Eastern Europe and Central Asia Tech Wrap May 15: Eric Schmidt backs Ukraine’s military tech accelerator


🤖 D3 Military Tech Accelerator Launches with Eric Schmidt’s Support

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is backing the launch of D3, a military tech accelerator in Ukraine. D3, or “Dare to Defend Democracy,” will invest in early-stage startups and provide acceleration and mentoring assistance. [Source: AIN Capital]

🌾 Howard Buffett Urges Investment in Agriculture 

Howard Buffett, CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, emphasized the importance of investing in Ukraine’s agricultural sector even before the war with Russia ends. He sees grain logistics and irrigation as attractive investment fields, critical for rebuilding the country’s infrastructure as soon as possible. [Source: Inventure.com.ua]

🎓 IT Step Acquires Globus School, Expanding IT Education

Ukrainian IT company, IT Step, has purchased the private Kiev-based school, Globus. The new owners plan to expand the curriculum to include IT subjects like coding, web design, as well as soft skills. [Source: Dou.ua]

💰 European Innovation Council Pledges $22M for Hi-Tech Startups

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is stepping up to support Ukrainian tech, pledging almost $22 million for at least 200 hi-tech startups. Each startup will receive nearly $65,000, alongside consulting services and help finding business partners. [Source: Inventure.com.ua


🔩 BaltCap Diversifies with Acquisition of Estonian Automation Provider

BaltCap, the biggest private equity firm in the Baltic countries, has acquired a majority stake in Hansab, an Estonia-based automation services provider. By investing in Hansab, which designs a variety of automation products for B2B clients across logistics, finance, public, retail and other sectors, BaltCap aims to diversify its portfolio and break into new sectors. [Source: BalticVC]

🔒 Estonia’s New Act Triggers Mass Exodus of Crypto Companies

In Estonia, a new version of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act has led to a significant loss of licenses for crypto operations. The law, enacted last year, has resulted in 200 businesses withdrawing their licenses, while 189 were stopped by authorities for noncompliance, leaving just 100 active licenses as of May 2023. [Source: BalticVC]


🏭 Uzbek Government Incentivizes Hi-Tech Equipment Producers

In Uzbekistan, the government has issued a decree establishing a registry of hi-tech equipment producers. Those making the cut, based on 12 listed criteria, will be eligible for various stimulating measures and government support, aiming to boost the production of high value-added products. [Source: Spot.uz

☀️ Uzbekistan’s Renewable Energy Adoption Gets a Boost

Uzbekistan’s government is stepping up its support for renewable energy technologies, promising to compensate a portion of interest rates on loans taken by businesses for their implementation. Similarly, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is expanding the state program “Sun House” to reimburse residents for part of their expenses on solar panels. [Source: Spot.uz

🌐 Plug and Play Accelerator Sets Up Shop in Uzbekistan

The international accelerator platform Plug and Play has opened a branch in Uzbekistan, with Felix Lammers at the helm. Lammers believes that access to a global network of mentors and investors will revolutionize the country’s startup landscape and help local companies reach out to global markets. [Source: Spot.uz]


📱 Kazakhstan’s Agricultural Tech Gets a Boost with TortTulik App

Starting June 1, the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan will launch a mobile app, TortTulik, for 1.5 million cattle owners. This app will streamline access to veterinary documents, latest news, and allow owners to sell meat directly to buyers, bypassing intermediaries. 

[Source: Profit.kz

🚗 Kazakh Government Wants to Accelerate Car Production

Kazakhstan’s government is setting ambitious goals for its auto industry, aiming to increase annual car production to500,000 vehicles by 2026. This comes on the heels of the country producing 100,000 cars in 2022, despite a domestic demand of 150,000 cars. 

[Source: Economist.kg]


🌏 U.S. and Great Britain Ramp Up Visa Issuance for Russian Talent

The USA and Great Britain significantly increased the number of visas granted to Russians showcasing exceptional talents in 2022. The US issued 445 O-1 visas, a significant increase from 135 in 2020 and 247 in 2021. While Great Britain granted 397 Global Talent Visas, a substantial leap from 34 in 2020 and 72 in 2021. [Source: RBC]


🤖 Georgian Government’s AI Concerns 

The Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) in Georgia has expressed concern over how the Georgian government is using AI technologies in the face of a regulatory deficit. At the same time, Haykuhi Harutyunyan, the chair of Armenia’s Corruption Prevention Commission, shared that AI technology helps the government to detect possible fraud by offering more sophisticated and powerful data analysis. [Source: EurasiaNet]

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