Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense launches Accelerator of Innovative Development. Its coordinator is Loboyko, mentioned in Tim Draper’s book
On June 9, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced the creation of another military accelerator. It is called the Accelerator of Innovative Development. It shall be a “permanent advisory body designed to organize and implement projects in the field of scientific and technical activities of the ministry.”
The AIN.Capital editorial team has long heard from Ukrainian officials about a framework in which a single mainstream state institution would collect innovations in military tech and cybersecurity from private accelerators and developers and provide them with a fast track. According to the positioning of this accelerator, as Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, it will become a “single window of entry” to the Defense Ministry. However, two months earlier, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Economy, the General Staff, and the National Security and Defense Council launched the Brave1 platform, which seems to have similar functions. But the appointment of a coordinator for this project drew the attention of the AIN.Capital editorial board.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the advisory body has 13 members. Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Volodymyr Havrylov will lead it. Serhiy Loboyko, state expert of the Directorate of Digitalization, Digital Development, Digital Transformation, and Cybersecurity in the Defense Sector of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, will coordinate the work.
A Ukrainian Story by Tim Draper
Indeed, Loboyko did have previous experience in the technology industry. In 2017, Tim Draper, a third-generation American tech investor, billionaire, and co-founder of the DFJ Foundation, wrote about him. His portfolio includes early investments in Skype, Tesla, and Baidu.
Then Draper released several chapters from his book The Startup Hero’s Pledge to the public. One of them was called A Ukrainian Story, about his visit to Ukraine in 2005. His father, William Henry Draper III, opened outsourcing in India to the world. Timothy Draper sought to replicate his father’s success by “opening Central and Eastern Europe to the world from a new side.”
In 2005, a man named Roman Kizyk, whom Draper described as talkative, arranged a visit to President Viktor Yushchenko, where they talked about investing in Ukraine. Then, Draper contacted the USC outsourcing company, part of the Techinvest group, owned by Andrey Kolodyuk and managed by Serhiy Loboyko. Draper was offered to invest $500,000, which he did.
“Still caught up in the excitement of just having seen the President, we went to see the outsourcing company. Unbeknownst to me, they had staged 40 engineers to sit and look like they were working in order to get me to invest,” Draper wrote.
Later in his book, Draper wrote that it was one of the three times in his life he was fooled so much. And Loboyko was the name Draper mentioned in this regard.
After AIN.UA published the text of Draper’s book, the Reanimation Package of Reforms organization wrote a letter demanding to remove the material and instead prepare an article listing Serhiy Loboyko’s achievements, but none of his accomplishments, however, was specified there. So it was not clear what they were about.
Loboyko only found time to meet with the editors in 2017 at Boryspil airport for 20 minutes. His position was that Roman Kizyk was to blame for Draper’s losses.
However, Roman Kizyk died in 2015, so he would not say anything in his defense. He was an ethnic Ukrainian living in the United States who promoted the prospects of R&D development in Ukraine to large American businesses—he helped Draper organize a trip to Ukraine in 2005. The five witnesses interviewed by the editorial board, familiar with the situation, said it did not look like Kizyk was guilty. According to them, he raised an additional $100,000 to get a stake in the company Draper had invested in, and after USC failed, Kizyk sold everything he had to pay off his debts and was paying them off for years, which was also a reason why he died so soon.
Techinvest founder Andrey Kolodyuk told Forbes.ua in 2021 that he could not comment on commercial relations with Draper due to a non-disclosure agreement.
Later, Loboyko’s name disappeared from Draper’s book.
Draper explained to AIN.UA that he had removed Serhii’s name from the book after the latter contacted him. Draper said that he wrote the name in the book because he thought Loboyko was the one who managed the company’s money. But Draper was not 100% sure, so after receiving Loboyko’s letter, he simply removed the name from the book. He didn’t want to waste time looking for evidence. And before that, Draper also put a quote that, despite all its bias, still will hang over Ukrainian IT for a long time: Took $500k from me and “disappeared.” When that money is repaid, I will look to invest again in Ukraine, which I assume will be never.
The AIN.UA editorial team then studied a huge archive of correspondence and other data regarding the $500,000 deal with Draper, several companies with the same USC abbreviations and different full names, and people involved in these assets. The story consists of 25 pages and may be published one day. But the text you are reading now is not looking for or naming those responsible for the history of 2005.
The main question of this text is whether such an appointment to the accelerator, which is extremely important today, is the message that the Ukrainian technology industry and the public sector responsible for it want to convey to society and the world?