Tech News Jan. 9: USAID Invests in Ukrainian Startups


🚀 USAID Backs Fundraising Lab in Ukraine to Support Startups

IT entrepreneur and investor Denis Dovgopoly has launched Fundraising Lab, a Unicorn Nest initiative supported and funded by USAID, aimed at assisting 10 Ukrainian startups in organizing and attracting investment rounds. The initiative, focusing on startups with a market-accepted product generating $20,000-$50,000 in monthly revenue and a development strategy involving a round of $1 million or more, aims to address the challenges faced by Ukrainian startups in attracting investments due to limited experience and exposure to investment funds. [Source: InVenture]

💼 Recruitment Startup Secured $500K in a Pre-seed Round

JobCannon, a Ukrainian-British startup, has raised $500,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by Whitehall Capital, with support from the World Bank, influencing its rapid development. JobCannon, founded in 2022, focuses on revolutionizing recruitment technology, integrating AI to simplify job searches, assess individual skills, and enhance the hiring process. The company plans to use the funds to further develop its SaaS product. [Source:]

🏦 Financial Tool Startup Raised $50K from ZAS Ventures

Fintellect, a Ukrainian financial application developer, has secured $50,000 in funding from venture capital firm ZAS Ventures. Fintellect aims to enhance its team and infrastructure with the funds, focusing on building a comprehensive financial management tool for service businesses in the creative and technology industries, including features such as avoiding cash gaps, project profitability calculation, and integration with time trackers, CRM, and HRM. [Source:]

🧠 Platform for Psychologists Raised $2M in a Seed Round

Mindly, a Ukrainian online platform for psychologists and their clients, has secured $2 million in funding from European fund Inovo VC and angel investor Patrick Backman. Mindly has over 300 thousand users and more than 1,300 psychologists. With an annual income increase from $100,000 to almost $10 million, Mindly plans aggressive expansion in 2024, leveraging its advanced technological solution to make mental health care accessible globally. [Source: InVenture]

🚲 Ukrainian Venture Syndicate Invested into a British Electric Bicycle Startup

Gin, a British electric bicycle startup co-founded by Ukrainian Marina Vlasenko and Indian Rahul Pushp, has secured $648,975 (£510,000) in funding from Ukrainian venture syndicate The investment will be utilized to boost production and sales volumes to 200 units per month by the end of 2024, expand production capacity, and potentially enter markets in Poland and Ukraine. [Source: InVenture]

🩺 Medical Online Platform Received $615K Investment from Ukrainian, a Ukrainian venture syndicate, has invested $615,000 in the British startup, as part of a $50 million total investment round.’s online platform facilitates the comparison, viewing, and booking of medical scanning services for users in the UK and the US. The funds will be used to expand the company in the US market, aiming to achieve $50 million in net ARR in three years. [Source: InVenture]

👼 ICLUB Angel Syndicate Financed 25 Startups in 2023

In 2023, the angel syndicate ICLUB invested $10 million in 25 startups, an increase of $2 million compared to the previous year. Notable investments include Ukrainian FintechFarm, Spanish TaxDown, American Kadeya and Cambrian, and Italian Jobtech, with two exits during the year – German Kabirski and Roddo. [Source: InVenture]


⚖️ Legal Tech RobinAI Receives Investment from Estonian fund Plural

Estonian entrepreneurs venture fund, Plural, has increased its investment in London-based legal tech company Robin AI, which recently closed a $26 million (€24 million) B round led by Singapore-headquartered investment company Temasek. Robin AI’s tool, Robin Copilot, utilizes machine learning to assist companies in drafting and editing agreements, explaining and translating terms, and drafting emails related to specific contracts, claiming to reduce legal fees by up to 75%. [Source: BalticVC]

📄Estonian Fintech Secured $1.5M For Global Expansion

Money.Industries, a Tallinn-based startup facilitating cross-border services for domestic fintech companies, has secured a $1.5 million investment led by Baku-based Caucasus Ventures. With this funding, the company, founded in September 2023, aims to improve its infrastructure and expedite global expansion, offering financial technology startups in regions like Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Africa, and the Middle East the ability to transfer money abroad without involving banks or registering on global markets. [Source:]

💰Lithuanian HR Platform Raised $695K in Seed Investment

MELP, Vilnius-based HR platform, founded in 2021, has secured $695,801 (€635,000) in seed investment from CoinvestVC, NGL (a Lithuanian syndicate of business angels), and UK/Lithuanian business angels. MELP’s platform streamlines employee benefits management, enabling employers to save time and money, while offering over 6,000 goods and services for employees to choose from. The funds will be used for international expansion. [Source: BalticVC]

⚕ Future Ventures Invested in American Biotech

US fund Future Ventures, led by a venture capitalist with Estonian roots Steve Jurvetson, has invested in American biotech Moonwalk Therapeutics as part of a $56 million (€52 million) funding round backed by Singapore-based Alpha Wave Ventures, US ARCH Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, and YK Bioventures. Moonwalk, founded in San Francisco in 2022, utilizes an epigenetic discovery platform to develop treatments for various diseases by modifying genes through processes like methylation and demethylation, aiming to activate beneficial genes or suppress disease-causing ones without making permanent changes to DNA. [Source: BalticVC]


💰Tim Draper Invested over $1M in Citix

Kazakh tech company Citix, valued at $98 million, has become the first startup in Kazakhstan to attract American investment. Tim Draper, known for investing in disruptive projects, increased his stake in Citix after the company participated in the Hero Training acceleration program, a joint initiative by Astana Hub and Draper University, showcasing the global potential of the Kazakh project in Smart City and AdTech innovations. 

[Source: DigitalBusiness]


🗞️Uzbek news outlet Daryo Launches a new English-language magazine Silicon Steppes

Silicon Steppes, a new English-language magazine by Daryo news outlet, has released its inaugural issue focusing on entrepreneurship in Central Asia. The magazine features articles and profile pieces, providing insights and coverage on the startup and entrepreneurial landscape in the region. [Source:]

🏢IT Park Uzbekistan Expands Its List of Sectors

The Cabinet of Ministers in a recent resolution expanded the list of activities for IT Park residents, allowing them to engage in design and multimedia services, creation of digital animation products, venture financing of IT projects, and services in the eSports sector. This decision aims to foster the development of computer design, animation, and eSports, encouraging use among young people and facilitating funding and support for startups in these fields. [Source:]


🚢 Online Freight Forwarding Solution Startup Received $1.7M in Seed Round

The Tbilisi-based logistics startup CARGON, that provides innovative online freight forwarding solution connecting shippers to carriers, has successfully raised $1.7 million in a seed funding round led by Sturgeon Capital, with participation from partners including Hustle Fund, Reflect Ventures, UzVC National Venture Capital Fund, AloqaVentures, Caucasus Ventures, and Flexport. The funding will be crucial in accelerating product development and expanding the company’s presence in the Caucasus and Central Asia region. [Source: LinkedIn]


💬 Smart Communications Platform Raised $1.6M from Earlybird

Romanian-founded and New York-based Sessions Technologies has secured $1.6 million )€1.5 million) in funding from Earlybird and aims to raise an additional €500,000 from SeedBlink as part of a €3 million expansion round. Founded in 2020 by Radu Negulescu, Sessions offers a unified workspace for business needs such as webinars, demos, workshops, and training, with over 35,000 users and €2 million in sales in the last six months. The company plans to use the funds for product development, user base expansion, and operational expenses. [Source:]


🌍 VC Industry Declined Globally in 2023, Lowest Level Since 2017

In 2023, the global venture capital industry experienced a decline, with investors worldwide putting $345.7 billion into startups, marking a 35% decrease from 2022 and the lowest level since 2017, as revealed in a Pitchbook report. The report highlights a drop in VC activity and fundraising in the US, with venture capitalists investing $170.6 billion in 2023, a decline to 2019 levels, and US venture funds raising $66.9 billion, nearly two-thirds less than the previous year. [Source:]

💻 US-based AI Platform Closes a Seed Funding Round

AI startup Signum.AI has closed its Seed round with participation from investors including RTP Global, AngelsDeck Global Ventures, and US-based angels associated with Open.AI. Signum.AI specializes in automating B2B customer insights research using artificial intelligence, tracking key changes within target industries, companies, and individuals to provide actionable insights. [Source: LinkedIn]

🖇️ Global VC firm Moves its Office to Oxford Circus

The Runa Capital team in London has made it easier to connect by moving to a Huckletree office near Oxford Circus, providing a vibrant hub within the tech community. London-based General Partners Konstantin Vinogradov and Andre Bliznyuk, along with Associate Gleb Onishchenko, cover a diverse range of investment themes, including enterprise software, AI/ML, open source, and fintech, reinforcing Runa Capital’s commitment to the UK market. [Source: LinkedIn]

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