It has been a year since President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign Ukraine’s EU Association Agreement, unleashing the Maidan Square street protests in Kiev that led to his ousting. His replacement, President Petro Poroshenko, signed the agreement in June.
Amongst other things, it calls for a free trade area in the next decade, steps towards visa-free travel, and Ukraine to adopt EU regulations and standards. So what does all this mean for Ukraine’s vibrant tech sector?
Ukrainian startup MyRobot.io, which defines its solution as a “mail robot secretary,” has attracted $60,000 from a group of angels through the investment platform Startup.ua. As part of a deal, the startup’s founder Bohdan Oleksandruk gave up control of 35% of the company.
The MyRobot solution reminds users of deadlines for tasks by email. Luanched just weeks ago, the service is currently confined to the Russian-language segment, but Oleksandruk plans to adapt the service for the global market.
Non-profit educational initiative Bionic University, which was created as a part of currently frozen Bionic Hill project, has teamed up with Ukrainian software development company MacPaw to launch free courses on creating applications for Apple’s iOS operating system.
After completing a 2.5 months-long course, students are expected to be able to write an app from scratch in the Objective-C programming language. The new courses dubbed “iOS Dev Core” and “iOS Dev Advanced” are aimed at people with university-level knowledge of Java, C or C++ programming language and basic understanding of Objective-C.
N-iX founder Andrew Pavliv: “The unrest in Eastern Ukraine has affected new potential clients’ attitude, even though we’re feeling safe one thousand miles away”
Launched in 2002 and enjoying a strong partnership with Novell since 2003, N-iX has developed into a sizable IT outsourcing company in Lviv (Lvov) in the quiet Western part of Ukraine. Its founder Andrew Pavliv told Ukraine Digital News how his international clients react to the current situation in Ukraine and about the threats and opportunities that these tensions entail for the local IT industry.
He also shared his vision of the country’s future – which will be made more prosperous and socially more mature, according to him, thanks to the development of an internationally connected high-tech industry.
Last week, investment firm Siguler Guff announced the sale of Slice, a company in its portfolio, to Japanese online retailer Rakuten. Slice has developed an app that allows online shoppers to track their orders, manage their purchase history and analyze their online spending.
The project maintains a direct connection to Ukraine, as the main part of the Slice engineering team works out of Odessa, as reported by Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA.
Prospects for the Ukrainian ICT market (not including telephones) continue to appear bleak, as market intelligence firm IDC has reported that it may shrink by 25% by the end of the year, especially impacting the electronic equipment and software sectors.
The volume of shipments of electronic equipment, in particular, is expected to fall back to the level it reached in 2009.
The department will specialise in software development for the banking sector, particularly banks located within Crimea and nearby regions. The company expects that by the end of the year at least 50 Russian financial organisations will have opened up offices on the peninsula, all of them potential clients.
Ukrainian fund Fison injects half a million dollars into e-commerce recommendation startup with global ambitions
The Ukrainian investment fund Fison has invested $500,000 in DataProm, a Kyiv (Kiev) -based startup developing data-driven recommendation solutions for online retailers. The deal – which valued the startup at $2 million – was closed in May but made public only last week.
“We’ve been paying attention to the Big Data segment for a long time already,” Fison’s co-founder Dmitry Vishnyov told Ukraine Digital News. “In contrast with the USA and Europe, there were practically no specialists and no projects in this field in Ukraine. We quickly found a common language with [the DataProm team] as soon as we discovered them.”
The myTips team has been accepted into the famous American incubator 500 Startups, and has moved to San Francisco. The team received an investment of $75,000 from the incubator, and now intends to develop its business in the USA.
myTips is developing interactive online tutorials for complex interfaces without coding. Previously, the startup had already incubated in a famous foreign accelerator – London SeedCamp. From them, the team received an investment of 25,000 euros for 5% of the company and spent the funds on the development and refinement of its product.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine is threatening to destabilize the operations of Magento, an open-source content management system for e-commerce web sites owned by eBay and based in Kyiv (Kiev).
In its last quarterly report for the second quarter ending June 31, 2014, eBay noted that “The current situation in Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula, along with the response of the Russian and United States governments to this situation, have the potential to adversely affect our operations in Ukraine. In addition, many of our employees in Ukraine could be required to serve in the military for extended periods of time under emergency circumstances, which could disrupt our Magento business.”