Tech News Feb. 25: Two years into the war, Ukrainian startups attract over $20M in fresh funding


🇺🇦 Google Launched New Stage of Support Fund for Ukraine

Google is launching the second stage of its support fund for Ukrainian startups, with $10 million in grants aimed at fostering growth amidst ongoing conflict. Building on the success of the initial phase, selected startups will receive up to $200,000 in equity-free financing, mentoring, product support, and $300,000 in Google Cloud credits, continuing Google’s commitment to empowering Ukrainian entrepreneurs and driving innovation in the region. So far, the support fund, created in March 2022, has attracted $15.8 million in additional funding, helped create new jobs, received global recognition, and increased income by 100%. 


🔥SMG Capital Launched $10M Fund for Ukrainian Founders

Ukraine’s SMG Capital and SMG Builder launched a VC fund and venture builder with a $10 million fund to support Ukrainian founders. The fund aims to invest in 100 early-stage tech startups targeting US market expansion. At the same time, SMG Builder offers a three-month program for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing an investment of $25,000, an opportunity to become a co-founder, and recommendations for internships at international companies. [Source:]

🎉 Ukraine Fund IV Closed by Horizon Capital at $350M

American Horizon Capital’s latest Ukraine-focused fund, Horizon Capital Growth Fund IV, has closed at $350 million, surpassing its initial target of $250 million by 40%, with investments from a diverse array of institutional and private investors totaling over $700 billion. Backed by leading international financial institutions and private investors, the fund aims to fuel the growth of tech and export-oriented companies in Ukraine and Moldova, with a portfolio already including startups like Preply, GoIT, and Vivesen, among others. [Source:]


🇺🇦 Two Years Since the War: Tech Workers’ Growing Fatigue

The Ukrainian tech sector faces challenges in obtaining investment and international clients, compounded by brain drain and fatigue amid the ongoing conflict. Despite adversity, companies like Sigma navigate logistical hurdles to support both their employees and the war effort, showcasing resilience in maintaining operations and aiding their community. [Source: AlJazeera]

👥 HR Platform Raised $2m in Seed Round

PeopleForce, a leading provider of an all-in-one HR platform, secured $2 million in seed funding led by Pracuj Ventures, aiming to revolutionize HR processes for technology-driven companies. With over 800 clients worldwide, including renowned brands like Rakuten and BMW, the investment will fuel PeopleForce’s expansion efforts, focusing on product development and market penetration in Poland and LATAM. [Source:]

🏅Global Outsourcing Ranking Includes 15 Ukrainian Companies

The International Professional Association IAOP published its annual ranking of the best outsourcers in the world, the Global Outsourcing 100. This year, it includes 15 Ukrainian companies, such as ELEKS, Redwerk, QAwerk, COMPUTOOLS, Infopulse, Innovecs, Intellias, Jelvix, Light IT Global, Miratech, N-iX, NIX United, Softengi, Svitla Systems, and Trinetix. Additionally, the list features companies with a significant presence in Ukraine, including Deloitte, EY, KPMG, Glorium Technologies, Intetics, and others, reflecting the country’s increasing role in the global outsourcing industry. [Source:]

☁️ AI Company Acquired by Dutch Manufacturing Corporation

Stellantis, the Dutch car manufacturing corporation, has acquired CloudMade, a British AI company with a team in Ukraine, to advance its AI technologies for vehicles. The undisclosed deal, announced on Jan. 24, will see 44 engineers from CloudMade joining Stellantis to accelerate the development of STLA SmartCockpit, enhancing predictive maintenance, personalized in-car experiences, voice assistant capabilities, navigation, and fleet management solutions. [Source:]

🏡 HOMErs Startup Raised $541K from Angel Investors

Ukrainian startup HOMErs has secured around $541,000 (€500,000) in funding from a network of angel investors to further its mission of providing fully furnished modular homes for displaced Ukrainians following the housing shortage resulting from Russia’s invasion. With plans to increase production with a newly launched factory in Slovakia, HOMErs aims to manufacture up to 100 houses this year, doubling the number in 2025 and ultimately scaling to build 1000 houses annually within five years. [Source:]


🌸 AceON Accelerator Launches Spring Program for 2024

Prague-based AceON Accelerator has launched its Spring Accelerator 2024 program, offering early-stage tech startups from Czechia, Slovakia, or Romania to apply for a two-month intensive training with individual support and mentorship, culminating in a Demo Day pitch event. Participants will receive expert-led lectures on various aspects of startup development, mentorship on software development, financial planning, and fundraising, with potential investment opportunities available for qualifying startups, continuing AceON’s mission to empower and support ambitious founders. 


🇵🇱 TechStars Startup Weekend Returns to Poland in March

Techstars Startup Weekend Warsaw, a 54-hour hackathon, is set to return on March 15-17th, offering participants the opportunity to develop their startup concepts with mentoring and judging. Aspiring founders shouldn’t miss this chance to turn their ideas into validated startup ventures. Grab your tickets now. [Source: LinkedIn]


👛 Estonian Startup Employees Had an Average Salary of $4602 in 2023

In 2023, Estonian startup employees earned $4602 (€4253) on average, while Lithuanian counterparts earned $4112 (€3800), with Estonia employing 17,403 startup workers and Lithuania 17,600. High-paying Estonian sectors included middle-aged and foreign professional roles. In contrast, Lithuanian top-paying startups included Game Insight, Fullreach, Oberlo, Tesonet Accelerator, and Paysolut, with job creators being Vinted, Nord Security, Wargaming, Oxylabs, and KiloHealth. [Source: BalticVC]

📈 ZAKA VC: CEE Region Gains Importance

Investors increasingly focus on sectors like biotech, clean tech, and deep tech for their defensible innovations. Despite declining overall venture capital volume, early-stage startups remain attractive, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), where capital-efficient startups are gaining prominence. ZAKA VC highlights the CEE region’s potential, noting its significant growth in invested capital between 2017 and 2022, making it an attractive destination for investors worldwide. [Source:]


📱Latvian AR Social Networking Platform Raised $54K from Buildit Accelerator

Latvian augmented reality social networking platform RedFrog secured around $54,000 (€50,000) from Latvian accelerator Buildit Accelerator in Dec. 2023. Founded in 2022, RedFrog’s app uses Bluetooth IDs for precise AR overlays, promising ±20cm accuracy, enhancing connections at events and venues while prioritizing user privacy. [Source: BalticVC]

❌Estonian FinTech Lost Trust of Swedish Investor

Monese, an Estonian fintech known for its multi-currency accounts, faces a setback as Swedish investor Kinnevik AB writes off its previous $60 million Series B investment, citing uncertainty about the company’s future. Despite this, Monese remains confident in its valuation, backed by prominent investors like HSBC, PayPal, and British Airways owner International Airlines Group. The company aims to secure new funding despite recent financial losses and layoffs. [Source: BalticVC]

🏛️Estonia Sees a Contribution of $72.9M to State Budget from E-residents

Estonia’s e-residency program saw significant contributions to the state budget, totaling to around $72.9 million (€67.4 million) in 2023, with entrepreneurs from Ukraine, Turkey, and Spain leading in revenue generation through business taxes. The program, initiated by the Estonian government in 2014, attracted 12,100 new applicants in 2023, with 32% starting businesses in Estonia, establishing 4592 new companies. [Source: BalticVC]

💵 Lithuanian Innovation Agency to Invest in Rockit Acceleration Program

The Lithuanian Innovation Agency invests in Rockit, an accelerator for fintech, blockchain, energy, IoT, and smart transport startups from Kaunas and Klaipėda. With at least 60 new ventures to be admitted between 2024 and 2026, Rockit offers mentorship, investment preparation, and market entry support backed by the non-profit agency Innovation Agency, managing over $541 million (€500 million) in business support measures. [Source: BalticVC]

🍎Estonian Food Waste AI Solution Raised $1.08 from Dutch VC

Cognitiwe, a Tallinn-based AI solution tackling food waste in supermarkets and catering, raised around $1.08 million (€1 million) from Dutch DOMiNO Ventures, Turkey’s TechOne VC, Bulgaria’s Eleven Ventures, and Egypt’s Flat6Labs, part of a larger deal announced in Dec. 2023. Founded in 2021, Cognitiwe’s platform uses AI and IP cameras to reduce waste and boost efficiency for retailers like Carrefour and Migros. The company plans to use the investment for team expansion and marketing. [Souce: BalticVC]

💰Lithuanian B2B Sales Platform Raised $2.1M in Investment

Evergrowth, a Lithuanian SaaS platform founded in 2014, raised around $2.1 million (€2 million) from lead investor U.S.-based Impellent Ventures and Lithuanian Practica Capital. The AI-powered B2B sales platform focuses on account-based selling. It aims to achieve a $500,000 annual recurring revenue within three months by leveraging data-driven sales systems and expanding globally, including opening its first U.S. office in New York City. [Source: BalticVC]

🧑‍⚖️ Bankrupt Eurora’s Assets Up for Auction 

Eurora, a customs technology platform founded in 2022 by Marko Lastik, faces bankruptcy as its assets, including the e-commerce suite and subsidiary GTS, are put up for sale by trustee Maire Arm for $32 million (€30 million) and $3.2 million (€3 million) respectively. Lastik attempts to broker deals for these assets amidst financial collapse, while Eurora’s bankruptcy stems from liabilities exceeding $6.9 million (€6.4 million), signaling an end to its venture. [Source: BalticVC]


💰Astana Hub to Finance Kazakh Startups

Astana Hub’s Seed Money 4.1 program now accepts applications, offering funding of up to $44,000 (20 million tenge) for startups in AI, GameDev, Blockchain, and other priority areas. With a successful track record, startups at MVP, PMF, or SCALE stages can access funds from Astana Hub’s revenue using the Revenue Share model, provided they meet team and legal entity requirements. Applications are accepted until March 5, 2024. [Source:]


🔥75 New Companies Became Residents of the IT Park in January 2024

In January, IT Park welcomed 75 new resident companies, predominantly in the software development and IT education sectors. Among the new residents, companies from Uzbekistan remain prominent. In contrast, foreign companies from Russia, Turkey, South Korea, and Australia joined, with more than half hailing from regional areas and a third engaged in exports. [Source:] 

💰Uzbekistan’s Q1 Investment Landscape Takeaways

Uzbekistan plans to implement $78.6 billion of investment projects in Q1 2024, focusing on infrastructure and green energy initiatives, with China leading contributions at $19.98 billion, followed by Switzerland and Cyprus at $11.48 billion. The investments span sectors such as renewable energy, infrastructure, and chemicals, showcasing Uzbekistan’s appeal as an investment destination and commitment to sustainable development. [Source:]


🏦Four Polish VCs Recieve Close to $37M from PFR Ventures

PFR Ventures allocated around $37 million (€35 million) to four Polish venture capital funds, including Inovo VC, Market One Capital, and SMOK Ventures, as part of the PFR VC Hub program funded by the Polish Development Fund. The fourth name remained undisclosed. These investments aim to bolster the Polish venture capital market, with the selected teams poised to invest over $175 million (€162 million) in local startups, reflecting the nation’s expanding investment landscape and government support. [Source:]


💳 Transaction Processing Startup Raised $1.4M from Bulgarian VC

New Vision 3 (NV3), a Bulgarian venture capital firm, is investing up to $1.4 million (€1 million) in Prolaz, a Croatian company revolutionizing multi-acquiring Point of Sale (PoS) transaction processing. Prolaz’s innovative B2B solution aims to redefine PoS transaction acquiring, enabling faster time-to-market for new checkout products and reducing non-cash payment costs, positioning the company for expansion into multiple EU countries. [Source:]

🙏 Biotech Longevity Startup Secured $4.2M in Investment

GlycanAge, a Croatian-founded and UK-based biotech startup, has secured around $4.2 million (€3.9 million) in funding led by Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures and London-based Kadmos Capital, facilitating its transition from the longevity sector to the broader diagnostics market. GlycanAge aims to advance its cutting-edge biological age test, empower individuals and healthcare professionals with early health risk prevention strategies, and further its mission to improve healthcare. The funding will also help to establish a clear regulatory strategy and product pipeline. [Source:]

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