On October 12, 2017 in Kyiv 10 winners of the UVCA Challenge: CES-Edition contest were announced to represent Ukraine in January at the world's largest consumer electronics show CES-2018, that is annually held in Las Vegas, NV. The contest winning projects encompass various fields ranging from aggrotech, and 3D printing to systems of traffic and parental control.
The final selection was part of the UVCA IT Day, where the best IoT and hardware start-ups were presented. The contest jury comprised of the most influential investors in the country, as well as representatives of AVentures Capital (Yuliya Sychikova), HP Tech Ventures (Vitaly M. Golomb), SMRK VC Fund (Andriy Dovzhenko), CYFRD investment (Michael Kharenko) funds, and others. Aside from being in the contest jury, the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA) together with the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) organized the event and built up the UA TECH EXPO ZONE for CES 2018. The event was held at the iHub, which also partnered the event.
It is extremely important to introduce the country’s innovative achievements at the highest international level. I`ve got an idea of contest a year ago, and I`m very happy that our Association together with Western NIS Enterprise Fund realized it, for the second time arranging a booth of the Ukrainian developers’ solutions at CES. We run a thorough selection of the projects nationwide, inviting only the real experts – top-rank investors to the jury. It allows our winners to succeed in their search for partners, clients and the like right at the exhibition. It should be pointed out that last year 7 out of 8 start-ups attracted investment. We expect our 10 winners to raise the bar this year.
Executive Director of UVCA
A total number of the projects signed up for the contest was about 80, but only 20 of them reached the final.
For three years in a row we’ve been supporting the projects related to the development of the startup ecosystem in Ukraine, since it is one of the WNISEF’s main priorities. We are convinced that only those innovative business solutions that offer value-added products and can compete in the global market will help bring the economy to a new level. The products developed by the Ukrainian startups, such as Petcube, Kodisoft, Readdle correlate with the global market trends. It proves the success of the last year's Ukrainian booth at CES-2017. And we believe that this year will bring us to new heights.
President and CEO of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund
The contest winners of this year are:
It is to be recalled that a prize for all the winners will be the opportunity to take part in CES-2018 and to introduce their product to potential investors and partners from around the globe. In addition to the exhibition stand the prize-winning startups will get a free branding of their booth with their own individual design, as well as mentor support and other assistance.
By the way, the audience choice award went to Cubomania - Interactive cubes for children and a mobile application with the server-side support that allow to develop the personality of the child in the game's exciting educational form.
On the eve of the contest, October 9-11, 20 finalists attended CES Bootcamp: Ukrainian edition, where the participants gained practical skills in presentations, product development and marketing. The main coaches for the Bootcamp were special guests Felix Litvinski and Charles Whitehead from the Cornell University, Boston.
Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA) has been established by the example of the European Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (InvestEurope), and currently unites 40 members – leaders of the international and Ukrainian investment market: Almaz Capital, AVentures Capital, Digital Future, Horizon Capital, HP Tech Ventures, Intel Capital, EBRD etc. The Association shapes the future direction of the private equity industry by promoting investment opportunities in Ukraine, representing interests of private equity investors to policymakers and improving investment and business climate in Ukraine.
Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) is a $150 million regional fund, a pioneer in Ukraine and Moldova with more than two decades of successful experience in investing in small and medium-sized companies. WNISEF was funded by the U.S. government via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Since its inception 20 years ago, WNISEF’s cumulative investments total over $168 million to 118 companies employing around 25 000 people and made it possible to unlock $1.5 billion for companies in Ukraine and Moldova. In 2015 WNISEF has launched a $35 million legacy program focused on export promotion, local economic development, impact investing and economic leadership. WNISEF is funding innovative, high-impact, reform focused programs aimed to transform lives of the ordinary people in Ukraine and Moldova.