Last week a dozen Ukrainian startups were featured at CES, the premier consumer electronics gathering in Las Vegas.
“I think it takes a lot of courage for our Ukrainian friends to be here. They have proven how they are protecting themselves against Russia; but they’re also very entrepreneurial,” AFP quoted as saying Gary Shapiro, President of the Consumer Technology Association, which runs the event.
Nanit was among the participants to the consumer electronics show. This Ukrainian startup originally taught electronics and computer coding to kids but now provides such skills to Ukrainian soldiers as well.
“We are supporting the war for sure, because this is our main goal,” AFP quoted CEO Vladyslav Konovets as saying. “Being a startup is hard, but being a startup in war is three or four times harder.”
Another startup, OptySun, has designed water purification equipment, including a device that uses ultraviolet rays, reports Nikkei.
“Russian attacks have destroyed [Ukraine’s] infrastructure and there’s a lack of clean water for residents and the military. It takes time and money to distribute water using vehicles,” Nikkei quoted OptySun’s founder Bohdan Vorobiov as saying.
The company, which is based in war-damaged Kharkiv, shipped about 100 water purifiers around Ukraine since November last year.
Among the other Ukrainian startups showcased at the CES were:
- G-MAK, whose security devices detect intruders entering a home, for example, and sprays tear gas at them;
- Knopka, which equips hospitals with a system that notifies nurses when a patient needs assistance;
- Rekava, which turns spent coffee grounds into single-use, biodegradable cups;
- Startup Corner, which helps people remodel their kitchen at low cost using reclaimed wood;
- Releaf Paper, which makes bags, drink trays, fruit boxes and other paper goods made from fallen leaves;
Releaf Paper relocated to France when the war broke out. “We have found a lot of new partners and we raised funding. So it really makes us more open for the world,” the startup’s co-founder Valentyn Frechka told AP.
The Ukrainian delegation was organized by the Ukrainian investor association UVCA and Ukrainian Startup Fund, with support from US agencies and the Ukrainian ministry of digital transformation.
Meanwhile, CES did not let Russian firms participate this year, in a demonstration of solidarity with Ukraine.
“We had [applications] from Russian companies but we turned them down, because of Russian aggression against Ukraine so inhumane and horrible [that] we felt we had to take a stand,” Shapiro told Nikkei.