Back in 2015 when electronics and telecommunications engineer Pavlo Tsiupka undertook the project of building his own house, as you might expect, he took a keen interest in energy efficiency technologies. Spending hours researching home automation systems he came to the conclusion that you and I might: the multiple systems from multiple manufacturers do achieve the end goal, but yeesh, what a process. Wouldn't it be much more enjoyable to have practically anything and everything all under one roof? With seemingly no devices at all? And herein lies the fundamental idea behind what is today i3 Engineering.
And then it happened; On February 24, 2022 i3 Engineering's priorities suddenly went from one home at a time to everyone's home all at once.
“In our team, 75 percent are engineers, so we did what we do best, invented and created technical solutions to help defeat the enemy,” explained co-founder and CEO Pavlo Tsiupka. “Our daily routine changed, but we continued to work. We understood that a smart home is not the first need for Ukrainians. One of the factories where we manufactured components for the devices was damaged by Russian rocket attacks. We had to quickly look for partners in Europe in case the situation worsened."
i3 Engineering, together with technical specialists from Respeecher, GlobalLogic, and military personnel, worked on the Zvook (Ukrainian for 'sound') project. As the name implies, this is a hardware and software complex that acoustically detects cruise missiles, helicopters, drones, and enemy fighters at low and medium altitudes. According to Tsiupka, about 40 such complexes are currently operating in Ukraine.
“It is difficult to detect missiles at low altitudes with the help of radar systems. You can fix the launch, track the direction, but making an interception is difficult. That's why we started making an automated system that will inform air defense forces about the time and location of the missile,” he says.
In the autumn of 2022 when Russians began to carry out large-scale attacks on the electricity industry of Ukraine, Tsiupka and i3 Employees faced a number of the same challenges Tech.eu has heard from a number of Ukrainian startups: blackouts and bomb shelters.
“We are in Lviv, so in a slightly better situation than other companies from Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, etc. Despite this, when there were alarms, we went down to the bomb shelters, and when the lights started to be turned off — we bought generators and charging stations. Later, the business center in which our office purchased a large generator, and now we are energy independent,” says the co-founder.
According to i3 Engineering, in 2022, the company’s revenue increased by 150 percent (from $100,000 to $250,000), grew up the team from 24 to 32 people (and continue to be recruiting). In addition building a distributor network across the EU, the company now counts representatives in 7 countries: Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, Lithuania, Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Georgia.
As for 2023, Tsiupka told me that the team has new large-scale projects lined up for Ukrainian kindergartens, schools, and hospitals that will see a modernisation of lighting and heating systems using i3 Engineering systems, all aimed at reducing energy consumption and avoiding heating the “void”.
“When we created the company, there was only an idea and an office in the basement. Now we have a team of 32 people, a line of 24 devices, and more than a hundred houses, apartments, greenhouses, and restaurants using our equipment," says Tsiupka. "We have our own smart office, partners in Europe, and are valued at $6 million. Despite the war and challenges, we continue to grow. Ukraine is a country of opportunities. We want investors to invest in Ukrainian startups because if the war has proven nothing else, it's that we are resilient and able to grow under the harshest of conditions."
This article is part of Tech.eu's highlighting of remarkable Ukrainian startups on the one-year anniversary of the Russo-Ukrainian War. Read more ...