On June 11, the Ukrainian Startup Fund held its 27th Pitch Day to select startups for state financing. The event took place in offline mode on the territory of the innovation park UNIT.City. 12 startups made presentations (pitches). All of them are at the pre-seed stage (each of them applies for state grant funding in the amount of $ 25,000).
The event began with a welcome and motivational speech by Andy Hunder, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine:
“The American Chamber of Commerce brings together businesses that have been operated for many years and beginners, including startups that inspire me the most. In our office there is a sign with Steve Jobs quote, which says: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”. And I completely agree with that. Many startups are too worried about monetization and earnings, forgetting about love for their offspring. But this is one of the key elements of your success. Rest assured: when you love what you do, it will bring you not only pleasure but also material benefits. One way or another, work takes up most of our lives and the only way to enjoy it is to do a great job. And the only way to do a great job is to do what you love.”
He was supported by Charles Whitehead, founder of eō Business Incubators, a professor at Cornell Law School, and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Startup Fund:
“Everything that is happening here today is an indication of the real change in the way how ecosystem is developing in Ukraine. However, I see one big weakness in Ukrainian startups – you don`t really appreciate the possibilities. Everything you hear and see on television, everything you think about Silicon Valley is possible here in Ukraine now. It is no longer a TV series or an interesting show. Everything you read about already here. The Ukrainians are moving in the right direction quite quickly! In the USA 95%-98% of companies fail. In Ukraine it is much lower (approximately 60-70%), but it is quite difficult to make startup. To succeed you have to really want it.”
Serhiy Marchenko, the Minister of Finance of Ukraine, also joined the event for the second time to get acquainted with the presentations of startups in person:
“I am closely interested in the activities of Ukrainian startups and the Fund: how startups are selected, how they work and who exactly we support. Recently, in the Ministry of Finance, we have been wondering what the multiplier effect of grants is. And here we have good news. The state has financed more than a hundred startups in the amount exceeding $ 5 mln, which have already accumulated more than $ 20 mln investment.”
Who is the jury made up of?
- Kateryna Degtyar. Chapter director at Startup Grind Kyiv.
- Olesya Malovana. Chapter director at Startup Grind Dnipro.
- Oleksandr Riabtsev. Founder of StartupInUA.
- Oleksandr Yatsenko. Managing partner at BRISE Capital.
- Andriy Zaikin. CEO and founder of YEP.
- Stanislav Podyachev. Managing partner at Blockchain Lab.
- Vitaliy Goncharuk. Founder of Augmented Pixels.
The main criteria for evaluating projects at the pre-seed stage are team, market, idea, the feasibility of financing, strategy. In each category, a maximum is 5 points (in total maximum is 25). The passing score for a recommendation to the Supervisory Board for a grant is 12 points.
This time the audience award according to a vote in the telegram channel was gained by the startup 4comfortshoes.
The teams Advin, Avocado AI, MANNA і SCTreceived a special prize from UNIT.City – 3 months of free access to the modern coworking – NEST, which is located on the territory of the innovation park + its infrastructure.
Startups Advin, Avocado AI, MANNA and WAY received a special prize from the event partner iHUB in the form of three months of free use of their workplaces.
According to the results of the Competition Сommittee’s assessments, the following startups rating list was formed (from the highest score to the lowest):
- Avocado AI. B2B SaaS that uses math models to forecast the demand and form optimal orders for every ingredient (Kyiv).
- MANNA. An interactive media platform which allows 3D animation of user-generated content, streaming and social VR (Kyiv).
- Advin. Goods availability controlling system on the shelves of food retail stores (Kyiv).
- Monor. An innovative glasses with the possibility of customization and a unique technology of fixing the temples (Kyiv).
- Energy Absorbing Breakwater. Totally autonomous device for the conversion of the energy of sea waves to water desalination and power generation. Huge opportunities for scaling and use as the first coastal protection structure in history, capable of making a profit and paying back within 2 years (Dnipro).
- 4comfortshoes. An online shoe fitting service for retailers and shoe manufacturers. Based on the photos of the buyer’s feet, our service determines the parameters and selects the most comfortable shoes for them (Kyiv).
- Workee. An all-in box solution for running a private coaching business online (Kyiv).
- WalQlike. A mobile app with individual city tours for tourists and locals (Kyiv).
- SCT. A three-wheeled electric vehicle in a sealed frame with a cabin heater, which will allow mass use of environmentally friendly transport in populated areas due to its compactness and low cost (Kyiv).
- WAY. An app for tracking orders and their routes in real time (Lviv).
- Pro.Sport Platform. An online fitness club. A platform that connects proactive people with the desire for a healthy lifestyle and coaches in a quality professional space without borders and time constraints. Marketplace for users, online product designer for coaches (Kyiv).
- Journey through the Solar System. A project, which aims to implement the Applicant Organization, is a series of cognitive – art books with augmented reality (AR), which covers the topic of the solar system and space in general (Kyiv).
At the USF Supervisory Board meeting, which will take place in the near future, it will be decided which startups will receive grant funding.