Ukrainian tech shows unwavering resilience two years after Russian invasion

Ukrainian tech defy war's shadow, with many growing, securing funding and expanding globally while supporting their communities and the war effort.
Ukrainian tech shows unwavering resilience two years after Russian invasion

Tomorrow, Saturday, February 24, marks the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

During the first year of the full-scale War, Ukrainian businesses adapted to ensure uninterrupted teamwork and sustain the economy. 

On the first anniversary of the invasion, we did a deep dive into the Ukrainian tech ecosystem.

Today, I return to share the stories of just some of those teams (and a few new ones) a year later. 

Ukrainian startups secure funding despite war challenges

Right now, funding is a challenge for all startups. However, it's doubly hard when you're based in Ukraine, with many investors reluctant to fund Ukrainian startups without an HQ outside of Ukraine. 

Viktor Tymchenko, global head of delivery of Digicode, shared: 

"Although our Ukrainian IT sector still attracts clients globally with its quality, at the same time, we see a significant outflow of investors from 2023. 

It has become difficult for many clients (especially startups) to get investor approval to collaborate with our IT companies or hire a remote team in Ukraine."

Let's set the stage before we meet all the folks I spoke with. Over the last 13 months, several Ukrainian startups attracted significant investments during the first half of the year: 


I visited the US MacPaw last October. Here it's found another use for Deus Robotics' robots!
  • January: Fuelfinance raised $1 million Seed funding. 
  • February: Deus Robotics raised $1.5 million from Ukrainian venture fund SMRK, and Finmap raised €1 million from Ukrainian venture fund Smok Ventures
  • March: Awesomic raised $800,000 
  • May: Osavul secured $1 million, and NewHomesMate raised $5.5 million in investment. 
  • June: American-Ukrainian startup Haiqu closed $4 million Pre-Seed and Masthead Data raised $1.3 million
  • Pre-Seed.
Image: Preply.
  • July: Preply raised $70 million in growth equity. 
  • September: Deskree secured $1.5 million in seed investment f
  • November:  GoIT raised undisclosed funds, and AiSDR raised a $3 million investment. 
  • December: GameTree raised $1.7 million in Seed funding, and Instock raised $3.2 million in new financing.


  • January: Ukrainian-founded startup JobCannon raised $500,000 Pre-Seed.
  • February: Carbominer secured €1.5M EIC Accelerator Fund grant. 
  • March: raised $8 million in Series A funding, and Dataisland secured a $500,000 investment.

From crisis management to global growth

Everyone I spoke to mentioned the challenges of running a business over the last couple of years, including the disruption of team displacement. 

Victoria Repa, CEO and founder of BetterMe, shared that the team's mental health is her biggest challenge as a leader. 

Finstop lost 90 per cent of its revenue in 2022.

Lera Krutskykh, Junior Partner and PR Director of Global PR agency SLOVA Tech PR, shared that: 

"Living with the War means constantly balancing work with the ongoing threat of attacks. No one can feel safe in Ukraine due to Russian terror with missile and drone attacks.

However, we have set up work safety conditions as much as we could – renting our own 'comfortable bomb shelter', making our office in Kyiv completely autonomous and ready to work during blackouts and in any other force majeure situation, even in winter."

The team worked on assignments in pairs as insurance against loss of connection or other cases of force majeure. She notes:

"While physical reunions have become more challenging, we've established a stable routine, with the team adjusting to working under alarm raids."

Sigma Software shared its decision to open new offices where there would be ten or more of our people, including Poland, Portugal, the Czech Rep., Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, Brazil, and other countries. 

According to CEO Valery Krasovsky, this required considerable focus: 

"Currently, more than half of our staff work in EU countries. That's why we had quite a challenge raising awareness about Sigma Software and our brand very quickly." 

However, challenges are not the sole narrative for Ukrainian tech companies.

Viroslava Novosylna, CEO and founder of SLOVA Tech PR, notes that crisis management, a superpower of Ukrainian PR, has become increasingly vital. 

"Planning, anticipating unexpected scenarios, and adapting to new contexts and crises are now integral to our communications strategy."

Novosylna believes that the last year instilled flexibility, empathy, and ingenuity, noting, "While physical reunions have become more challenging, we've managed to establish a stable routine, with the team adjusting to working under alarm raids.

Dmytro Zarakhovych, the co-founder and managing partner of fintech company, said: 

"We learned to quickly adapt to changes and use challenges as opportunities for growth. The main lesson was the ability to be flexible in our operations and quickly reorient in response to external influences."

GameTree is an American-Ukrainian startup that connects gamers globally. CEO and co-founder Dana Sydorenko shared:

"We have learned to have a flexible roadmap to adjust and react fast. The invasion taught us some techniques to navigate without controlling the situation."

Dana Sydorenko, CEO and co-founder, GameTree.

Despite being in the face of complete instability and unpredictability of war, GameTree has achieved growth of more than 600 per cent. 

Oleksandr Solovei, CEO and Co-Founder of Finmap, revealed that in response to its revenue challenges, Finmap "started doing a lot of things the way that we've never done before." 

The company raised €1 million in early 2023, grew almost two times during 2024, and signed a strategic partnership with a representative in one of the Middle East countries.

Roman Apostol, is the CEO and co-founder at Mate academy, a startup with Ukrainian roots that became international He explained that during the start of the invasion, many of its student clientele lost jobs and sought careers that were less affected by crises, with technology being a popular choice. He shared:

"This led to a surge in demand for tech education but also increased competition among newcomers in the tech field, while job openings decreased."

Mate Academy made its edtech programs in Ukraine more intensive and established career support and partnerships to help graduates find jobs. To lessen its reliance on the Ukrainian market, the company launched branches in Poland in November 2022 and Brazil in August 2023. It's also released a programming skills product for people in English-speaking countries.

NewHomesMate team: Dan Hnatkovskyy (CEO), Sofia Vyshnevska( COO), Marcus Battle (CRO).

Sofia Vyshnevska is co-founder and COO of NewHomesMate, a marketplace enabling homebuyers to search, find, compare, and buy new construction homes.

She shared,

"We've kept hiring Ukrainians, no matter where they are now and that "despite everything, we've grown a lot—11 times in 2022 and 3.5 times in 2023."

Alexander Konovalov, CEO and co-founder of  Swiss-Ukrainian company Vidby said that the company's valuation increased by 141 per cent over the last year. 

It also launched six new products, including the Vidby Call Translator, and was the first in the world to receive the YouTube Recommended Vendor status for AI-powered content localisation. In 2023, the number of Vidby users increased 18 times, reaching 90 thousand. 

Sigma Software Group won the title of Best Workplace for Women in Tech as a category in The Women in Tech Global Awards 2023 and the No. 1 IT Employer in Ukraine in a survey organised by the most prominent Ukrainian IT community, DOU. 

Lera Krutskykh and Viroslava Novosylna, SLOVA Tech PR.

In 2023, SLOVA Tech PR agency secured over 2000 organic publications in global media. These stories not only highlight business achievements but also convey genuine human experiences.

The importance of leadership

Tymchenko decided to undertake an internal leadership program in 2023:

"During these two years, we have seen how important leadership is at every level and team."

Vyshneva notes:

 "The situation has made me think differently about leadership. The well-being of our team has become a priority. It's more about supporting them through these times than just focusing on business goals.

According to Apostol, Mate Academy doubled its team size and realised the importance of having strong leaders. 

"Recently, my focus has been on building this leadership team and handling tasks related to the War. For example, we've tackled challenges like operating without electricity.

Previously, I led a Ukrainian company, but now it's grown into an international business with a diverse team.

We've started to plan for the future, creating a clear vision for our company's direction. This planning includes preparing for the worst-case scenarios."

Ukrainian firms innovate, donate, and help rebuild amidst the War.

Ukrainian companies are not only supporting their staff who are serving or displaced but also actively contributing to the war effort and aiding their communities now and in preparation for the reintegration of people returning from active service. 

Mate Academy contributed $230,000 in donations and worked on large-scale fundraising projects to provide defenders with essential resources, including weapons. It offers a free education program specifically for combatants. 

Digicode currently has 3 per cent of the team serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 

Tymchenko explained:

"Each of our warriors remains part of the Digicode family and continues to receive monthly payments in the total amount of their contract.

As for the veterans, each Digicode will retain his position in the company. We have already had guys return to us after their service, and we are happy to work with them further."

At the beginning of the invasion, Finmap co-founder Ivan Kaunov was enrolled as a reserve officer in Ukraine's armed forces. 

He was wounded in action but returned to the command of air intelligence on standby.

Oleksandr Solovei, CEO and co-founder of Finmap.

Fellow co-founder Oleksandr Solovei, who serves as CEO, explained that 

"When Kaunov was mobilised, we had a coordination centre inside our team, working hard on fundraising, purchasing and delivering needed equipment for his combat unit." 

The company has also fundraised Ukrainian-made autonomous combat drones.

GameTree co-founder Dana Sydorenko previously served as a paramedic in the Ukrainian Army from 2014 to 2015 and was the owner and CEO of Nika-Text Plus, a manufacturer and supplier of military clothing. 

"As a former military, I deeply sympathise with this issue. Many people, especially those with physical disabilities, after the War, will find jobs in technology, games, etc. We need to provide them with employment and educational opportunities."

GameTree supports staff on active duty with infrastructure such as equipment and ammunition and plans to develop reintegration programs to welcome their return. 

In 2023 BetterMe partnered with Esper Bionics, a manufacturer of bionic prostheses, and Future for Ukraine, developing Limb Loss Workouts within the BetterMe: Health Coaching app. 

Limb loss coached via BetterMe.

It has also spent the last year focused on understanding the War's profound impact on citizens and businesses. 

 In collaboration with the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, part of the overarching All-Ukrainian mental health initiative, "How are you?" led by First Lady Olena Zelenska, BetterMe developed a unique tool — the Nationwide Productivity Revival Program, which stands as a proactive and impactful response to the pressing needs of Ukrainians in the contemporary workplace. 

Since February 24, 2022, BetterMe has provided mental support tools to more than 450K Ukrainians, and nearly 2 million Ukrainians are actively using BetterMe apps.

It also participates in Ukrainian government initiatives, such as programs that train veterans and advise them on creating their own startups or tech companies. 

"We are also developing experimental systems for using multiplayer games and social elements in games to help veterans reintegrate. For me, games were a space between the real and non-real worlds and helped me reintegrate into society after serving in 2014."

The co-founder and CEO of Swedish company DanAds, Istvan Beres, shared with me the importance of cross-border teams. In 2017, DanAds welcomed Sigma Software as a niche investor 2017. Today, up to 90 people from Ukraine are helping drive its product.

Sigma established the Sigma Software Unity Fund, donating over $4 million of humanitarian help and established 10+ partnerships with NGOs. It developed a cross-European hackathon, 'Hack for Peace,' which was held in 5 countries and gathered 500+ participants.

Alongside the Danir Group, it created the Swedes for Ukraine, a website to assist displaced Ukrainians in finding accommodation in Sweden free of charge. 

Krasovsky explained: 

"Our teams were quickly mobilised to design and partially implement the concept. Recognising the urgent need for hundreds of Ukrainian individuals to find homes, we launched the platform within an unprecedented two-week timeframe." 

By mid-2023, Swedes for Ukraine had garnered 2,500 registrations and facilitated accommodations for 1,500 refugees. 

In 2022, Sigma Software collaborated with Kharkiv authorities to develop a chatbot enabling residents to track damage caused by Russian aggression and provide utility updates. 

The pro-bono project expanded in 2023 to include uploads of damaged building photos and information about compensation applications and nearby shelters. The chatbot has received over 480K requests, 100K detailed reports, and 50K users. 

It is also working on a smart city concept for Kharkiv, revitalising districts affected by the invasion, and introducing innovative infrastructure. Key features include a smart neighbourhood with IoT networks, safe bus stops, intelligent traffic management, electric car charging stations, automated utilities, and advanced surveillance systems. 

Further, Sigma Software University launched free professional training for IT engineers in the military, providing access to courses developed and supervised by experienced instructors.

Despite ongoing challenges, Ukrainian tech continues its upward trajectory thanks to its inherent resourcefulness, unwavering grit, and international community support. As they rebuild their nation and rewrite their story, let's stand alongside them for today's headlines and the long road ahead.

Lead image: BetterMe's employees helping rebuild houses in the Kyiv region. Photo: uncredited.

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