Ukrainian Innovators Share Their Vision for Innovation Around the Globe

Ukrainian Innovators Share Their Vision for Innovation Around the Globe

Learn how the GIST Initiative is supporting Ukrainian entrepreneurship at home and abroad!

October 17, 2022


GIST supported Ukrainian innovators and founders as they showcased their innovations around the world at two extraordinary events- TechBBQ in Copenhagen, a leading event for global tech ventures, and StartUp World Cup in Silicon Valley, an iconic platform for emerging new companies. Supporting innovators in being able to attend these events is part of our ongoing and deep relationship with the Ukrainian innovation community, and we are inspired by their progress, resilience, and vision for the future every day. Read on to learn more about the impact Ukrainian innovators are making worldwide! 

Transforming the Future at TechBBQ, Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Lokomotiv “Train Workshop” was the place to be on September 14-15, 2022 for Scandinavia’s top tech event – TechBBQ, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary. Thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainian Embassy in Denmark and Ukrainian Startup Fund, with support from TechBBQ and GIST, eight Ukrainian startups were able to attend the two-day conference--a first for Ukrainian innovators. 

The Ukrainian stand provided the startups an opportunity to present their innovations to potential partners, clients, and investors. It also helped bring attention to the current situation in Ukraine and the tech community’s contribution to the war effort and Ukrainian economy during these difficult times. 

Pictured below, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Denmark Mykhailo Vydoinyk visited the event on day one to meet the Ukrainian delegation and to highlight the embassy’s efforts to promote Ukrainian entrepreneurs and professionals. He and other embassy representatives spoke with each startup about their innovations and needs, offered advice and suggested contacts. 

The event was also a chance to network with colleagues from Ukraine and those who were forced to relocate to Denmark and other countries because of the war, and to make connections with attendees from the Nordics and beyond. The Ukrainian Startup Fund held meetings with organizations regarding future joint projects and funding opportunities for Ukrainian startups.  

Collectively, the startups gave 9 interviews to Ukrainian, local and international media. Several teams were featured in the AP video report “Ukrainian startups exhibit at Copenhagen tech show.”

"We would like to thank the GIST team for the massive support of our startup in the framework of international initiatives. During the 3 months of GIST’s support, our Zeely team visited Collision in Toronto and TechBBQ in Copenhagen. We also entered the GIST Ukraine Business Incubation program and one of our founders will have the opportunity to study in the USA for 6 months. Thanks to all these activities, we have significantly expanded our network of investors, as well as accelerated the growth of our project." - Zeely Founding Team

Pictured below: The TechBBQ program and side events – talks, networking, investor meetups, workshops, pop-ups – included a discussion on “Startup Agility in Times of Crisis: The War in Ukraine” during which Ukrainians and international partners spoke about their personal experience of the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24 and the challenges it created. The panelists underscored efforts to continue supporting Ukrainian tech professionals during the Russian aggression and the tech ecosystem in general.

The Journey to Silicon Valley- Ukraine Shines at Startup World Cup

This year, Ukraine was officially represented for the first time at the Startup World Cup global pitch competition in the U.S. Participants from more than 70 countries compete annually in regional selection events for a chance at $1,000,000 in investments. 

Since the Grand Finale of the competition was not held in Silicon Valley last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the winners of the national selections for both years presented their projects at the Startup World Cup 2022.
The two participants from Ukraine were the 2020 finalists Kray Technologies – a digital and fully unmanned drone crop sprayer that delivers on-demand fertilizers and pesticides, and 2022 finalists MANNA – an interactive media platform for creating 3D-animated content, streaming and social interaction in the VR environment. 

The Ukrainian delegation also included a team from Ukrainian Future Business Incubator (a GIST IHub) of the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine - the organizer of the Ukrainian regional selection - and two UF Incubator resident startups: Harmix and AiSport.

Pictured below: Dmytro Surdu, CEO of Kray Technologies, presents on stage.
Photo: Pegasus SWC Facebook

The Startup World Cup program included numerous workshops, meetings with investors, innovators and founders of tech giants that have offices in Silicon Valley. As MANNA CEO Oleh Dryzhak put it: “We listened to $300,000 worth of courses in one day! This is a very cool investment in your own education. And this is education from the best.”

The Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco Dmytro Kushneruk and Vice Consul Denys Martynenko stopped by the event to discuss further support of Ukrainian startups and attraction of investments with the Ukrainian delegation. The fact that Ukraine was represented on the big stage of the Startup World Cup by two startups at once, despite all the challenges, was extremely important. It showed the international audience that Ukraine has quality teams and interesting solutions that can be competitive globally, not just locally. 

All four startups took advantage of the event to constantly pitch their innovations to investors and to network. It was also an opportunity for the entire delegation to establish contacts that will help attract investments from abroad to support Ukrainian startups, the ecosystem, business and economy. In total, about 100 business contacts were made with representatives of venture and technology companies, such as IBM Venture Capital Group, Norwest Venture Partners, and RaceCapital.  

“Participating in the Startup World Cup was very rewarding for us. It was an opportunity to be in the heart of Silicon Valley, to meet investors and other founders. It was very inspiring and refreshing. We hope that one day Ukraine will celebrate a well-deserved victory at the Startup World Cup. We have every chance to make that happen!” – Vitalii Lisovyi, Director, UF Incubator

Pictured below: Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco Dmytro Kushneruk and Vice Consul Denys Martynenko meet with the SWC Ukraine delegation 
Photo: Ukrainian Future Incubator Facebook

We are so inspired by the innovators of Ukraine, and look forward to continuing to support them. Learn more about our ongoing work with Ukrainian entrepreneurship, and we look forward to sharing news and updates from our Ukrainian Business Incubation program, launching this fall! 

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