Oleksandr has been an Apple fan since he was a student. In the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, earning only 200 hryvnas (about 20 dollars) a month, he couldn’t afford much. In one of computer shops in Kiev he was attracted by the desk-lamp-like iMac G4, but figured that he could only afford the Apple keyboard that went with it.
Oleksandr’s father and brother — like many Ukrainians — emigrated to the West, to Paris. Thanks to their support and his own savings, Oleksandr bought a PowerBook. At that time he was probably the only student at Kiev Polytechnic who was working on a Mac. He remembers that lecturers were glowering at him, since he was the only student who was taking notes not on paper, but on his laptop. Oleksandr’s diploma work was done on the Mac — a neural network app using image recognition to register the state of water meters.
The startup, which claims to have registered 400 taxi drivers and 7,000 users since its launch in spring, will use the money to develop new functionalities and relaunch its mobile app.
Yesterday Snapchat announced the launch of “Lenses,” a new feature that enables users to create a variety face effects while making selfies. These augmented reality filters will allow you to change eye or skin color, alter your face to remove blemishes or look thinner.
Behind these new types of avatars is a technology developed by Looksery, a startup originated from Odessa, Ukraine, with offices in San Francisco.
The startup itself has been acquired by Snapchat with Looksery’s team joining the company. The details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but AIN.UA, an authoritative Ukrainian tech blog, heard it amounted to “around $150 million.”
In early August Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG), an investment company backed by businessman and former Kiyv (Kiev) mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi, contributed $1 million in a funding round secured by Israeli startup Kidoz.
The round also involved several other investors, according to a CIG announcement reported by the Ukrainian media. However, neither these investors’ identity nor the total amount of the transaction were disclosed.
Resuming activities in Ukraine after two years of interruption, Mobile Monday gathered more than 90 industry professionals at Kyiv (Kiev)’s iHUB on June 25. In addition to mobile developers, project managers, top managers and investors, the event hosted industry figures from such companies as Groupon, ABBYY, Lohika Systems, Intersog, 4shared, Ciklum, Luxoft, PaymentWall.
Also attending were Ms. Arja Makkonen, Ambassador of Finland to Ukraine, and Dimitri Podoliev, co-founder and CEO at iHUB Network, with Mobile Monday’s founder Jari Tammisto speaking from Helsinki via via Skype.
Typing fast is a valuable skill, and even more helpful when one can do it on a mobile device in today’s fast-paced, multi-tasking world. OftenType, a keyboard application for iPhones running on the iOS 8 operating system, helps users master this skill. It simply lets one create quick keys with frequently used text.
Costing $1.99, the app has been downloaded around 50,000 times, half of which by American-based users. The brainchild behind the app is 30-year-old marketing specialist Artem Pochepetsky. An iPhone user with no coding skills, he found a team of several Ukrainian developers and designers who devised the app for him, investing $10,000 of his own money along the way.
Wojciech Bajda of Ericsson Ukraine: “Ukrainians use smartphones in the same way as consumers from EU countries”
Sweden’s Ericsson was one of the first telecommunications equipment providers to enter Ukraine, opening an office in 1995. The move paid off as it turned into a core supplier to Ukrainian mobile network operators and Internet vendors.
Now, as Ukraine makes the transition to third generation Internet, Ericsson sees more opportunities.
Moscow-based venture fund iTech Capital announced today it has invested $2 million in Clickky. Operating globally from its headquarters in Odessa, Ukraine, Clickky has developed a comprehensive mobile app marketing platform with in-house proprietary technology for user acquisition, traffic monetization and performance analysis.
The investment will support Clickky’s expansion into the United States, South-East Asia and other emerging markets, as well as the launch of new analytics and media buying features and products. Clickky also plans to launch its own mobile advertising sales agency, MobiLimes.
Settle, a mobile booking and payment service for restaurants developed by Kyiv(Kiev)-based startup Advice Wallet, has secured an undisclosed amount from the SMRK VC fund, as tech blog Siliconrus.com reported last week. The funds will be used to launch Settle in the American market.
“In the United States, there is a severe problem with wait-times at restaurants, as guests are waiting suffer through lengthy waits for tables and their food. Thus, local restaurants are interested in mobile pre-orders. We have reached agreements with 15 institutions regarding the launch of Settle. By the end of March, we will launch a new product oriented at the American market,” says Stas Matvienko, founder of the service.
Life.Sreda, which looked just a few months ago as one of the most successful Russian funds, is now seeking buyers for the greater part of its portfolio companies, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported last week.
The fund also cancelled its investment in Advice Wallet, a Kyiv (Kiev)-based startup which develops mobile payment service Settle. In July last year, Life.Sreda committed itself to inject $1.5 million in the startup, but actually disbursed just 10% of this amount, reported the Ukrainian media.