Viber, a messaging app with nearly 800 million active users in 193 countries around the world, has entered the Ukrainian business market, touting its latest and “most important (feature) for the last two years” – public accounts.
Viber Media Inc., a subsidiary of Japanese company Rakuten Inc., announced the roll out of its new business service on Nov. 22 during its first ever press conference in Ukraine, where it claims to have about 16 million active users.
In late October Yandex, the Russian search giant, launched taxi booking service Yandex.Taxi in Ukraine. The service – which operates exclusively in partnership with taxi companies – is available exclusively in Kiev (Kyiv), but Yandex plans to expand it beyond the Ukrainian capital.
“Our next targets are Odessa, Kharkiv (Kharkov) and Dnipro [previously known as Dnipropetrovsk],” said Elina Staviskaya, Head of PR projects at Yandex.Taxi, in an exchange with East-West Digital News.
Nicknamed “the Uber for parking,” this one-tap parking app offers access to “thousands of exclusive parking spots in both gated and open access areas.” Barking also allows its users to book parking spots in advance.
A chain-smoking driver talks on the phone while driving a beat-up car. His passenger is sweating, both because of the erratic driving and the absence of air conditioning – it’s either broken or not there at all. Until just a couple years ago, that used to be what an average taxi ride in Ukraine was like.
But things are changing now. Seeing the huge gap in the market for proper taxi services, tech companies that position themselves as “Uber-like” have started coming to Ukraine. The real star of the market – Uber, the most expensive tech startup in the world in 2015 – launched its services in Kyiv on June 30.
Taxify, an Estonian copycat of Uber, started operating in Ukraine last month, reported Ukrainian high tech blog AIN.UA. The service has already enrolled 20 drivers to offer rides in Kyiv (Kiev) after training at Taxify’s office.
While Taxify’s user interface and pricing are identical to those of Uber, the Estonian service takes a 15% commission fee on rides, well below Uber’s 25%.
Head of Ukraine’s Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov said on Sept. 27 that all the iPhones 7 that are found in Ukraine have been smuggled into the country.
“If you see someone with an iPhone 7, you can tell those people that they are criminals,” Nasirov said at the Cabinet of Ministers’ meeting.
According to him, for the last two weeks, the customs officers have focused on looking particularly for Apple electronics on the border, and especially iPhone 7, their latest smartphone released on Sept. 7.
Earlier this week Allset, a mobile app helping restaurants cut dining time in half by allowing customers to pre-order their meals, has secured a $2.35 million seed round.
The roud was led by New York-based venture capital firm Metamorphic Ventures with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and FJ Labs as well as previous investors Alexander Chernyak, a startup entrepreneur operating in the USA, Russia and Ukraine, and Andriy Dovzhenko from Kyiv (Kiev)-based SMRK VC Fund.
Last week Horizon Capital, a Kyiv (Kiev)-based private equity fund manager, announced that it had increased its stake in Datagroup, a major Ukrainian independent telecom operator, from significant minority to over 70%. Horizon Capital will assume operational control of the company.
When contacted by Ukraine Digital News, the fund declined to disclose any further details.
Ukraine’s state railway network administrator, Ukrzaliznytsia, plans to develop its own mobile application to sell train tickets, its chief executive officer has announced.
CEO Wojciech Balczun said during an Aug. 10 meeting with representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce that Ukrzaliznytsia plans to launch an Android app to selling railway tickets by the end of 2016, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
Roopor, a project developed by Ukrainian digital marketing agency Yarche.ua, is among the 90 winners out of 6,000 applicants to Publicis90. This global innovation contest was organized in late June by the French advertising and PR giant.
The startup was the only awarded project coming from Central and Eastern Europe.