Geek Ventures invests in four Ukrainian startups
As it became known to AIN.Capital, the venture capital investment firm Geek Ventures invested in four Ukrainian startups during 1.5 months of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Competera, V-Art, Propertymate, and Spokk received funding. We talked to the fund’s co-founders Ihar Mahaniok and his partner Vadim Rogovskiy to find out the details.
As of mid-April 2022, Geek Ventures has seven Ukrainian startups in its portfolio. In late 2021, it invested in Noty.ai and Clueby.com. However, the events that began to unfold on February 24 did not stop the team: Geek Ventures completed a deal with Propertymate and invested in three more startups founded by Ukrainians.
- Geek Ventures has not disclosed financing details.
- However, as known to AIN.Capital, the fund usually invests up to $200,000 in the first round and may subsequently increase the amount of funding to $1 million in the following ones.
- As for Propertymate, Spokk, and V-Art, Geek Ventures joined the round of investment at the pre-seed stage.
- It is also known that V-Art has raised a $400,000 round.
- Competera has received seed-stage funding.
More about startups
Propertymate is a platform that helps everyone turn their new home buying experience into a safe, pleasant, and exciting journey. It allows buyers to find all the information about new buildings. The AI-powered tool analyzes buyer and property data and predicts which properties clients will be most interested in. Bohdan Hnatkovskyy and Sofia Vyshnevska founded the startup in 2018.
“The startup is showing excellent growth — both in terms of the team and sales. Despite the war, the employees in Ukraine are working very well. The Propertymate team in the US is also working productively,” comments Ihar Mahaniok, co-founder and Managing Partner of Geek Ventures.
The startup Spokk develops a solution for modern digital insurance. The team started in Ukraine but is now working on entering the US market. According to Ihar Mahaniok, Spokk has enough chances to compete with the big players in the United States.
“Our overall strategy is bringing insurance products for protection against risks in a metaverse to market. For us, the investment from Geek Ventures is not only about the financial aspect but also about the strategic view. We believe that the great experience of the managing partners in business and technology in the US market will help us achieve all our goals most efficiently,” Alexandra Gladyshevskaya, Spokk СЕО and co-founder, commented for AIN.Capital.
V-Art is a platform to exhibit, sell and collect digital art. The startup’s team aims to bridge the physical & digital worlds by providing a fulfilling ecosystem — immersive virtual exhibitions, NFT+ marketplace, and digital authenticity solutions.
“Despite the forced evacuation of part of the team from Kharkiv and Kyiv due to the war, we launched the marketplace and even accelerated the platform’s development. The funds raised will be used to further develop the marketplace on the platform, expand the communication team, and develop the community,” Anastasiia Gliebova, CEO and co-founder of V-Art, commented on the investment.
Competera is an AI-powered platform helping retailers to set optimal prices. According to Ihar Mahaniok, it is “a very strong business developing a strong technology.” The company has repeatedly raised investments before. In particular, on October 25, 2021, Competera raised $1.5 million. The startup used the funding to enter the US market.
“Competera is one of the latest investments for our fund. This is an interesting area for us. We mostly invest in startups at earlier stages, but this Ukrainian startup impressed us so much that we decided to make an exception,” Mahaniok adds.
Why Geek Ventures invests despite the war
According to Geek Ventures, the fund invests in “promising startups.” In particular, money is directed to where it has the most significant weight and meaning. With the start of the full-scale Russian war against Ukraine, according to Vadim Rogovskiy, “specific startups, specific employees, and specific founders have shown that they are the strongest and able to grow a company even in extremely difficult times.”
“We are looking at what has changed in them and how they have approached it, solved new problems. We also look at how people-oriented the company is: we prefer not to invest in startups where the founders focus on money and business profits, forgetting about their team,” says Mahaniok.
Geek Ventures acknowledges that there are startups that have suffered greatly from the war in terms of business. However, the most important thing for the fund is to look at how these startups managed to survive the most difficult times. In particular, it assesses how the approach to operating processes has changed since the change in the financial landscape and how much the focus has changed on helping employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
“We have startups in our portfolio that have worked in areas where there have been active hostilities (Chernihiv, Sumy), and their founders have really focused on helping workers. We really appreciate it. We believe that focusing on people is vital for the company to succeed. Likewise, we know that when we invest, it is a partnership for many years. So, it is important for us to take all these factors into account for the partnership to thrive,” says Ihar Mahaniok.
Furthermore, Geek Ventures assumes that the fund may invest in several more Ukrainian startups soon. It considers companies with Ukrainian founders and teams having products developed for the US market. It should be pointed out that Geek Ventures’ focus is on helping startups grow in the US or other global markets. However, they can be based in any country in the world.
“It so happens that most of the startups we deal with have Ukrainian roots. We are looking for good Ukrainian startups in which we can invest in the near future. In general, we are aiming to have even more companies from Ukraine in our portfolio,” summed up Ihar Mahaniok.