9 Ukrainian start-ups that cultivate the ideology of sustainable development and responsible consumption

Igor Yankovsky

Internet of things or IoT is considered one of the most promising areas in technologies.

The commercial success of the most start-ups working in this area proves: innovations become closer.

If in XX century new technologies were strongly associated with “large projects” — space exploration or nuclear fusion, in the XXI century inventions become proportional to humans. “Smart” gadgets and mobile applications assist humans in organizing their lives, by responding to their needs in creative self-expression, full interaction with relatives, health care and resource friendly behavior.

This is a critical moment for Ukrainian society, which has only recently begun to understand the practical application of energy preservation. Maybe, one of the most well-known recent Ukrainian IoT start-ups is Ecois.me. The project concept is to create a smart-house system that stimulates the efficient use of electricity. A “home controller” helps to monitor expenditures. “If you forget to switch off an iron or an electric oven, Ecois.me will take care of it and send you a reminder” — the inventors tell about their device. Incidentally, the iconic businessman Richard Branson has already appreciated the innovative solution and “selected” the Ukrainian start-up to his Virgin Media Accelerator.

A number of Ukrainian innovative projects counter perception that digital devices distance people. There is an interesting example: IT specialists, while working on development of a new platform for marketing targeting, literally slept in the office. As a result, they understood: work is work, but ignoring calls and messages from relatives is bad behaviour. Thus, a mobile application FamilyInSafe was launched. Its users create closed groups (hubs) whose only access is though an invitation. The application identifies the exact location of users, avoiding such errors as other popular geo-services; in addition it reminds all group members about scheduled events, “referring” to a certain category of places: shops, pharmacy shops, municipal offices, etc.

Another popular Ukrainian start-up that managed to attract investments of $ 3,8 million provides an opportunity to stay connected with a pet permanently. This is a Petcube — a device that assists a master to watch his cat or dog remotely and entertain them with a laser beam using a regular smartphone. The developers plan to install Petcube in animal shelters on a free of charge basis.

Gradually, the Internet of things had once to coincide with another modern trend — the growing popularity of a healthy lifestyle. A few start-ups emerged at this intersection and they proved to be very successful. One of them was invented by Kyiv schoolchildren. Their project Helko is a virtual instructor for the gym. The device “installs” in any sports equipment, identifies the actual load and calculates its optimal volume for a particular user. Inventors of the other two start-ups Force emotion and Mevics thought in that direction. In the first case, the guys developed a smart bracelet that monitors a physical condition of his owner and in the second case — a device that controls a human posture.

However, health is not only fitness, but also healthy nutrition. Ukrainian start-up BioSens offers everyone to pass a rapid 15-minute test of food products and start-up Myhelix — to analyze the DNA data and to receive individual recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. Start-up persons from UAberry shall assist in following the recommendations. They specialize in mini-farms for breeding of strawberries with automatic irrigation and temperature control. You can place such farms at the cottage, the city balcony or the roof of the house. You can eat fresh berries all year round.

The list of Ukrainian IoT start-ups could be much longer. The main issue is to understand what unites so different offers and at the same time makes them popular. It seems to me that the ideology of sustainability — sustainable development and responsible consumption — underpins such innovations. The “penetration” of this ideology into the public consciousness of Ukrainians through useful devices and services is the excellent news for the country which remained in captivity of resource economy for a long time. Therefore, in addition to the achieving of their primary aim the young start-up persons work on another important task — they “reform” social practices unobtrusively which means that they modernize Ukraine.

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