10 Things to take away from 2019 for Ukraine & the private capital industry31 Dec 2019

The finishing decade of tweenies has been quite a ride! Nearing 2020, it’s time to reminisce and summarize 10 Things to take away from 2019 for Ukraine & the private capital industry:

1. VC Investments Skyrocket (almost)

One can be skeptical (or not), but during the last 7 years, $1 billion has been invested in startups founded by Ukrainians. Only during the last year we’ve seen 1.5 x increase of VC money pulled into Ukrainian tech startups. In case you’ve missed it!

2. Fund-Level Capital Raising

The year started with a closing by UVCA member Horizon Capital of a new PE fund for Ukraine at its hard cap of $200m. The news was announced at Ukraine House Davos which is co-organized by UVCA, Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), Victor Pinchuk Foundation and Horizon Capital alongside with World Economic Forum for the 3 consecutive years in January.
Moreover, during last year 6 new members joined UVCA and rumor has it more to come!

3. Two's Company, Three's a … Herd!

Receiving $200m in total, Grammarly joined the herd of unicorns founded by Ukrainians - Bitfury and GitLab. We are sure that 2020 will give birth to a few more unicorns!

4. Exits are Occurring

Fund managers keep getting rewards for their vision and patience. Looking at UVCA members, inspiring examples are AVentures Capital with CoreValue, SMRK with Ajax Systems, and many others.

5. [Not-so]-Mega-Rounds (but still impressive)

While SoftBank is not here (yet), 2019 was quite impressive for UA startups and funds. Just to name a few:

  • GitLab - $268m
  • Grammarly - $90m
  • People.ai - $60m
  • Ajax Systems - $10m (from Horizon Capital)
  • PromoRepublic - $2m
  • AxDraft - $1,1m
  • Love&Live Fashion Group - $0,4m (from SMRK)

6. We See Non-VC

We cannot complain of the market flooding with non-VC money, but there’s definitely a firm attention from the corporates towards startups. The most active, DTEK, MHP, Miratech, MetLife, Alfa Bank etc. help with acceleration, piloting innovative solutions and providing valuable advice. Some money should be poured too in order to help scaling up, but that’s a way to go!

7. Kyiv Is Climbing Up Rapidly

Within a year, the capital of Ukraine gained 29 positions in the StratupBlink ranking finding itself at #34. If you add the fact that Ukraine is at #31, we are proud to say that this is an awesome trend to keep up... and UVCA is happy to contribute to it!
Despite being an Investment Association, on behalf of our members, we contribute to our ecosystem development: within a year over 1000 people attended our public events with a focus on VC/Innovations/startups. It is the 4th year in a row that we are organizing Ukraine Tech pavilion at CES in Las Vegas (previously with the support of WNISEF, now CRDF Global STEP Program and DTEK being the innovation sponsor).

8. Spreading The Wings

Still waiting for exits, cautiously, angels continue to invest. This year we’ve partnered with ESIL to boost angel investments in Ukraine for early-stage startups. We also opened a new member category of Affiliate Members which is to include Angel Investors aiming to increase our reach within the community worldwide.

9. Pillar for VC Market? Eventually...

For the first time in Ukraine, the government launched the $16,8m National Startup Fund to invest $25-85k in seed-stage startups. The long-awaited Fund-of-Funds gained hope with the effort of UVCA and Ministry of Digital Transformation joining forces.

10. Female in Tech Are No Longer A Myth

We seek a gender-balanced environment, and the number of venture capital-backed companies with female founders is on the rise. To name just a few from UVCA members’ portfolios: Cardiomo, BetterMe, TurnKey Lender, Raccoon.world and more.
We also continue to develop a community of European Women in VC bringing more diversity in decision-making to the industry.

This is an exciting time for the Ukrainian private capital industry. Stay alert and join us on a daily routine of shaping a better environment for our members to raise and invest capital.