The Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA) and the audit and consulting company Kreston Ukraine present the “Ukraine venture capital and private equity markets overview 2020” annual review, which also includes data for 8 months of 2021.
According to the results of 2020, Ukrainian technology companies and their investors closed 188 deals with investors worth USD 533.5 million. About 50% of the deals are small grants (25 and 50 thousand USD) from the Ukrainian Startup Fund. For 2020—2021, it has invested USD 5.3 million in Ukrainian projects.
Just three years ago, Ukraine did not have a single unicorn among its startups. Nowadays, as many as five of them — Gitlab, Grammarly, Bitfury, People.ai, and Ring — raised USD 1.3 bln funding and dominate the global market.
In this review, we analyzed the key market trends, such as “investment focus on software projects”, “increase of foreign investors in the Ukrainian market”, “growing quality of Ukrainian startups and their interest in smart money” for the first time. The key drivers and barriers to market development were identified — the respondents noted that despite the imperfect regulatory framework, the country still has enough private capital to promote the sector.
Generally, all market players are unanimous in their outlooks and are quite optimistic about further market development. According to 81% venture and 67% private equity investors surveyed, all quantitative indicators are likely to grow, and high-tech industries traditionally represent the most promising ones.
Ukrainian investors primarily point to the experience and qualification of the team (according to 94% venture and 17% private equity investors surveyed) and the market potential of the business idea (according to 82% venture and 83% private equity investors surveyed), among the key factors for investment decisions. On the other hand, when choosing an investor, startups consider their industry expertise, investment terms, and ‘smart money’ they can get.
The study results show that Ukrainian companies offer attractive, relevant, and globally competitive solutions and demonstrate sustainability and adaptability in COVID-19. Ukraine is gradually transforming from a talent and idea exporter into a big international venture capital market player.