Startup of the Day: Byne, a Ukrainian Developer Tools startup

Co-founded by Borys Nadykto, Andrii Yakovyna, and Denys Budnyk in 2022 as a volunteer project, Byne aims to help companies develop enterprise-grade LLM applications by providing simple output verification and on-premise AI deployment. The startup is officially registered in Great Britain and is operating on the US market. However, the majority of its team is located in Ukraine. In April 2024, Byne raised $325,000 during its first funding round. 

In the Startup of the Day column, Borys Nadykto, co-founder of Byne, shares the details about the startup’s idea, its product, and future plans.

The Startup of the Day column on AIN.Capital is dedicated to tech projects from all sectors that originate from the CEE countries. If you would like to introduce your project, please fill in the questionnaire.

Tell us about your startup. How does it work?

Our product helps companies develop enterprise-grade LLM applications by providing simple output verification and on-premise AI deployment. We believe that very soon every business will leverage Large Language Models since they enable a massive cost reduction across many verticals and use cases.

On the other hand, we see fast adoption of this technology with smaller businesses and a lot slower with enterprise companies. Large organizations are wary of using LLMs due to two main reasons – data ownership and reliability. We help to fix both: Byne enables the delivery of monitored LLM apps hosted on private servers.

How did you come up with the startup’s idea? What was the reason/motivation behind it?

We formed the team quite some time ago, when the full-scale war began and many IT specialists were looking for options to contribute their skills to the defense sector.

Byne initially was a volunteering (non-profit) team developing “pro bono” data analysis software for stakeholders in the security community. Later, we realized that the challenges to the adoption of AI faced by our partners are very similar to what large private companies experience when trying to embark on the digital transformation journey,

That was the moment when the team realized that we could form a startup to commercialize our insights.

How long did it take to reach the prototype or MVP? What did you encounter?

The path to MVP wasn’t very quick since it took us quite some time to figure out the best way to transition to the “for-profit” basis and start developing a more commercial view of the problem.

Our process was mostly shaped by:

  • Customer objections. They are really helpful in understanding what people want and who are your competitors.
  • Investor feedback. Founders tend to be dismissive of investor insights but we have the opposite experience – good investors with experience in your target vertical can sometimes see very far ahead and their advice is hugely valuable.

When exactly did you launch your product? Or when the launch is planned?

We have been in beta since January this year, and now, are planning to launch our first pilot cases in the next few months. The official public launch will probably happen in early summer. We intend to launch on “Product Hunt” (shoutout to “Upvote for Ukraine” who help Ukrainian companies to make a strong launch) and start our marketing outreach.

Tell us about the startup’s business model. How do you monetize your product?

We charge a license fee of about $3,000-7,000 per month for each deployment made with our platform. This is quite low for an enterprise PaaS solution so we will probably be increasing it as the product matures.

What are your target markets and consumers?

Right now, our main market is the UK. We target large companies in finance and other verticals where privacy and reliability are important.

On the other hand, as many startups do, we plan to enter the US market as soon as we launch and we already have marketing efforts to target the US.

What about your team? How many people are working in the startup? If you’re looking for new employees, indicate whom exactly.

We are a team of 6 people and are hiring a DevOps engineer now. Later this summer, we plan to scale the team by 4-5 more people as soon as we sign our first pilots. The startup is registered in Great Britain, however, the majority of our team is in Ukraine.

Have you already raised any investments? Provide us with more details on each funding round: the amount, investors, the purpose of the investment.

Recently, we closed an institutional pre-seed round from a VC in the UK. Unfortunately, the fund name hasn’t yet been disclosed, but the amount is $325,000 to co-fund pilot cases and later, we hope to raise a larger seed this autumn if the pilots convert to recurring revenue..

What’s next? Tell us about your future plans.

Now, we aim to ensure our pilots in the key verticals (government, finance, and automotive) are successful and the customers are happy. We hope they will convert into committed users enabling us to raise a fast seed 6-9 months after the pre-seed. Then we will be scaling our marketing to explore GTM in more verticals and find more opportunities such as retail and telecom.