Top Stories Feb. 20: Bayer AG Invests in Ukraine’s Corn Seed Production, inDrive Raises $150M


Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship and Kyiv School of Economics will host a bootcamp in March to support Ukraine’s tech startups. Three of the bootcamp’s participants will receive a $5,000 grant. [Source: Kyiv School of Economics]

Bayer AG, Germany’s multinational biotech company, plans to invest $37.4 million to expand corn seed production in Ukraine. While many industry players have fled the country, the company aims to increase its plant’s seed drying capacity, add field equipment, and upgrade its storage facilities in an effort to boost production capacity by 30%. [Source: InVenture]

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine significantly affected the life of Ukrainian startups forcing their founders and employees. Sifted collected experiences of six Ukrainian founders, showcasing stories of resilience and survival under extreme pressure. [Source: Sifted]


InDrive raised $150M to expand beyond ride-hailing. Founded in Russia, the mobile application is now based in California.  The company used a debt instrument tied to its performance, Bloomberg reported. The company has already expanded into delivery, cargo transportation and handyman services last year. [Sources: Forbes, Bloomberg]

The founders of Russian startup Epic Growth Olga Kovaleva and Alexey Pisarevskiy sold the company and announced they will be organizing an international conference for founders of Web3 startups. The first conference, Epic Web3, is going to be held in Lisboa, Portugal, on June 9, targeting 1,000 attendees. [Source: RB]

Russian online marketplace Ozon established its first fulfillment-center in Kazakhstan where vendors can store goods and form dispatches before shipping them to Russia. The company also aims to reduce delivery times from Kazakhstan to Russia by 1.5 times to 10 days. [Source: Ozon]

Russian pizza restaurant franchise Dodo Pizza will open its restaurants in eight new countries, including Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Croatia. At the moment, Dodo Pizza with over 900 outlets is present in 14 countries, including Poland, Germany, Romania, and Lithuania. [Source: RB]

EasyStaff, a provider of hiring services worldwide, including managing paperwork and payments, launched a new service called “rent a company.” It allows one to “hire” an entity in the European Union or the United Kingdom to do business in these locations. [Source: EasyStaff]


US-based investment company FMR increased its stake in Yandex N. V., the Netherlands-based corporate parent of Russian Internet giant Yandex, from 4,928% to 5,983%. That’s the only deal of such type with Yandex’s shares that came to light after the trade of the shares on NASDAQ were stopped last year due to the war against Ukraine. [Source: RBC]

Yandex launched test operations of its taxi service under the brand Yango in Namibia and Mozambique thus expanding the service’s geography to 16 countries. Now the service is only available in the capitals of the states – Mozambique’s Maputo and Namibia’s Windhoek. [Source: TASS]  

Kazakhstan’s Agency for Protection and Development of Competition accused Yandex.Taxi of attempts to cause a delay to an investigation of the service’s high commissions which allegedly leads to an overall rise in prices in the country’s taxi market. The agency said the company doesn’t provide information in time to which Yandex responded that all required data is delivered within time periods outlined in legislation. [Source: RB]


Telegram is now the second-biggest messenger in the world with a market share of 31% following only WhatsApp with its 44% share and followed by Facebook with 21%. Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov said that the “wartime boom” contributed significantly to the Telegram’s popularity, noting the gap with WhatsApp is “closing” “year by year”. [Source: Durov’s Channel

The Open Network (The TON Foundation), a Web3 blockchain network based on the Telegram messenger, and Dubai-based Hub17, a government-supported startup hub, launched an accelerator for startups that work on the TON’s network. Besides technological resources, the startups will get access to TON’s expertise and partners. [Source: TON’s channel]


Kazakhstan cryptocurrency miners will be obliged to sell up to 75% of their mined coins at locally registered crypto exchanges. The government regulation aimed at tackling tax evasion will be in effect from January 1 2024 to January 1 2025. [Source: Cryptonews

The approach adopted by Uzbekistan towards cryptocurrencies remains conservative. The country’s Central Bank’s head Mamarizo Nurmuratov said his take on it was “negative”, adding that the “cryptocurrency is not a digital asset with value”. [Source: Spot]


The government of Kyrgyzstan has granted the status of digital nomad that allows one to work in the country without fulfilling a lot of formalities to 1049 applicants since the start of the program in September 2022. The entire number of the applicants was 2799 meaning that more than half of the applications were rejected on various grounds. [Source: Kabar]

Kyrgyzstan seeks to become the first country in the world with an official Digital Code that will regulate such themes as artificial intelligence, blockchain and Internet of Things. The Code will create clear and transparent rules for individuals, organizations, and the state and fill in gaps in the current legislation. [Source: Plusworld]

High Technology Park of the Kyrgyz Republic is going to open an office in the USA for better access to investments. Revenues of park’s residents doubles every year, and the establishment is now an export leader among technological parks of Central Asia. [Source: Economist]

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