Before the full-scale invasion, Ukraine stood as one of the most powerful IT hubs globally. Every year, new startups emerged, attracting foreign clients to outsourcing companies, significantly enriching the country’s economy. This trend continues, with the IT sector contributing 4.9% to the country’s GDP in 2023.
Are we familiar with the startup market in Ukraine? Do we know which startups have long captured international users? Ukrainian entrepreneur, investor, and founder of venture builder CLUST, Ruslan Tymofieiev, has compiled a list of 10 Ukrainian startups worth knowing.
1. Ajax Systems
The most awarded wireless security system in Europe
According to Ruslan Tymofieiev, Ajax is one of the most successful product companies. Founded by Oleksandr Konotopskyi in 2011, it has consistently grown each year. The startup offers an innovative wireless security system.
In 2021, Ajax Systems became the largest security system manufacturer in Europe, with a presence in 130 countries and 1,250,000 system users. Currently, the company has two factories in Ukraine, one in Turkey, a portfolio of 100+ developed devices, and over 2.5 million end-users in 169 countries.
“Ajax Systems produces a truly quality product in high demand,” comments Tymofieiev Ruslan, founder of venture builder CLUST.
Cloud-based AI typing assistant
“More than 30 million people use the Grammarly service to enhance their writing, but most don’t even suspect it was founded by Ukrainians Alex Shevchenko, Max Lytvyn, and Dmytro Lider,” says Ruslan Tymofieiev.
Grammarly is a grammar and style checking service with an automatic error correction feature. Founded in Kyiv in 2009, the company’s offices are now located in San Francisco and New York. Grammarly’s total funding exceeds $200 million.
According to Ruslan Tymofieiev, Grammarly stands out from competitors by providing stylistic analysis and word choice advice, going beyond just spelling and grammar. This makes the text sound as natural as possible.
Code repository management system for Git
GitLab is a leading cloud DevOps platform for software development, delivery, and security, covering the entire software development lifecycle. Founded in Ukraine in 2011, GitLab Inc. is now based in San Francisco, with an IPO valuation of $11 billion in 2021.
App allowing users to overlay masks on faces in videos or GIFs
Reface is an app for creating and sharing videos with faces replaced by famous people and characters using AI technology. Founded in Kyiv in 2018, the main office is now in the USA. With $37.6 million in investments, Reface’s app has over 140 million downloads worldwide.
“I remember when Reface came to our venture fund with just one GIF and presented the project. It didn’t fit our portfolio at all, but for some reason, we believed in them and invested. We were not mistaken; in just 8 months, the project skyrocketed,” comments Ruslan Tymofieiev, founder of venture builder CLUST.
An online language learning marketplace
Preply is an international education platform that connects online tutors from various subjects worldwide. Founded in Kyiv in 2013, it raised $110 million in investments in 2021. With offices in Kyiv, Barcelona, New York, and other cities, Preply has over 35,000 tutors from 150 countries providing lessons for 1.5 million students.
Gadgets for Pet Owners
Petcube offers smart gadgets and apps for interacting with pets remotely. Flagship products include cameras with microphones and laser pointers, such as Petcube Cam, and Petcube Play with treat dispensers. The company was founded in Kyiv in 2014, and its headquarters are now in San Francisco. With over $16 million in investments, Petcube products are sold in 80+ countries worldwide.
The Only Revenue Intelligence Platform for Go-To-Market Teams
People.ai is a cloud platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to automate and optimize customer-centric processes in enterprises, with a focus on CRM systems. Founded in San Francisco in 2015 by Ukrainians Oleg Rogynskyy and Oleksandr Lyakh, People.ai has attracted $182 million in investments. Among its clients are Zoom, Slack, Okta, Autodesk, Dell, and others.
8. Esper Bionics
Hardware Startup Developing IoT Devices in the Prosthetics Field
This Ukrainian startup specializes in developing bionic prosthetics with intuitive control technology. The idea for this startup emerged in 2017, with founders Igor Ilchenko, Dmytro Hazda, Hanna Belevantseva, and Boris Lobanov spending the first six months studying the market and creating their business model. In 2019, the Esper Bionics team created the first prototype – a robotic arm with intuitive control technology, as highlighted by Ruslan Tymofieiev.
9. SkyLab UA
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones)
SkyLab UA operates in the Defense Tech sector, developing drones and other high-tech ground devices to enhance the country’s defense capabilities and support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to Ruslan Tymofieiev, Defense Tech is one of the most promising directions today, and he is confident that we will see more startups in this niche in the near future.
Delfast is a Ukrainian startup that manufactures electric bicycles. Its bicycles are used by delivery services and police patrols. Founded in 2014 by Danilo Tonkopiy and Serhii Denysenko as an eco-delivery service, the company successfully developed an electric bicycle with a Guinness World Record – 320 km on a single charge without the need to pedal, as commented by Ruslan Tymofieiev.
All the photos in the article are provided by the company(s) mentioned in the article and are used with permission.