Tech News June 9: Telegram Launches In-App Currency


Telegram Launched In-App Currency “Stars” as Toncoin Sets Record Price

Telegram is launching a new in-app currency called Stars to facilitate purchases within its mini apps. Users can buy Stars with regular money or convert them to Toncoin, Telegram’s favored cryptocurrency. This move aims to boost commerce on the messaging platform and incentivize app developers, who will keep 70% of revenue from Stars purchases. [Source: Decrypt]


Ukraine Makes Nearly All Drones Domestically, Led by Private Industry

Nearly all drones used by Ukraine are manufactured domestically, with private entrepreneurs playing a leading role according to Deputy Defense Minister Dmytro Klimenkov. This self-reliance is seen as a positive development for the country’s economy.

The Ministry recently announced drone procurement tenders through Prozorro, a transparent procurement system. Over 7,000 drones have already been contracted, with another 7,000 under evaluation. To combat corruption risks, the Ministry is implementing supervisory boards and collaborating with anti-corruption agencies. [Source:]

Finnish-Ukrainian Fund Double Tap Invests in Ukrainian Defense Innovation

Double Tap Investments, a Finnish-Ukrainian venture capital firm, is shifting its focus to support Ukrainian startups developing defense technologies. It aims to not only provide funding but also mentorship and access to a global network to help these startups scale and achieve long-term success. [Source:]

Canadian Armored Vehicle Maker Invests Millions in New Ukrainian Factory

Canadian armored vehicle manufacturer Roshel is investing tens of millions of dollars to establish a new factory in Ukraine. CEO Roman Shimonov sees Ukraine’s infrastructure, skilled workforce, and affordable production costs as key advantages. The plant will focus on supplying both Ukrainian and European markets with Roshel’s armored vehicles, including the Senator model which has already seen significant deployment in Ukraine. [Source:]

Ukrainian Defense Startups Vie for €500,000 at Bootcamp

Estonian businessman Ragnar Sass, along with the DarkStar coalition, has organized a five-day Extreme Bootcamp program. Ten teams will be selected to participate, working alongside founders from established European tech companies to refine their projects. The top teams will share a €1 million investment with the winner receiving a €500,000 grand prize. DarkStar, a group of over 20 successful entrepreneurs and investors, aims to build a strong European defense technology ecosystem through this program. [Source:]


€620k Funding Boost for Estonian Maternity App CARÁ Health

Estonian health tech startup CARÁ Health has raised €620,000 in a funding round led by Tera Ventures. The company offers a comprehensive health and wellness platform to support women throughout pregnancy and postpartum. This investment will help them further develop their app, which is already used by half of all pregnant women in Estonia. [Source:]

Estonian Biotech ExpressionEdits Raises €12M to Enhance Gene Therapy

ExpressionEdits, a Cambridge-based biotech company co-founded by Estonian entrepreneur Kärt Tomberg, has secured €12 million in seed funding. The round was led by Octopus Ventures and Redalpine with participation from several international investors. ExpressionEdits’ technology focuses on improving protein production for gene therapy applications. [Source: BalticVC]

Estonian AI Startup Heybooster Secures €770k for Marketing Analytics Platform

Heybooster, a Tallinn-based developer of AI-powered marketing analytics platforms, has raised €770,000. The round included investments from both new and existing investors, including Turkish firms Ak Asset Management and Arz Portföy, Istanbul’s Starters Hub, and follow-on investments from Lima Ventures and LEAP Investment. Founded in 2019, Heybooster’s platform helps marketing teams identify areas for revenue growth and optimize budgets by providing actionable insights. The platform automatically analyzes data across various marketing channels, generates reports with clear explanations, and allows for assigning tasks and tracking progress within the platform itself. [Source: BalticVC]


Investment Fuels Growth of Latvian Competitor Tracking Platform RivalSense

Latvian startup RivalSense, which uses AI to track competitor activity, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding.The round was led by Estonian VC firm Change Ventures with participation from Hungarian investor Fiedler Capital and Latvian angel investors.

Founded in 2024 by Martins Vaivars and Arturs Prieditis, RivalSense provides businesses with a comprehensive weekly report on their competitors. This report includes insights on pricing, product changes, hiring activity, legal issues,customer and supplier base, technology stack, media coverage, and more. [Source: BalticVC]


Contrarian Ventures Invests in French Electric Fleet Management Company 

Lithuanian venture capital firm Contrarian Ventures co-led a €3.6 million seed funding round for Decade Energy, a French company specializing in electric vehicle fleet management for logistics companies. The round was also co-led by Ananda Impact Ventures.

Founded in Paris, Decade Energy offers a comprehensive solution for logistics firms transitioning to electric fleets. They develop optimized transition plans, design custom charging infrastructure, and manage installation and energy consumption. This streamlined approach keeps electric vehicle costs competitive with diesel alternatives, leading to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. [Source: BalticVC]

Lithuanian Healthtech Startup Spike Secures $3.5M in Seed Funding

Lithuanian healthtech startup Spike has raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round led by Practica Capital (Lithuania) and TheVentureCity (Miami). Other participants include CEAS Investments (Florida), Plug & Play Ventures (US), Geek Ventures (New York), and Axel Springer Porsche (Berlin).

Founded in 2022 by Povilas Gudžius and Nikita Pajanok, Spike offers a solution for integrating health data from over 200 wearable sensors and IoT devices. This data, including heart rate variability, calories burned, and blood sugar levels, is valuable for digital health companies, fitness apps, insurance companies, and more. [Source: BalticVC]

Lithuanian Social App Joiner Secures €500k for Expansion

Lithuanian social networking app Joiner has raised €500,000 in funding from a group of Lithuanian private investors,advertising agency Ogilvy Vilnius, and law firm Motieka ir Audzevičius. This investment brings the startup’s post-money valuation to €4 million.

Launched in 2022 by Eduardas Titovas and Jurate Plungyte (former Head of Marketing for Uber Baltics), Joiner allows users to organize spontaneous events at their homes, invite friends, or join activities hosted by others. The app aims to connect people with similar interests and facilitate shared experiences. According to Joiner, they’ve attracted 12,000 users in Lithuania within just a few months. [Source: BalticVC]


How to Web 2024 Spotlight Competition Returns

How to Web Conference, a leading tech event in Eastern Europe, has announced the return of its prestigious startup competition, Spotlight. Early-stage founders from across the region and beyond are invited to apply for a chance to win a significant investment prize and propel their ventures to the next level. [Source:]

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