AVentures Capital, a major Ukrainian investment fund, and Ukraine Digital News, today released “The Deal Book of Ukraine” – the first-ever report on the Ukrainian venture and startup industry. Made available in English, this 120-page study features more than 250 deals that have been made public or identified since 2012 and involved more than one thousand startups.

Also included are interviews with leading Ukrainian and foreign investors, who speak frankly about the attractiveness, or not, of Ukraine’s high-tech industry in these troubled times, as well as a series of articles highlighting the current key industry issues and most notable entrepreneur stories.

“Amid the country’s current political and economic woes, the Ukrainian startup and venture scene is experiencing an astonishing revival,” notes Adrien Henni, chief editor at Ukrainian Digital News and co-author of the report. “We are witnessing the emergence of a new generation of globally-oriented startups, the entry of new classes of investors into the market, and the blossoming of community initiatives – from brand-new industry associations, to educational institutions and media platforms.”

“In the minds of many Ukrainians, technology shines as a promise for highly-skilled and well-paid jobs for the new and the next generations and for the country’s stronger integration into the global economy,” adds Henni as a possible explanation for this paradox.

Over the years, the intellectual products and software developed by Ukrainian technical talent has been absorbed internationally, mostly in the markets of the US and Europe, writes lead author Yevgen Sysoyev, founding and managing partner at AVentures Capital. “Famous Ukrainians who left Ukraine and built multibillion-dollar startups in Silicon Valley include Jan Koum (WhatsApp) and Max Levchin (PayPal) and many others. Those Ukrainian entrepreneurs, who stayed in Ukraine, have grown in ambition and skill, building many successful global businesses such as InvisibleCRM, Jooble, Depositphotos to name a few.”

“The day when we will hear of the first billion-dollar IPO or exit of a Ukrainian IT startup is coming soon,” Sysoyev believes.

The report enjoys the support of such leading organisations as nearshore software development company Ciklum, venture fund Fison, industry associations UAngel and UVCA, Deloitte, The Next Web, and many others.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Even before the emergence of a startup and venture ecosystem, a multibillion-dollar IT industry developed in Ukraine, based on a high-level engineering pool. In 2014, this sector went through the political tumult with little damage.
  • Virtually non-existent five years ago, the Ukrainian venture market grew extremely fast in 2012-2013, reaching at least $80 million in 2013. In 2014, the investment volume decreased by at least twofold, due to the smaller amounts invested rather than a significant decrease in the number of deals. This setback is likely to be only temporary, according to the authors.
  • Following the development of business incubators, accelerators and industry events in 2012-2013, a range of industry associations, educational and media initiatives emerged in 2014, laying the foundations of a dynamic ecosystem.
  • At its earliest stages, venture market growth was fuelled essentially by foreign funds. In 2013, however, Ukrainian investors started investing more significantly, nearing one half of total venture transaction amounts. In 2014, several Russian and Western funds maintained their interest in Ukraine with some deals closed, while an important fraction of venture money came from Ukrainian players.
  • While domestically oriented companies face slower growth in 2014-2015, international projects continue to enjoy dramatic growth with several global success stories from Ukraine.
  • M&A activity gained momentum in 2013 and 2014, with notable acquisitions by Google, Rakuten and Apax to name a few. As the largest Ukrainian tech companies are reaching maturity, even more exits are expected in the near future with potentially nine-digit figures.

To download a free copy of the full version, please click here.