coming in 2015 after the parliament elections this October. Five former tech industry players received parliament member mandates and became IT sector lobbyists at the legislative level.

Luckily for the industry, the lobbyists have different background and represent different parties. Olha Belkova (Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc) was a managing partner of East Labs Business Accelerator and Viktor Halasyuk (Liashko Radical Party) was president of Bionic Hill innovation park in times of its active construction.

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top ukrainian internet businessmen

Who’s who in the Ukrainian Internet scene: Tech blog AIN ranks most influential people

Leading Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA has just announced its yearly ranking of the most influential individuals in the local Internet scene. The final list was determined by a committee of experts, comprised of 33 representatives of various sectors of the online community.

In order to compile the rating, the experts were asked to name the five individuals who most strongly influenced, both positively and negatively, the development of the Ukrainian Internet sector in 2014 (businessmen, public figures, etc.).

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