Results of 2023: The main investments in Ukraine
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has definitely affected the Ukrainian investment market. In 2022, the Ukrainian market received an unexpected 98 investments (angel rounds, early stage, later stage, and private equity), and in the first half of 2023 — only 42. The reason for this difference is that most deals in the first half of 2022 were already agreed upon, and sometimes even concluded before the invasion. This is stated in the Book of Ukrainian Tech, a large study of the Ukrainian IT industry by the teams of AIN.Capital, Molfar, and the N1 investment fund.
After February 24, 2022, the Ukrainian IT market saw a decrease in the number of investments, and not only from foreign venture funds. Of the 18 active local investment funds that had been operating in Ukraine for more than one year as of February 24, 2022, only six continued their activities since the start of the invasion. But at the same time, seven new ones were created: three were launched right before the invasion, and four more in the first months after.
However, despite the general decrease in activity, investments in Ukrainian and foreign companies founded by Ukrainians continue, and with them — investments by Ukrainian venture funds.
For this material, we have selected the most notable investment rounds of 2023. This is the first part of the year’s summary. In the following articles, our editors will talk about this year’s startup launches and expansions.
$70 million for Preply
This year, the Ukrainian-founded EdTech company Preply raised $70 million in equity and loan capital. The new round of financing was led by Horizon Capital, a company specializing in equity capital investments. Reach Capital, Hoxton Ventures, and others also participated in the round. The financing was planned to increase the volume of Series C to $120 million.
Preply was founded in 2012 by Ukrainians Serhii Lukianov, Dmytro Voloshyn, and Kyrylo Bihai. It is an online language learning platform that connects teachers with students using a machine learning algorithm. The company’s team consists of 500 employees of 60 different nationalities in 30 countries.
$22 million for Fintech Farm
In April, the British company Fintech Farm closed a $22 million Series B round. The lead investor was the Nordstar fund. The round was a combination of equity and convertible loan. According to AIN.Capital, the company’s valuation now exceeds $100 million.
Fintech Farm was founded in 2020 by three Ukrainians: Dmytro Dubilet, Oleksandr Vitiaz, and Mykola Bezkrovnyi. It is a platform for launching neo-banks in partnership with traditional banks around the world. The first Fintech Farm project was Leobank, which the company launched in Azerbaijan in cooperation with the local bank Unibank.
$15 million for DressX
In March, the American startup DressX closed an investment round, attracting $15 million. The lead investor of the round was the Greenfield Capital fund from Berlin. Slow Ventures, Warner Music, The Artemis Fund, Red DAO also joined the list of investors.
DressX was founded by Ukrainians Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova in 2020. The startup offers a platform where digital clothing is sold, which also works with other marketplaces and platforms. The team used the funds received for the development of the platform, improvement of its application, marketing, and implementation of new functions.
Up to $15 million for GoIT
In November, the Ukrainian online programming school GoIT attracted an investment from Growth Fund IV, a new Horizon Capital fund. The parties did not disclose the exact amount and details of the deal, but according to our sources, the ticket could reach up to $10-15 million for a minority stake of 25%.
GoIT planned to direct the investment to expand its presence in the markets of Poland, Romania, Colombia, and Southeast Asia. New markets will also be tested: Turkey, Chile, Mexico, and Vietnam.
$5.5 million for NewHomesMate (formerly Propertymate)
The Ukrainian startup NewHomesMate (formerly Propertymate) raised $5.5 million in investment in May this year. American venture capital companies Gaingels, Asymmetry Ventures, the angel syndicate Unpopular Ventures, as well as Ukrainian Geek Ventures, Flyer One Ventures, SID Venture Partners, U.Ventures, and an early investor Pragmatech Ventures participated in the round.
The startup was founded in 2018 by Ukrainian entrepreneurs Bohdan Hnatkovskyi and Sofia Vyshnevska. The team is working on a platform that allows buyers of primary properties to find information about new buildings. The main customer market is in the USA.
$4 million for Haiqu
In June 2023, the American-Ukrainian startup Haiqu announced the closing of a $4 million preseed round of funding. The round was led by the American funds MaC Venture Capital and Toyota Ventures, with the participation of SOMA capital, Ukrainian u.ventures, SID Venture Partners, Roosh Ventures, as well as private investors.
Haiqu was founded in 2022 by American Richard Givan and Ukrainian Mykola Maksymenko within the Canadian deep-tech accelerator Creative Destruction Lab. The startup creates technologies to improve the efficiency of quantum computers. Investments were planned to be directed to product development and the development of a partner ecosystem for its launch on the market.
$3.2 million for Instock
In December, the Ukrainian startup Instock raised $3.2 million in new funding led by the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund. The investment brought Instock’s seed funding to a total of $6.2 million. The round was co-led by OneWay Ventures and Lux Capital, with participation from Commerce VC, u.ventures, Cybernetix Ventures, and other investors working in the robotics and e-commerce ecosystem.
The startup was founded in 2022 by Ukrainian Yehor Anchyshkin. It is working on a robotic service for warehouses. As stated by the founder, the system can reduce the cost of fulfilling orders by 10 times, and also give e-commerce businesses more flexibility.
$3 million for AiSDR
In November of this year, the Ukrainian startup AiSDR raised $3 million investment. The investors were: American Y Combinator, Rebel Fund, Pioneer Fund, Bluepointe Ventures, Ukrainian SID Venture Partners, Flyer One Ventures, British SCM Advisors, DST Global managing partner Rahul Mehta, Rippling COO Matt McInnis, Figma and Notion investor Terrence Rohan, as well as managing partner of 408 Ventures Nick Bilogorskyi.
The startup AiSDR was founded in August 2023 by brothers Yuriy and Oleg Zaremba and is engaged in the development of an AI-based tool that creates personalized electronic advertising campaigns and organizes meetings with potential customers.
$1.7 million for GameTree
At the end of the year, the Ukrainian-American gaming startup GameTree raised $1.7 million in seed funding. Corazon Capital, Full Stack Ventures, Goodwater Capital, 32-Bit Ventures, and Expert Dojo participated in the round, and the company also received a grant from Overwolf.
The GameTree startup was founded in 2019 by Dana Sydorenko and John Uke. Its main focus is to create inclusive, non-toxic, and friendly gaming communities on a global scale.
$1.5 million for Deus Robotics
At the end of February, the Ukrainian startup Deus Robotics raised $1.5 million from the Ukrainian venture fund SMRK. The valuation of the startup during the round was $15 million.
Deus Robotics was founded by programmer Pavlo Pikulin in 2018. He invested $1 million in the project from his own pocket, and an additional $500,000 in angel investments. Deus Robotics solutions are based on AI-technology for the orientation and coordination of robots in space, which is quickly integrated into the processes of warehouse operators.
According to the startup’s team, the market for logistics robots in the United States is worth $7.5 billion and may grow 40 times by 2042. With the new round of funding, the startup plans to allocate more resources to working with clients and developing its R&D. The raised funds will be used to find new customers in the USA and Europe, as well as to expand the line of industrial robots.
$1.5 million for Deskree
In September of this year, Ukrainian-founded startup Deskree secured $1.5 million in seed investment from Forum Ventures, Hustle Fund, N49P, Flair Ventures, ZAKA VC, League of Innovators, AAl VC, as well as Ukrainian Flyer One Ventures and Vesna Capital.
Deskree was founded in 2021 by Ukrainian Dmytro Grechko as an internal startup of his IT company Deskree Studio. The platform is designed for nocode building of backend infrastructure — simplifying the creation of server infrastructure, eliminating the need for expensive DevOps specialists and cloud architects.
$1.3 million for Masthead Data
In June, the startup with Ukrainian founders Masthead Data raised a pre-Seed round of $1.3 million. The funds SMOK Ventures, DEPO Ventures, Monochrome, Alchemist Accelerator, as well as angel investors from Snowflake, former employees of Uber, Google, etc. participated in the round.
Masthead Data was founded by Ukrainians Yuliia Tkachova and Serhii Tkachov. The are developing a service that allows businesses to track errors and anomalies in large volumes of data in real time, without accessing the client’s data and without increasing their cloud computing costs. The headquarters of the startup is located in Toronto, Canada.
$1 million for Fuelfinance
In January, the Ukrainian startup Fuelfinance raised $1 million in a seed round to develop a product for financial planning in startups. Investors include Bolt CEO Markus Willig and John S. Kim of SendBird, as well as Stratmind and BADideas.fund, which focus on Eastern Europe.
Fuelfinance was founded in 2019 by Ukrainian Alyona Mysko. Later, in 2021, Yaroslav Azhnyuk joined the company as a co-founder. Today, most of the team is Ukrainian, and the company’s biggest market is the USA.
$1 million for Zeely
In April, Ukrainian startup Zeely raised $1 million in seed investment from Ukrainian funds Vesna.Capital, ZAS Ventures and Angel One Fund, Belarusian Imaguru Ventures, as well as business angels.
Zeely is an AI-powered mobile app which increases sales for small businesses. The startup was founded by Ukrainians Dmytro and Yaroslav Samoiluk, as well as Alina Bondarenko. Zeely’s target market is in the US, UK, Brazil, and Mexico. According to the co-founder of the ZAS Ventures fund Andrii Zinchuk, there are more than 8,000 of users in total, and the MRR (regular monthly revenue) of the product is more than $45,000, the growth rate is 150% every quarter.
$900,000 for Workee
In July, the Ukrainian startup Workee raised $900,000 in funding, and its post-money valuation amounted to $9-12 million. Workee’s new round of investment was attended by SMOK Ventures, the Californian fund Slava Ventures, focused on Ukrainian projects, and several angels from Silicon Valley, whose names are undisclosed.
Workee develops an online business management system for freelancers. It was founded in May 2020 by Ihor Bauman, Artem Kanaki, and Yevhen Kiselyov. The main office is located in Delaware, USA, R&D — in Kyiv. The startup also has offices in Lithuania and the Czech Republic.
$800,000 for Awesome
In March, Ukrainian startup Awesomic raised $800,000 in investment from Pioneer Fund, Flyer One Ventures, Red Rooster Ventures, Y Combinator CEO Michael Siebel and Y Combinator partner Jared Friedman. This is an additional investment to the previous $2 million round made in 2021.
Awesomic was founded in 2020 by Roman Sevastyanov and Anastasia Pavlyshyna. Since then, more than 800 companies have worked with the platform, of which about 100 are startups from Y Combinator. Awesomic develops an algorithm that quickly connects companies with proven designers. The team planned to use the raised funds to expand the geography of their work and overcome the impact of the war.
$500,000 for Aspichi
Ukrainian startup Aspichi also raised new investments in March — $500,000 from the Ukrainian venture fund SMRK. The startup was founded by Ukrainians Viktor Samoilenko and Max Honcharuk.
Aspichi is headquartered in Delaware, but has an R&D located in Kyiv. The team is working on a VR platform for interactive streaming of 360-degree spatial video and audio in a VR helmet. This allows to reproduce reality in the helmet in real time and enable users to communicate.
The team planned to spend the raised funds on improving the technological level of the platform, attracting talented engineers and expanding the circle of early adopters client base.
$500,000 for Prengi
Startup Prengi, which develops a SaaS platform for real estate management, also raised $500,000 in seed investment in March this year — from the SMRK fund. Prengi is currently valued at $3 million.
Prengi is an online platform for automating real estate maintenance business processes that was launched in 2015. Ukrainian Serhiy Shulga is the founder and CEO of the project. Prengi is headquartered in Florida. The startup plans to invest the raised funds for expanding its presence in the US, as well as entering the markets of Europe and the Middle East.
$400,000 for Getpin
In November, the Ukrainian startup Getpin secured $400,000 in seed funding from the Czech venture fund Presto Ventures. The startup planned to use the raised funds to improve the product and expand the team in Europe, as well as to enter Latin American markets.
Getpin was founded by IT entrepreneur Volodymyr Leshchenko in August 2019. The startup is developing an online marketing tool that helps businesses with physical locations attract customers looking for products or services nearby.
€250,000 for InputSoft
In May, the Ukrainian aviation startup InputSoft raised a round of €250,000. The lead investor was the Ukrainian fund SID Venture Partners, Sigma Software Labs, and Torino Cities of the Future Techstars Accelerator also invested.
The startup was founded in February 2021 by Anastasia Smyk, Valentyn Zavadskyi, and Andrii Smyk. InputSoft is a SaaS platform for optimizing the use of human and technical resources and analyzing data in airports. After the start of the full-scale invasion, the company began to work on entering the European market.
Up to $125,000 for Swarmer
In November, the Ukrainian AI startup Swarmer raised funding from the D3 fund and accelerator. The investment amount is not disclosed. It is known that the standard D3 check within the accelerator is $125,000.
Swarmer was founded by Serhii Kuprienko and Alex Fink in May 2023. The startup specializes in software for managing drone swarm missions (when there are two or more UAVs in the sky, but they all have the same goal). Funds raised from D3 in Swarmer are planned to be spent on accelerating the development and deployment of the AI Flight Control Center in various industries.
Investments of Ukrainian funds in 2023
Toloka.vc in Gin and Scan.com
In December this year, the Ukrainian venture syndicate Toloka.vc invested £510,000 in a British electric bicycle company with a Ukrainian co-founder, Gin. Toloka.vc led the investment round, joining the board of directors of the startup.
Gin was founded in 2022 by Ukrainian Maryna Vlasenko and Indian Rahul Pushpa. Gin makes hybrid bikes for long-distance trips. The Ukrainian syndicate Toloka.vc was founded by Oleksandr Kolb (Promodo), Ihor Shoifot (TMT Investments), and Taras Kyrychenko (“Nova Poshta”) in May 2023.
Shortly after the announcement, Toloka.vc also disclosed its investment in another British company, Scan.com. The fund invested $615,000 in the medtech startup during the $50 million round supported by UK’s Aviva Ventures funds, Triple Point, and Oxford Capital, as well as French YZR.
Hypra in Trinetix
In October of this year, the Ukrainian Hypra Fund conducted the largest transaction in its history and one of the largest on the local market. Hypra invested $10 million in the international service company Trinetix. It launched its operations in 2011, and the head and co-founder of Trinetix is the Ukrainian Oleksandr Strozhemin.
The Ukrainian Hypra fund was founded by Ihor Pertsia in 2022 and mostly focuses on Web 3 industry projects.
Flyer One Ventures in Scalestack
In November, the Ukrainian fund Flyer One Ventures became one of the lead investors in the American company Scalestack, which develops the RevOps platform for enrichment, prioritization and activation of data based on artificial intelligence. The company raised $1 million for further expansion.
Flyer One Ventures is an investment fund from the Genesis Group (formerly Genesis Investments) launched in 2018 that invests in early-stage startups from Europe and North America. The average fund check ranges from $150,000 to $500,000. The firm’s team is located in Kyiv, London, and Warsaw.
N1 in SteadyPay
In March 2023, the British fintech startup SteadyPay raised $3 million in seed investment. Among the investors was the Ukrainian fund N1. The startup SteadyPay was founded by the British John Downey and the Ukrainian Ivan Istomin. It develops a credit platform for people with unstable income.
N1 is a Ukrainian fintech fund, whose portfolio also includes sportbank, the second largest mobile bank in Ukraine, the innovative payment system Asquad, and TRANSENIX, a service with Tap2Phone technology that turns a smartphone into a payment terminal.
U.Ventures in Cloudprinter and several others
In November 2023, Ukrainian-Dutch startup Cloudprinter secured a fresh round of financing. The company’s investors included the Ukrainian VC fund U.Ventures and Brabant Development Company, a Dutch family office, as well as several other investors.
U.Ventures is the venture capital arm of Horizon Capital, which has $850 million under management. Founded in 2017, It is an early-stage VC fund with $15 million in assets. It invests in Ukrainian companies inside e-Education, Machine Learning, and Fintech industries during their seed to Series A stages. This year, the fund invested in a dozen Ukrainian startups, including Haiqu, Cloudprinter, Instock, and Bloomcoding.