Ukraine launches BRAVE1 cluster for the defense technologies development. What do startups expect?

BRAVE1, a single coordination platform in defense tech, was launched in Ukraine. The cluster aims to supply and transfer advanced Ukrainian technological solutions and comprehensive support of Ukrainian developers.

Startups that have already joined BRAVE1 told AIN.Capital that they are looking firstly for simplification of bureaucratic procedures, protection of supply chains, and ease of raising funds, because its main client is the state.

Who and why created the BRAVE1 cluster?

The coordination platform was established by government departments related to defense, technology, and industry. Namely, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Security and Defense Council, the Ministry of Strategic Industries, and the Ministry of Economy.

“Ukraine should become a country that is rapidly developing, learning and actively using technology. The creation of BRAVE1 is one of the important steps in this direction. Our goal is to build a system for the rapid launch of defense tech projects. To take bold decisions and create the best conditions for the development of companies developing military technologies. Indeed, technology and courage can do a lot for our victory,”

said Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology Development and Minister of Digital Transformation.

BRAVE1 must become a single sign-on for the cooperation of defense tech companies, the state and the military, as well as investors, volunteer foundations, the media, and everyone who helps to bring victory closer through technology. In general, the cluster’s work is focused on five main areas:

  • Invest: providing grants to developers that meet the needs of the Security and Defense Forces.
  • Invent: helping the Security and Defense Forces find effective technological solutions among Ukrainian developers.
  • Platform: creating a platform that brings together all industry stakeholders.
  • Showcase: interacting with the Defense Forces, demonstrating developments and receiving feedback on their use.
  • Boost: providing comprehensive support to projects that meet the needs of the Security and Defense Forces.

“The Ministry of Defense, as a state customer, is responsible for the administration of all stages of the process related to new samples of anti-aircraft weapons: starting from its assessment to the commissioning decision. BRAVE1 is a practical tool. We are interested in “mature developments” that could be implemented quickly. We expect BRAVE1 to bring initiatives to the appropriate level of maturity. And then we will pick up and lead through all the labyrinths, to the international codification and NATO registers,”

added Oleksiy Reznikov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine.

What can startups that have already joined expect?

The AIN.Capital team spoke with startups that have already joined the platform about what exactly they expect from BRAVE1, and what problems they want to solve thanks to the unification of ministries and agencies. The most common answers were:

  • Protecting supply chains. Many startups have problems with customs clearance and the process of buying the components they need to develop their own projects. Of course, often such goods can indeed have dual use, but the delay in obtaining them slows down the entire industry.
  • Clear market regulation. In Ukraine, there is practically no transparent and understandable licensing system for working with ammunition. Drone developers say they just can’t figure out how to get normal permits to create munitions for their products, despite the fact that they already work with the military.
  • Easy access to financing. As the main customer by military tech startups is the state itself, the developers want to receive grant funding, often at least for the creation of an MVP of their product, and the possibility of its further improvement/distribution.
  • Certification and commissioning. Another issue that the BRAVE1 cluster should simplify is the certification and adoption of products created by Ukrainian startups. After all, it is often difficult for small teams to communicate directly with the Ministry of Defense.

How to join BRAVE1?

Every startup can join BRAVE1 by following the link and some easy steps:

  1. register on a BRAVE1 portal,
  2. add your project or proposal to the system,
  3. set feedback and assistance from BRAVE1 team.

The priority (but not exclusive) directions of the cluster’s work are:

  • systems and means of destruction,
  • protection and security,
  • supply and logistics,
  • unmanned aerial vehicles,
  • robots,
  • cybersecurity,
  • intelligence,
  • navigation,
  • medical support.

BRAVE1 is also aimed to create a strong community of Defense tech stakeholders who benefit from exchanging expertise and opportunities, so the project welcomes international partners, investors, corporations to join.