Earlier this year, investors warned startups to "prepare for the worst." Due to the global financial crisis, the looming recession, and the war in Ukraine, no one expected to see large rounds.
And yet, startups continue to innovate and even manage to support their Ukrainian friends, who found themselves in the worst of the crisis.
With support from the international community, Ukrainian-founded startups keep raising money, keep winning grants, and bring their ideas to all corners of the world.
Among Ukraine supporters, there’s New York-based firm ffVC. It launched a $50 million fund to specifically support startups founded in Ukraine.
Amazon Web Services has recently provided 52 Ukrainian startups with nearly $1 million worth of credits for using its cloud-computing services.
More than 30 Ukraine-founded startups have received up to $75,000 from Google’s $5 million fund created in March to support Ukraine.
The war was supposed to sever ties between Ukrainian entrepreneurs and the international startup community — many Ukrainians cannot even leave the country because of martial law.
However, Ukrainian allies took care of this: they provide online consultations for Ukrainian techies and give free tickets to tech conferences to those who can travel abroad.
Thanks to all this, dozens of Ukrainian startups have managed to attract funding and continue working on their Next Big Idea. Here’s my pick of 10 of them.
Unstoppable Domains — $65 million
Blockchain startup Unstoppable Domains raised $65 million in a Series A round in July. The startup was valued at $1 billion. This round brought its external funding to a total of $72 million.
In total, 17 investors participated in the round led by Pantera Capital. Among them, there are Polygon, Rainfall Capital, Mayfield, Alchemy Ventures, and OKG Investments.
Unstoppable Domains allows its users to register a crypto domain name on the Ethereum blockchain and turn them into NFTs. This gives the owners broader control and ownership and allows them to shorten their long crypto-wallet addresses.
The startup has already registered over 2.5 million domains, generating over $80 million in sales. The most popular domains include .crypto, .nft, .wallet, and .bitcoin.
The company employs 80 people and has offices in San Francisco and Kyiv. It was founded in 2018 by Matthew Gould, Braden Pezeshki, Bradley Kam, and Ukrainian Bogdan Gusiev.
AirSlate — $51.5 million
Workflow automation startup AirSlate raised $51.5 million in a Series B round in June. The startup was valued at $1.25 billion. This round brought its external funding to a total of $181.5 million.
Chicago-based G Squared led the round with participation from UiPath Ventures.
AirSlate provides its users with no-code tools for automating business processes, including PDF editing and e-signature workflow. The startup boasts more than 900,000 customers and 100 million users worldwide.
Founded in 2008 and formerly named PDFfiller, AirSlate employs over 900 people. It has offices in Boston, Wroclaw and Kyiv. The company used to have an office in Saint Petersburg but, in July, announced it would be shutting it down.
Preply — $50 million
Tutoring platform Preply raised $50 million in a Series C round in July, not disclosing its valuation. This round brought its external funding to $101.1 million.
In total, eight investors participated in the round led by Owl Ventures, which focuses on education. Among other investors, there are Educapital, Evli Growth Partners, Hoxton Ventures, and Diligent Capital.
Preply develops a platform that allows tutors to teach 50 languages, including English, German, Arabic, French, Polish, and Ukrainian. It uses AI to find teachers depending on students’ schedules and learning goals. The startup says it has 32,000 tutors from 190 countries.
Spin Technology — $16 million
Data protection software developer Spin Technology raised $16 million in a Series A round in August, bringing its funding to $18 million. The company was valued at $55 million.
The money came from Santa Barbara Venture Partners, Blu Venture Investors, and Blueprint Equity (lead investor).
Spin Technology is a SaaS data protection company defending enterprises against ransomware, human error, and other cloud threats. Its software acts like an antivirus program, detecting ransomware across platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365. It can automatically assess risks and make backups if needed.
The startup caters to enterprise clients. It has partnered with over 1,600 companies, including Outbrain, Autodoc, Miller and Toyota.
Founded in 2016 by Odesa-born Dmitry Dontov, the company now has four offices: in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Odesa, and Kyiv. It employs about 80 people.
ATLANT 3D — $15 million
Nanotechnology startup ATLANT 3D raised $15 million in a Series A round in September, bringing its total funding to $17.2 million. It didn't disclose the valuation at which it closed the round.
British VC West Hill Capital led the round, but other investors haven’t been disclosed.
ATLANT 3D is a deep-tech startup that works on a tech that enables the manufacturing of materials and electronics at the atom level. “(We are) revolutionizing electronics of tomorrow atom by atom,” reads its motto.
According to its website, it works — among other organizations — with STMicroelectronics, Sony, and NASA.
Although the startup is based in Copenhagen, it was co-founded in 2018 by Ukrainian Maksym Plakhotnyuk, who now leads the company as CEO. The ATLANT 3D’s website lists 10 employees, half of them PhDs.
Fintech Farm — $7.4 million
In the company’s first Seed round in January, Fintech Farm raised $7.4 million, not disclosing its valuation.
Flyer One Ventures and Solid led the round; four other investors are AVentures Capital, TA Ventures, u.ventures, and Jiji.
Dmytro Dubilet, the co-founder of U.K.-based Fintech Farm, was one of the founders of Ukraine’s neobank Monobank, which now has about 4.5 million users. Now, Fintech Farm is going to use the raised money to launch a similar product for the Nigerian market. Its name is Fibo.
Salto X — €5.2 million
Web3 startup Salto X raised €5.2 million in a Seed round in July, not disclosing its valuation.
The round was led by Copenhagen-based venture fund byFounders and Frankfurt-based Blockwall. Box Group, crypto fintech 3Commas, and angels such as Liu Jiang and Alex Gluchkowski also participated in it (in total, six investors).
Salto X uses blockchain to develop a remote-friendly alternative to stock options for European companies. Contributors receive NFT certificates for the cliff period. According to the startup, “it gives transparent access to equity compensation to contributors regardless of geography.”
The startup was founded in 2021 by Estonians Ragnar Sass and Elise Sass, Latvian Krists Avots, and Ukrainian Tanya Chaikovska. Registered in Tallinn, the company doesn’t have a physical presence, with its 16 employees working remotely from Latvia, Estonia, and Ukraine.
PromoRepublic — €2 million
SaaS startup PromoRepublic raised €2 million in a Pre-Series A round in June, not disclosing its valuation. This round brought its external funding to $3.9 million.
Ukraine-based fund NetSolid Investments put €200,000 into the startup in this round. The names of other investors have not been disclosed.
The Ukraine-Finnish-U.S. startup develops a social media marketing platform, catering to enterprises, marketing agencies, and SMBs. According to its website, the company has over 50,000 clients, including Curves International, doTERRA, Expedia Group Mannatech, and EZCORP.
Cargofy — $2 million
JKR Investment Group led the round, which also saw participation from Flyer One Ventures, Fair East Labs, and two angel investors — Murat Abdrakhmanov and Hannu Turunen.
Dubbed Uber for truck drivers, Cargofy develops an AI-driven digital logistics platform that helps link up truck owners with people seeking to ship goods in Eastern Europe, India, and the U.S. Over the last three years up to February, the company had organized about 46,000 deliveries.
Founded in 2014 by Dimitri Alexiou, Alex Kovalchuk, and Stakh Vozniak, Cargofy now employs about 60 people. It’s based in Cedar Rapids in eastern Iowa. Overall, it has three offices in two countries, but the company’s website doesn’t specify where.
Choice QR — €1.5 million
FoodTech startup Choice QR raised €1.5 million in a Seed round in July, bringing its external funding to €2.4 million. The company did not disclose its valuation in the latest round.
Five investors participated in the round: Seedcamp, Reflex Capital, Purple Ventures, J&T Ventures, and Presto Ventures (lead investor).
Choice QR develops a restaurant payment app. Using it, hospitality businesses can create a website for pick up and delivery, as well as digital menus, which allow their guests to order food and pay through QR codes. Over 7,000 businesses use the service, according to the Choice website.