The Current Wave: New breed of Ukrainian tech entrepreneurs seek success in global markets, Part 5

Top 10 Ukrainian startups in 2016

At the end of each year AIN.UA, the leading Ukrainian tech blog, offers its ranking of the country’s most successful startups. The ranking, based on a survey among local business angels and venture investors, features projects which were created or pivoted, over the past three years. Although they were created by Ukrainian teams, some of these companies have established their headquarters in another country.

This year’s ranking includes 10 startups, to which Ukraine Digital News is adding an additional list of companies which have drawn particular attention on the global high tech scene.

  • Number 1 – Sixa

Sixa, a San Francisco-based startup which has developed a “personal computer in the cloud,” tops AIN’s list. Founded last year by Ukrainian entrepreneurs Mykola Minchenko and Ievgen Nechaiev, the company closed a $3.5 million round of seed funding in December 2016.

Earlier last year, Sixa took part in the acceleration programs of Startupbootcamp in Istambul last year and Y Combinator in California securing $140,000 and $120,000, respectively, from these startup accelerators.

  • Number 2 – eTachki

The first online auction for used cars in Ukraine, eTachki has ranked the second. The Kyiv (Kiev)-based startup was launched by Oleg Skripnichenko and Sergii Orlov, two entrepreneurs who had previoulsy been involved in leading e-commerce site ModnaKasta.

A few months ago eTachki attracted $1 million from TA Ventures, a major venture fund based in Ukraine but operating globally.

“The startup has all it needs to succeed: a model that has been proven across the world; experienced founders; and, of course, strong consumers interest in used cars as a result of the economic slump,” stated TA Ventures founder Viktoriya Tigipko.


  • Number 3 – Mobalytics

Founded by Ukrainian entrepreneur Bogdan Suchyk, Mobalytics defines itself as “the first personal performance analytics and improvement tools for competitive gamers.” In September 2016, the startup was the first Ukrainian startup to win the Startup Battlefield of TechCrunch Disrupt. Mobalytics walked away with $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup.

Two months after its victory in San Francisco, the startup raised a seed round of $2.6 million from Almaz Capital, Founders Fund, General Catalyst and GGV Capital.

  • Number 4-6 –

Launched by serial entrepreneur Oleg Roginskyy, helps sales person benchmark their skills, track their improvement and receive personalized advice to become “sales rockstars.”

Earlier this year the startup secured a pre-seed round of funding from Garage Technology Ventures — one of the most established venture funds in Silicon Valley — as well as from a bevy of US and Ukrainian business angels, including Ben Boyer, Nick Bilogorskiy, Samuel Kwok, Kevin Mahaffey, Yevgen Sysoyev, and others.

“Oleg is the best B2B sales and marketing executive I know, and we worked together on a few projects. So when he presented to me his new product and strategy, I immediately wrote the check,” Sysoyev, AVentures Capital’s managing partner, told Ukraine Digital News.

The startup took part in the acceleration program of Y Combinator this summer. @ Y Combinator

  • Number 4-5-6 – Allset

Operating in San Francisco, Palo Alto and New York City, Allset, a mobile app helping restaurants cut dining time in half by allowing customers to pre-order their meals, secured a total of $3.35 million of pre-seed and seed funding in September of this year.

The startup was founded by Ukrainian entrepreneurs Stas Matviyenko and Anna Polishchuk in April 2015 as a continuation of their previous project Settle, also known as Advice Wallet.

  • Number 4-5-6 – Hideez

Hideez Technology, Inc is a hardware startup launched by Ukrainian serial entrepreneur Oleg Naumenko.

The first device designed by Hideez is SafeBand, a “smart” bracelet allowing users to monitor objects remotely. Last year it received more $40,000 on Indiegogo in just one month, which is 15% above the target. The bracelet helps tracking lost, misplaced or stolen objects.

Its second endeavor is “a single digital key” Hideez Key, which lets you access your devices with no need to enter your password every time. It is equipped with a smart lock, password vault, touch guard, OTP generator (which “generates one-time passwords for two-factor authentification and online banking), theft alarm and other features.

The startup started selling the universal key in Ukraine and Germany this summer, according to AIN.UA.

Number 7 – Ajax Systems

Founded by Aleksandr Konotopskyi with the goal “to make the smart home as affordable as microwaves or kettles currently are,” Ajax Systems works with security systems and sensors for the “smart home.”

Since its inception in 2011, the startup attracted $1 million in funding from venture capital firm SMRK, hired more than 100 people, and conquered about 30 percent of the Ukrainian market for wireless alarms.

Currently, Ajax Systems produces up to 12,000 devices per month, which is twice as many as six months ago, according to AIN.UA.

So far, a wide range of 15 devices offered by the startup is being sold in Malaysia, Singapore, Moldova, Switzerland, Norway, Baltic countries, Germany, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, in addition to Ukraine.

The company expects to enter the US market next year.

  • Number 8 – SolarGaps

SolarGaps presents itself as “the world’s first solar smart blinds,” which “automatically track the sun and generate electricity from its energy.”

“We believe that green energy should be available for everybody,” says its founder Yevgen Erik.

Earlier this year the startup participated in the acceleration program of the Ukrainian Internet-of-Things accelerator IoT Hub Kiev. This past summer, it was valued at $1 million after having attracted $200,000 from Ukrainian Effective Investments Company in exchange for a 20% stake.

Sensor by Ajax Systems

  • Number 9-10 – Wishround

Presenting itself as “Europe’s number one friends fund-raising platform,” Ukrainian Wishround enables group payments via social networks.

This past summer the startup became resident of the British acceleration program Wayra, managed by telecom-operator Telefonica. The startup was received a £34,000 convertible note, an office in London for eight months, mentoring, and access to investors.

This past spring Wishround was distinguished in the Ukrainian Startup Rating, which highlights the country’s most promising tech projects. In February, the startup won third prize at SVOD Europe.

Wishround was also among the top eight Ukrainian startups in the 8th edition of the Ukrainian Startup Rating earlier this year.

Currently the startup operates in Poland and the UK, in addition to Ukraine, according to AIN.UA.

  • Number 9-10 – LifeTracker

Life Tracker aims to “track all dimensions of your life automatically” with “automatic monitoring of mood changes and emotions.” It is designed by PDNA, a Ukrainian startup that develops projects in the field of symbiotic artificial intelligence. In January 2016, Life Tracker raised €200,000 from local venture fund Digital Future.

This past spring it ranked among the top eight Ukrainian startups in the 8th edition of the Ukrainian Startup Rating.

The company is planning to attract a £5 million round in 2017.

Other remarkable internationally-oriented startups:

Ukraine Digital News is adding to AIN’s ranking its own selection of remarkable Ukrainian startups with noticeable international developments in 2016:

  • Eve-Tech, a Finnish-Ukrainian startup which crashed Indiegogo’s payment system to make “first-ever crowd-developed computer.” It raised more than $1.2 million, far above its modest crowdfunding goal of $75,000. Outstanding crowdfunding successes were also reached by Sence (“the first wearable technology capable of accurately tracking and logging emotional states so you can take action” by Planexta) and Phonster X (phone holsters).
  • Polyteda Cloud, a Ukrainian e-design automation startup, attracted €1.2 million in funding from Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest research and innovation program.
  • Robo Wunderkind, a robotics startup with Ukrainian and Kazakhstani roots, raised $500,000 from European investors in Sept. 2016.
  • UniExo, a universal medical robotic exoskeleton, won the Robohub Reader’s Pick in the Robot Launch 2016 global startup competition, attracting almost 91% of the votes. It was founded by Anton Holovachenko, a 22-year old Ukrainian inventor from Kyiv (Kiev).
Topics: Analysis & opinion, News, Startups
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