For the fifth time already, the biggest tech event of Ukraine and Eastern Europe, IT Arena, will take place in the last hidden gem of Europe – Lviv. From September, 28 to September, 30 IT Arena will gather several thousand tech experts, developers, tech managers, startup founders and anyone interested in the latest technologies from around the world at the Arena Lviv Stadium. IT Arena is not only about world-known speakers and companies like eBay, Soundcloud, LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook. Every year IT Arena looks for new names, fresh ideas, outstanding products, and revolutionary solutions developed in Ukraine and around the world.
Startup Competition is an excellent opportunity for early-stage startups to validate their idea, business model, understand whether their startup is ready for the reality check, as well as get additional funding. Among the prizes IT Arena 2018 offers – $ 10,000 and $ 5,000, as well as a trip to Silicon Valley and mentorship from Techstars Berlin.
This year, the startup battle at IT Arena promises to be particularly tough. The jury includes a former US military, and now – Managing Director and mentor at the famous accelerator Techstars Berlin, Rob Johnson. Rob will take the stage at Startup Track of the conference, as well as give out personal mentorship to one of the winning teams. At IT Arena, Rob will share his unique entrepreneurial expertise: In the military, we not only learned planning but also how to identify potential risks and mitigate them in advance. There are a lot of parallels between the military to entrepreneurship – thinks Rob. According to him – The best form of validation is revenue. The biggest red flag for me is when a founder is more concerned about "being right" than finding the truth.
IT Arena Startup Competition – one of the most important events for startups in Ukraine. In addition to pitches in front of the world-class jury, IT Arena startup teams will have an opportunity to show off their products at Startup Alley – an exhibition of Ukrainian & international tech developments. Among previous participants of Startup Alley:
Ivan Dmytrasevych, CEO & Co-Founder at Startup Depot Business Incubator, Head of Startup Track at IT Arena says that he has been truly impressed by the last year’s competition winners: Senstone and Docsify, which won The Best B2C and The Best B2B categories. Ivan elaborates on Ukrainian startup culture: – In my opinion, the startup culture in Ukraine has a unique path and evolves in its own way. On the one hand, we have people with a background in outsourcing, who are eager to make new products and services. They have a systematic approach and serious attitude, realizing that this is a long-term game. On the other hand, we have a bunch of CEOs and Co-Founders who are running and marketing the startup for months without an understanding which problem their product is really solving, whether there will be a demand for their product and what is their business model.
Thinking about our potential to become a startup nation, I’m inclined to believe that Ukraine has it. A growing number of Ukrainian startups going global is a good indicator of this process. I encounter numerous international startups with Ukrainian co-founders who get into Y Combinator, Wise Guys or MassChallenge, meanwhile, we are launching new programs and accelerators in Ukraine. We are definitely moving in the right direction!
In several years, the key startup event of Ukraine has not only witnessed hundreds of successful projects but also star jury members: Robin Wauters from Tech.eu, Mike Butcher from TechCrunch, Marvin Liao from 500 Startups, etc. This year, Greg Banas, CEO of AdVentures Poland, will join the Startup Competition, and give the best startup a direct ticket to Poland Prize, the program that allows foreign startups to start a business in Poland. Another jury member of the upcoming competition, Martin Koshubovski is a representative of CRDF Global, an organization that announced a $ 5,000 prize.
The main prize of Startup Competition 2018 is $ 10,000 from IT Arena. Moreover, one of the winning teams will get an invitation for a two-week mentorship program in Palo Alto from the competition partner – Startup Embassy.
– We believe talent is available everywhere, and great companies can come from anywhere in the world today. At Startup Embassy we’d like to offer the prize and bring the best of the best to the heart of Silicon Valley, and help them reach the global stage from here – Sergey Samusev, Co-Founder of Startup Embassy.
To be eligible for participation, startups have to be no more than 2 years old and to have at least a demo version of a product. In case the startup had already raised investments, they must not exceed $ 100k.
From September 1 to September 15, the organizing committee will interview teams who submitted applications and choose the finalists. 50 projects will have the opportunity to pitch at the stage of IT Arena on September 28. On September 29, the jury will choose the winners.
Petcube is a Ukrainian startup that develops smart gadgets for pet owners. In March 2017, Petcube was ranked first in the Wearable Tech Show, bypassing Nest and Amazon Alexa. For the past 6 years Petcube has received funding of $ 14 million.
At the moment, Petcube has three hardware products – Petcube Camera, Petcube Bites, Petcube Play. The company also has a software-product Petcube Care, which allows pet owners to store video clips and have access to them at any time. Petcube products are currently present in 3,000 stores, including Best Buy, Petco, Bath& Beyond in the US and Softbank in Japan.
Petcube is aiming for $ 20 million at the next investment round. Another success story belongs to the online grammar checking service.
Grammarly, a startup from Kyiv has raised $110 million investment money last spring. General catalyst, IVP and Spark Capita became the main investors during the institutional funding round.
The startup was founded by two friends – Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko in 2009. Since then, Grammarly became one of the best grammar checkers and its developer’s team has growth to 100 people. $ 110 million is the record amount of investment money for Ukraine, moreover, it’s the first money from investors in this project ever. Grammarly founders say, they will use this money to help the company grow bigger.
The speaker from Grammarly will join IT Arena this year. Igor Karpets, Head of Enterprise Sales, will share his tips on getting deals closed.
Meet the best Ukrainian startups in Lviv this fall!.