Tech Wrap Aug 14: ‘Brain Drain’ Fears in Russia, Ukrainian Law to Help Lure Private Investors


🎮 Deep-Tech Startup Zibra AI Raises $500,000 from Speedrun Accelerator

Zibra AI, a Ukrainian tech startup specializing in AI-generated 3D assets for games and virtual environments, has secured a $500,000 investment from the Speedrun accelerator. Launched by Andreessen Horowitz, an American venture fund, Speedrun offers funding and coaching for promising startups at the convergence of technology and gaming. The investment will enable Zibra AI to further its innovative generative AI technology, as the startup aims to expand its team and raise additional funds. [Source: InVenture]

🤖 Serve Robotics Startup Goes Public After Raising $30 million

Serve Robotics, autonomous delivery robot developer, raised $30 million in a round led by Nvidia, Uber and Wavemarker. With the total of $56 million investment the startup, the startup intends to use the additional funding to expand into new markets in the US, advance its technology, and plans to increase the existing delivery fleet of 100 robots. [Source: InVenture]

👟 FootRester Raises Over $100,000 on Kickstarter.

Ukrainian startup VILNO’s Kickstarter campaign for the FootRester, a versatile footrest designed to improve posture and relieve discomfort during prolonged computer use, exceeded all expectations by raising over $100,000 within just 14 days. The FootRester, crafted from bamboo wood, integrates foot massaging features and ergonomic support to combat pain and promote well-being. [Source: InVenture]

🇺🇦 Ukrainian Law Aims to Help Businesses Attract Private Capital

The Ukrainian Parliament has approved a new draft law that pledges a series of measures to boost the country’s attractiveness to investors, as stated by Taras Melnychuk, the permanent representative of the Cabinet of Ministers in the Verkhovna Rada. The document outlines the introduction of a novel form of state assistance, enabling investors to initiate project implementation and offering a grace period for submitting required documents. [Source: Ukraine Business News]


📱Kcell Eurasian Mobile Summit 2023 Conference Begins on August 23

Almaty to host a large-scale international telecom conference, Kcell Eurasian Mobile Summit 2023, on August 23 and 24. The conference will host a startup battle of technology startups to present to the market and the IT community new innovative solutions  and attract potential investors. Startups will also be given the opportunity to present their projects, get feedback from investors and discuss how to integrate the solutions into large corporate structures. [Source:]

💻Kazakhstan To Open Six New IT Hubs This Year

Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov inaugurated Aqtobe IT Hub, the inaugural regional IT center, with a mission to bolster startups, digital education, and cultivate tech expertise. The hub seeks to establish a tech ecosystem, promote innovation, and tackle local issues using digital solutions, serving as a blueprint for six additional IT hubs planned in Kazakhstan alongside the existing eight. These IT hubs are intended to engage urban and rural youth in mastering digital technologies. [Source:]


🚢 Cargo Steam Raises €1M from LitCapital

Lithuanian startup Cargo Steam, an AI workspace for supply chain management aimed at expediting logistics processes, has secured €1M in funding from LitCapital, a Lithuanian growth capital firm. LitCapital specializes in providing financial support to high-growth companies in the Baltic region and offering expertise in business development. The startup intends to allocate the investment towards expanding into the Polish market and enhancing its operations in the UK. [Source: BalticVC]

🏠Power Group Property Commences Building €143M Printed Circuit Boards 

Power Group Property, a subsidiary of Lithuanian company Teltonika, is initiating the construction of a €143M printed circuit boards plant in Vilnius Technology Park. This venture follows Teltonika Group’s earlier announcement of a €96M investment in Teltonika High-Tech Hill, aiming to expand the park’s territory to 450K sqm with various facilities, projecting a total investment of around €3.7 billion. [Source: BalticVC]


💵 Andromeda Capital Partners Acquires 51% of Crypto Company ‘Change Finance’

Andromeda Capital Partners, a Swiss fund owned by Estonian millionaire Ingmar Marrus, acquires a majority 51% stake in Estonian crypto company Change Group, an application allowing users to invest small amounts and converting them into cryptocurrencies, stocks, gold, shares, and other assets, offering a debit card for spending crypto or euros. The investment follows Change Group’s recent efforts to raise funds after facing challenges in the market. [Source: BalticVC]

🚀 AdTech StartUp The Monetizr raises $4M in a Seed Round

The Monetizr, a Riga-based ad tech startup that integrates brand stories into games, has successfully secured $4M in seed round investment. This funding initiative is spearheaded by Estonian investment firm Change Ventures, a pre-seed/seed stage venture capital fund known for its support of Baltic-founded start-ups. Other prominent participants include Techstars, Ludus Ventures, Aripap, and Jared Schrieber. The startup’s strategic utilization of these funds involves increasing its US sales team and developing European hubs in Helsinki, Riga, and London. [Source: BalticVC]

Crypto Victims Blame Atomic Wallet CEO and Estonian Legislation After $100M Hacker Attack

A group of clients of the Estonian crypto company, Atomic Wallet, which manages crypto wallets for buying, staking, exchanging, and managing assets, are holding the company’s CEO, Konstantin Gladych, and the Estonian legislation accountable for a $100M cyber attack by North Korean hackers. The victims have established the website to express their intent to engage an international law firm for various legal actions against the company. [Source: BalticVC]

📉Estonian Upty Announces Bankruptcy 

Upty, an Estonian marketplace for buying and selling used clothes, has declared bankruptcy, with its sole remaining asset being a collection of second-hand clothing. Despite securing €650K in its initial investment round and aiming to raise a total of €4.2M last year, the company fell short of this goal, resulting in accumulated debts exceeding €600K and tax arrears of over €35K. [Source: BalticVC]


🧠 ‘Brain Drain’ Fears Prevents Russia from Yandex Acquisition

The Kremlin is concerned about a serious tech brain drain due to hesitancy in the nationalization of Nasdaq-listed Yandex, often referred to as “Russia’s Google.” Facing corporate restructuring, Yandex holds valuable expertise and talent, and a state takeover could potentially result in a damaging brain drain. [Source: Reuters] 

🌐 Yandex Founder Voices Strong Dissent Against Ukrainian Conflict

Arkady Volozh, ex-founder of “Russian Google” Yandex, says he is “categorically against” Russian invasion of Ukraine. The largest tech company is coming under more scrutiny as the government tightens its grip over Russia’s internet. Volozh, who resigned as Yandex’s CEO due to sanctions, emphasizes his focus on supporting talented Russian engineers who have left the country, believing they will contribute significantly to technological innovation in their new homes. [Source: POLITICO]


💰Leta Capital Invests $8.6M in ShapesXR

ShapesXR, an innovative VR design and collaboration platform, has secured $8.6 million in its seed funding round from Leta Capital, a venture fund that specializes in investing across IT, internet technologies, logistics, production, and software sectors. This fresh injection of capital will enable the company to propel its product and technology forward. The focus will be on facilitating accelerated creation through AI utilization, achieving cross-platform functionality, and expanding support for various hardware platforms, ultimately broadening its client reach. [Source: Leta Capital]

🌱 Berlin Innovation Agency To Support Promising ClimateTech Founders

A new startup program by the Berlin Innovation Agency (BIA) is inviting early-stage pre-seed founders to contribute to nurturing innovations that tackle climate change, drive urban transformation into sustainable hubs, and foster urban innovation. The eight-month program is tailored to support visionary entrepreneurs, offering a monthly stipend, networking opportunities, and weekly coaching and master classes. The application deadline is August 31. [Source: Berlin Innovation Agency]

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