Ukrainian crisis hasn’t stopped these five startups

BVU Group’s managing partner names the five best startups coming out of the Ukraine, ranging from a device that allows pet owners to remotely play with their pets, to a controversial internet TV station

Credit: PetCube, which was named Ukraine's #1 startup

Credit: PetCube, which was named Ukraine’s #1 startup

People in Ukraine may be a little busy right now, what with their civil unrest and the alleged vote from Eastern Ukraine to secede, but that has not stopped some of its entrepreneurs from continuing to innovate new startups.

Just recently, Denis Dovgopoliy of BVU Group, an organization founded to promote the growth of a technology industry in the Ukraine, released ratings of the top five startups to come out of this political hotbed, despite the recent events that have led to a high turnover of influential people and companies. After looking at 68 startups and 47 people who were nominated for the fourth edition of Ukrainian Startups’ Ratings, 23 experts, including private investors, representatives from venture funds, entrepreneurs and journalists chose the top five most promising Ukrainian startups and most influential personalities. All nominated startups had to be IT companies that have been on the market for three years or less as of March 1, 2014, have an annual turnover of $1 million or less and have Ukrainian founders or draw more than half of its users from the Ukraine.

“The results of the Rating turned out to be rather predictable,” Dovgopoliy said in a statement. “Due to the situation in the country, experts did not participate as actively in the Rating as they did the year before. Political events from the end of 2013 altered the list of influential people and the new political component has shuffled people who were connected to politics and recent events.”

He continued: “Finally, it is worth noting that we have witnessed the continued development of a new trend among Ukrainian startups, as two startups from the top 5 operate in the sphere of Internet of Things and hardware.”

Here are the top five startups from the Ukraine:

PetCube: Long distance relationships are hard, even with pets, so this company created a device to allow pet owners to play with their pets remotely. The PetCube is a box that includes a wide-angle camera, a microphone and a laser, and connects to an app to allow owners to talk to their pets and use the laser to play with them. The company raised $251,225 on Kickstarter (more than double its $100,000 goal)  in November and plans to ship its product in August.

Concepter: Founded in 2012, Concepter created the iBlazr, which is the first universal LED flash for smartphones and tablets. The square device plugs into a headphone jack or a USB port and has its own battery so it doesn’t affect the phone’s battery life. The device was also funded on Kickstarter, raising almost three times its $58,000 goal in September ($156,789) and the product is available on its website.

CheckiO: CheckiO is an interactive and educational game and competition platform for developers. The platform helps experienced coders challenge themselves and share their knowledge while letting novice coders learn from the community. The company had raised $750,000 in seed funding in December and has more than 35,000 users.

Coppertino: Coppertino created the VOX, a software for MACs with a full featured audio player that can play many different file formats from various sources. Its previous products include Wallpaper Wizard, which delivers pictures for users’ desktops, and Forismatic, which displays inspiring aphorisms and motivational quotes on a desktop. The company is backed by Ukraine investment fund AVentures Capital, which invested $400,000.

Hromadske.TV: Hromadske.TV is an internet television station created by Ukrainian journalists as a source for social media and unbiased information about important social, political, economic and cultural events. The station first launched in November 2013 and has proven very controversial with the Ukrainian government. The startup is listed as an NGO.

The Ukrainian Startup Rating started in 2009 in order to unite different technology sectors with venture capital investments and to enable experts to share experiences with other market participants. Dovgopoliy, who started the ratings, is a managing partner of BVU Group, which operates the GrowthUP accelerator, consulting company BayView Innovations, and others in the Ukraine. BVU Group’s mission is to create a startup ecosystem in the Ukraine.

Aviva Gat

Olah Chadasha and former finance reporter from New York City. Gat is a writer, runner and traveler who came to Israel for the good food and weather. She writes for Geektime’s English and global desk.



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