Terms of Reference


Assessment of Experts under the USF Grant Program 


The Ukrainian Startup Fund (USF) is a state owned fund and its mission is to support innovation projects and help talented Ukrainian entrepreneurs create successful companies to scale. The USF provides pre-seed and seed funding for Ukrainian startups. The selection process is competitive: projects are evaluated by independent Experts and selected by a Selection Committee. 

Objective of the assignment

The USF is currently implementing the Grant Program, the primary aim of which is to fund the most promising and innovative tech startups that also demonstrate a high probability of global commercial success. The Fund provides funding in the form of grants and does not take any equity stake. USD 25,000 is provided for each selected pre-seed startup that does not have an MVP and is in the process of it development and USD 50,000 is for each selected seed stage startup that has an MVP. A startup can apply for a first grant of USD 25,000, and later apply for a second grant of USD 50,000.

Target funding sectors include, but are not limited to: AI, AR\VR, BigDatа, Blockchain, Cyber Security, Defense, Medical and Healthcare, Travel, FinTech, EdTech, Robotics, Professional Services, SaaS, Manufacturing, Ecommerce, IoT.


The Applications submitted for financing from the USF under the Grant Program are evaluated in a transparent and efficient evaluation process. The decision-making process is headed by independent Experts, comprised of experienced industry professionals.

Each received Application is evaluated against three sets of eligibility criteria: (1) the applicant’s requirements, (2) the project’s requirements, and (3) the project’s eligible costs.

The evaluation of eligible Applications submitted for financing is conducted in 2 phases: 

– Pre-selection of Applications (including a technical review to confirm that the Application has been properly completed) and 

– Financing decision which is made by the independent Selection Committee after the live pitches by Applicants who meet minimum criteria based on the Experts’ review.

The composition of Experts and Selection Committee needs to include members with work experience directly in the commercialization of technology and investment, and in business development of tech-based businesses.

Additional requirements for experts who intend to be selected to the Selection Committee: demonstrated experience in International Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital or Private Investment in Non-public Companies. 

Experts need to be confirmed by the Supervisory Board of the Fund before contracting. Selection Committee members are selected from the list of Experts and approved by the Supervisory Board of the Fund.

The roles and responsibilities of Experts are as follows:

  1. Evaluation of project applications submitted to the Grant Program, including assessments of how the project measures against the Fund’s Evaluation Criteria, evaluation of how innovative the technology/product/service is, intellectual property rights, market potential and viability of the proposed development strategy.
  2. Preparation of written conclusions and explanations according to the methodology defined by the Fund.  
  3. Providing comments on their estimates, and give their opinion, on project implementation progress as a whole.
  4. Participation in monitoring the progress of financed projects in cooperation with the Fund and/or other designated members of the Fund’s team, as necessary.

The roles and responsibilities of the Selection Committee members are as follows:

  1. Participation  ( in-person or by videoconference) in the final pitch event.
  2. Preparation of final scoring table (according to the methodology defined by the Fund) after the pitch event and written conclusions for the Supervisory Board on the practicability of providing financial support for proposed projects.
  3. Participation in final decisions and approval of projects for financing. Determine the appropriate grant size for selected projects within the parameters set by the Supervisory Board.

Experts evaluate the information submitted by the Applicant according to the procedure set by the Fund.

Experts and Selection Committee members shall report directly to the Supervisory Board. 

Timing and Duration

Subject assignment is expected to start in November 2019 and last until the end of November 2020 with a possibility of extension. Generally, Experts are expected to provide their services upon the timely notification by the Fund.

Experts work will be done remotely through the Fund’s online portal.

Experts are expected to be engaged approximately 6-12 hours per month. 

The Selection Committee members will participate in live pitch sessions (in-person or by videoconference).

Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

The Experts undertake to comply with the Fund’s Confidentiality Policy and Prevention of Conflict of Interest Policy and to maintain confidentiality on all information that is not in the public domain and shall not be involved in another assignment that represents a conflict of interest to the prevailing assignment.