Ukraine: The Next Startup Nation

Enis Hulli
Aug 22, 2017 · 4 min read

Ukrainians already put a stamp on Silicon Valley with outstanding companies like Whatsapp (Jan Koum), Paypal and Affirm (Max Levchin).

Still at the dawn of its tech revolution, Ukraine is headed to become a startup powerhouse with many more global success stories to come.

Strong tech education provides a powerful foundation.

Country’s robust education system creates close to 40k graduates a year in technical studies and the government aims to get this number to 100k by 2020. The economy of the country has been shaking but IT has always been one of the most stable industries with much higher salaries, which makes it super attractive for people and drives more interest.

Outsourcing is a catalyst to create global entrepreneurs

Growing from 0.06% of the GDP to 3.3% -more than 50x- in the past 5 years, Ukraine’s IT sector will soon become number one export of the nation. It is no surprise that more than 100 multinational tech giants opened their R&D offices in Ukraine including Samsung, Boeing, Siemens and Oracle.

Ukrainian entrepreneurs build customer-funded businesses

Contrary to US’s gigantic market size and excessive funding opportunities, entrepreneurs in Ukraine need to operate in a much smaller market with geopolitical challenges and lack of capital. Focusing on international markets from day one, Ukrainian startups become profitable very quickly, only to re-invest in further developing the product or growth.

Early signs of the next major startup hub

Great startup hubs need a home-run style victory that unlocks major capital resources and puts the ecosystem on spotlight like ICQ (Tel Aviv), Snap (Los Angeles) and Doubleclick (NYC).

Geo-arbitrage funds emerge as a bridge to Silicon Valley

Increasingly companies are launching their US operations at earlier stages while still keeping development back home. Petcube, Allset, Preply, Mobalytics, Sixa and People.ai are all examples of Ukrainian entrepreneurs competing on the global playing field since inception.

Ukraine will create more Steve Wozniaks

The country has a strong technical education system and a growing talent pool of engineers joining the workforce that become the fundamental infrastructure to create an innovative economy.

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around…

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here: https://airtable.com/shrShpeN89HrzCzOB

Enis Hulli

Written by

Partner @500Startups Istanbul, enis@500.co, Glocal Podcast theglocal.co

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here: https://airtable.com/shrShpeN89HrzCzOB

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