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

Ukrainian startups emerge on the wearables market

Smartwatches and activity trackers are two devices that come to mind when you hear the phrase “wearable technology.”  According to a December 2017 market research report by International Data Corporation (IDC), producers of wearables shipped a total of 113.2 million devices for the full year. Their forecast for 2021 is 222.3 million units shipped which reflects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.4%.

Although Ukraine tech startups do not compete in the smartwatch segment, one company does offer an activity tracker writsband product, while others are introducing new products to extend the wearables market.

  • Gotyu live tracking GPS device

CEO Nataliya Stelmakh founded the company Gotyu in New York City in the summer of 2016.  The product Gotyu is a GPS live tracking device for finding the location of a person or an object.  It is also an activity monitor that can be worn on the wrist or elsewhere on a person’s body.  Unlike other tracking devices that utilize Bluetooth technology with a range of only one hundred feet, Gotyu is a global GPS tracking device.  It uses both eSIM and AI technology.  All sales and marketing activity is based in New York with the product development team in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Ms. Stelmakh focuses her marketing efforts on pet owners, the parents with small children and senior citizens.  “I realized that everyone was offering products for adult wearables, but no one was doing anything for pets, children and seniors,” she said. “And, my move to these niches proved to be correct.”

Nataliya is a veteran of CES 2018 where she displayed her GPS tracker.  Her product is sold direct from the company web site for a price ranging from $109 – $209 depending on the package selected.

You can hear a 2017 interview with Ms. Stelmakh including a discussion about her efforts to get on the ABC-TV show Shark Tank.

  • Senstone delivers wearable digital voice assistant

I first saw the Senstone digital wearable voice assistant in July 2017 while visiting the office of Hochu Rayu, an innovative design firm located in an old, abandoned Soviet-era medical instruments factory in Lviv, Ukraine.  Hochu Rayu did the product design for Senstone.  You turn on the device to take spoken digital notes by just tapping it while located near your mouth.  Senstone can also organize your notes, provide reminders including a calendar and create lists.  Cloud computing is used to process all the information gathered.  The device comes in the form of a pendant, a clip-on, or a bracelet.

Nazar Fedorchuk is the CEO and founder of Senstone Inc. The company was incorporated in the State of Delaware in the U.S. in 2016 and has an office for sales and marketing in Redwood, California.  The R&D and product development team is in Kyiv, Ukraine.  A 2017 Kickstarter campaign with an initial goal of $50,000 raised a total of $302,023 from 2,745 backers.  An additional $401,865 was raised on Indiegogo.

Senstone was one of 10 Ukrainian startup companies invited by the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA) to exhibit in the UA TECH Expo Zone at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018.

Nazar points out that “current plans are to begin selling the digital voice assistant from the company web site at in the Spring of 2018 and eventually on The price starts at $129.”

Click here to hear a 2017 interview with Nazar Fedorchuk talking about his product.

  • Hushme improves privacy of smartphone conversations

Have you ever wished that you smartphone conversation in a public place could be more private? Hushme is a wearable technology device designed to improve speech privacy. It also offers two-mode sound noise reduction and sound masking when used in public places and open environments such as Call Centers or open-office-plan newsrooms.  The device uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect to your smartphone.

Roman Sakun founded the company with his colleagues in August 2015 in Kyiv, Ukraine where it is still headquartered today.  Almost $200,000 was raised in two 2017 crowd-funding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  Mr. Sakun and his colleagues exhibited their product at CES in Las Vegas in both 2017 and 2018 and received great media interest.

Roman points out that Hushme was supposed to begin shipping to its more than 600 pre-order customers in December 2017.

“Our backers offered several suggestions about how to improve the product. And so we worked on it and hope to start shipping in April 2018.”

When available, the product price will be about $249.  At this point, Mr. Sakun believes there is only one indirect competitor. Stenomask is a U.S.-made product which does not utilize Bluetooth technology and is not completely portable like Hushme.

Click here to listen to a 2018 interview with Roman Sakun discussing Hushme.

  • Mike Buryk’s podcasts covering the Ukrainian tech industry are available here. 
Topics: Hardware & Electronics, News, Startups
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