Ukraine's tech entrepreneurs showcase innovation

Ukraine's tech ecosystem continues to thrive despite the war. The PowerUp Ukraine conference that took place on June 18, 2024 in Kyiv – organised by Glovo, one of the largest European tech firms present in the country, and the Ukrainian Startup Fund – had a simple message: Ukraine is open for business and international companies should invest to support innovation and growth in the country.

The country’s blend of talent and startup culture has already garnered attention from international tech firms, recognising Ukraine as a fertile ground for technological innovation and entrepreneurship – but there is a lot more potential.

During the conference, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, reaffirmed Ukraine's commitment to welcoming foreign investors, supporting their presence, and advocating for reforms to enhance the business environment. "In the context of a full-scale war in Ukraine, it is crucial to develop the startup ecosystem and create conditions for the development of technology companies. We are systematically improving the work of the Diia.City space, which more than 1,000 companies have already joined. The Ukrainian Startup Fund has financed more than 750 startups with over $16 million, showcasing a technological and innovative Ukraine."

Throughout the conference, leaders from Ukraine's leading tech firms, venture capital funds, and industry experts, such as executives from MacPaw, Mate academy, Horizon Capital, Jooble, and Smok Ventures engaged in insightful discussions on scaling challenges and investment opportunities within Ukraine's tech landscape amidst the war. The conference panels addressed one of the industry's biggest challenges of scaling Ukrainian companies beyond national borders into Europe, and the importance and profitability of investing in Ukrainian innovation projects to empower the Ukraine's startup ecosystem and drive its economic recovery.

Sacha Michaud, Co-Founder of Glovo said: “Ukraine is important for Glovo – both as a business, and to me personally – as many of our employees globally are Ukrainian. We operate in 37 Ukrainian cities with a team of 250 people, thousands of active daily customers, couriers, and more than 10,000 local shops and restaurants selling through our app. We view it as our responsibility to do our part to grow the local economy and foster innovation in the country by supporting Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Our objective is to help founders succeed and we want to be a catalyst for local startups to support the growth of a promising destination in the global tech ecosystem.”

The panel discussions and speaker programme were followed by the Glovo Startup Lab competition, which awarded three startups with funding and will allow founders of the Ukrainian startups to travel to Barcelona for a residency programme for mentorship from the Glovo team. The winners of the competition were:

  • Getpin, a leading SaaS tool for online marketing, secured first place with €20,000 and a spot in the residency program in Glovo’s Headquarters in Barcelona
  • Uspacy, developer of a CRM system for small and medium-sized businesses, claimed second place with €10,000 and a residency program in Glovo’s Headquarters in Barcelona
  • Howcow, specialising in AI agri-technologies, earned third place with €5,000 and an online mentorship from the Glovo team

CEO of Getpin, Volodymyr Leshchenko, stated: "We are excited to partner with Glovo to strengthen our presence in Europe and expand into Africa. This partnership will help accelerate our remarkable x2.5 year-over-year growth at Getpin."

Co-founder & CEO of Uspacy, Dmytro Suslov, expressed: “Every aspect of this competition is crucial for us, from validating our ideas to securing financial support. We look forward to learning from Glovo's expertise in Barcelona.”

Reflecting on their journey, the COO of HowCow, Dmytro Kruhlov, remarked: “Participating in the startup competition has been an enriching experience for HowCow. We encourage fellow startups to persevere despite doubts and fears, and to continue pursuing their visionary ideas."

The PowerUp Ukraine conference will become an annual event, as Glovo intends to actively raise awareness of Ukrainian talent among European companies and investors, attracting new partners to support the Ukrainian startup ecosystem.