“Many people here and around the world were outraged by some of his writings,” said Pranskevicius in Kiev. But what we have seen is that Starlink continues to operate. It was very useful for most individuals and also for those on the front line when there was no communication.
An uncertain future
Despite the challenges faced by its founders and employees, we continue to improve and grow. One colleague went to fight on the front lines, while another enlisted to work in military technology, joining about 7,000 technologists in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. A year ago, the company had 27 employees; He says he has over 40 now.
But let’s improve it in a bit. According to a report by TechUkraine, an organization that supports startups in the country by 2022, companies are feeling the heat of the battle. While 43 percent of the teams surveyed are the same size, 37 percent of founders say they’ve had to reduce headcount. And more than 90 percent of Ukrainian startups indicated that they needed additional funding to survive the war.
According to data from research firm PitchBook, early-stage startups in Ukraine received a total of $17 million in seed or Series A funding in 2022, compared to $14.1 million in 2022. This year’s initial funding was higher than in the last quarter of 2022. including the recent $1 million raised by Fuelfinance.
But despite the promising signs, the broader prospects for Ukrainian businesses are more subdued. In September The Wall Street Journal According to reports, in 2021 Ukrainian companies will receive a total of $832 million in venture capital and private equity, which typically invests a lot of money, and one analyst said the number of Ukrainian VC deals will drop by 50% in 2022.
The last fundraising round was in October 2021 for $3 million and the founders plan to roll this out in 2022 as they focus on new products. In addition to the uncertainty of war, they may try to raise more funding this year, taking macroeconomics head on, in addition to the uncertainty of war, which has slowed down startup investment.
Still, Shvets is optimistic about fundraising. A number of funds have been raised to support Ukrainian technology companies, both in the private sector and in governments. Last year, the European Commission pledged 20 million euros (about $21 million) to support tech companies in Ukraine. Some private investors are encouraged by the fact that many Ukrainian startups are selling their software in the US.
“I would say the narrative has definitely changed since last year. When the war started, we were all in shock, and so were our investors,” Shvets says. “‘What’s going to happen in Ukraine?’ But we haven’t had any production issues, and I feel like we have a lot of support right now.
According to Dmitry Dontov, CEO and founder of Spin Technologies, investors seem to be comfortable continuing to work with startups that have a large Ukrainian presence. Shortly after the invasion, Dontov, a Moldovan company in Silicon Valley, supplied the Ukrainian research and development team with generators and set up a safe house for them in the village of Koncha-Zaspa, 33 kilometers from Kyiv. He moved a third of his staff to an office in Portugal.
“Initially, investors were nervous. ‘How many lines of code were written last month?’ They asked him,” says Dontov. “But over time, I think investors have seen that we’re taking all the necessary steps to maintain performance.”
Not all startups have fared so well. MacPaw founder Oleksandr Kosovan invests in other startups through a fund called SMRK. This week it invested $1.5 million in a Ukrainian robotics startup. But Kosovan said at least two of the fund’s portfolio companies have closed in the past year.
One of them is Sidora Seafood, a Kyiv-based seafood delivery startup founded in 2019. The company cannot operate in Ukrainian airspace by transporting certain cargo by air. Another startup selling casual clothing is still operating but struggling. As soon as the war started, Kosovan said, “the need for such things was reduced to zero.”
In the context of war, important things are given more attention. So do boundaries, and bonds with colleagues, and visions of the future, even if they’re seen through a candlelit zoom or a flash of clothing on a dark city street.