While the debt negotiations and the renewal of fighting in the East of the country have both dominated the headlines this summer, startup entrepreneurs in Ukraine have weathered the storm to great effect. Several new products have been launched, while a number of teams have been successful in the completion of their crowdfunding campaigns.
Another encouraging sign of vitality has been the announcement of “California in Ukraine.” Currently being completed in central Kyiv (Kiev), this project is designed to host hackathons and offer free courses on programming, the English language, marketing, sales “and everything needed to launch a successful tech business.” Its founder, Igor Shoifot, has received the support of the city authorities as well as several tech players, reported tech blog AIN.UA.
In early August, CheckiO, one of the most well-known Ukrainian startups, launched an open beta for its new game for programmers, Empire of Code. This strategy game features programming, tactics and economy, allowing players to build a great empire, improve the properties of its buildings and the efficiency of its plants, to fight enemies.
“A balance must be found between users’ involvement in the game, the educational process and monetization. All three elements have to be transformed into a single feature,” Liza Avramenko, Checkio CEO, told Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA.
Kwambio’s 3D-printing platform launched in mid-August. Having registered on the platform via email or Facebook, the user may choose any of the home-interior items, fashion accessories or gadgets suggested by the 3D-designers. The object will be printed through the user’s own 3D-printer, or printed by Kwambio and delivered to its users. The color, size, shape and material of the objects can be parametrised online, reports Glavnoe.ua.
Founded in 2013, Kwambio has its headquarters in New York City. In June, the startup entered into a 3-month-long summer program at the TechStars accelerator in Boston.
Meanwhile, students form the National Technical University of Ukraine (also known as “Kyiv (Kiev) Polytechnic Institute”) unveiled Gestus, a system that uses human hands as “joysticks” to aviate a drone. The device, still under development, consists of two bracelets and a host sending signals to a remotely-controlled model.
Currently, the system is using a quadrocopter Hubsan X4; but the students hope that their device will also be used in the future to control such larger objects as cars or lifeboats, reported VectorNews and ITC.UA.
SafeBand, a “smart” bracelet allowing users to monitor objects remotely, has received more $40,000 on Indiegogo in just one month. At 15% above the target, this campaign has been more successful than its previous one through Kickstarter, which had aimed to raise no less than $100,000. The bracelet helps tracking lost, misplaced or stolen objects. With its SafeTag system, the technology has a wide range of applications: for example, it is used as a collar for pets, according to AIN.UA.
Safeband’s crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo has exceeded expectations.
Hideez Technology, Inc., the company behind the SafeBand bracelet, is headquartered in Kansas, USA, even though the founder and the development team are Ukrainian.
With its project iBlazr 2, Ukrainian startup Concepter has raised $250,000 on Kickstarter — three times more than it initially planned. iBlazr 2 describes itself as “the most versatile LED flash” for iPhone, iPad, Android devices and digital cameras (synced with native camera apps). “We will be able to produce 4,000 iBlazr 2 for our backers and supply the primary demand of retailers thanks to the money raised,” Vlad Tislenko, the СЕО Concepter, told AIN.UA.
Meanwhile, China has already started offering copycats of the Ukrainian gadget, made available on Alibaba and Aliexpress.
Smart house gadget maker Branto, which launched its campaign on Indiegogo in late July to raise $50,000, had already collected some $85,000 by 1 September, seventeen days before the date set for the end of the campaign. Its “full remote presence and security device,” which drew some media attention earlier this year at the CES, is equipped with a 360° HD camera, motion sensors, microphones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and IR port. The device may be connected to a phone so that users are able to observe everything going on at home.