In 2022, Flyer One Ventures launched its third fund and invested around $10 million in 14 new companies and in existing portfolio startups. Forbes counted: The total valuation of only Ukraine-founded startups in its portfolio reached $400 million.
The fund had a chance to participate in rounds alongside such renowned VCs as Index Ventures, Tiger Global, Susa Ventures, YCombinator, Nordstar, Michael Seibel (YC, Twitch), Jared Friedman (YC, Scribd), Pioneer Fund, One Way Ventures, Antler, and FJ Labs.
Here’s my recap of F1V deals in 2022, as well as some key achievements of our portfolio startups.
New startups for F1V
Over the last four years, Flyer One Ventures has invested $35 million in 55 companies, had one exit, and saw one portfolio company become a unicorn.
This year, the fund invested in 14 new startups, but not all the deals can be disclosed. Here are six of them that we can talk about.
Fintech Farm. It’s a U.K.-based fintech startup that creates digital banks in emerging markets.
Co-founders Alexander Vityaz, Mykola Bezkrovnyy, and Dmytro Dubilet (co-founder of Ukraine’s Monobank) plan to launch neobanks in eight African and Asian countries over the next two years. The first neobank Fibo is opening in Nigeria.
Website: fintech-farm.com. Founded: 2020. Round raised in 2022: Seed, $7.5 million (January). Round investors: F1V and Solid led the round; AVentures Capital, TA Ventures, u.ventures, and Jiji participated.
KarmaCheck. This U.S.-based company develops software that helps employers check the background of potential hires and optimize onboarding.
The company works with hundreds of big clients in North America, including McDonald’s and Domino’s. The startup’s co-founders Eric Ly (he co-founded LinkedIn) and Shaunak Mali (ex-engineer at Checkr and Optimizely) now plan to actively scale their business.
Website: karmacheck.com. Founded: 2019. Round raised in 2022: Series A, $15 million (April). Round investors: Velvet Sea Ventures led the round; F1V, Parameter Ventures, One Way Ventures, NextView Ventures, Dash Fund, and some other investors participated.
Greenscreens.ai. It’s a U.S.-based company that builds a pricing platform for the logistics industry. The startup helps small and medium freight brokers identify and set the optimal prices for cargo delivery.
In the near future, Greenscreens.ai plans to expand the company’s teams in the U.S. and Lithuania and further develop its product and technology.
Website: greenscreens.ai. Founded: 2020. Rounds raised in 2022: Seed, undisclosed funding (February); Series A round, $5 million (November). Round investors: Tiger Global led the Seed round, F1V and seven other investors participated; the Series A round was also led by Tiger Global.
Sheep Inc. It’s a U.K.-based sustainable fashion startup that produces eco-friendly wool clothing. The startup has also developed software to help fashion brands track carbon emissions.
Michael Wessely, before he co-founded Sheep Inc. in 2018, had worked in financial services companies Morgan Stanley and Algomi for nine years. The second founder and CEO, Edzard van der Wyck, has had a successful exit experience in the fashion industry.
This deal became F1V’s first investment in the sustainability field (yay!). We were charmed by the brand’s idea of “adopting a sheep.” Customers can keep track of a sheep that was sheared for the clothes they bought — online, via a geotag attached to it, while the animal is happily roaming around the New Zealand high country.
Website: sheepinc.com. Founded: 2018. Round raised in 2022: Seed, undisclosed funding (March). Round investor: F1V.
Peech. It’s a Cyprus-based startup that builds a text-to-speech app — using AI, it converts any text (from files, documents, web pages, and even pictures) into audio. The service is available in 50 languages.
Website: peechapp.co. Founded: 2022. Round raised in 2022: Pre-Seed, $550,000 (July). Round investors: F1V led the round with the support of Yurii Mazanik, founder of Belka Games.
Parent Village. It’s a U.S.- and New Zealand-based marketplace that helps parents find reliable babysitters. It was F1V’s latest early-stage investment in 2022.
The startup’s founder Steven Ebin is ex-VP of growth marketing at InVision and ex-head of marketing at Optimizely. The startup’s team has made a working product with hundreds of customers in just four months, with a budget of $250,000.
Website: parentvillage.app. Founded: 2021. Round raised in 2022: Pre-Seed, undisclosed funding (August). Round investors: F1V, Susa Ventures (also invested in Robinhood, Rigetti, Flexport, Ascend), S16, Night Capital, and several others.
Read more: F1V portfolio startups.
Good news from portfolio startups
Many of F1V portfolio companies got through 2022 like true heroes.
The startups headquartered in Ukraine quickly recovered their businesses after the first unpredictable months of Russia’s full-scale war — they relocated their teams, continued to grow their businesses, and doubled down on international market expansion. Employees of some of these startups keep working from bomb shelters and through blackouts, though.
F1V has been supporting its portfolio startups in all ways possible: from helping with financials and scale planning to relocation to safer parts of Ukraine and abroad.
Here are some of the accomplishments of the F1V portfolio startups this year that I know of.
Twenty-seven of F1V portfolio startups raised a round in 2022.
AllRight, an online language school for children, entered the 2022 Technology Fast winners list by Deloitte and increased its unit economics by three times in spite of quitting eight countries and staff reduction.
Awesomic, a platform that matches web designers with online businesses, has grown from 70 to 150 employees; it has also doubled its revenue since the beginning of 2022. Awesomic also won the Red Dot Award.
Mate academy, an online coding school, received a grant from a $5-million Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund in December.
None of the Ukrainian startups from the F1V portfolio has closed since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine.
Investing plans for 2023
Given the current macroeconomic situation in the world and the war in Ukraine, it’s difficult to plan for a whole year ahead. However, we have defined our focus and goals for 2023.
F1V plans to invest in at least 10 startups from CEE and strengthen its connections with European VCs and the European tech community.
The fund will also double its support for Ukraine and Ukrainian founders in 2023–2024. It’s not just a desire to support the ecosystem — Ukraine has a huge value creation potential. According to a recent report, Ukrainian startups tripled in combined enterprise value in 2022, growing from €3 billion to €23.3 billion in just three years.
We believe in a better 2023 and in Ukraine’s victory; we also hope that next year more people will feel happier and safer. I wish everyone a joyous holiday season that will inspire you to create more prominent projects in the coming year.
Alexei Yermolenko is the principal at Flyer One Ventures.