Tech News May 13: Germany Pledges $49 Million to Ukraine’s Energy Infrastructure 


Latvian Biotech Startup Attracts Top Investors from Silicon Valley  CatenaBio, a US-based startup with Latvian roots, has successfully secured $2.35 million in an extended seed round, drawing support from prominent investors including California Innovation Fund, Civilization Ventures and Pioneer Fund. Founded in 2020 by a team of experts from the University of California, Berkeley, CatenaBio specializes in pioneering biomolecule synthesis technology, offering promising solutions in autoimmune diseases, oncology, and vaccine development. With plans to further bolster its endeavors through an upcoming Series A funding round, the startup aims to continue its trajectory of innovation in the biotech landscape. [Source: BalticVC]

Cellbox Labs Raises $1M to Advance Industrial Organ-on-Chip Technology Riga-based Cellbox Labs, a pioneer in industrial organ-on-chip technology, has successfully secured $1M (€935,000) in funding. The investment, led by Latvian LongeVC, signifies a significant step forward for the company in its mission to revolutionize the field of organ-on-chip technology. With this funding injection, Cellbox Labs aims to further develop its innovative platform, which promises to advance drug discovery, disease modeling and personalized medicine. [Source: BalticVC]


VOOL Secures €300K Investment for Innovative Electric Vehicle Charging Solution VOOL, a Tallinn-based electric vehicle charging solution, has successfully raised €300,000 from Estonian energy company Alexela. Founded in 2018 by Juhan Härm, Sander Vahtras, and Hindrik Kilter, VOOL’s cutting-edge technology offers a comprehensive solution for electric vehicle charging, including dynamic hardware that optimizes electricity usage and software that tracks pricing for cost-effective charging. With operations spanning across the Baltic countries and a workforce of 44, VOOL aims to expand its reach and provide complete charging solutions for both private residences and apartment buildings, thanks to its partnership with Alexela. [Source: BalticVC]

Springdrive Acquires IP of Estonian Cargo Bike Manufacturer Hagen Bikes Springdrive Ltd, an Estonian company renowned for its electric bike production in Hungary under the name Blurby Bike, has acquired the intellectual property of Hagen Bikes, an Estonian cargo bike manufacturer. Founded in 2014 by Taaniel Mägi and Kaspar Peek, Hagen Bikes specializes in both electric and non-electric cargo bikes, featuring innovative designs and functionality such as GPS tracking and adjustable frame sizes. With this acquisition, Springdrive aims to revive the production of Hagen Bikes’ renowned cargo bikes, leveraging its expertise to further innovate in the electric bike market. [Source: BalticVC]


Germany Pledges $49 Million Grant to Enhance Ukraine’s Energy Infrastructure             Ukraine is set to receive a substantial boost to its energy system, with Germany granting $49 million (€45 million) for energy restoration efforts. The agreement, signed by NPC Ukrenergo’s Vladimir Kudrytsky and the German Development Bank KfW, focuses on enhancing the efficiency of electricity transmission. Energy Minister German Galushchenko highlighted the significance of the grant in fortifying transmission system facilities against enemy attacks, with funds earmarked for equipment procurement and modernization efforts. German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in countering Russian aggression, signaling ongoing solidarity between the two nations. [Source: Inventure]

Foreign Investors Eye Ukraine’s Defense Sector for Innovation and Export Growth Ukraine’s defense sector has become a focal point for foreign investors, attracted by its export potential and opportunities for technological innovation. Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko emphasized the country’s appeal as a testing ground for cutting-edge technologies, highlighting its potential for defense industry development and future arms exports. Against the backdrop of President Zelenskyy’s call for unity in the face of Russian aggression, the international community, including the European Parliament, reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s European aspirations and commitment to aiding its defense efforts. [Source: Ukraine Business News]

Online Event: Unlocking Entrepreneurial Potential of Ukraine on May 15

ExcellEnt project, which is funded by the Horizon Europe program of the European Union, will host an online workshop on May 15 at 3 PM (GMT +3) to explore trends, challenges, and success stories shaping the entrepreneurial landscape in Europe. Valerii Iakovenko, CEO and founder of FarmFleet, Drone UA and Aleksandra Boguslavskaya, CEO and founder at Data Science UA, will be among the speakers. [Source: TechUkraine]


Binance Kazakhstan’s Zhaslan Madiev Steps into Ministerial Role Zhaslan Madiev, departing head of Binance Kazakhstan and newly appointed Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace industry, recounted achievements of the company during his tenure. Highlights include the launch of the region’s first local crypto exchange with fiat channels, collaboration with national institutions for a stablecoin initiative, and extensive educational programs on blockchain technology. From partnerships with Air Astana to pioneering blockchain integration in education, Binance Kazakhstan’s legacy of innovation and progress sets a high bar for the future of the crypto industry in the region. His successor at Binance Kazakhstan is still unknown. [Source:]

Kazakhstan’s online sales volume jumped 79% year over year The e-commerce market in Kazakhstan saw significant growth last year, with sales volume reaching 2.4 trillion tenge ($5.3 billion), a 79% increase from 2022. The study by PwC network company strategy&, which included data from industry leaders like and Halyk Market, showed that e-commerce penetration rose to 12.6% of all retail sales, positioning Kazakhstan to potentially enter the top 10 countries globally. [Source:]

Women in Tech opens an office in Kazakhstan                                                             Women in Tech, a global initiative empowering women in STEM fields, is expanding its presence to Kazakhstan. Tolkyn Nurusheva of Microsoft and Assem Bolatzhan of Kazpost JSC represented Kazakhstan at the annual Women in Tech forum in Paris, with Bolatzhan appointed as the head of Women in Tech® Kazakhstan. The initiative aims to provide Kazakh women with access to international networking opportunities and mentors, fostering a supportive community in STEM and aligning with the global movement’s goal of engaging 5 million women and girls in STEM by 2030. Supported by key partners like UN Women, Amazon, and Google, Women in Tech continues to champion digital equality and challenge gender stereotypes worldwide. [Source:]

USAID hosts Central Asia Trade Forum in Kazakhstan The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is organizing the 13th Central Asia Trade Forum (CATF) on “Trade Integration: Going Global,” to be held on May 14-15, 2024, at the Rixos Hotel in Almaty. With a track record of facilitating contracts worth over $32 million and engaging participants from 25 countries, CATF aims to unlock new trade opportunities and overseas markets for regional stakeholders. Key sessions will focus on digitalization, transport, trade regulation, and standards alignment, featuring distinguished speakers from USAID, Central Asian Ministries of Commerce, and international organizations. Additionally, parallel events including exhibitions and business expos will promote trade and investment in the region. [Source:]

Kazakhstan and Pakistan Strengthen IT Sector Collaboration. In a bid to bolster bilateral ties and advance technological progress, Kazakhstan and Pakistan have committed to enhancing cooperation in the Information Technology (IT) domain. Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin of Kazakhstan and Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, led discussions on the burgeoning opportunities within their respective IT sectors. Plans include the formation of a joint working group to facilitate connections between authorities and IT enterprises, alongside alliances between academic institutions to nurture IT talent, signaling a promising step towards mutual advancement in the IT landscape. [Source:]


Day One Ventures Invests in Rainmaker, Backing Cloud Seeding Technology. Masha Bucher, formerly Drokova, of Day One Ventures led a $6.3 million seed round investment in the American startup Rainmaker, alongside Long Journey Ventures, Tamarack Global, 1517 Fund, Starship VC, Champion Hill Ventures, and several business angels. Rainmaker, founded in 2023, utilizes advanced technology to induce rain formation by injecting ice nuclei into clouds, offering potential applications in agriculture and water resource management. Still, the efficacy and ethical implications of cloud seeding technology, which dates back to the late 1940s, have sparked debate, particularly in light of recent natural disasters such as floods and hailstorms in the UAE. [Source: Fortune]

Russian Startup K-plus Secures $100K Investment to Scale Production With the support of the startup development ecosystem Energotechnohub St. Petersburg, Russian startup K-plus has attracted 10 million rubles in private investment, out of a projected 100 million rubles. Founded in 2020 by Polina Morozova and Natalya Katorova, K-plus specializes in potassium-ion battery production, offering a cost-effective alternative to lithium-ion batteries for stationary energy storage and heavy vehicles. The investment will be utilized to purchase equipment and expand the team to scale production, marking a significant milestone in the company’s growth trajectory. [Source: Skolkovo Leaks Telegram Channel]

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