Kyiv, startup capital of Ukraine, is now among top-35 World’s startup cities

Yesterday, StartupBlink has published a new Startup ecosystem rankings 2019. Kyiv now is #34 in a list of cities with the most developed startup ecosystem.

Since the last report in 2017, Kyiv has shown marvelous progress with +29 positions (from 63 in 2017 to 34 in 2019).

Just wanted to share this great news with you and share a little bit more info about Kyiv.

Around 60% of the tech ecosystem of Ukraine is based at Kyiv. It’s a home for more than 500 startups and more than 150 coworking spaces, incubators, accelerators, tech universities, and communities.

Ukraine has 185 000 tech specialists with outstanding skills in AI and math — and around 50% of them are based at Kyiv (17% in Kharkiv, 13% in Lviv).

Kyiv is one of the most dynamic startup ecosystems in Eastern Europe and a great spot for developing new businesses and creative ideas.

  • It holds more than 1000 startup and tech events annually.
  • More than 20 new venture capital funds have established their offices here for the last few years.
  • The average annual growth of new tech specialists here is 20% year-to-year.
  • It’s a new popular place for filming for global brands and musicians like Miley Cyrus, Apple, Google Play, Lacoste, etc.

Last 5 years have become crucial for Ukraine in general and its local tech ecosystem especially. A country is experiencing exciting times — and already have something to be proud of. Especially in SaaS and AI industries. There are two key reasons for that.

  1. In 2017 UNIT.City, Ukraine’s first Innovation Park, was opened and that shifted the whole landscape of the tech ecosystem in Kyiv. It’s a 27 ha of space for 15 000 tech jobs, 2000 tech students and 300+ startups, labs, and R&D centers. UNIT.City produces 20+ startup programs and 300+ tech events annually.
  2. Ukraine has got its first big exits and success stories such as RingLabs (Doorbell startup acquired by Amazon for $1 bln with key R&D department in Ukraine), Looksery (AI based AR technology acquired by Snap Inc. for $150 mln), GitLab (Cloud platform who became a unicorn with $130 mln of investments), Grammarly (Ukrainian AI SaaS startup raised $110 mln in the last round) and Viewdle (AI based image search platform acquired by Google for $45 mln).

The biggest players in the ecosystem are UNIT.City (already one of the biggest innovation districts in CEE and Europe), RadarTech (Ukraine’s first corporate accelerator), 1991 (Ukraine’s first Civic Tech accelerator and Open Data incubator), UVCA (a concentration of key Ukrainian VC funds), WNISEF (a regional private equity fund, funded by the U.S. government), Chasopys (the first Ukrainian coworking space), Center42 (the center for innovations and digital transformations of business), Projector (Design and Tech school), and such key funds as AVentures, U.Ventures, TA Ventures, IG.VC and Digital Future.

Kyiv is a country capital with a 4 mln population — so it’s safe here, with a lot of business opportunities and outwork activities. It has a unique combination of American creativity, Eastern European costs, and highly skilled developers. It’s a growing bridge between Europe and Asia, between Baltics and Dubai.

Kyiv is becoming a really nice place to live in and work for creative and ambitious youth. And, of course, a lot of great food with tons of wonderful bars, restaurants, hipster local spots, hipster coffee, and pleasantly cheap prices.

You can see the list of Kyiv’s most hot places from our friends from Projector School here:

Two next big challenges for Ukraine’s tech ecosystem are to attract more venture capital to Kyiv and to build more powerful connections with global markets.

Nevertheless, Kyiv seems to have all the chances to become a brand new startup capital of Eastern Europe.

If you want to visit Kyiv and discover its tech ecosystem — join us at 42 Investment Summit — a most recent startup conference which we hold at UNIT.City on April 25th.

Stay tuned for Ukraine! ;)

Kirill Mazur